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East Rutherford, NJ --- Ariana G bested the boys with a world-record performance to win Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Moonshiner Hanover by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. Sortie finished third. The time was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile track. The previous record of 1:51 was shared by three mares: Mistery Woman in 2014, Hannelore Hanover in 2016, and Emoticon Hanover in 2017. Ariana G, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, also surpassed $2 million in career purses with the triumph. Owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the mare has won 23 of 30 lifetime races and earned $2.01 million. It was her second victory in four starts this year and came in her second race since returning from illness in June. "She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "I'm so glad she's where she belongs. She went up to Canada (in June) and her blood work was wrong and she scoped bad and I had to give her a little time to rebound from that. She had a good winter, so I knew she was in top-level form, it's just those things happen when they get sick." Ariana G, the only mare in the race and 3-2 favorite in the field of 10, started from post eight and was moved to the lead by driver Yannick Gingras prior to reaching the opening quarter-mile in :27.3. International Moni came to challenge Ariana G on the backstretch and got a quarter-length in front as they hit the half in :55.2, but he was unable to clear completely and continued to race on the outside entering the final turn. From there, Ariana G accelerated and pulled away from the field. She trotted the last quarter-mile in :27, which was the best of the group. "I wanted to keep (International Moni) out there," Gingras said. "He didn't look like he had as much trot as I did. My mare felt so strong. I was going to take matters into my own hands and she showed it. "I told Jimmy it was a taxing half (mile) and I wasn't a hundred percent sure I was going to win, but in the last turn she started to swell up and felt so, so strong. I knew something would have to happen for her to get beat tonight." Ariana G, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, paid $5.00 to win.  

John Butenschoen expects a good effort from Bill's Man in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The only question is how good. "Some days he's a real good horse, some days he's an excellent horse," Butenschoen said. "If the real good horse shows up, we should be able to get a check. If the excellent horse shows up, we are good enough I think to win. There are times when he is absolutely fantastic and there are times that he's just a really, really good horse. It's going to depend what horse shows up. We'll see." Bill's Man was more than good in his most recent start, winning with a then track-record-equaling 1:52.1 mile at Harrah's Philadelphia on June 21. For his career, Bill's Man has won eight of 39 races, cashed a check a total of 32 times, and earned $557,229. He closed last season with a victory in the Matron Stakes. He finished second in a division of the Graduate Series on June 10 at Tioga Downs and was fourth in two prior rounds of the event. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner out of Silver Springs, will start from post seven with Corey Callahan driving for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M And L of Delaware, and VIP Internet Stable. He is 8-1 on the morning line. Butenschoen also sends out Don Dream in the Graduate final. He will start from post six with driver Brett Miller and is 15-1. Don Dream, a son of Donato Hanover out of Gabbys Dream, has won seven of 21 career races and earned $128,803. The gelding is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. "It's nice to be able to start the year off racing against 4-year-olds," Butenschoen said. "I think they're both coming into the race in good shape. "We've got a chance here now for two weeks to race for some really serious money before we've got to jump and tackle the open boys down the line," he added, referring to the July 14 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M. "I think it's a good way to get their feet wet. Bill's Man started early last year and raced all the way through the Matron, so he didn't get a whole lot of time off. So it's nice when they come back they don't have to race against horses that are a little more seasoned. It's a good springboard." Ariana G, the lone female in the Graduate trot field, is the 3-1 favorite. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare from post eight for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Saturday's card also includes the $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers and two eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the July 14 Meadowlands Pace final. Elimination winners draw for posts one through six. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Graduate Series finals are races five and 10. The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are races six and eight. Butenschoen will be busy in the Graduate for pacers, too, with Funknwaffles starting from post six. Funkwaffles, a two-time New York Sire Stakes champ, will have Callahan driving for Crawford Farms Racing and is 10-1. For his career, Funknwaffles has won 13 of 34 races and earned $874,223. He is winless in six starts this season, but has a second-place finish behind Filibuster Hanover in a preliminary round of the Graduate. In his most recent start he was seventh in an elimination of the Ben Franklin Pace on June 23 and bypassed the Franklin consolation last week to refresh for the Graduate final. "He's been victimized in most of his starts by post positions," Butenschoen said. "He's raced extremely well but he doesn't have a lot to show for it. The one time he did get a chance to strut his stuff he was a close second to Filibuster at Tioga. He's not a very big horse, but a very game horse. We figured let them go at it hard (last week) and hopefully we're a little bit fresher. If we can work something out I think we're OK." Highalator, who has won three of his past four races, including two preferred handicaps at The Meadowlands, is the 3-1 Graduate pace favorite from post 10. David Miller will drive for co-owner/trainer Jenny Bier and fellow owners Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lord Cromwell-Jim Marohn Jr.-Ed Hart-10/1 2-Dunbar Hall-Jody Jamieson-Stephanie Jamieson-7/2 3-Moonshiner Hanover-David Miller-Chris Beaver-9/2 4-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Domenico Cecere-6/1 5-Sortie-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-15/1 6-Don Dream-Brett Miller-John Butenschoen-15/1 7-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-3/1 9-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 10-Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Miso Fast-Louis Roy-Virgil Morgan Jr.-7/2 2-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-5/1 3-Western Joe-Scott Zeron-Chris Choate-9/2 4-Mac's Jackpot-Brett Miller-Jeff Smith-15/1 5-Blood Line-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-10/1 6-Funknwaffles-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Maroma Beach-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-8/1 9-Lawrencetown Beach-Doug McNair-Ron Burke-15/1 10-Highalator-David Miller-Jenny Bier-3/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - This Friday and Saturday signals the start of a five-weekend stretch at the Meadowlands during which many of the stars of the sport will be competing at the mile oval as the Meadowlands Pace kicks things off before the stakes-frenzy concludes on Hambletonian Day. After a 14-race Friday card (post time, 7:15 p.m.) that features many 2-year-olds, the Saturday program (post time, 6:35 p.m.) has a pair of eliminations - for the first time since 2015 - for the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds in the spotlight. In the first elim (Race 6), the field includes Nutcracker Sweet, who missed by just a head when second in the Hempt; Stay Hungry, fourth in both the North America Cup and Hempt; and Thinkbig Dreambig, who was interfered with