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CHESTER, PA - From tables and tables loaded with memorabilia to eight Hall of Fame inductees in the crowd, it was a fitting evening of "catching-up" and remembering the "old times" at Harrah's Philadelphia Friday evening for the Garden State Park Reunion Night. Hosted by Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association as part of their Summer Series of Racing and Remembering, hundreds of race fans came out to the track and were treated to an evening of live harness racing, live music, mechanical bull rides, outdoor BBQ and terrific memorabilia show and contest with hundreds of pieces on display. "I enjoyed reconnecting with people from Garden State that I had not seen in some time," said Hall of Famer John Campbell, now President and CEO of the Hambletonian Society. "I particularly enjoyed the memorabilia and the race replays that were running on the big TV. It brought back great memories of all the tremendous horses and top-notch races that Garden State hosted over the years." Campbell was one of eight inductees of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame that were in attendance, meeting fans, employees and horsemen and women that all worked, raced or wagered on the harness meets at Garden State Park. Other Hall of Famers in attendance included Cat Manzi, Ron Gurfein, Marvin Bachrad, Leon Zimmerman, Moira Fanning, Jerry Connors and Steve Wolf. Missing from the lineup was another Hall of Famer, Robert "Bob" Quigley, the former President of Garden State Park, who could not make the trip from Florida due to hip replacement surgery. "If not for my surgery," Quigley said. "I would have been at Harrah's for the Garden State Park Reunion Night. I send my deepest regards and well-wishes to everyone who made it out. So many great people, employees and horsemen and women I would love to have seen again. I hope everyone had a great time." Conducting interviews throughout the night was Steve Ross, the former advertising and promotions manager. Other guests were Jay Farrar, who headed simulcasting at the track, race office official Al Kraszewski, publicist Gen Sullivan, former driver Jimmy Larente, Jr., track photographer John Pantalone of World Wide Racing Photos and other horsemen and women, plus numerous former employees including pari-mutuel tellers (some who were still working right at Harrah's Philadelphia), admissions personnel and more. Perhaps the "hit guest" of the evening was none other than former track announcer, Larry Lederman, who called the sixth race on the card, which was the Bill Fidati Memorial, a tribute to the former head of publicity at Garden State Park. "We are really pleased with our Summer Series of Racing and Remembering," said Barry Brown, Director of Racing at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Last month's Liberty Bell Park Reunion Night was great and tonight's Garden State Park Reunion was even stronger with much more memorabilia than expected. It was great that we had to add more tables for the show and contest. Philadelphia's sports radio icon, WIP's Jody McDonald, an avid racing fan, was the judge for the Memorabilia Contest. The top prize, a $150 wagering voucher, was awarded to Dennis Sanford, a big harness racing fan from Woodlynne, NJ for his collection of every collector's glass giveaway, both Harness and Thoroughbred, from Garden State Park. Second prize of a $100 voucher went to former employee Connie Scerati of Mt Laurel, NJ for collection of GSP uniforms and pins, many of which she wore and, of course, saved over the years. Third place with a $50 voucher went to Al Kraszewski, who is currently the assistant race secretary at Ocean Downs in Maryland, for his autographed win photo of the great Secretariat, who won at Garden State Park as a two-year-old. Next month the Summer Series of Racing and Remembering concludes on Friday evening, September 8 with the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night starting at 6:30 pm. In addition to the memorabilia show and contest, live racing and other activities, the first 400 fans to purchase a Harrah's Philadelphia race program, will get a free Summer Series commemorative t-shirt. "I know we will be needing more tables for the memorabilia show for this night," said Barry Brown. "We really look forward to this final Friday night of live racing as Brandywine Raceway was such a fixture here in the Delaware Valley and the track was located just down the road from Harrah's Philadelphia." By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia & the PHHA        

There were 3 divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races for the harness racing 2-year-old filly trotters on Thursday, August 10 at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of roughly $54,000. In the first division, it was S M S Princess (Ake Svanstedt) picking up her first career win. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Won an Done was given a ground-saving steer the majority of the mile, as Julie Miller trainee Strawberry Hanover set a deliberate tempo (:28.4 / :56.2 / 1:25). S M S Hanover angled out after clearing past the three-quarter poll to split rivals for the win. Megadolce (Dave Miller) closed well for second, while Strawberry Hanover (Andy Miller) was third. S M S Princess is owned by Trainer Ake Svanstedt and Stall Musse Inc. She paid $8.40 to win In the second division, Nifty Norman trainee Live Love Laugh (Dave Miller) completed a long, persistent grind to break her maiden. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Shes Gone Again engaged leader (and favorite) Follow Streak (Andy Miller) at the 5/8ths marker, clearing just over 1/8th of a mile remaining. Live Laugh Love held off a rallying Bill's Lady (Tim Tetrick) to win by a length in 1:55. Follow Streak held third. Live Laugh Love ($18.00) is owned by Melvin Hartman, Dave Mc Duffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. The third division saw Chris Beaver trainee Zoe Bi (George Napolitano Jr.) use the passing lane to her advantage. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Octavia Bi drafted in behind the speed of the favorite Seviyorum (Andy Miller) to pick up the victory in 1:56. It was a lifetime mark in her fourth career victory in five starts. Zoe Bi out closed the Jimmy Takter driven Basquiat in the final strides, while Hey Blondie (Andy McCarthy) rallied for third. Zoe Bi ($12.20) is owned by Marion Beachy, Synerco Ventures Inc., and Chris Beaver. Driver George Napolitano Jr. had four wins on the afternoon. Michael Bozich    

