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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - After a successful harness racing 3-year-old campaign in 2016 that saw him bank a little more than $360,000, Sutton did not race at all last year. Foot problems derailed his 4-year-old season, so trainer Julie Miller and staff worked patiently with the horse, opting to keep the son of Donato Hanover on the sidelines until April 6 of this year, a layoff of 16 months. Sutton proved worth the wait, taking the $52,500 Shiaway St. Pat Series Final for trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night. "I couldn't ask for anything more," said Miller after the victory. "He had a good week." And an even better night. Sutton didn't race like a horse with any problems, sitting fourth in the early going before moving aggressively to the lead at the half. The Andy Miller-driven 5-year-old then drew clear of 5-1 fourth-choice Perseverance by 2½ lengths at the head of the stretch on the way to an easy 1¾-length win over a late-closing Deep Impact in 1:53.1. Perseverance held third. "He had a solid mile last week (when he won leg two of the series)," said Julie Miller. "Right now, we have all of his issues under control." Sutton, who paid $4.20 as the even-money favorite, has now won nine of 29 lifetime starts and earned $475,263 for owners Andy Miller Stable and Jason and Douglas Allen. A LITTLE MORE: Gold Medal Swan ($3.00) took the GSY Amateur Driving Club Spring Fling Series Final in 1:56.3, winning his third straight since trainer Mark Silva took over the driving chores. ... Leading driver Jim Marohn Jr. had three winners on the card. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed to result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $197,059. ... All-source wagering for the 10 races was $2,078,568. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway's Friday (April 20) night co-features did not disappoint. Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) set a new track record for 3-year-old pacing fillies in the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial final; and Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) established a new lifetime mark winning the $25,000 Mares Open Pace. As the winner of one of the two Hackett eliminations a week ago, Up Front Flor Ida entered the championship tilt full of confidence. Rather than coming from way back like she did in the elim, Kauffman sent her sailing from the outset with the big money on the line. Despite heavy pressure from Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) for the first five-eighths of the mile and then runnerup Kay Again (Chris Page) the rest of the way, the winner was able to rebuff all challenges enroute to a 1:52.4 score. It established a new track standard, lowering the previous 1:53 clockings by both Rose Run Skyler and Rosemary Rose in 2017. Up Front Flor Ida has now notched four wins in her first ten lifetime starts, banking $75,901 for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy. With the triumph, trainer Tim McKoy's standout filly earned an instant invitation to next Friday night's $50,000 Scarlet & Gray Invitational for sophomore fillies. Runnerup Kay Again and show finisher Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder) also earned automatic bids to the next big dance.   Zoe Ellasen, who competed in last September's Jugette at the Delaware (OH) county fairgrounds where her trainer Ron Potter is stabled, won her first open class race in 1:52, a personal best. Although Zoe Ellasen has 14 career victories and $268,605 in earnings, it came largely in juvenile stakes competition. The 4-year-old daughter of Santanna Blue Chip has consistently been in-the-money since joining the older open ranks, but hadn't won until now. Smith, realizing that front-end speed was holding up well on this evening, put Zoe Ellasen on the point from the get-go and showed her heels to the field at every pole, reaching them in :27, :54.2 and 1:22.3 before reaching the wire in 1:52. Zoe Ellasen topped Cas Art Apparel and Juslikeaqueen in the $25,000 Mares Open Pace Conrad photo Clyde Perfect owns the winner, who bested longshot Cas Art Apparel (Josh Sutton) and Juslikeaqueen (Jeremy Smith). Zoe Ellasen paid $8.00 to win. When Donna's Dream won Miami Valley's 4th race on Friday night it gave veteran trainer Bob Phillips his 1000th win since the USTA began keeping records in 1996. Phillips was training long before 1996, and actually recorded 480 driving wins in the five year span from 1977-81.  Bob Phillips gets his his 1000th win                    -Brad Conrad photo   Gregg Keidel    