in his first career start earlier this season before reeling off four straight victories. The second elim (Race 8) looks a bit stronger than the first, and features American History, who paced the fastest mile of the year in the sport last week when he won in 1:47 at the Big M. In addition, two talented colts have supplemented to the Pace for $61,690, and each has a big shot at winning the whole thing. First up is Courtly Choice, who is off a blowout 12½-length win in the Hempt Consolation in 1:48.4. Next is Jimmy Freight, who lost his seasonal debut by a nose. His only other loss this year in seven starts came at the hands of older standouts Sintra and McWicked in a 1:48 mile. A pair of Graduate Finals for 4-year-olds are also on the Saturday card, and each carries a purse of $250,000. In the fifth race for trotters, Ariana G will look to get back on track after losing two in a row for the first time in her career. She'll face Dunbar Hall and Moonshiner Hanover, each of whom was victorious in their respective most recent Graduate preliminaries. Miso Fast won preliminary legs at Woodbine Mohawk Park and Tioga Downs last month and will be one of the favorites in the 10th race for pacers. Early-season sensation Filibuster Hanover won a Graduate prelim at Tioga three starts back before a second and a fifth, respectively, in the Ben Franklin, which were his first two losses of the season. SUPER HIGH CARRYOVER: On Friday night, bettors will have a good reason to wait around for the 14th and final race. The carryover for the Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five stands at $272,052. Speaking of the JSH5, in the event the jackpot is not hit this weekend, there will be a mandatory payout of the carryover and any new money wagered on Friday, July 13. WIENER TAKE ALL: Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night as the Big M hosts its 1st annual Wiener Dog Races. For those who own a dachshund and want to enter, go to http://playmeadowlands.com/uploadedFiles/wiener_racing_sign-up_sheet.pdf. At the conclusion of the races, stay for a fantastic fireworks display. They'll be beer and food specials all night long. Remember, there is a special early post time of 6:35 p.m. this Saturday. STILL TO COME..... JULY 14: History will be made both on and off the track, as the Meadowlands' signature event, the $701,830 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, takes center stage, while a new era will be ushered in for Meadowlands' fans as Las Vegas-style sports betting will be offered for the first time. Patrons will not only be able to wager on live Meadowlands and simulcast horse and harness races but also on Major League Baseball games and future bets on National Football League games and prop bets, as well as many other professional sports events. The live racing program, which gets underway at 6:35 p.m., will offer other major stakes as well: The $400,000E Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old open trotters, $187,000E Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old fillies on the pace, $190,000E Golden Girls for filly and mare pacers 3-years-old-and-up, $250,000E Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old fillies on the trot (divisions), $350,000E Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters (divisions) and $467,000E William Haughton Memorial for open pacers 3-years-old-and-up. (E-estimated purse. Exact purse becomes available when field size is determined at the entry box.) AUGUST 4: Harness racing's signature event, the $1 million Hambletonian, brings the best 3-year-old trotters to not only the Big M, but to a national television audience (on the CBS Sports Network). Post time is noon for harness racing's biggest day. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands    

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands Grand Circuit Meet of Champions hits full stride this weekend with no fewer than 15 stakes among 27 races over Friday and Saturday.   Be advised that the Saturday post time is at 6:35 pm.   Friday's races are filled with freshmen as both the second leg New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) and the first leg of the 2018 Kindergarten Classic series comprise 10 of the 15 races (14 on the pari-mutuel card and the NJSS 2YO colt pace an early non-bettor at 6:15).   The NJSS trots again hold promise of what the future may bring to those who invested in first crop sires Father Patrick and Trixton. Both are well represented in the NJSS and Father Patrick drew first blood by sweeping all four of last week's leg #1 divisions.   In the Kindergarten pacing races Captaintreacherous' first crop is well represented with 12 of the 28 entered being by that young sire.   Friday's races may be viewed here.   Saturday's card is the power packed Meadowlands Pace elimination program with the 15 horses split into a pair of $50,000 elims with the top ten from the official order moving on to next week's $700,000 final.   Supporting the Pace races are the $250,000 Graduate Series finals on the trot and pace, both filled to the brim with 10 competitive entrants battling for the top prize and the $66,000 Mary Reynolds stake where a dozed sophomore filly trotters vie for the title.   As if that were not enough, Saturday is both Fan Appreciation Day with discounted concessions, fireworks after the races and the 1st annual Wiener Dog races where those rascally lil pups will sprint (kinda) a "short leg" dash for fun and prizes.   Saturday's complete card is available here.   Also on tap are all of the guaranteed wagering opportunities and the Super Hi-5 Jackpot carryover is now at $272,052.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands      

Fillibuster Hanover (Yannick Gingras) won the first division of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers at Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon (June 10). Tioga Downs hosted three divisions of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and two divisions for trotters. All five raced for a purse of $50,000. Also on hand were three divisions of New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for sophomore pacing colts and geldings. Fillibuster Honover ($2.50) went right to the lead and carved out all the fractions (:27.4, :56.3, 1:24.0, 1:50.3. Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan) went first-over and was within a nose and look like he might get by. Filibuster Hanover had other ideas. He dug in and withheld the challenge to score the victory. Funknwaffes settled for second. Bloodline (Tim Tetrick) followed in the pocket the whole way and finished third. Unbeaten this year, Filibuster Hanover is a 4-year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, J Di Scala Jr and J & T Silva Stables. Ron Burke trained him to his fifth win in five starts in 2018. It was career win number 12. Miso Fast (Tim Tetrick) holds off late rush by Western Joe (Scott Zeron) to capture the second division of The Graduate Series for pacers. Miso Fast ($3.10) went to the lead and was first at every pole (:27.0, :53.4, 1:21.0, 1:49.2). Boogie Shuffle (David Miller) went three-wide around the last turn to pressure Miso Fast. Miso Fast responded and opened up by two lengths in mid-stretch. Western Joe followed in the pocket trip the whole way. He found an opening on the inside but fell just short and had to settle for second. Rock N Tony (Matt Kakaley) came up to finish third. Miso Fast is a 4-year-old horse by Roll With Joe. Owned by Winchester Baye Acres LLC and trained by Virgil Morgan Jr. He won for the third time this season and notched career victory number 10. Highalator (David Miller) impressive in gate-to wire win in the third division for pacers. Highalator ($3.80) charged out of the gate and never looked back. Owned by Joann Dombeck, Midsize Construction Inc., and trainer Jenny Bier, he owned all the fractions (:27.0, :55.3, 1:22.0, 1:49.0). It was the fastest mile of the day. Donttellmeagain (Tim Tetrick) was second with Beckhams Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr.) finishing third. Highalator is a 4-year-old horse by Somebeachsomewhere. It was win number six of the season and the 18th of his career. Guardian Angel As (Tim Tetrick) uses his wings to win the first division of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters. Fraser Ridge (Dave Miller) laid down the early fractions (:28.0, :56.2, 1:24.0). After the favorite Yes Mickey (Andrew McCarthy) went on a break, Guardian Angel As ($5.90) went three-wide at the top of the stretch and flew by to win in a lifetime best mark of 1:52.4. Lord Cromwell (Jim Marohn Jr.) finished second with Fraser Ridge hanging on for third. Guardian Angel As is a 4-year-old horse by Archangel He is owned by Acl Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson while trained by Annette Lorentzon. He is two for two as a 4-year-old. It was career win number 11. Moonshiner Hanover (David Miller) gets big upset victory in the second division for trotters. Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller) put up all the early fractions (:28.0, :57.2 1:25.1). Moonshiner Hanover ($51.50) stayed patiently in the pocket until he got an opening at the top of the stretch. He blew by to win in a career best time of 1:53.1. Bill's Man (Corey Callahan) charged late to finish second. Top Flight Angel was third. Moonshiner Hanover is a 4-year-old horse by Andover Hall. Owned by Synerco Ventures, Bill Maines and trainer Christopher Beaver, he won for the third time this season. It was career victory number seven. Springsteen (David Miller) is the boss in the first division of the NYSS ($40,600) for sophomore colts and geldings. Real Surreal (Scott Zeron) led all the way through three-quarters (:27.3, :56.2, 1:23.0). Springsteen ($3.80), who is owned by Allard Racing, B. Soulsby, A. Weisenberg, and K. SIngh, while trained by Rene Allard, went first-over from fourth and battled Real Surreal (second) all the way down the stretch to win in 1:51.0. I Soar Him First (Jason Bartlett) was third. Springsteen is a 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven. It was his first win in 2018. He secured his fourth career victory. Heavenly Sound (Andrew McCarthy) wins the second division for the NYSS 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings ($39,900). After Ostro Hanover led them to the first quarter in :26.4, Trump Nation (Jason Bartlett) took over before hitting the half in :55.3. Heavenly Sound ($22.00) went first-over after after the halfway point. Heavenly Sound and Trump Nation battled back and forth around the final turn. Owned by M&M Racing LLC., and trained by Bruce Saunders, Heavenly Sound shook loose in the stretch and held off a late charge by second place finisher Ideal Feeling (Tim Tetrick) to win in 1:50.4. Trump Nation ended up finishing third. Heavenly Sound is a 3-year-old colt by Rock N Roll Heaven. It was his fourth win this season and career victory number six. Keystone Tenacious (Mark MacDonald) was a gate-to-wire winner in the last division for NYSS pacers ($39,900). Owned by the Patricia Stable with Lawrence Thomases and trained by Paul Kelley, Keystone Tenacious ($7.30) put down all the fractions (:27.2, :57.1, 1:24.2, 1:52.1). My Delight (Marcus Miller) finished second. Twin B Tuffenuff was third. Keystone Tenacious is a 3-year-old colt by So Surreal. It was win number two this year and he won for the third time in his career. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (June 15) with a post time of 6:15. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs

Trenton, NJ --- Owner Ed Telle feels he has something special in Miso Fast, but is in no rush to prove it. The pacer will race in the second of three Graduate Series divisions for 4-year-olds at Tioga Downs in New York Sunday (June 10) after winning a Graduate division last week at Woodbine Mohawk Park. He is staked in all the major events this year, but whether he races in them will be decided as time goes on. “It’s just a matter of picking or choosing what we want to do at the time,” Telle said. “He’s got what, about $40,000 on his card, and we just started the year. “We’ll just give him some time. A lot of owners are worried about money. If I plan on keeping him for five years and we do this thing the right way, we’ll do just fine.” It has been the game plan ever since Telle went to the Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale at the Meadowlands for the sole purpose of buying Miso Fast. He shelled out the day’s top price -- $250,000 -- for the stallion, who at that point had won seven of 36 career races and earned $647,938. “I haven’t pushed him,” Telle said. “I’ve found out over the years that a 4-year-old, when we’re racing where we’re racing right now, you’ve just got to be easy with him. You pick your spots. You can destroy him. They’re just not strong enough to go with the 5-, 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds. We can race around here at The Meadows and at invites and what not, and we should be very competitive.This year, Miso Fast has won two of six starts and earned $37,453. “He won’t really get good until he’s 6. That’s when I figure he’ll peak and I’ll have him in everything. He’ll be in a lot next year and the following year but you know what, I don’t mind racing him at Hoosier Park and The Meadows because they’re going for good money.” So, what was it about a single horse that brought Telle to New Jersey in January? “You look at the horses that went to stud, Downbytheseaside and Fear The Dragon, this horse was third to them and he beat Fear The Dragon at Pocono (in an elimination of the Hempt Memorial),” the owner said. “I just thought he’s a nice horse, he’s built; he’s just a gorgeous horse. He’s got that move you don’t see in many horses. That’s what I saw in him.” On Sunday, Miso Fast is the 9-5 morning-line favorite in his Graduate division and will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky for trainer Virgil Morgan Jr. The Ron Burke-trained entry of Rock N Tony and Lawrencetown Beach is 2-1. “He’s in there with two of Ronnie Burke’s horses, and you know Ronnie sends them to the gate fit, they’re ready to rock,” Telle said. “But I think he’s getting better each week. It just depends on how Tim takes him. He’s getting to know him and he’s going where he is to drive him. “He’s got an eighth move that nobody has. When he moves him, that boy flies. Last week he went from fourth to first in what, 100 yards? That’s the move he has, so if Tetrick works with him and doesn’t press him too bad, he should finish really good. He’s proven that.” In the first Graduate division for the male pacers, Filibuster Hanover, unbeaten in four starts this year, is the 9-5 morning-line favorite for trainer Burke. In the third division, Burke’s entry of Maroma Beach and Eddard Hanover is also the 9-5 choice. There also are two Graduate Series divisions for trotters. Ake Svanstedt’s Yes Mickey is the 2-1 favorite in the first division and Julie Miller’s Top Flight Angel is the 2-1 choice in the second. Racing begins at 1 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here. by Rich Fisher, USTA Senior Correspondent

Nichols, NY - The eyes of the harness racing world shift to Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon when that New York venue hosts the third and last preliminary leg of the $1 million Graduate series for 4-year-olds and the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old colt pacers.   The Graduate drew a strong response at the entry box, resulting in three $50,000 divisions of pacers and a pair of trotting races.   Trotters are up first, races 3 and five both sporting user friendly six horse fields.   Yes Mickey has been tabbed as the favorite in the third. The Muscle Hill gelding was third in leg #1, suffered traffic woes in the bulky 12 horse field at Mohawk in the second leg and gets Andy McCarthy to drive for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner Melby Gard at Tioga.   Top Flight Angel, winner of the Yonkers Trot last season, is a slight morning line choice in division two. He was a good third in last week's leg and has drawn the advantageous rail position for Team Miller, driver Andy and trainer Julie who look after the son of Archangel for Legendary Standardbred Farm.   Ron Burke holds a very strong hand in the Graduate pacing events with a total of five going post ward over the three division of seven horses each.   