On Friday, August 11, Harrah's Philadelphia will host, along with the Pennsylvania Harness Horseman's Association (PHHA), the third Summer Series Friday night harness racing card of the season. The theme of the evening will be the Garden State Park Reunion Night with the festivities getting started at 6:00 pm. One of the special highlights of the night will be the 6th race $17,500 pace, The Bill Fidati Memorial. William C. "Bill" Fidati, was the publicity director at Garden State Park and was loved by everyone who ever worked with or for him or was able to be friends with him. He passed away at age 76 in 2011. Before coming to Garden State Park, he worked for two decades for two of the top newspapers in Philadelphia, the Daily News and then the Bulletin. He covered City Hall and in 1970 won the area's Press Association award for his stories. Bill also covered horse racing, both Thoroughbred and Standardbred and became the publicity director of Philadelphia Park in 1982 and then moved across the Delaware River to work at the new Garden State Park four years later. Everyone who was associated, worked for or raced at Garden State Park is invited to Harrah's Philadelphia Friday evening. Special guests in attendance will be Hall of Famers John Campbell and Catello "Cat" Manzi along with former track announcer Larry Lederman and other co-workers and horse people that competed at the track. Patrons are urged to bring in any memorabilia from Garden State Park, win photos, giveaway items, etc. and they will receive a gift from Harrah's Philadelphia. The memorabilia will then be put on display for all to see and there will be $300 in betting vouchers given away to the top three items. Judging the memorabilia contest will be WIP Sports Radio legend, Jody McDonald. After each live race on the program there will be a replay of one of the great races held at Garden State Park and former advertising and promotions manager, Steve Ross, will be interviewing the special guests in the winner's circle. There will also be live music, free mechanical bull rides along with an outdoor BBQ and more, all taking place on the outdoor grandstand patio. The race program will feature a special eight-page insert of photo memories of Garden State Park. Garden State Park was located on Route 70 and Haddonfield Road in Cherry Hill, NJ. It opened on July 7, 1942 as a Thoroughbred track until a disastrous fire burned the Clubhouse and Grandstand on April 14, 1977. Garden State Park no longer held races until securities trader Robert Brennan financed construction of a new $178 million steel and glass grandstand/clubhouse which opened on April 1, 1985. The track held both Thoroughbred and Standardbred races until it closed in 2001. For more information, visit or contact Harrah's Philadelphia at www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia    

JOHN CAMPBELL & CAT MANZI TO ATTEND

The temperatures were sizzling and so was the harness racing action on the racetrack this past week at Harrah's Philadelphia, where two track records fell in two straight days.   On Thursday (July 20), Julie Miller trainee Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller) set a track record for older gelding trotters, scorching the surface in 1:51.4. The husband and wife team repeated the feat on Friday afternoon (July 21) in a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes event for 2-year-old male trotters. Met's Hall, who was a purchase for $132,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale, stopped the clock in 1:55.1, defeating the previous record of 1:55.2 set a year prior by Don Dream.   The undefeated 2-year-old by Cantab Hall-Met's Inn is owned by Stroy Inc. and the Andy Miller Racing Stable. His family includes 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill. The Miller dominance continued Friday as Toast Of Lindy picked up a win in PASS action for owners Andy Miller Stables, Lindy Racing, and Gaitway Stables. The trotting son of Cantab Hall-Bellini Lindy gamely held off the Jimmy Takter charge Storming Mist in a time of 1:56.1.   In other Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action on Friday afternoon, Final Dream, a $45,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, won in 1:55.3 for owners Joe Sbrocco, Lars Berg, and Trainer/Driver Ake Svanstedt. The 2-year-old trotting son of Cantab Hall-Oh Sweet Baby came up the passing lane to nip the favorite Maxus (Yannick Gingras) in the final strides.   Anthony MacDonald of the Stable.CA was excited when he saw a horse by the name of Lawmaker was up for sale. "Not many people know this, but this horse's brother, Programmer, was one of our best two-year-olds early this year. He was later sold, left thestable, and hasn't surfaced so far in 2016" MacDonald said on The Stable's website. "So we were interested when Programmer's brother Lawmaker, a big, strong, Muscle Massive trotting colt showed up in the Lexington sale catalogue. Needless to say, Lawmaker has all the tools - breeding, looks and movement - to become a good horse. Now the rest is up to him", MacDonald continued. Fast forward, the 2-year-old trotting son of Muscle Massive-Pretty Amigo has strung together two straight wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, including the victory on Friday afternoon in 1:57.2. Lawmaker now has career earnings of just under $50,000 including two wins in just three starts.   Also on the Friday afternoon card, Carribean Rose N sprung a major upset in overnight competition, a non-winners of $15,000 in the last 5 for filly and mare pacers. The 8-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight flew to the top from post 7, yielding the lead to American Filly beyond the quarter. The Darran Cassar trainee was able to angle out at three quarters after a brief shuffle, to draw off to win in 1:51.2 for driver Andy McCarthy and her owners, the Windermere Stables of New York. He rewarded her backers with a $59.00 mutuel.   Harrah's Philadelphia races live every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday with a first post of 12:40 PM Eastern.     Michael Bozich