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 20, 2018—Caviart Cherie (Brent Holland, $39.60) was a shrewdly-driven upsetter, winning Friday night’s (Apr. 20th) $30,000 Filly and Mare Preferred Handicap Pace. Making the first lead from her assigned post position No. 5, Caviart Cherie relented to Wishy Washy Girl (Jason Bartlett) before a 27-second opening quarter-mile. After a soft :301 second subsection (:57.1 half), pole-assigned Betabcool N (Joe Bongiorno) moved from third, though not much. Jewel Lehigh A (Scott Zeron) was stuck behind that dullard, the tow backpedaling before a 1:25.1 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Freakonomics (Eric Goodell) and 17-10 choice Carobbean Pacetry (Jordan Stratton) both ducked back inside, awaiting room and running out of real estate. Wishy Washy Girl owned a length lead into the lane, but Caviart Cherie—last seen here winning last month’s final of the Petticoat Pacing Series—edged out and edged by. The latter beat the former by a half-length in 1:55. Freakonomics and Carobbean Pacetry were a belated third and fourth, respectively, with Jewel Lehigh A and Betabcool N bringing up the rear of the half-dozen.  For rank outsider Caviart Cherie, a 4-year-old daughter of Well Said owned by Joe P Racing and trained by Matias Ruiz, it was her eighth win in 13 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $205.50, with the triple returning $700. Saturday night (Apr. 21st), the Raceway’s presents North America’s two richest race of the season to date $373,000 FINAL, BLUE CHIP MATCHMAKER     (9th race) PP-Horse                     Driver                         M/L   1-Shartin N                 Tim Tetrick                  8-5 2-Sell a Bit N              Jordan Stratton           7-2 3-Medusa                    Yannick Gingras         6-1 4-Lady Shadow          Jason Bartlett              7-2                                     5-Motu Moonbeam N Brent Holland            20-1 6-Dude’salady             Scott Zeron                15-1 7-Twinkle                    Eric Goodell               20-1 8-Lakeisha Hall           George Brennan         15-1   $532,000 FINAL, GEORGE MORTON LEVY MEMORIAL PACING SERIES (10th race)\ PP-Horse                     Driver                          M/L   \                                   1-Western Fame          Mark MacDonald        7-1 2-Dr. J Hanover          Brett Miller                  9-2 3-Keystone Velocity   Dan Dube                    5-2 4-Evenin’ of Pleasure Joe Bongiorno              8-1 5-Somewhere in L A   Jason Bartlett              5-1 6-Mach it So               Dave Miller                  4-1 7-Bit of a Legend N   Jordan Stratton            9-1 8-Rockin’ Ron            Yannick Gingras         20-1   First post for the $1.3 million card is the usual 6:50 PM.   FRANK DRUCKER

As in the years in past, CeCe Levy and her brother, Bobby Levy, will be presenting the harness racing trophy to the winner of the George Morton Levy, a race named in the honor of their father. This year joining them in the presentation at Yonkers Raceway will be Bobby's children Tristin and Gavin. The accomplishments of George Morton Levy are too many to mention and if he had not existed our sport may not have, too. Levy invented harness racing as we know it when he opened Roosevelt Raceway introducing pari-mutual and night time racing. He would also later introduce the mobile starting gate which would revolutionize the sport. Some of his other accomplishments include the implementation of the International Trot and the single heat racing. There is also a funny story from a few years ago. While on their way to the winners circle the Levy family members who were to present the trophy to the winner got separated from the Yonkers PR people and ended up on the outside of the winners circle and the security guard would not let them in to present the trophy. Later they were photo-shopped into the winning photo. CeCe said that she and her family are grateful beyond words to Yonkers Raceway for staging the George Morton Levy and honoring her father. CeCe also made a prediction that this year's race will be won by Tony Alagna's horse, Dr J Hanover. Pictures CeCe Levy & Freddie Hudson CeCe Levy, Freddie Hudson & Bobby Levy Wally Hennesey, CeCe Levy & Jim Morrill CeCe Levy at Goshen HOF CeCe and Dave Miller By Fred Hudson

YONKERS, N.Y. – Harness racing trainer Ron Burke will start one horse each in the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy Series Finals at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night (April 21) and both will start from a disadvantageous post position. In a random draw, Lakeisha Hall and Rockin Ron both burdened with post eight. Despite the bad luck, Burke is keeping a positive attitude and isn’t surrendering before races even begin. “It’s awesome,” Burke said with a laugh. “I race in a lot of big races, so sooner or later you always have it, but you hate to start the year off with it. If anything, we’re going to err on the side of aggressiveness. I’d rather be parked and sit last and get nothing. If I get parked, maybe find a hole fourth or fifth, maybe upset the apple cart, but the idea of sitting eighth doesn’t appeal to me in either race. I’m not just going out there to take a ride around the track. I want to give my horses a chance.” George Brennan will drive the Lakeisha Hall, a 15-1 shot in the $373,000 Matchmaker Final, carded as race nine on the loaded 12-race program. In post position order, they will face Shartin, the 8-5 favorite, Sell A Bit, Medusa, Lady Shadow, Motu Moonbeam, Dudesalady, and Twinkle.  