The current scourge of the open ranks, Filibuster Hanover kicks it off for the "Burke Brigade in race 7. He's won all four of his 2018 starts including the 1st Graduate leg at The Meadowlands. He will begin from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for Ron Burke and partners Joe DiScala, J&T Silva Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.   The second division, race 9 includes a pair of contenders from the Burke barn but the favorite's role interestingly goes to a former Burke horse, Miso Fast, who now races out of the Virgil Morgan, Jr barn. Despite a remarkably poor run at the post position draw thus far in 2018, Miso Fast has weathered that storm and captured his division of leg two in Canada. Tim Tetrick has the assignment from post 5 on Sunday as the 9-5 choice from Winchester Baye Acres of Ohio.   The tenth race, Graduate pace number three, is a very contentious one. Maroma Beach (Gingras) won a Graduate division last week for Burke, Highalator (David Miller) equaled the fastest mile in all of racing with a 1:48.1 score in a Meadowlands overnight for trainer / owner Jenny Bier and her partner Charlie Dombeck and Donttellmeagain (Tetrick) looks for his second score in the series for trainer Jimmy King and Paton Racing Stable.   The NYSS split into four very contentious $40,000 divisions as races 4, 6 & 8.   The beautiful new Tioga Downs hotel offers a resort feel that was not previously available as well as packages for a spa, stay, golf trifecta that has been designed especially for horsemen. Call (607) 699-3900 to make your reservation for a few days of bliss.   Post time for the big Sunday card is 1:00 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs

This Week: Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, Pepsi North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Graduate Series third leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week began on Tuesday (June 5) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $73,835 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Looking For Zelda rolled home in a stakes record 1:54.1 in her division, while Nixie Volo and Bill's Lady captured the other splits. On Wednesday (June 6) The Meadows will offer two divisions in the $110,260 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old male trotters. Action resumes on Friday (June 8) at Woodbine Mohawk Park with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 9) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts, two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Scioto Downs will also host Grand Circuit racing on Saturday as the central Ohio oval features the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters. Tioga Downs will round out a busy Grand Circuit week on Sunday (June 10) with $75,000 (est.) third leg contests in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers and trotters. Complete entries for the U.S. races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The road to the Pepsi North America Cup made a final stop on Saturday (June 2) at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. A group of 28 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings competed over three $46,200 divisions with 19 of the 28 competitors eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. Burning Midnight paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4. The first division saw Burning Midnight and driver Trevor Henry pull off a 28-1 stunner in a wild finish that had six horses across the track. Nutcracker Sweet, the 6-5 favorite, cleared early-leader Hidden Delight entering the backstretch and led the field through middle-half fractions of :54.2 and 1 22.1. The speedy Summer Travel left from post 10 and was parked the entire mile, grinding away first-over, while eventual winner Burning Midnight was in that outside flow sitting ninth and fourth-over turning for home. In the stretch, Hidden Delight popped from the two-hole and took the lead, but couldn't hold off rivals on his outside. Simple Kinda Man angled from a buried spot and came flying, but the fastest of them all was Burning Midnight, who paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4. Simple Kinda Man was second, while Grand Teton got third despite a quick mid-stretch break. Hidden Delight settled for fourth. A gelded son of Mach Three, Burning Midnight came into Saturday's contest off a third-place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for his season's debut. The Corey Giles trainee went three-for-eight during his rookie campaign, posting a mark of 1:51.3. The Somebeachsomewhere victory gives Giles his first career Grand Circuit score. Burning Midnight now has $107,292 in career earnings for owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, who will be making the starting fee payment this Saturday to take a shot at the Pepsi North America Cup. Lather Up remained undefeated in 2018 with an easy victory in the second Somebeachsomewhere division. Driven by Montrell Teague, Lather Up got 1-9 favorite respect and called all the shots. The son of I'm Gorgeous posted fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4, before pacing off on his rivals and winning in 1:50.3. St Lads Neptune delivered a strong final quarter charge to finish second, beaten 1-1/4 lengths, while Scouts Report and Stock were six-plus lengths back rounding out the top four. Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up is now four-for-four as a 3-year-old and eight-for-11 overall in his career. Saturday's score increased his career earnings to $133,015 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles. The final division was captured by Jimmy Freight. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Jimmy Freight was fired out to the lead and never looked back. The Richard Moreau trainee posted fractions of :26, :55.2 and 1:22.4, before pacing home in :27.3 to win by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:50.2. Metro Pace champion Lost In Time was forced to come first-up and struggled on the far turn. The Jimmy Takter trainee lost significant ground on the leader, but kept battling in the lane and fought off rivals to finish second. When You Dance finished third, Chocolate Swirl was fourth. Owned by Adriano Sorella, Jimmy Freight is now three-for-four this season with all three wins by more than three lengths. The son of Sportswriter was not paid into the Pepsi North America Cup. Jimmy Freight now has 10 wins and a career bankroll of $211,524. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 269; 2. Yannick Gingras - 184; 3. Jordan Stratton - 154; 4. Jason Bartlett - 139; 5. Daniel Dube - 75. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 213; 2. Peter Tritton - 122; 3. Jim King Jr. - 119; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5t. Jimmy Takter - 70; 5t. Rene Allard - 70. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 107; 2. Richard Poillucci - 54; 3t. Burke Racing Stable - 52.9; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi - 52.9; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 50. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again take place at Mohawk next weekend as the track will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 16). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit    