Julie Miller trainee Opulent Yankee set a track record for harness racing aged gelding trotters on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia, scorching the surface in a sizzling 1:51.4. The race was for non-winners of $20,000 in the last five starts or Non-winners of 9 races or $90,000 lifetime going for a purse of $17,500. Starting from post 2, the 6-year-old gelded son of Muscles Yankee went right to the front, setting fractions of :27.2, :56.2, 1:23.1, and 1:51.4. Golden Son (George Napolitano Jr) finished second while Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) completed the trifecta. Three horses shared the previous mark of 1:52. They were Likeabatoutahell, Sevruga, and Obrigado. Opulent Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Art Geiger, and Dave Stolz, and was driven by Andy Miller. There were also eight divisions of Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters on the program. Hockey Hanover (Wilbur Yoder) went the fastest of all divisions, completing a first-over grind in 1:56.4 to remain undefeated (5 for 5). The gelded son of Explosive Matter-Hotentrot Hanover is owned by McMullen Stables, and is trained by Wilbur Yoder. Other Stallion Series winners included Muscles Fashion (1:57), Stonebridge Gamble (1:57.4), I'm Your Captain (1:57.4), Canaletto Hanover (1:57.4), Glide In The Wind (1:58.4), Fashion Will (2:00.2) and Roysons Tuffguy (2:00.2). There will be four division of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters on Friday afternoon (July 21) at Harrah's Philadelphia. Post Time is 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich

CHESTER, PA - Harrah's Philadelphia kicked off its Summer Racing Series Friday with a Liberty Bell Park Reunion Night at the track that was enjoyed by all in attendance. It was the first of three Friday Night live race cards with reunion events for former Delaware Valley harness tracks. The next is Garden State Park Night on Friday, August 11 followed by Brandywine Raceway Night on Friday, September 8. Post time each Friday is 6:30 pm. There was live racing on the track Friday, live music on the patio area, a mechanical rodeo bull for people to try and ride, games for both children and adults, outdoor barbecue and more. Meeting racing stars and former employees from Liberty Bell Park was the main attraction for the many racing fans that crowded the Harrah's patio. Other draws included an outstanding memorabilia show with a contest for $300 in betting vouchers judged by legendary sports talk show host, Jody McDonald of WIP Sports Radio and video clips of past races from Liberty Bell. Jody, also on hand to greet fans and answer questions, will return to host the next two Reunion Nights. He was assisted in the judging contest by John Polvinale and The Summer Series Reunion Nights were developed by Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA). Former track announcer at Liberty Bell Park, Steve Ross, was the emcee for the night and after each live harness race showed video clips of top races from Liberty Bell Park and then interviewed drivers, trainers and former employees from the winner's circle. Eddie Davis, the all-time winningest driver/trainer at Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway, nine titles at both tracks plus a national dash winning title one year, was trackside, meeting horsemen and women, former employees and race fans. "This was so great tonight," Davis said. "I saw people from Liberty Bell that I haven't seen in 30 years. What a great idea. When they called and invited me to come to the track for this, I could not say no. Now I am really looking forward to coming back for the Brandywine Reunion Night." "We were pretty worried that people would not come out because of the severe thunderstorms and rain we had earlier in the afternoon," Said Barry Brown, Director of Racing Operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "But the rain ended by 5:30 pm and we had a great crowd come out and everyone really enjoyed themselves." Other horsemen and owners from the Liberty Bell Park days that came out included Joe Green, Jimmy Larente, Jr., Alvin Stafford, Kim Hankins, John Polvinale, Rick Wyatt and Dave Krelow. Former employees in attendance were Hall of Famers Marv Bachrad, Jerry Connors and Steve Wolf along with Judy Davis Wilson, Peter Lawrence, John Pantalone, Al Kraszewski and former Philadelphia Inquirer horse racing writer Jack Chevalier. Representing the PHHA were Peter Marinari and Ed Kobesky. The memorabilia contest featured hundreds of items including race programs, photographs, giveaway items, even an original letter from the owner of Liberty Bell Park to Herve Filion congratulating him on winning that year's driving title. The top prize of $150 went to Alvin Stafford's family, who brought in the original first race finish and win circle photo of Majesty's Knight from opening night in 1963. "Tonight, was so overwhelming to me," said horseman Jimmy Larente, Jr. "I had not been back to a racetrack since 1989 and had forgotten so many people. When I saw someone I thought I knew, and they looked at me the same way, we introduced ourselves and then hugged and talked about the old days. It kept bringing tears of joy to my eyes. I will not miss the next two reunions for sure." Details for the Garden State Park Reunion Night (Aug. 11) will be announced shortly. For the Brandywine Raceway Reunion Night (Sept. 8), the first 400 race fans to purchase a Harrah's race program, will get a special Summer Series T-Shirt. For more information, visit www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia    