Lakeisha Hall’s path to the Matchmaker Final included a fifth in week one in her first start off the bench, a second to last year’s Matchmaker champion Mackenzie in leg two, a pair of victories in weeks three and four, and a third last week to rivals Dudesalady and Lady Shadow. Except in her first start, she’s been forwardly placed in all her races thus far. “She’s a very good mare and I’ve been very happy with her until her last start,” Burke said. “She had a little tie up issue last week and we got her through it, but I think it took just a little of the sharpness off her. I look for her to bounce back and be super this week. I thought, I’ve done the right thing to prep for this race, this is her home, so I have her ready to go.” Burke purchased Lakeisha Hall as a weanling with ambitions of her becoming a Kentucky Sire Stakes Champion. The daughter of Third Straight out of the Art Major mare Lantana accomplished that mission, winning the $175,000 KYSS Finals at ages 2 and 3. Now a 5-year-old, she’s exceeded expectations, earning 21 wins and $491,043 in 53 starts. The Matchmaker Final will be the biggest race of her career thus far. “We set out with a plan to win the Kentucky Sire Stakes those two years and we went out and bought three weanlings. We looked them over, broke them for a month, and then sold the other two and decided to try to keep the best one,” Burke explained. “The plan worked to perfection. She was 2- and 3-year-old champ and has been more than just a Kentucky Sire Stakes horse, so we were thrilled. “She really doesn’t have many stakes other than this and for her to draw the eight hole, that hurt, but it is what it is,” Burke continued. “Try to move on, at least get something. Crazy things will happen in these races, there’s a lot of money up for grabs. There will be constant movement in here, even if I have to be the one making the movement.” In the $532,000 Levy Final one race later, Yannick Gingras will drive Rockin Ron. The 20-1 morning line shot’s road to the series final was shaky. He posted a pair of victories in legs one and two and finished second by a nose to Western Fame in leg three before finishing fifth beaten 4 lengths in week four. Burke gave Rockin Ron the last week off and narrowly made the final. With 230 points earned, Rockin Ron was ranked eighth in the standings, only six points ahead of Missile J in ninth. “I thought I did the right thing and I had to sweat it out with Rockin Ron. I gave him last week off,” Burke said. “Usually, you do what’s right for the horse and they do race well for you in the long run. I had a great feel going into the race, I thought, if I can draw in the right spot we can be competitive. We got the eight, I said, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ ” Although his races look good on paper, Burke doesn’t feel Rockin Ron, a $1.1 million earner who twice beat Wiggle It Jiggleit at 4, has been up to par in any of his races in the series. Burke was more impressed with the 6-year-old son of Real Desire’s qualifier and seasonal debut at the Meadowlands in February than his series wins. “Honestly, I haven’t been happy with any of his races. The race that he really raced well was the race he was second in. The next week, I didn’t feel like at any point he had pace, Burke said. “I pulled blood, I didn’t like his blood. I haven’t liked his stomach since he came back. That’s why I made the decision, sink or swim, I’m giving him the week off and going to try and get him right and get him ready for the final.  “We’ve done a lot of work on him the last couple weeks and I do think that he will be better,” Burke continued. “I look for him to be way improved this week.” In post-position order, Western Fame, Dr J Hanover, defending series champion Keystone Velocity, Evenin Of Pleasure, Somewhere In L A, Mach It So, and 2016 series champion Bit Of A Legend will start to Rockin Ron’s inside in the Levy Final.  First post time Saturday night is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the million-dollar card, click here.   By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