MILTON, ON - June 2, 2018 - The road to the Pepsi North America Cup made a final stop on Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park for the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes. A group of 28 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings competed over three $60,000 divisions with 19 of the 28 competitors eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. The first division saw Burning Midnight and driver Trevor Henry pull off a 28-1 stunner in a wild finish that had six-horses across the track. Nutcracker Sweet, the 6/5 favourite, cleared early-leader Hidden Delight entering the backstretch and led the field through middle-half fractions of :54.2 and 1:22.1. The speedy Summer Travel left from post-ten and was parked the entire mile, grinding away first-over, while eventual winner Burning Midnight was in that outside flow sitting ninth and fourth-over turning for home. In the stretch, Hidden Delight popped from the two-hole and took the lead, but couldn't hold off rivals on his outside. Simple Kinda Man angled from a buried spot and came flying, but the fastest of them all was Burning Midnight, who paced home in :27 to hit the wire first in 1:50.4. Simple Kinda Man was second, while Grand Teton got third despite a quick mid-stretch break. Hidden Delight settled for fourth. A gelded son of Mach Three, Burning Midnight came into Saturday's contest off a third-place finish in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for his season debut. The Corey Giles trainee went three for eight during his rookie campaign, posting a mark of 1:51.3. The Somebeachsomewhere victory gives Giles his first career Grand Circuit score. "It feels awesome," said Giles post-race. "I told Trevor (Henry) he can go for a piece, just keep him brave and when you use him he'll pace hard down to the wire." Burning Midnight now has $135,701 in career-earnings for owners Brad Gray and Denise Guerriero, who will be making the starting fee payment next Saturday to take a shot at the Pepsi North America Cup. "He's in." said Giles. Burning Midnight paid $59.10 to win. Lather Up remained undefeated in 2018 with an easy victory in the second Somebeachsomewhere division. Driven by Montrell Teague, Lather Up got 1/9 favourite-respect and called all the shots. The son of Im Gorgeous posted fractions of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.4, before pacing off on his rivals and winning in 1:50.3. St Lads Neptune delivered a strong final-quarter charge to finish second beat a length and a quarter, while Scouts Report and Stock were six-plus lengths back rounding out the top-four. Trained by Clyde Francis, Lather Up turned many heads with an incredible 1:49.1 victory last week in his Woodbine Mohawk Park debut and Teague felt he was just as good Saturday. "He did it just as easy as last week and plugs were still in, so it's looking good for next week." Lather Up is now four for four as a three-year-old and eight for 11 overall in his career. Saturday's score increases his career-earnings to $142,100 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles. Teague, who finished second in the 2016 Pepsi North America Cup with Wiggle It Jiggleit, is ready for another chance at Canada's richest race. "We'll be prepared with him, but the pressure is going to be on like always. I don't think I'm going to get as easy as trip as I've been given the horse the last couple times, but we'll figure out." A $2 win ticket on Lather Up returned $2.20. The final division was captured by Jimmy Freight, who is not eligible to the Pepsi North America Cup. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Jimmy Freight was fired out to the lead and never looked back. The Richard Moreau trainee posted fractions of :26., :55.2 and 1:22.4, before pacing home in :27.3 to win by four and a half lengths in 1:50.2. Metro Pace champion Lost In Time was forced to come first-up and struggled on the far turn. The Jimmy Takter trainee lost significant ground on the leader, but kept battling in the lane and fought off rivals to finish second. When You Dance finished third, Chocolate Swirl was fourth. Owned by Adriano Sorella, Jimmy Freight is now three for four this season with all three wins by more than three-lengths. The son of Sportswriter was not paid into the Pepsi North America Cup. "Last year he was a really nice horse and he wasn't really staked to anything when I bought him, so we had to stick to the OSS," said Sorella. "This year I kind of staked him okay, I was a little bit worried about staking him to the NA Cup, but he's been racing really good, so I'm kind of excited. "I've spent a lot of money on staking in the past and I wish I would've staked him to it, but there is a lot of nice horses...I won't take anything away from him, but I like how he's been this year." Jimmy Freight now has 10 wins and a career-bankroll of $264,752. He paid $5.10 to win. The entry box for the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations closes Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. The second leg of the Graduate Series for four-year-old pacers and trotters also took place on Saturday's card. A group of 15 pacers were split into two $63,500 divisions, while an overflow field of 12 trotters met in a single $95,250 division. Miso Fast returned to Mohawk Park for the first-time since last year's Pepsi North America Cup and walked away a Graduate Series pacing division winner. The Virgil Morgan Jr. trainee and driver Tim Tetrick made a third-quarter first-up bid from fourth to confront and rush by race-favourite Lawrencetown Beach. Miso Fast finished off his mile with a :26.3 last-quarter to win by a length and a half in 1:50.2. Lawrencetown Beach was second, while Photobombr Hanover was fourth placed third after Bags To Riches was disqualified from third for causing interference. "I thought there was going to be a little more speed than there was really and there wasn't and I was kind of stuck first up," said Tetrick post-race. "Going around the last turn I was watching Burke's horse (Lawrencetown Beach) on the front and he always slobs a little bit in the turn and I thought maybe my horse with his quick foot could get around him and he did." Racing for Winchester Baye Acres LLC, Miso Fast is now two for six with $44,755 earned this season. His Graduate division triumph gives him nine wins in his career and bumps his lifetime earnings to nearly $700,000. Miso Fast paid $8 to win. The second pacing division was another victory for Tetrick, as he shot up the rail to win with Maroma Beach. The Ron Burke trainee was sent to the lead by Tetrick and posted a :26.3 opener. Blood Line, the race-favourite, quickly moved third to first entering the backstretch and led through panels of :55.1 and 1:22.3. In the stretch, Blood Line battled with Beckhams Z Tam, who had been grinding away first-up. Maroma Beach and Tetrick got an open lane up the inside to make it a three-horse battle and prevailed by a neck in 1:50.1. Blood Line held for second over Beckhams Z Tam. Maroma Beach's victory was a big rebound effort after a rough-mile in the Confederation Cup on May 20. "Burke is good at that, they can get beat up one week and the next week they turn the page real quick," said Tetrick. "He's got a very good knack to getting them back on racing form and this horse he doesn't remember anything from last week and bounced back very good." Maroma Beach is now three for eight this season with over $60,000 earned for the ownership group of Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JandT Silva Purnel & Libb and Howard Taylor. His victory Saturday gives him eight for his career and pushes him over the $100,000 earnings mark. Maroma Beach paid $29.10 to win. The Graduate Series trotting division saw a talented-field of 12 squaring off. Dunbar Hall and driver Jody Jamieson rallied by rivals to win in 1:53 despite sitting 11th at the half. Ariana G made a second-quarter move to the lead and posted fractions of :55.1 and 1:25 to lead her male counterparts into the lane. The superstar trotting mare didn't have her best on Saturday and was swallowed up by rivals in the lane. Dunbar Hall, who was eighth and fourth-over turning for home, unleashed a :26.4 final-quarter to grab his fifth win of the season. Achilles Duharas finished second, while Top Flight Angel was third and Bills Man fourth. Trained by Stephanie Jamieson, Dunbar Hall turned the tables in the second leg of the Graduate after finish second in the opening leg on May 19 at The Meadowlands. Jody Jamieson was confident about Saturday's start after the close call in the series opener. "Just the turn of foot he had (at The Meadowlands), I think it was really evident on the replay and even for people at home watching him," said Jody Jamieson following the race. "I got a lot of texts and comments about how explosive his turn of foot was and I thought if I got any kind of clean trip I had a shot. "Obviously I was a long way back and everything had to work out for him to win tonight, but he was very strong and hopefully he just continues on." Owned by Carl Jamieson and George Harrison, Dunbar Hall is five for nine this season and has surpassed $100,000 in earnings. His career numbers now sit at 10 wins and $232,679 earned. A $2 win ticket on Dunbar Hall returned $18. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