There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Races for harness racing 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers on a muggy Thursday afternoon (July 13th) at Harrah's Philadelphia. They each went for purses of approximately $53,000. The first division was taken by Jimmy Takter trainee Pro Beach (Yannick Gingras). The 2-year-old colt by Somebeachsomewhere - Darlin's Delight used the pole position to his advantage, making the lead and rating the quarter in :28. The controlled tempo continued through the half (:57.3), but picked up dramatically closer to home. Aleppo Hanover (George Brennan) attacked first over, with Chris Ryder trainee This Is The Plan (Dave Miller) riding his coattails. In the stretch, Pro Beach held off the fast closing This Is The Plan to win by a nose in 1:53.3. It was his first career start. Suddenly Sam (Marcus Miller) finished third. Pro Beach ($3.20) is owned by Brixton Medical, Marvin Katz, and The Hatfield Stables. Division two saw Wild Bill (Scott Zeron) power past Nutcracker Sweet (Tim Tetrick) to win under wraps in 1:52.3. The son of Somebeachsomewhere - Wild West Show sat early, as Julie Miller trainee Hayden Hanover (Andy Miller) made the lead. She was immediately confronted by Nutcracker Sweet, who cleared just after the quarter. Wild Bill pounced past the half, unleashing a strong uncovered initiative to seize command at the three-quarter pole. Nutcracker Sweet was second, while Hayden Hanover finished third. Wild Bill is owned by trainer Ray Schnittker. In the third division, Done Well grinded gamely en-route to an easy victory. The son of Well Said let the speed develop in front of him early, as Jimmy Takter trainee Decoy (Dave Miller) brushed to the top. Done Well confronted the leader at the three-quarters, and went on to a willing victory in a day's fastest 1:51.2. Karpathian Kid (Marcus Miller) finished second, while Decoy held third. Done Well is owned by the conglomerate of Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers, Leeman, and Keith, and is trained by Brian Brown. Michael Bozich

Chester, PA - Harrah's Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association (PHHA), are hosting the first of three special Summer Series reunion nights starting this Friday, July 14 with Liberty Bell Park. Post time Friday is 6:30 pm with prizes for the best memorabilia brought to the track. "We wanted to do a racing promotion with the PHHA for these Friday night programs," said Barry Brown, Director of Racing Operations at Harrah's Philadelphia. "We decided on the reunion nights for the three main tracks in the Delaware Valley area that are gone. We are excited that so many people are talking about them." Liberty Bell Park was located on Knights Road off I-95 in Northeast Philly and featured world class harness and thoroughbred racing from 1963 through 1986. The property is now the site of the Franklin Mills Mall. Race fans are urged to dig around their storage areas and bring any memorabilia from Liberty Bell Park to the track. Everyone that brings in a piece of Liberty Bell Park memorabilia, a race program, admission pass, collector glass, matchbook, win circle photo, will get a gift from Harrah's Philadelphia. There will be judging of the memorabilia items with prizes given out to the top pieces. Special guests attending include WIP Radio Sports legend, Jody McDonald, who will be at the track to meet fans each of the three Summer Special Reunion Nights. Also in attendance will be Eddie Davis, the all-time leading driver at both Liberty Bell Park and Brandywine Raceway. The emcee for the evening will be Steve Ross, former track announcer at Liberty Bell Park. There will also be a special eight-page insert of Liberty Bell Park photos in the race program and live music during the evening on the outdoor patio. Other Liberty Bell Park guests include harness racing Hall of Fame journalists Jerry Connors (LBP pr assistant), Nick Saponara (Philadelphia Bulletin) and (LBP pr assistant) Steve Wolf. "We encourage everyone who remembers or went to Liberty Bell Park to come on out this Friday night," Said Brown. "We hope to see lots of race fans, former employees and horsemen and women from the Liberty Bell Park days of old and enjoy a great reunion night. We are also hopeful of some surprise guests that will be in attendance." The next Summer Series Reunion Night will be Friday, August 11, celebrating Garden State Park and then the finale will be Friday, September 8, Brandywine Raceway Night. For the Brandywine Raceway Night, the first 400 fans to purchase a Harrah's race program, will get a free commemorative T-Shirt for the Summer Series Reunion. For more information, visit or contact Harrah's Philadelphia at www.caesars.com/harrahs-philly. By Steve Wolf, for Harrah's Philadelphia      

