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WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 13, 2018 -- When trainer Ron Burke confided to longtime owner Mark Weaver at the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale that De Los Cielos Deo was his top-rated colt in the auction, Weaver thought he had a pretty good idea what was coming. "Usually, we can't afford Ronnie's No. 1 picks," Weaver says. "We were pleasantly surprised to get him, and we're really happy now." Happy, indeed. The son of Captaintreacherous-Lisjune has won all four career starts, and in Tuesday's $188,111 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows, he'll be looking to complete a sweep of PASS preliminary legs. He goes from post 4 in race 1 with Yannick Gingras at the helm. De Los Cielos Deo didn't come cheaply, as Weaver and his partners -- Mike Bruscemi (they're Weaver Bruscemi LLC), Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr and J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby) had to give $140,000 for the colt. "Believe it or not, we were prepared to go to about $300,000," Weaver says. "He's a half to I Luv The Nitelife, a fabulous filly who made close to $2 million, and Ronnie loved him as an individual. Anytime you can get one with that pedigree, you jump at the chance." De Los Cielos Deo has captured his four starts by a combined 8 lengths; he's won on the front, with quarter-pole moves and by stalking from the pocket. The only potential rap -- every race has been on a five-eighths-mile track. "I don't think bigger tracks will be a problem," Weaver says, "and I'm not sure he'll have to worry about a half-mile track until the Little Brown Jug." After the Sept. 1 $252,000 PASS championship at The Meadows, De Los Cielos Deo is eligible for the Metro -- "That will be his first test against the rest of the world" -- a pair at the Red Mile and the Breeders Crown. "From the day we bought him, he's probably been the most hyped horse we've had," Weaver says. "It reminds me of the Sweet Lou hype. They don't always come through, but so far, he has." Burke will send out four others in Tuesday's PASS, with Pyro (race 3, post 1, Matt Kakaley) probably the most interesting. When the mares he bred to Sweet Lou produced exclusively fillies, Burke and his partners went looking for a Sweet Lou colt and found him in Pyro, who is out of the Somebeachsomewhere mare Whetstone Hanover. "We bought him for $75,000 as a weanling," Weaver says. "That's a lot more than people thought we should have paid for him." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 13, 2018 -- Latissimus Hanover extended his domination of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series, rolling to his fourth straight series win and completing his sweep of the preliminary legs Monday at The Meadows. The $80,000 stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers was contested over four divisions, with Walleywalleyinfree, Costello and Do Ya Think taking the other splits. The $40,000 series final is set for Sept. 3 at Harrah's Philadelphia. With his 9-length laugher Monday, Latissimus Hanover now has a combined victory margin of 23-1/4 lengths in the series. Ray Schnittker, who trains the son of Captaintreacherous-Ladyking and owns with Mary Kinsey Arnold and Ted Gewertz, indicated he has no regrets about campaigning him in the stallion series rather than the more lucrative -- but more competitive -- sires stakes. "I just hope we can dominate the final," Schnittker joked. "His first start wasn't all that great; he was sitting last after a half that went in 59, and he didn't have much pop. So I thought we'd race him in the stallions. He's staked to everything, so later in the year, he'll have his hands full." Hammered down to 1-9. Latissimus Hanover made the front with a quarter-pole move for Tim Tetrick and jogged home in a career-best 1:52.1. Bring The Thunder and Captain Fabulous completed the ticket. Making his pari-mutuel debut, Walleywalleyinfree appeared to have trouble getting off the cones past the half. Once he picked up cover, he straightened out and drove through the stretch to score in 1:54.1 for Tony Hall, trainer Chris Ryder and owner Bella Racing. Loutenant finished second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Lyons Night Hawk, who provided the winner's much-appreciated cover, earned show. "They told me he could get really hot, and they want to teach him to race from behind, so we were set to trip him out and race him like that," Hall said. "Past the half, he was kind of running in a little bit, and I was hoping to get through the turn before I had to move him. But it was getting tight, and I tried to ease him out. He wasn't ready to come yet." Costello spotted the leader, Lyons Johnnyjnr, x lengths at the three-quarters but powered through the lane to nail him by a neck in 1:54.2. Saronno finished third. "It looked like the leader was putting up some good fractions," said winning driver Matt Kakaley. "I was first up with him last week, so I