A year is a long time in harness racing. Just ask Cambridge horseman Ross Paynter. His richly talented trotter Lemond stood tall to claim his maiden Gr.1 success when successful in the $102,000 H R Fisken & Sons Anzac Cup at Alexandra Park, Auckland tonight (Friday). In the corresponding event last year, Lemond went agonisingly close to claiming the feature before going down by a half-head margin to star mare Habibti Ivy. It was an ecstasy to agony moment for connections. But upon reflection, it has only made the Love You gelding stronger. In his next 15 starts, Lemond has won 5 times including taking his first piece of major silverware and now joins the honour roll that includes I Can Doosit, Stent, Superbowlcheerleader, Sheemon, Monbet and Habibti Ivy. Lemond now becomes the first North Island trained trotter to claim the feature which was first staged back in 2012. Handled by regular reinsman Maurice McKendry, Lemond charged the gate and quickly led the 2200m mobile start feature while race favourite Enghien drifted back from gate two. As the field headed down the back straight on the first occasion, Lemond handed the lead over to Bordeaux which left him poised in a striking position. The lead time was covered in 43.1 seconds. Bordeaux was allowed to cruise in the lead role and strolled through the first quarter of the final mile in 32.3 seconds. Enghien was pulled three-wide entering the bell lap and quickly raced alongside of Bordeaux with 1000m remaining. The second quarter was covered in a leisurely 31.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Bordeaux led the way from Enghien with Lemond perfectly positioned in the trail while the strongly fancied Temporale and Speeding Spur sat off the pace. Passing the 600m marker, Bordeaux rolled off the inside which presented a dream run for Lemond while Enghien was forced to cover extra ground. Temporale followed Enghien while Speeding Spur was wide and a long way back in the pack. The third quarter was covered in 28.5 seconds. In the home straight, Lemond fought tenaciously from Enghien who refused to quit with Harriet Of Mot making a spirited bid deeper off the track. At the finish, Lemond scored by 1 length from a brave Enghien with a further 1.75 lengths back to Harriet Of Mot in third. The final quarter was covered in 29.1 seconds. The race time was 2:44.8 with a winning mile rate of 2:00.5 – well outside of the race record set last year by Habibti Ivy. “He trotted great tonight and really deserved the victory after coming so close last season.” McKendry said. Lemond joins Amaretto Sun, Sparkling Success and Tornado Valley as winners of Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters events for the 2017/18 season. Next week, the Gr.1 $150,000 Canam Rowe Cup will complete the season. Again, the 3200m stand-start feature will be staged at Alexandra Park, Auckland. And the race to be crowned the ‘Trotting Master’ is still very much alive. It's going right down to the wire! Chris Barsby

Race-fixing cases against harness racing participants Dayl March and Leonard Cain were dismissed in Brisbane Magistrates’ Court this week, leaving the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and the Racing Crime Squad red-faced. Both decisions cited a lack of evidence as the reason for the dismissals. The cases of March and Cain were the first match-fixing charges to be contested in court relating to QRIC’s harness racing investigations, which were conducted by the Racing Crime Squad. Last October, Barton Cockburn pleaded guilty to three charges of match fixing, pertaining to races in November 2016 and was fined $5000. Soon after, Michael Grant also pleaded guilty to different charges relating to the same inquiry. At the time, Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said Cockburn’s conviction “should put an end to industry speculation about whether the Commission would be able to gather sufficient evidence to obtain convictions”. “I hope the fact that two of the three people we’ve charged so far have now pleaded guilty will be a reflection of the evidence that was gathered in these matters,” Barnett said at the time. However, Cain and March chose to defend the charges and their cases were thrown out of court on Wednesday and Thursday. It is understood in the case of trainer-driver March, the Magistrate indicated there was insufficient evidence to proceed and the charges were subsequently withdrawn. Harness driver Leonard Cain had his race-fixing case dismissed in the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court.  In the case of Cain, a harness driver, it is understood the prosecution asked for more time to produce witnesses, but the submission was rejected and the case dismissed. Both QRIC and the Queensland Police Service declined to comment on the March and Cain dismissals on Friday. March has been sidelined and unable to compete since having his license suspended in April last year. Initially he did not seek a stay of proceedings because he had hoped the matter would be resolved quickly. Later, when it became apparent the case would drag on, he was denied the stay. Originally published as Race-fixing cases thrown out of court   By Nathan Exelby   Reprinted with permission of news.com.au    