Harrah's Philadelphia's Friday Night Summer Series continues on July 14th with the harness racing evening programs named after legendary racetracks of the Delaware Valley. Liberty Bell Park (July 14th) was located in Northeast Philadelphia, and held harness and thoroughbred racing from 1963 until 1986. Liberty Bell quickly became a premier harness track on the east coast, until it closed in 1986. Friday night, August 11th, will be named after Garden State Park which raced harness and thoroughbreds until 2001. The track was located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Garden State Park opened on July 7, 1942and in 1977 the racetrack burned down, but was rebuilt as the nation's most state-of-the-art grandstand in 1985. On September 8th, Harrah's Philly will honor the memory of Brandywine Raceway. The Wilmington, Delaware oval was a top tier 5/8 mile Harness track that formed a racing circuit with Liberty Bell Park. The track opened in 1953 and closed in 1989. Harrah's Philadelphia's start time will be 6:30 PM Eastern for each of the three Friday Nights. There will be family friendly activities, and memories geared towards the theme of the evening. Michael Bozich

There were four divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes races for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters on Thursday afternoon (June 8) at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of roughly $37,000. In the first division, The Pinske and Kentuckiana Racing Stable's Overdraft Volo (Andy Miller) won her sophomore debut. The daughter of Yankee Glide-Tagliabue achieved pocket position early, using the passing lane to score a one-length victory in 1:55.3. Princess Aurora (Yannick Gingras) finished second, while Hot Mess Hanover (Dave Miller) was third. It was Overdraft Volo's fourth career win. The victory puts her earnings over $160,000. Division two saw Treviso (Charlie Norris) remain unbeaten on the season (3 for 3). The daughter of Muscle Massive-Valbonela brushed to the front just past the quarter. She was engaged at 5/8ths by Broadway Idole (Dave Miller), but was up to the task, winning by a head in 1:54. Cool Cates (Andy McCarthy) finished second, while Broadway Idole held third. It was the 8th career win for Treviso out of 14 starts. The win put her earnings over $200,000. She is owned by Klis Brothers Racing and Carrie Norris. In the third division, Jimmy Takter trainee That's All Moni lived up to the 3/5 billing. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Pine Chip brushed past the quarter, surviving a challenge from The Erm (Charlie Norris), before delivering a one length win in 1:53.4. The clocking was just two-fifths of a second off the track record. Fine Tuned Lady (Corey Callahan) finished second, while The Erm settled for third. It was the 6th career win for That's All Moni (Tim Tetrick) out of 13 starts. She is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld. Division four went to Caviart Farm's Caviart Wonder (Andy McCarthy). The daughter of Muscle Massive-Won An Done sat off the tempo for the first 5/8ths, before grinding past for the win in a lifetime's best 1:54.1. Vodka N Lindy (Dave Miller ) finished second, while Can't I (Tim Tetrick) rallied mildly for third. It was the 3rd straight win for the Noel Daley trainee, and the 5th of her career in start 13. Michael Bozich