was hoping to give him a little better trip today. He's all right, that little guy." The win likely earned the son of Sweet Lou-Laughandbehappy a berth in the championship. Ron Burke conditions Costello for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday with the Tyler B, a $188,111 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 11, 2018 -- Thanks to the luck of the draw, Prospect Hill and Demon Onthe Hill never have met in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes competition. Now, with one preliminary leg remaining, the two are on the road to a heavyweight clash in the championship, as each won his third straight PASS split Saturday at The Meadows. The $181,388 event for freshman colt and gelding trotters, known as the Florida Pro, was contested over three divisions, with Osterc taking the other split. Yannick Gingras enjoyed a PASS double behind Demon Onthe hill and Osterc. The $252,000 final is set for Sept. 1 at The Meadows. Hammered down to 1-5, Prospect Hill had to duel for the early lead harder than winning driver Andy Miller might have liked, reaching the point in 28.4. But the son of Muscle Hill-Louise Kemp was unchallenged thereafter, drawing off to down Flippen Creek by 4-1/4 lengths in 1:56.2. White Tiger rallied following a poor start for show. "Most of his races, he's been on the front -- not that he has to be," Miller said. "I'm sure somewhere along the line, he'll have to follow and come off cover, which is fine for him. He's pretty sharp right now, and for where he's at, where pretty happy with him." Julie Miller trains Prospect Hill, a $130,000 yearling acquisition who vaulted over $100,000 in career earnings, for Stroy Inc. Also a 1-5 favorite, Demon Onthe Hill let the air out of the balloon early, waltzing to the half in 59 before coasting home in 1:56.3. The pocket-sitting Klutzy was second, 3/4 lengths back, while Fashion Possessed completed the ticket. "My approach was like it is for every other race," said Gingras, who was driving Demon Onthe Hill for the first time. "I just wanted to see how the race would go. He got to the front easy and won from there. They didn't challenge him early, but he's a nice horse and would have won either way." Marcus Melander trains the son of Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall, a $125,000 yearling purchase, for Vicky Trotting Inc. At the top of the lane, Gingras was beginning to regret his decision to stay inside with Osterc. "I thought it was too late. I thought I got beat actually," he said. "There was plenty of opportunity to pull, but I thought I was following a good horse." But the son of Cantab Hall Oh Oh Hereshecomes roared through the Lightning Lane to edge the first-over Stonebridge Symba by a head in 1:57.4, with early leader Mass Fortune K third. Jimmy Takter conditions Osterc for Christina Takter and Goran Falk. In the $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot, Glidinthruparadise, the longest shot on the board at 15-1, moved relentlessly without cover to pull off the upset in 1:55.3 for Brian Zendt, trainer Ed Zubkoff, Jr. and owner Brookside Stables. The 5-year-old daughter of Yankee Glide-Chowda now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $207,123. Aaron Merriman piloted three winners on the 13-race program. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman colt and gelding pacers. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 9, 2018 -- After an inauspicious career debut -- he broke stride as the 1-2 favorite in a PA All-Stars split -- Demon Onthe Hill has righted the ship, winning two straight PA Sires Stakes divisions. On Saturday at The Meadows, he'll try to extend that streak to three in the Florida Pro, a $181,388 PASS that goes as races 1, 3 and 4. Demon Onthe Hill leaves from post 3 in the first race with Yannick Gingras in the sulky. Post time is 1:05 PM. Vicky Trotting, Inc. gave $125,000 at auction for the son of Muscle Hill-Sabrina Hall, a price that the colt's trainer, Marcus Melander, indicates was not unexpected. "He was a good-looking horse with a great video," Melander says. "The only disadvantage: he was pretty small then and still is. When it says Muscle Hill, they always get a little more expensive." Melander absolves Demon Onthe Hill of blame for that break in his career opener. "He would have won, but he got stuck in a knee boot and almost fell." His initial PASS victory was a ground-saving affair at The Meadows, but his win in the following leg at Harrah's Philadelphia was impressive. He wore down the leaders on the outside and drew off late, scoring in 1:55.4. That earned him a share of the national season's record for freshman trotters on a five-eighths-mile track. "It looked like he had something left in the tank," says Melander, who notes that Demon Onthe Hill is eligible to most of the important late-season stakes. "His size doesn't seem to matter. He grows on the track. I think he's the real deal." Melander also sends out Expedition (race 4, post 4, Dave Palone), who, at $230,000, was an even more expensive Muscle Hill yearling than Demon Onthe Hill. He's earned checks but no wins in his two PASS outings. "He's still a little green and doesn't know what's happening out there," Melander says. "Demon Onthe Hill might be a little better, but once he starts to understand what racing's all about, he'll be a nice horse, too." AMG Stable campaigns Expedition. Saturday's card also features a number of attractive wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich pool guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 9-13) -- and a $1,073.80 jackpot in the Super Hi-5 (race 13). The series of "Rockiin' on the Rail" live concerts continues, with The Stickers performing on the apron at the conclusion of the races. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will offer paddock tours, stating gate rides and a "Pick the Winners" contest, with a $50 voucher up for grabs. For more information or to register, stop by the MSOA table in the Racebook. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 8, 2018 -- Parked every step, Final Answer still found more in the stretch and collected a maiden-breaking victory in Wednesday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman colt and gelding trotters was contested over five divisions, with Kate's Massive, Forecast, Natl Guard Hanover and Cantab Ed also taking splits. Mike Wilder enjoyed a stake double behind Forecast and Natl Guard Hanover. Final Answer launched his career in the tougher PA Sires Stakes but couldn't maintain his gait. Thus, on Wednesday, Anthony MacDonald was content to float on the outside and let the youngster cut his own mile. "He has a lot of talent, but he's very green and still makes mistakes," McDonald said. "I just wanted to keep him out of harm's way, and I thought he was as good or better than the others. So the trip was more or less by design." The Yankee Glide-Armbro Talk gelding surged late and defeated Winning Legends, a 23-1 bomber, by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:59.1, with Big Bad Caviar third. Andrew Harris trains Final Answer for Thestable Finalanswer Group. Kate's Massive had won both career starts in which he'd stayed flat, so the job of trainer/driver Ray Paver on Wednesday was to keep him focused. "He needs to pay attention, and I need to pay attention -- a little of both," Paver said. "His mind wanders a lot. If we make the final, he'll have the Keystone Classic here next. That'll be it for the year." Kate's Massive minded his manners and made short work of the field, triumphing on the front end in 1:59.1. Star Caviar was a ground-saving second, 4-1/2 lengths back, while Capt Chaps Hanover completed the ticket. A homebred son of Muscle Massive-Sister Kate, Kate's Massive campaigns for Harry Horowitz and Iris Horowitz. Forecast left alertly but was shuffled and appeared hopelessly locked in entering the final turn. When Casanova's Jewel jumped it off to his outside, however, Wilder was able to angle the son of Cantab Hall-Downpour off the cones. Once he saw racetrack, Forecast accelerated and downed the previously undefeated Faithfulandtrue by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:59.3. Angus Hanover earned show. "I probably should have pulled him first up," Wilder said. "The reason I didn't was, when I cleared in the first turn, he kind of got lost on me and was a little off the bit. I was afraid that I might clear too early. I gambled and stayed in. When I did get him out, he had a lot of steam." John Butenschoen trains Forecast for William Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, when the card features the Florida Pro, a $181,388 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 7, 2018 -- Trailing previously unbeaten Sonnet Grace by a length turning for home, Antonia found another gear and upset the 2-5 favorite in Tuesday's $185,836 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Delmonica Hanover, was contested over four divisions, with Ma Was Right, Magical Beliefs and Nomo Volo taking the other splits. It was a big day for David Miller, who won three PASS divisions and finished second in the fourth, beaten by Nomo Volo. Sonnet Grace captured the first four starts of her career, and the granddaughter of Hall of Famer CR Kay Suzie appeared well on the way to number five. But the determined Antonia gobbled up ground and finally prevailed at the wire by a head in a career-best 1:56.4. Sky Is Mine was a ground-saving third. "I wasn't sure we would get by," Miller said. "My filly was running in and lost a little ground in the last turn. You have to be careful with her at the start, but she usually gets home pretty good. She held the gate real good today, and she put her head in front late. Gotta give her credit for that." Nifty Norman conditions the daughter of Donato Hanover-Tactical Caviar for Melvin Hartman, Little E LLC and Pinske Stables. Ma Was Right followed cover beautifully before roaring through the stretch and scoring in a stake-fastest 1:56.3, downing the first-over Matter Of Fact by a