This Week: Battle of Lake Erie, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio; and Graduate Series second leg and Somebeachsomewhere, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action will take place on Saturday (June 2) at two venues. Northfield Park will host the $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie for open pacers and Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature three C$60,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts, a pair of C$63,500 second leg divisions in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and a single C$95,250 race in the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters. Complete entries for the Northfield Park race can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The polls have closed and it's officially Trump Nation. The colt by that very same name proved quite the best Saturday night (May 26), winning Yonkers Raceway's $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. The 28th Rooney saw six 3-year-old colts and two geldings start, but seven ended up chasing in vain. Trump Nation captured the $300,000 Art Rooney Pace. From post position four, 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 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 (1:23.2), with the people's preference packing it in readily. Trump Nation owned a 1-3/4 length lead in and out of the final turn. Babes Dig Me edged from the pocket, while Minnie Vinnie had room after sitting third. However, Trump Nation was up to the challenge, defeating Minnie Vinnie by 1-1/4 lengths 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. For second choice Trump Nation, a statebred son of Betterthancheddar co-owned by Evan Katz and Crawford Farms Racing and trained by Chris Oakes, it was his third win in four seasonal starts. "I couldn't have asked 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. Complete recaps of all the weekend races, including the Camluck Classic at The Raceway at Western Fair District and a trio of $150,000 invitational events at Harrah's Philadelphia, are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 209; 2. Yannick Gingras - 149; 3. Jason Bartlett - 139; 4. Jordan Stratton - 134; 5. Daniel Dube - 75. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 158; 2. Peter Tritton - 102; 3. Jim King Jr. - 99; 4. Richard Banca - 75; 5. Rene Allard - 70. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 44; 3t. Burke Racing Stable - 40.3; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi - 40.3; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 40. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at The Meadows, Scioto Downs, Woodbine Mohawk Park, and Tioga Downs. The Meadows will card the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters of both sexes, Scioto will host the Charlie Hill for open trotters, Mohawk will feature five stakes eliminations, led by the North America Cup for 3-year-old male pacers, and Tioga Downs will offer the third leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

MILTON, ON - May 29, 2018 - A stakes-filled card with major Pepsi North America Cup implications is set for this Saturday evening (June 2) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and Graduate Series will make up half of Saturday's card with three divisions of each event to be contested. A big turnout for the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes has 28 three-year-old pacers split into three $60,000 divisions. The event for sophomores is annually slated for the week prior to the Pepsi North America Cup eliminations and this year's event will see 19 eligible pacers prepping for Canada's richest harness race. Metro Pace champion Lost In Time headlines this year's edition, as the Dan Patch Award winner will leave from post-three with driver Scott Zeron in Saturday's third division. A son of A Rocknroll Dance, Lost In Time will be making his second start of the season after finishing second by a nose in a Pennsylvania Sires Stakes division on May 19 at Pocono. The Jimmy Takter trainee has five wins, three runner-up finishes and over $700,000 earned in 10 career starts. Saturday's event will be Lost In Time's first start at Woodbine Mohawk Park since he captured the $816,000 Metro Pace last September for original trainer Jim Mulinix. Takter's stable will have a big chance to find the winner's circle in the evening's first division, as he sends out the strong duo of Grand Teton (PP2, Yannick Gingras) and Nutcracker Sweet (PP7, Tim Tetrick). Nutcracker Sweet finished fourth in his season debut at Pocono on May 19 after posting a sizzling qualifying mile of 1:50.2 a week earlier at The Meadowlands. The son of Bettors Delight won four of 13 starts, including two Grand Circuit events at The Red Mile, during his rookie campaign. Grand Teton, a half-brother to three-time Breeders Crown champion Pure Country, will be making his Canadian debut in the Somebeachsomewhere. The son of A Rocknroll Dance posted five wins and three runner-up finishes in 12 starts last season. He comes into Saturday's contest off a second-place finish at Pocono on May 19. Local speedster Summer Travel (PP10, Louis Philippe Roy) will also compete in the opening-division and enters off a strong 1:50.3 win last week at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The evening's second division will have all eyes on Clyde Francis trainee Lather Up (PP5, Montrell Teague) following his ultra-impressive 1:49.1 victory last Saturday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Lather Up is three for three this season after winning four of seven starts during an interrupted rookie campaign. The son of Ohio-stallion Im Gorgeous has posted Track Record miles in both his two and three-year-old seasons in the Buckeye State with a 1:51.1 performance last year at Scioto and a 1:50 effort on May 6 at Miami Valley. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes have been carded as Races 5, 8 and 10. Woodbine Mohawk Park will also be hosting a leg of The Graduate Series on Saturday evening. The series for four-year-old pacers and trotters will be visiting the Milton, Ontario racetrack for the third-consecutive year. The Graduate pacing division has attracted 16 entrants, split into two $60,000 divisions, while the trotting side will see one-dash with an overflow field of 12 battling for $95,250. The opening-split for pacers includes Classic Pro (PP3, Sylvain Filion), last season's O'Brien Award winner, and Miso Fast (PP8, Tetrick), a career-winner of over $600,000. The second-division will see the Graduate Series debut of Beckhams Z Tam (PP3, Ricky Macomber Jr), who captured last year's Breeders Crown at Hoosier Park and is a career-winner of more than $565,000. The Graduate Trot has potential "race of the night" written all over it with a field of 12 to tango. Superstar Ariana G (PP2, Gingras) is undefeated in six-career starts at Woodbine Mohawk Park and comes into Saturday's race off a victory in the first-leg on May 19 at The Meadowlands. Achille Duharas (PP7, Mario Baillargeon) captured the other division on May 19 and is six for nine this season with four wins at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Graduate Series pacing splits have been carded as Races 3 and 9, while the trotting event will go as Race 7. Post time for Saturday's stakes-packed card is 7:30 p.m. To view early program pages for the 12-race card, click here. Below are the fields for Saturday's stakes events. PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer Race 3: Graduate - Pace - $63,500 1. Photobombr Hanover (Brett Miller/Tom Fanning) 2. Bags To Riches (Jody Jamieson/Jason Skinner) 3. Classic Pro (Sylvain Filion/Dr. Ian Moore) 4. Funknwaffles (Corey Callahan/John Butenschoen) 5. Lawrencetown Beach (Louis Philippe Roy/Ron Burke) 6. Dreamfair B J (Jody Jamieson/Patrick Fletcher) 7. Rock N Tony (Louis Philippe Roy/Ron Burke) 8. Miso Fast (Tim Tetrick/Virgil Morgan Jr) Race 5: Somebeachsomewhere - $60,000 1. Topville Olympian (Jody Jamieson/Dave Menary) 2. Grand Teton (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 3. Beachin Lindy (Chris Christoforou/Steve Charlton) 4. Burning Midnight (Trevor Henry/Corey Giles) 5. Hidden Delight (Sylvain Filion/Eric Adams) 6. Sharp Action Money (Sylvain Filion/Murray Brethour) 7. Nutcracker Sweet (Tim Tetrick/Jimmy Takter) 8. Simple Kinda Man (Corey Callahan/Scott McEneny) 9. Sports Legend (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 10. Summer Travel (Louis Philippe Roy/Casie Coleman) Race 7: Graduate - Trot - $95,250 1. Barn Bella (Jeff Gregory/Steven Pratt) 2. Ariana G (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 3. R First Class (Mario Baillargeon/Ben Baillargeon) 4. Bills Man (Corey Callahan/John Butenschoen) 5. Moonshiner Hanover (Trevor Henry/Chris Beaver) 6. Lindy The Great (Tim Tetrick/Domenico Cecere) 7. Achille Duharas (Mario Baillargeon/Ben Baillargeon) 8. Dunbar Hall (Jody Jamieson/Stephanie Jamieson) 9. Top Flight Angel (Andy Miller/Julie Miller) 10. International Moni (Scott Zeron/Domenico Cecere) 11. Yes Mickey (Louis Philippe Roy/Ake Svanstedt) 12. Jake (Bob McClure/Luc Blais) Race 8: Somebeachsomewhere - $60,000 1. Dancin Doug (Trevor Henry/Ron Adams) 2. Scouts Report (Sylvain Filion/Eric Adams) 3. Stock (Sylvain Filion/Dany Fontaine) 4. Mission Three (Phil Hudon/Jack Moiseyev) 5. Lather Up (Montrell Teague/Clyde Francis) 6. Western Passage (Doug McNair/Casie Coleman) 7. St Lads Neptune (Jody Jamieson/Stephanie Jamieson) 8. Pro Beach (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 9. Dragon Time (Sylvain Filion/Dave Menary) Race 9: Graduate - Pace - $63,500 1. Blood Line (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 2. Independent One (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 3. Beckhams Z Tam (Ricky Macomber Jr./Jamie Macomber) 4. Odds On Delray (Sylvain Filion/Tony Alagna) 5. Maroma Beach (Louis Philippe Roy/Ron Burke) 6. Daiymir (Montrell Teague/Clyde Francis) 7. Eddard Hanover (Louis Philippe Roy/Ron Burke) 8. Macs Jackpot (Brett Miller/Jeffrey Smith) Race 10: Somebeachsomewhere - $60,000 1. Pedro Hanover (Trevor Henry/Corey Giles) 2. Casimir Richie P (Trevor Henry/Dr. Ian Moore) 3. Lost In Time (Scott Zeron/Jimmy Takter) 4. Chocolate Swirl (Sylvain Filion/Eric Adams) 5. Levis Day (Trevor Henry/Victor Puddy) 6. When You Dance (Jody Jamieson/Ben Wallace) 7. Jimmy Freight (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 8. Ghost Dance (Mike Saftic/Eric Adams) 9. Trump That (Jody Jamieson/Dave Menary) by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ariana G made her return to harness racing a winning one, scoring in the first of two divisions of the first leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands. The 2017 Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown champion was ready to go in her first start as a 4-year-old off a pair of solid qualifiers, marching up to the top just after the quarter, which went in :27.3. Bill's Man, the 9-2 second choice in the wagering, came after the leader as he made progress up the backstretch and got into striking position at three-quarters, but Ariana G had been able to rate the middle half in :57.2, leaving her plenty for the stretch drive. After trotting her final quarter in :27.1, she hit the wire three-quarters-of-a-length in front of Dunbar Hall, who had explosive late trot after going a third-over trip. Yes Mickey, one of only three horses to defeat Ariana G a year ago, finished third. "(Driver) Yannick (Gingras) said she was loaded," said winning trainer Jimmy Takter. "But I'm always nervous when my horses make their first start of the year." He needn't have been. As the 2-5 favorite, Ariana G returned $2.80 to her backers for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She trotted the mile in 1:52.1 and now has 22 wins from 27 lifetime starts and earnings of $1.89 million. The second Graduate division saw a thrilling stretch duel go to Achille Duharas, who nailed International Moni by a nose on the wire in 1:52.2. Making his first start of the year, International Moni was sharp, working out an inside trip and looking like a winner in deep stretch, but the Toronto invader Achille Duharas ($8.20 to win), with Jody Jamieson driving, got up as they hit the finish. Lord Cromwell was third. A LITTLE MORE: The total wager of $2,172,322 represented a 25 percent decrease from the corresponding card from a year ago. A total of only 83 horses participated on Saturday's program, an average of 8.3 per race for the 10 races. Last year, 112 horses were spread over 12 races, an average of 9.3 per race. ... One lucky simulcast player in Toms River, N.J. raked the pot in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10. After surviving nine legs, he or she walked away with $15,257. ... Harness racing's biggest pot of gold got a little bit bigger. The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, bloating the carryover to $233,359. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Hightstown, NJ --- It is not uncommon to see a female trotter receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages 2 and 3. What is uncommon is to see one of those harness racing ladies win another award at age 4. Since the first Dan Patch Award for 2-year-old filly trotters was handed out in 1978, only Peace Corps and CR Kay Suzie have accomplished the feat. When Ariana G launches her 2018 campaign in Saturday’s first round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters, she will be the fourth female trotter in as many years to attempt to join that select group. Ariana G, one of two mares to enter the Graduate Series opener, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the first of two $50,000 divisions. A total of 13 filly trotters have won Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3, including Broadway Donna, Mission Brief, and Shake It Cerry in the three years prior to Ariana G. Ariana G won 12 of 15 races last year and earned $1.12 million for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who also bred the horse. Trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, her victories included the Hambletonian Oaks, Breeders Crown, and Elegantimage Stakes. For her career, Ariana G has won 21 of 26 races and earned $1.86 million. Katz told Hoof Beats magazine the decision to bring Ariana G back rather than to start her on a broodmare career was based on conversations with Takter. Those talks began during the middle of last year’s racing season. “We have the greatest of respect for Jimmy Takter’s opinion,” Katz said. “He felt she deserved the right to come back and that she was certainly capable of coming back and racing with any and all, and could develop into a great aged mare as well.” Added Gingras, “There’s only so many horses like her. She’s very special and you hate to see a horse like her go to the breeding shed too early. There’s no doubt every time I stepped on the racetrack with her, I knew I had the best horse in the race. Maybe it didn’t work out the way we wanted every time, but she’s very special and she gives 100 percent each time.” Ariana G faced male rivals on three occasions last year. She won an elimination of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and finished third in the final. She also finished second in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. Her foes Saturday are New Jersey Viking, Bill’s Man, Lindy The Great, Yes Mickey, Fraser Ridge, Dunbar Hall, and Sortie. In the second division of the Graduate, Achille Duharas is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. The remainder of the field is Moonshiner Hanover, Lord Cromwell, Swell Chap, International Moni, Don Dream, and the mare Barn Bella. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). The Meadowlands card also includes second-round action in three other series -- the Rainbow Blue, Escort, and Hot Lead. For those arriving at the track early, harness racing’s all-time richest horse, 14-year-old pacer Foiled Again, will be in a qualifier at approximately 5:15 p.m. as he gets ready to resume his season before retiring at the end of the year. For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands entries, click here. For track announcer Ken Warkentin’s analysis, click here. Editor's Note: To read a feature story on Ariana G from the March 2018 edition of Hoof Beatsmagazine, click here. To subscribe to Hoof Beats, click here. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager

Marion Marauder returned to the winner's circle at the Meadowlands Racetrack, site of his Hambletonian victory last August, on Saturday night thanks to a 1:51.2 triumph in the $240,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old trotters. Warrawee Roo, sent off at 59-1, finished second, beaten by three-quarters of a length, and Dayson was third. In the $240,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers, 6-5 favorite Sintra followed the cover of Check Six around the last turn before bursting through the stretch to win by 4-1/2 lengths over Boston Red Rocks in 1:47.2. Western Fame finished third. For Marion Marauder, who became the first Trotting Triple Crown winner to compete at the Meadowlands as a 4-year-old, it was his second win in three starts this season. Last year Marion Marauder swept the Triple Crown --- the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity --- on his way to being named Trotter of the Year. Marion Marauder, the 4-5 favorite in the Graduate, and driver Scott Zeron started from post nine and were fifth through the opening half mile, but started a first-over march on the backstretch to overcome fraction-setting Trolley at the top of the stretch. Marion Marauder, who lowered his career mark by one-fifth of a second, paid $3.80 to win. "He's come back better than we expected," said Mike Keeling, who trains Marion Marauder with his wife Paula Wellwood. "He was in great form that first start at Tioga (winning in 1:52.4) and we were just pleased to come down here and get in the final. He was pretty impressive tonight." Marion Marauder, a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Spellbound Hanover, has won 13 of 31 career races and earned $1.9 million in purses for owners Marion Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling. Next up for Marion Marauder, who bypassed the breeding shed to continue racing this year, will be the Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands on July 15. "It was the easiest tough decision we've ever made," Keeling said about continuing Marion Marauder's racing career. "We never really said goodbye to him last fall and bringing him back was something we really wanted to do. We just felt compelled to try the stallion route, but he loves racing and we love racing him." In the Graduate final for pacers, Western Fame, Lyons Snyder and Dr J Hanover all took turns on the front as the field reached the first quarter in :26.3, half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:20.4. Check Six battled with Dr J Hanover for the lead on the last turn, but Sintra was in striking position. "I thought I had the best horse, I just had to find the right spot with him," winning driver Jody Jamieson said. "It worked out good. I got to follow a live helmet, I almost ran over Yannick (Gingras with Check Six) at the head of the stretch I was so live. This horse just keeps bailing me out every time I get to sit behind him. "The sky is the limit. This horse has just been a champ ever since I started driving him. Last year Betting Line got the better of us most every time, but he's had another year to develop and he showed it tonight, wrapped up in (1):47.2. Simply amazing from where I was sitting." Sintra, who paid $4.60 to win, is trained by Dave Menary for owners Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and Menary Racing. He has won six of eight races this year and earned $209,202. For his career, the son of Mach Three out of Dancin Barefoot has won 14 of 27 starts and banked $445,762. By Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

Trolley (Marcus Miller) won the first race of the Graduate (Leg 3) ($50,000) for  harness racing 4 year-old trotters Sunday afternoon at Tioga Downs. The 4 year-old by Donato Hanover was third after the first-quarter trailing early leader Double L Lindy (Ake Svanstedt). Owned by Paymaq Racing, Mathias, Gillis, and Willinger while trained by Erv Miller, Trolley would go by just before the half. Trolley ($4.60) would be joined by the second favorite Tight Lines (Jeff Gregory) just before the three-quarter mark. The two would battle all the way into the stretch before Trolley would shake loose to win in 1:51.2, equaling the overall track record Bourbon Bay. He would establish a new mark for a 4 year-old horse. Double L Lindy finished third. In the second race of the Graduate ($50,000) for 4 year-old trotters, Marion Marauder (Scot Zeron) returned to action for the first time as a 4 year-old winning in 1:52.4. Owned by Marion Wellwood and Devin Keeling while trained by Paula Wellwood, the Muscle Hill horse took over the lead from heavy favorite Dayson (Yannick Gingras), just before the stretch drive. Marion Marauder ($6.60) would hold off late charging Dia Monde (Jody (Jamieson), who finished second. Cufflink Hanover (Jayson Bartlett) came up to capture third. The Graduate (Leg 3) ($75,000) for 4 year-old pacers were also on hand. Dr. J Hanover (Douglas McNair) proved his win in 1:46.4 at Mowhawk was no fluke. The 4 year-old gelding by Somebeachsomewhere led the field from gate to wire in 1:48.3. Owned by Grant, LeBlanc, Weinick with Samelman and trained by Tony Alagna, Dr J Hanover ($7.00) fought off constant pressure from second place finisher Boston Red Rocks (Tim Tetrick). Check Six (Yannick Gingras) came up late for third. Tioga Downs returns to live racing on Friday (June 16) at 6:50 p.m. No racing on Saturday (June 17) because of Travis Tritt concert. For more information please go to www.tiogadowns.com. John Horne for Tioga Downs

Nichols, NY - The Graduate Series makes a stop at Tioga Downs on Sunday (June 11) for the third and last preliminary leg leading up to the $250,000e harness racing finals on July 8 at The Meadowlands.   Eleven trotters were declared and split into two short fields carded as races three and five, each division for a purse of $50,000.   The enigmatic Trolley fell just short of taking last week's second leg at Mohawk, losing a tight photo to Dayson in 1:52.3 and comes into Sunday's third race as the logical choice among the field of five. Trolley doesn't race often, having made only ten starts at two and three but when he's good he's very good. He successfully battled the best of his crop last season despite a pre mature end to his campaign, counting a second in last year's Beal final as his career highlight to date. Erv Miller trains the son of Donato Hanover for Paymaq Racing, Leland Mathias, Greg Gillis and Louis Willinger while Marcus Miller is the driver.   Division two fields six and serves as the seasonal debut of the 2016 Triple Crown winning Trotter of the Year, Marion Marauder. After a storybook three-year-old season, he has had a pair of Mohawk qualifiers to prepare for trainer Paula Wellwood and will be reunited with driver Scott Zeron on Sunday. Marion Marauder won 10 of his 15 starts last year while earning nearly $1.5 million for his owners the grandma & grandson duo of Jean Wellwood and Devin Keeling.   Ten pacers declared for the single division $75,000 Graduate leg (race 7) and quite a formidable group it is. Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair) just last week paced the fastest mile in the long history of Canadian harness racing with his 1:46.4 win in the second Graduate leg at Mohawk and has drawn post two on Sunday. Tony Alagna trains Dr J for Brad Grant, Robert LeBlanc, Steve Wienick and Irwin Samelman.   Posted just to his inside is Boston Red Rocks (Tim Tetrick) who did a lot of the work in the record mile and finished second, beaten only a length at the end. Sintra (Jody Jamieson) has won divisions of both Graduate legs and possess a wicked lick when called upon. Jimmy Takter sends out the dynamic Lyon's Snyder (Mark MacDonald) while all Check Six (Yannick Gingras) does is win money.   It's a stellar start to the Grand Circuit season at Tioga Downs and the racing starts at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.          

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