There were three divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (PASS) races for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Thursday Afternoon (June 1st) at Harrah's Philadelphia, each going for a purse of just under $50,000. Fear The Dragon (Dave Miller) was razor sharp in the first division. The son of Dragon Again-Armbro Cinnamon sat patiently to the half, before unleashing an uncovered offensive at the 5/8ths pole. The Brian Brown trainee then came home in :27 seconds to overtake pace-setter Ocean Colony (Tim Tetrick) to win by a length, in 1:49.1. The clocking equaled his lifetime best. Ozone Blue Chip finished third. It was the fourth straight win for Fear The Dragon, who remained undefeated (4 for 4) on the season. He is owned by Emerald Highland Farms. Division two saw Summer Side (Tim Tetrick) make good on his even-money status. The son of Well Said brushed past the quarter, and was able to maintain his one length advantage across the wire. The mile was timed in 1:50.2. Filibuster Hanover (Yannick Gingras) finished second, while Machiavelli (Dave Miller) was third. It was the first win of the season for the Ray Schnittker trainee, who was coming off of a solid second place finish to Downbytheseaside in the Rooney Final at Yonkers. He is also part-owned by Howard Taylor. 2016 Breeders' Crown champion Hunstville (Tim Tetrick) took no prisoners in the third and final division. Eleven days after being handed a rare defeat, the son of Somebeachsomewhere took his frustrations out, winning by 7 lengths in 1:49, equaling his lifetime's finest. Bobby Weiss Series Champion Highalator (George Napolitano Jr) finished second, while Boogie Shuffle (Scott Zeron) settled for third. It was the ninth career win out of fourteen starts for the Ray Shnittker trainee, and his second of the season. He is also owned by Ted Gewertz, Charles Iannazzo, and Steve Arnold. Michael Bozich

Mossdale Conner, Lady Shadow win Invites

After beginning his career in Europe, trotter Tuonoblu Rex has made himself at home in North America. The 5-year-old harness racing stallion is 3-for-3 since his arrival in the U.S. and will try to extend his win streak in Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Maxie Lee is one of three stakes-level invitational events at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday, along with the $150,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers and the $150,000 Ben Stafford Jr. for older male pacers. The day's first race is 12:40 p.m. and the invites are races 10 through 12 on the 14-race card. Tuonoblu Rex leads a strong contingent of foreign-born newcomers in the featured races. New Zealand-bred Nike Franco is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind favorite Lady Shadow in the Betsy Ross and New Zealand-bred stablemate Christen Me is the 7-2 second choice behind Somewhere In LA in the Stafford. The third choice in the Stafford is another New Zealand-bred newcomer, Mossdale Conner, who is unbeaten in three U.S. starts. The Betsy Ross also features the first meeting between Dan Patch Award winners Lady Shadow and Pure Country. Tuonoblu Rex, owned by Holland's Cees Faber under Stable Why Not, was a Group 3 winner in Europe at age 3 and came to the States with six wins in 14 races and $189,918 in purses. He joined the stable of trainer Julie Miller and driver Andy Miller at the end of November and won his North American debut by a half-length over Crazy Wow in 1:52.1 on April 21 in the Preferred at the Meadowlands. After failing to make the field for the Cutler Memorial because of earnings, Tuonoblu Rex won two conditioned races by a total of nine lengths. His most recent victory was a 1:53 score at Harrah's Philadelphia on May 18. He will start the Maxie Lee from post seven and is 7-2 on the morning line. Crazy Wow, from post five, is the 2-1 favorite and JL Cruze, from post one, is the 3-1 second choice. "I'm excited that they think enough of the horse to invite him," Julie Miller said. "It's a little disappointing with the seven hole, but it is what it is. Andy says the horse is versatile, so I just hope he can figure out a nice trip with him and do some good. "I'd hate to see where the race unfolds and we're locked in or we're too far back; those scenarios can happen easily on a five-eighths-mile track (such as Harrah's Philadelphia). I just would like to see him get a chance to race. Hopefully he's as good as he's shown us in his first few starts." Tuonoblu Rex, born in Italy, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the Lindy Lane mare Eternity Rex. His second dam, CR Kay Suzie, was 1995 Horse of the Year and is in the Hall of Fame as a racehorse. His third dam, Country Kay Sue, is in the Hall of Fame as a broodmare. His connections have staked Tuonoblu Rex to a number of top events including the Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, John Cashman Memorial, and TVG Series. "The whole purpose of sending him to the USA was to see what he is, so we put him in everything," Miller said. "He's going to decide his fate. The worst scenario is that he's an open (level) trotter. That's not a bad gig. But if he can step up and go with the top horses in the U.S., that would be fantastic." While races in the U.S. are normally a mile in distance and speed oriented, races in Europe are often at distances greater than a mile with the focus more on endurance. So while Team Miller has learned a lot about Tuonoblu Rex, there is still more to discover about his potential in racing in North America. "That's the biggest thing; not knowing what you have because of the difference in racing," Miller said. "He's used to grinding it out, but slower quarters. This is a different ballgame. But he's flashed 0:27 quarters so I'm hoping he can do that a couple times in a mile, not just once. "When Andy and I train him here, you're dictating what happens; you're taking a lot of variables out. But I'm impressed with his manners. He keeps a professional demeanor about himself. He knows the difference between jogging, training, and racing. He's manageable. He's really mature mentally. He definitely knows he's a stud and he likes to nicker and be vocal, but when it's business time he puts on his game face." Regardless of Sunday's outcome, Miller is looking forward to watching Tuonoblu Rex's attempt to make his mark in North America. "The owners are flying over here from Holland. It's an exciting time," Miller said. "I'm just appreciative that they thought enough of Andy and I to give us a chance to race the horse this summer." Following is the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - JL Cruze - Crazed - David Miller - Eric Ell - 3/1 2 - Taco Tuesday - Cantab Hall - Jason Bartlett - Andrew Harris - 6/1 3 - Charmed Life - Majestic Son - Simon Allard - Rene Allard - 12/1 4 - Springbank Sam N - Sundon - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 15/1 5 - Crazy Wow - Crazed - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 2/1 6 - Odds On Amethyst - Muscle Hill - Patrick Hudon - Patrick Hudon - 20/1 7 - Tuonoblu Rex - Cantab Hall - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 7/2 8 - Melady's Monet - Revenue S - Brett Miller - Kevin McDermott - 12/1   Following is the Betsy Ross Mares Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Sassa Hanover - Rock N Roll Heaven - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 15/1 2 - Pure Country - Somebeachsomewhere - Brett Miller - Jimmy Takter - 7/2 3 - Nike Franco N - McArdle - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney - King - 3/1 4 - Mackenzie A - Rock N Roll Heaven - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 6/1 5 - Medusa - Bettor's Delight - Tony Hall - Randy Bendis - 20/1 6 - Lady Shadow - Shadow Play - Yannick Gingras - Ronald Adams - 2/1 7 - Blue Moon Stride - Rocknroll Hanover - Andy McCarthy - Mark Harder - 20/1 8 - Cousin Mary - Camluck - David Miller - Andrew Harris - 7/1   Following is the Ben Stafford Jr. Invitational field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Missile J - American Ideal - Jonathan Roberts - Scott DiDomenico - 6/1 2 - Rock N' Roll World - Rocknroll Hanover - John DeLong - Jeff Cullipher - 7/1 3 - Christen Me N - Christian Cullen - Tim Tetrick - Jo Ann Looney-King - 7/2 4 - Mossdale Conner N - Bettor's Delight - Jordan Stratton - Peter Tritton - 9/2 5 - Jins Shark - Four Starzzz Shark - Brett Miller - Isaac Waxman - 15/1 6 - All Bets Off - Bettor's Delight - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 7/1 7 - Somewhere In LA - Somebeachsomewhere - Jason Bartlett - Richard Banca - 5/2 8 - Great Vintage - American Ideal - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 12/1 Ken Weingartner