length. Early leader Personal Paradise completed the ticket. "That's the third time I've raced her, and her trips have been pretty much the same," Miller said. "She's usually trotting pretty good at the wire. She didn't get away well from the rail today, but she's pretty strong on the end of it." Noel Daley conditions the daughter of Muscle Hill-It's Alright Ma, who has finished first or second in all five career starts, for All Laid Out Stable. Magical Beliefs and Miller were stalking Ladylilli when they pulled the pocket before the three-quarters and rolled to a comfortable 2-length victory in 1:57.1 for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Highland Green Farms, South Mountain Stables and R-And-I Farms. Windy Corner was third-placed-second and Lady Builder fourth-placed-third while Ladylilli, who finished second, was disqualified and placed last for leaving the course. "With that half in 57.3, I didn't know how far that horse in front of me would take me," Miller said. "So I thought I would take a shot rather than sit in and get shuffled. She was tired at the end, but she held up." Tuesday's card also featured a pair of Preferred Handicap races. In the $20,000 event for filly and mare pacers, the pocket-sitting Medusa kicked by Lakeisha Hall late and triumphed in 1:51.3 for Tony Hall and trainer Randy Bendis, who owns the 7-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Mythical with Tom Pollack. Medusa now boasts $773,553 in career earnings. Call For Justice and Dave Palone took the $18,000 trot by slipping past Wind Of The North in the Lightning Lane, snapping that rival's three-race winning streak. The 6-year-old son of Justice Hall-Mika's Mazurka, who prevailed in 1:53.4, extended his lifetime bankroll to $516,067 for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday, when the card features a $100,000 PA Stallion Series event for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2018 -- Southwind Storm captured her third straight Pennsylvania Stallion Series split Monday at The Meadows, a facile victory in which she never was cut loose. The $100,000 stake for freshman filly trotters was contested over five divisions, with Navarone Hanover, Sand Lauren Blu, Lollypop Lindy and Cardinale taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake double -- among his three wins on the 13-race card -- behind Southwind Storm and Navarone Hanover. Hammered down to 1-5, Southwind Storm zipped to the lead from post 2 and was under restraint for much of the opening half. The daughter of Muscle Hill-Say What won comfortably in a career-best 1:58.2, 2-3/4 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Paint The Corners. Explosive Paige completed the ticket. "She's a perfect filly -- smart," Palone said. "She was well within herself, shut down. I spoke to her off the turn and just wrapped her back up again at the wire." Ron Burke trains Southwind Storm for Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Although she entered the stake with two victories under her belt, Navarone Hanover had never been first at any call except the final one. She changed all that Monday when the daughter of Explosive Matter-Nan's Conway grabbed the point and held off the prolonged challenge of Girl With A Past by a head in a stake-fastest 1:57.2, with Something Spicy third. "She can do most anything -- that's the whole key," said Robert Baggitt, Jr., who trains the $29,000 yearling acquisition for Christine Baggitt. "You have to be on the front end when you're the best. Dave thought she was the best, and she turned out to be the best. She's a better horse following, but we thought today was the day to go down the road." Sand Lauren Blu is a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Sand Violent Blu, one of the sport's top fillies at 2 who banked $212,552 that year but was so feisty and competitive that trainer Tye Loy took to cushioning her stall to prevent her from injuring herself. Loy, who also conditions Sand Lauren Blu, said those precautions won't be necessary with her. "She has enough speed, but she doesn't have the killer attitude her mother did," Loy said. "I put her front shoes backwards today like she had them all last winter. She was hitting on her shins pretty good the last couple starts." Dismissed at 31-1, she showed a spark Monday when she surged late for Jim Pantaleano to edge Chanel De Vie by a head and break her maiden in 1:59.4. Early leader Fast Reaction earned show. Bill Sanders bred and owns Sand Lauren Blu. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday, when the program features the Delmonica Hanover, a $185,836 PA Sires Stake for 2-year-old filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 6, 2018 -- Freshman filly trotter Sonnet Grace has won all four starts -- each of them a stake -- in her promising career. On Tuesday, she'll try to stay perfect in a $185,836 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event will cover the first four races, with Sonnet Grace leaving from post 5 in race 1 with owner/trainer/breeder Rod Allen in the sulky. First post is 1:05 PM. Allen had every reason to expect good things from Sonnet Grace, a daughter of Muscle Massive-I Believe; she's a granddaughter of CR Kay Suzie, a Hall of Famer who won more than $1.6 million for Rod Allen and his late father, Carl Allen, also a Hall of Famer. As a broodmare, CR Kay Suzie produced such top performers as CR Excalibur ($463,412) "Right now, she's behaving herself well for a 2-year-old," Allen says. "She has size and acceleration. I've not had too many big horses that have acceleration like hers. She has a good enough set of lungs so that road traffic shouldn't be an issue." Allen acknowledges that a lot of things have gone her way -- particularly draws. Because her stakes have been split into multiple divisions with relatively small fields, she's never had to leave from a post deeper than 5. "She's meeting every challenge," he says, "but things will get tougher. These babies have just so many starts in them, so I've been limiting her training miles. We're in good shape right now." As for comparisons to CR Kay Suzie, those may wait until later in the season, when Sonnet Grace is scheduled to face the best in her division in rich stakes. "She doesn't have the same qualities as 'Suzie,' but she's more level headed. It's nice to have a 2-year-old that's well behaved. It makes my job a lot easier." Also set for the PASS is Scirocco Donnahill, who, but for a tough 1/2-length beat in a PA All-Stars division, would be a perfect 4-4 as well. The daughter of Muscle Hill-UF Tadys Donato has exceeded the expectations of trainer John Butenschoen, who cautioned owners Lewis Whitaker and Kathleen Whitaker that they might be overpaying when they gave $115,000 for her at auction. "She's from the really good Tadys Comer family in Ohio, which has produced solid horses for a long time," Butenschoen says. "I had her pegged for $75,000-to-$80,000, but the owners wanted her and kept on going. "She's the first Muscle Hill filly I've trained. She's smart, good gaited and takes care of herself. She's staked to everything, but we don't want to over-race her. We'll figure out a game plan for her to make sure she stays healthy and sound." Scirocco Donnahill goes from post 6 in race 2 with Dave Palone driving. Butenschoen will send out two other fillies: Ladylilli (race 3, post 6, Charlie Norris) and Sabrina Deo (race 4, post 7, David Miller). Both will be newly rigged with hopples. "They've made some miscues, and I haven't been able to pinpoint any cause," Butenschoen says. "So we'll go with hopples to give them and their drivers confidence." Freshman filly trotters also are featured Monday at The Meadows in a $100,000 PA Stallion Series stake. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 4, 2018 -- Vague Traces dueled with Dapper Dude the entire final quarter before edging him at the wire to capture Saturday's feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Pace. Dapper Dude needed a 26.4 opening panel to make the point and gamely retook the lead when passed shortly thereafter. Vague Traces also was hard used, finding a seat fourth from post 9 before moving first over for Jim Pantaleano. Vague Traces was a neck better than Dapper Dude, scoring in 1:50.4, with the rallying Lincolnjames third. Sarah Andrews trains Vague Traces, a 6-year-old Always A Virgin-Village Junior gelding who now boasts $295,406 in career earnings, for Michael Jurczykowski. It was one of five wins for Pantaleano -- including four consecutively spanning races 5-8 -- on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the program features a $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for freshman filly trotters. First post is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 2, 2018 -- When the Four Seasons released their hit Working My Way Back to You, they probably didn't have Lincolnjames in mind -- that was 1966, after all. Yet the 7-year-old Northwest-Winbak Lucy gelding might be using that song for inspiration as he tries to work his way back to the Preferred Pace at The Meadows, a class he once dominated. Lincolnjames has put together a modest two-race winning streak and will try to take that next step back to the top in Saturday's feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Pace in race 6. Lincolnjames goes from post 8 with Dave Palone driving. Saturday's card features a number of compelling wagering opportunities, including a pair of rich total-pool guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 9-13) -- and a $6,364.20 jackpot in the Super Hi-5 (race 13). The special post time of 12 noon will allow The Meadows to coordinate its live races with its simulcast of the Hambletonian Day program from The Meadowlands. In 2017, Lincolnjames won the Preferred, Preferred Handicap or Winners Over pace nine times at The Meadows, a major contribution to his $356,491 lifetime bankroll. This year, he lost his first 13 starts in those races, prompting trainer Ron Burke to demote him to conditioned events -- and shift Windsong Leo from Yonkers to The Meadows. Windsong Leo stepped up to his role, winning the track's top pace twice, but he likely won't stay here long. "I've had too many horses at Yonkers that all fit the same class, so I brought Leo here for a couple weeks," Burke says. "He'll go back to Yonkers." Meanwhile, Lincolnjames also responded well, winning his two conditioned events; if he triumphs Saturday, he'll likely earn a ticket to the Preferred. Burke can't point to any injury that's held him back. "I'm more inclined to think the competition is getting tougher," he says. "Look at this race today -- he'll face Dapper Dude and Knocking Around, who race in the Preferred most of the time." Post 8 may not be the best vehicle for the final step in his comeback, but Burke thinks Lincolnjames still can slug it out on the front under the right circumstances. "He likes the front end better, but he has to get his fractions," Burke says. "I don't know if he'd like getting strung out in 26." Burke's interest in Saturday's card also will be piqued by the debut of Covenant, his Sweet Lou-Monkeys Can Sing freshman pacer. Monkeys Can Sing had a brief, undistinguished racing career, but her family sparkles with stars. Her dam, Cathedra, banked $733,789 on the track and, as a broodmare, produced a pair of millionaires: Cathedra Dot Com and Cabrini Hanover. Perhaps that's why Covenant's owners -- Burke Racing Stable, Hatfield Stables, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi LLC -- put up $130,000 for him at auction. "He's the best-looking 'Lou' we have; he could be 'Lou's' twin," Burke says. 'He's been a disappointment this year. He doesn't seem to pick things up very fast, but if you keep asking him to improve, he does. He's supposed to be better than he has been. I keep telling him that, but he doesn't understand. As long as he keeps improving, we'll keep giving him chances." Covenant leaves from the rail in race 2 with Mike Wilder in the sulky. The Meadows' 'Rockin' On The Rail' series of live concerts continues Saturday, with Dancing Queen performing on the apron at the conclusion of the live card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 1, 2018 -- It was another harness racing day at the office for Barn Girl, as she rolled to her 11th victory in 15 starts this season in Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Barn Girl has finished first or second in each of those 15 outings. Assigned the outside post position as usual, Barn Girl had little trouble grabbing the point for Aaron Merriman, thwarting the first-over bid of her stablemate, Delcrest Magicstar, and downing the pocket-sitting Cincinnati Miss by 1-3/4 lengths in 1: 54.1. Whambamthankumaam rallied for show. Bill Bercury trains Barn Girl, a 6-year-old daughter of Cash Hall-Turquoise Sweetie who extended her career bankroll to $716,158 and her lifetime winning percentage to 51.5, for Renee Bercury. Merriman collected three wins on the 13-race card while Tyler Stillings fashioned an unusual "double-triple" -- three driving victories, three training victories. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, with a special Hambletonian Day post time of 12 noon. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 31, 2018 -- Lakeisha Hall zipped to the front from post 6 and powered to victory -- her second straight and fourth in the last six -- in Tuesday's $18,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Last week, Lakeisha Hall used a pocket trip to out-finish the leader, Fox Valley Charm. On Tuesday, their positions were reversed, but Lakeisha Hall would not let Fox Valley Charm by in the Lightning Lane, downing her by 1/2 length in 1:51.3 for Dave Palone. McDazzle found late racing room for show. Ron Burke trains Lakeisha Hall, a 5-year-old daughter of Third Straight-Lantana Hall who lifted her career bankroll to $548,879, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Jack Piatt II. Palone collected four wins and Mike Wilder three on the 13-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 30, 2018 -- Stuck in an uncharacteristic seven-race losing streak, Classicality changed tactics and snapped his skid with a rallying victory in Monday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Classicality performed well enough during his losing streak, missing the ticket just once while racing at or near the front. To get that elusive win, however, Brian Zendt ducked from post 6 and followed the live cover of PL Jerico. Classicality roared wide through the lane to score in 1:54, 1/2 length better than long shot Dreamsteeler. PL Jerico saw his four-race winning streak end while saving show. Lisa Dunn owns and trains Classicality, an 8-year-old Classic Photo-Penn Worthy Lane gelding who now boasts $627,852 in career earnings. Aaron Merriman and Dave Palone each piloted three winners on the 13-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has increased — to $12,500 — the total-pool guarantee for its Tuesday, July 31 Pick 5 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $5,000 Pick 5 guarantees are offered with each card, The Meadows sweetened the pot when Monday’s Pick 5 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $3,637.78. In addition, Tuesday’s card includes a $7,500 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 4 and a $5,382.20 jackpot in the Super Hi-5, both regular features of each program at The Meadows. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7), Pick 5 (Races 9-13) and Super Hi-5 (race 13) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Tuesday’s program is 1:05 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 28, 2018 - Victimized by brutal trips in his last two starts, Dorsoduro Hanover finally got the journey he needed and pounced on the opportunity to win Saturday's $400,000 harness racing final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids in 1:50.1 at The Meadows.   American History, who won an elimination of the 52nd edition of the Adios, raced well first over to finish second, 1-1/4 lengths back, while Hitman Hill, the other elimination winner, could not improve position in the Lightning Lane and settled for show.   Dorsoduro Hanover gave The Meadows-based trainer Ron Burke, perennially the sport's leading conditioner, his first blanket of Adios orchids as the head of his stable, although he was assistant for his father, Mickey, when their horse, May June Character, won the 2007 Adios.   A Somebeachsomewhere-Deer Valley Miss gelding who cost $100,000 as a yearling, Dorsoduro Hanover was roughed up from post 10 in the Meadowlands Pace final and again in is Adios elimination but still managed to finish second each time.   It seemed likely that he was only a good trip away from a signature victory . . . and Matt Kakaley provided it for him giving him a 28.3 second-panel refresher after a 26.3 opening-quarter burst to the lead.   "We got a big breather there in the second quarter," Kakaley said. "I knew he would be tough off that . . . if he didn't win with that trip, something was wrong. I'm happy for the horse. He's showing everybody that he's a top colt."   American History took up the chase before the half and pursued the winner gamely but was all out late to preserve his place finish.   "He raced phenomenal. I couldn't be more happy with how he raced," said his trainer, Tony Alagna. "We knew Matt had the fractions his way, but even around the last turn, we had a shot to win the whole thing. He hung tough to be second."   Once Dorsoduro Hanover crossed the wire, a jubilant Burke and members of his staff sprinted from the paddock to the winners' circle, eschewing the golf cart that customarily provides transport. Burke, however, indicated the wins in 2007 and 2018 were equally important to him.   "We have a big crew, and to me, that's what it's about: doing it together," Burke said. "We probably spent about $10 million chasing this, and we finally got one. It's a great feeling to enjoy it with our staff and our core group."   In that core group are the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover, who now has earned $575,803 for them: Burke Racing Stable; Silva, Purnell & Libby; Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Wingfield Five.   Burke said Dorsoduro Hanover will be pointed to the Carl Milstein at Northfield.   ADIOS NOTES: Burke entered 26 horses on the 16-race Adios Day card, not a record for him but still a heckuva lot better than average. Burke ended the day with seven wins — also a heckuva lot better than average — including four by Kakaley, two by Yannick Gingras and one by Dave Palone. . . For the second straight year, James Witherite – who also works as a race analyst, race charter, copy editor and jazz organist – found time to entertain the crowd as Adios Day bugler.   by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 28, 2018 -- Youaremycandygirl, the 2017 Dan Patch Award winner for freshman pacing fillies, has been fine at 3 but not as dominant as she was last year. Trainer Ron Burke thought her problem might lie in post parades. "Sometimes she goes on 'tilt,'" Burke said, "and she wants to fight you the whole way." Thus, in Saturday's $121,000 Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo at The Meadows, Burke experimented, leaving Youaremycandygirl in the hands of the marshal while the other fillies were parading. The strategy worked like a charm, as Youaremycandygirl jogged to a facile 1:50.4 victory in. The Adioo Volo, a Grand Circuit stake featured on the Adios Day card, was contested over three divisions, with Alexa's Power and Sidewalk Dancer taking the other splits. Youaremycandygirl, a daughter of American Ideal-Sweet Lady Jane who has earned $1,065,508 for owner William Donovan, got away third for Yannick Gingras before roaring to the point near the half. She downed the first-over Baron Remy by 4-1/4 lengths, with early leader Serene Stride third. "She was a great horse last year -- she still is," Gingras said. "Things haven't really gone our way a lot of times so far this year, but she's a sweetheart of a