The 2017 edition of the Betsy Ross Mares Pacing Invitational features a classy group of harness racing aged distaffers, as they vie for a $150,000 purse on Sunday, May 28th at Harrah's Philadelphia. The race features the first ever meeting between Diamond Creek Racing's Pure Country and dominant older mare Lady Shadow. Pure Country, who finished second in her 4-year-old debut last start at Yonkers, won 10 races of 21 starts a year ago, with earnings over $1 million. It was good enough for a Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old pacing filly. The daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Montana was also a Breeder's Crown Champion at age two. Originally, her 4-year-old debut was set for the Chip Noble Memorial at Miami Valley, but was unable to compete due to sickness. Pure Country will start from post two on Sunday. Lady Shadow wasted little time continuing her dominance in 2017. The multiple O'Brien Award winner equaled the track record in 1:50.3 at Miami Valley in her seasonal debut in the Chip Noble Memorial. The 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella ended last year's season by winning the Breeder's Crown and the TVG Free For All for mares in impressive fashion. In her career, she has won 29 of 56 races with earnings over $1.6 million. She draws post 7 for Sunday's affair. Drawing post 1 is another millionaire mare Sassa Hanover. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven had a big 3-year-old season, including victories in the Jugette and Courageous Lady among others. Her 4-year-old season was a bit of a dissapointment, however, she closed the season strong with door-knocking efforts against Lady Shadow to close out the campaign. She is making her third start of the season for Trainer Ron Burke. Richard Poillucci's Nike Franco N starts from post position 3. The 7-year-old New Zealander was a multiple group one winner down under before coming to North America in August of last year. The McArdle daughter was 7 of 14 in the win column in 2016 and all ready has 2 wins this season. Another product of Australasia Mackenzie A will start from post position number 4. The Peter Tritton pupil made her North American debut at Yonkers in February. The 5-year-old daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven won 8 times before coming stateside, including the Group 2 Alabar NSW Breeders Challenge Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. She is coming off of a win in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series Final at Yonkers. Randy Bendis and Tom Pollack's Medusa will start from post position number 5. The second place finisher in the Blue Chip Matchmaker will look to add to her sizable win total. She has notched 28 victories in 81 career starts. The 6-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Mythical has victories over many of these throughout her career. Emilio and Maria Rosati's Blue Moon Stride will start from post 7. The 4-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Classic Star broke through in last year's Missletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands, with an eye-opening 1:49.2 performance. The New Jersey Sire Stakes Standout is making her fourth start of the season. The ultra-sharp Cousin Mary will start from post position number 8. The 4-year-old daughter of Camluck-Chianti Seelster swept the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono, after completing the sweep of the Petticoat Series at Yonkers. She has won 11 of 13 starts this year. Her latest was a qualifier over the Harrah's Philly oval, in which she paced the last half in an effortless :56. The final time was 1:54.1. The Betsy Ross is part of an all-star card coming up on Sunday, May 28th at Harrah's Philadelphia. The Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for aged trotters and the Ben Stafford Jr. Memorial for aged pacers are also on the program. Post Time is 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich

One of the most anticipated races of the afternoon on Sunday, May 28th at Harrah's Philadelphia is the Ben Stafford Jr. Memorial for harness racing aged pacers. Stafford, a popular local horsemen who raced predominantly in Delaware and Harrah's Philly, passed away in July of 2016. He was 45 years old. Stafford won 693 races in his career as a driver, including Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund champion Badlands Jenna, Good Bet, Badlands Art, Mudslide and Scout Hanover. The invitational itself will feature accomplished millionaire pacers All Bets Off and Great Vintage, Tattersalls Mixed Sales topper Rock N Roll World, Levy standouts Missile J and Somewhere in LA, the red hot Canadian invader Jin's Shark, and wonders from down under Christen Me N and Mossdale Connor N. All Bets Off has an endless resume. The Ron Burke trainee has amassed over $2 million in career earnings, with plenty of high profile stakes wins in his portfolio. Aiming to be the richest son of Bettor's Delight, the connections decided against retirement in favor of the racetrack in 2017. He was headed to Hickory Lane Farm to be a stallion in Ohio, but the owners and the farm mutually agreed to terminate the agreement. He ended 2016 with a win in the inaugural Potomac Pace at Rosecroft Raceway. Millionaire pacer Great Vintage looks to rebound from a tough spot at Yonkers on Saturday (May 20) where a tough trip and bad post took its toll. The brother of $2 million dollar earner Vintage Master won this very event in 2015, a year after returning back from a knee injury. Rock N Roll World was the sales topper at the Tattersalls Spring Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands, going for $165,000 to Tom Pollack. The purchase payed immediate dividends, as the 5-year-old son of Worldly Beauty paced the fastest mile thus far in 2017, a winning effort in 1:48.3 at Hoosier Park. The Jeff Cullipher trainee is staked to the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, Canadian Pacing Derby, William Haughton Memorial, and Jim Ewart Memorial. Two of the major players in the lucrative George Morton Levy Series at Yonkers have been invited. Somewhere In LA and Missile J both had terrific runs leading up to the final, where they finished second and fourth respectively. Somewhere in LA, a 2016 Harrisburg Sales purchase, eclipsed the $1 million plateau in career earnings last month. He leads all horses in earnings so far this season with just under $350,000 bankrolled. Missile J is fourth in that category, with just under $200,000 earned. The Scott Di Domenico trainee was purchased for 115,000 at the Tattersalls January Select Mixed Sale by the duo of Brian Carsey and John McGill. The 4-year-old's biggest win to date was the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers last season. Richard Poilucci's wonder from down under Christen Me N will return to the scene of his North American debut. It was a winning effort over the Harrah's Philly oval in 1:51 last Sunday. He finished a fast closing third at The Meadowlands last night (Saturday) in a 1:49.1 clocking. Christen Me N is an eleven time group one winner down under, and was the 2015 New Zealand harness horse of the year. Canadian invader Jins Shark has been red hot as of late. The Isaac Waxman trainee paced the first sub 1:50 mile of the year in Canada on April 29th at Mohawk. He has gone on to impressive victories against the top Canadian free-for-allers since. Jins Shark is owned by Aaron Waxman and Liv with Autism Stables. Perhaps a bit overshadowed by Christen Me N is another force from the southern hemisphere, Mossdale Connor N. He has looked super impressive since arriving to the United States, winning three straight including an effortless 1:51.4 (:26.3 last qtr) in his most recent effort at Yonkers. The 7-year-old pupil of Peter Tritton won 13 races in New Zealand, including the group one Taylor Mile before being sold to the current connections. Also on the all-star card next Sunday (May 28th) at Harrah's Philadelphia is the Maxie Lee Memorial for aged trotters, and the Betsy Ross for aged mare pacers. Post Time is 12:40 PM. Michael Bozich

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