filly." Shuffled to third at the top of the stretch, Alexa's Power -- the 4-5 favorite -- shot the Lightning Lane for Tim Tetrick and triumphed in a career-best 1:52, a head better than Reign On Me. I'm Trigger Happy completed the ticket. Jim Campbell conditions the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Michelle's Power, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $281,490, for Jeffrey Snyder and Michael Snyder. Sidewalk Dancer, who took nearly a month off following a disappointing performance in the Lynch final, made a first-over move for Brett Miller look easy, scoring in 1:52.1. Painted Lady was second, beaten a length, with Strong Opinion third. "Going into the Lynch, I thought we could win, and the trip was working out for us," Miller said. "When I called on her, she didn't fire. They scoped her after the race, and she was severely sick that night. So she definitely had an excuse. She can go with the top fillies. She can race on the front, but she loves passing horses. Chris Oakes trains Sidewalk Dancer, a daughter of A Rocknroll Dance-Road Sign who now boasts $182,779 in career earnings, for Northfork Racing, Omar Beiler and Dennis Coons. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, July 27, 2018 -- Sonnet Grace extended her career unbeaten streak to four when she blew away the field in 1:56.2 -- matching her own national season's mark -- in Friday's $60,800 Arden Downs Stake at The Meadows. The Grand Circuit event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Judge Joe McGraw, was contested over three divisions, with Scirocco Donnahill and Windy Corner taking the other splits. Sonnet Grace quarter-poled to the top for trainer/driver Rod Allen, who bred the daughter of Muscle Massive-I Believe for Rod Allen Inc., and she was off to the races, scoring by 5-1/2 lengths over Nomo Volo. Fast Reaction earned show. Allen said Sonnet Grace is eligible for most of the rich late-season stakes and might enjoy a leisurely workload until then. "She drives like a 4-year-old, like she's been doing it longer than she has," Allen said. "She's staying fit and strong, and I'm trying to save her because she's staked heavier later in the year. So I've been trying to protect her a little bit, not train her quite as hard." Scirocco Donnahill also quarter-poled to the lead, where she faced -- and turned aside -- a serious challenge from Magical Beliefs. The daughter of Muscle Hill-UF Tady's Donato held off Magical Beliefs by a length in 1:57.2, with Southwind Storm third. "That's a real smart filly," winning driver Dave Palone said. "She has all the tools. They'll have a lot of fun with her this year. She picked me up in the bit (when challenged) -- that's the sign of a good one right there." John Butenschoen trains Scirocco Donnahill for Lewis Whitaker, Jr. and Kathleen Whitaker. Windy Corner broke her maiden in her fifth career outing by grabbing the lead near the half for Marcus Miller and thwarting the late bid of Navarone Hanover, defeating him by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:57.3. Giant Possession completed the ticket. "Any time I chirped to her, she just dug in a little more," said Miller, who collected four wins on the 14-race card. "Last week, I took the wrong route; I think if I'd stayed out, she probably would have got up. Today, my main goal was, once she was off the car, just give her a clear path." Erv Miller conditions the daughter of Yankee Glide-Wind Stroll for Tony Holmes and Walter Zent. $40,400 Arden Downs -- 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Friday's Adios Eve card featured a second Arden Downs stake, an event for freshman colt and gelding trotters known as the Edward M. Ryan. The two divisions went to Ginger Tree Skyr and Kate's Massive. Ginger Tree Skyr was second down the backside when Mike Wilder abandoned the pocket and sent her forward. The son of Explosive Matter-Up Front Annika made the strategy pay off, triumphing in 1:57.4 for trainer Sam Beegle and owners Ginger Tree Ventures and Donald Marean. Keystone Storm shot the Lightning Lane for second, beaten 3/4 lengths, with Capt Chaps Hanover third. "I didn't want to take any chances," Wilder said. "He felt good in the pocket, and I thought if I pulled him and sat out there and rode, he'd get the job done. I was protecting my spot. I didn't want to get jammed in and maybe have to go Lightning Lane. He was very green, but I kept his attention." Kate's Massive broke stride in his last outing, a mishap that contributed to his 16-1 odds Friday. But he rushed right to the point from post 8 for trainer/driver Ray Paver and was an easy 3-1/2-length winner over Angus Hanover in 1:58.2. Cantab Ed finished third. "He's been messing up sitting in a hole, so I figured I'd put him on the front so he wouldn't mess up," Paver said of the son of Muscle Massive-Sister Kate, a homered for Harry and Iris Horowitz. "He acts like he'll learn to trot some." by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

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