Australia’s multi-billion dollar betting industry has undergone great change in recent years as the ubiquity of smartphones (86% of Australians now use a smartphone as their main phone) and the prevalence of sports betting apps allows Australians to gamble from the comfort of their own couch, on the wide open road, or even from the stands at the game. To understand the scope of gambling in Australia means gaining insight into what Australians bet on and who is doing the betting. The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports delve into Australian gambling habits in depth including detailed analysis of betting and sports betting, poker machines, casino table games, keno, lotteries and scratchies. Sports betting has gained prominence in recent years but analysing the overall betting market shows that racing – whether horse racing, harness racing or greyhound racing – still commands nearly 75% of the Australian betting market. Horse racing is the dominant form of betting comprising 50.9% of the betting market with a further 12.5% bet on greyhound racing and 11.4% bet on harness racing. Sports betting itself equals 25% of the money Australians bet in 2017 and this is dominated by the two major football codes which comprise more than half of Australian sports betting. 7.6% of money bet in Australia is on NRL/State of Origin markets just ahead of the 6.8% bet on AFL related events. The balance of 10.7% is spread around all other sports including tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, football, netball, cycling and many others. Australian betting market – December 2017 Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422.   Australians aged 35-64 and those from NSW and Victoria most likely to bet Australians who like a bet, whether on the Melbourne Cup, Australian Open tennis, football codes of one sort or another, Ashes cricket, big sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games or World Cup or a myriad of other sports available here and overseas, come in all shapes and sizes. Analysis of the 10.5% of Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months reveals there are noteworthy differences with the proportion of Australians having a bet by age increasing until Australians reach retirement age at which point the likelihood of having a bet plunges. Only 7.2% of Australians aged under 25 have had a bet in the last three months compared to 9.3% of those aged 25-34 years old, 11.3% of those aged 35-49 years old and 12.6% of 50-64 year olds – the highest of any age group, before dropping to 10.2% of Australians of retirement age (65+). Analysing betting patterns by State & Territory shows a rougher co-relation. Australians in our two largest States are most likely to bet: 11.5% of Victorians and 11.1% of those from New South Wales (including ACT) have had a bet in the last three months. The likelihood of betting is underneath the national average in the all other States with 9.8% of those in medium-sized Queensland and Western Australia having a bet, 8.1% of South Australians and only 7.2% of those in Australia’s smallest State of Tasmania. The Northern Territory, which is home to many of Australia’s sports betting agencies due to favourable gambling laws, bucks this trend with 11.1% of NT residents having a bet in the last three months. Australians who’ve had a bet in the last three months: Age & State Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, January 2017 - December 2017, Base: Australians aged 18+. n=14,422. Michele Levine, CEO, says Australians love of sport is well-known and for a sizeable number of Australians having a punt adds an extra something to the contest: “Over 2 million Australians aged 18+ (10.5%) have had a bet in the last three months whether on horse racing, greyhounds, or sporting events like the AFL, NRL, tennis, cricket or any of thousands of other sports available to bet on whether the sporting contest is undertaken here in Australia or almost anywhere around the world. “It is hardly surprising that Australians having a bet are far more likely to be men (13.9% of Australian men aged 18+) than women (7.3%) whilst there is a strong co-relation between age and the likelihood of having a bet. 12.6% of Australians aged 50-64 years old have had a bet in the last three months – clearly higher than any other age group compared to only 7.2% of younger Australians aged 18-24 years old. “Intriguingly the likelihood of having a bet also co-relates fairly well to the size of the State an Australian is from. The most likely Australians to have a bet are those from Australia’s largest States of New South Wales (11.1%) and Victoria (11.5%) whilst the least likely are from Australia’s two smaller States of South Australia (8.1%) and Tasmania (7.2%). “This disparity is likely related to the lack of professional sporting content available in smaller markets. As a comparison there are 17 professional AFL/NRL/Super Rugby/A-League clubs in New South Wales, 14 in Victoria, 7 in Queensland and 3 each in Western Australia and South Australia. There are no professional football clubs in Tasmania. “The relatively high proportion of Northern Territorians who’ve had a bet at 11.1% does buck this trend, however its worth remembering that the Northern Territory has long been a home to many Australians sports and horse racing betting companies due to the favourable laws in the jurisdiction. “To gain deeper insights into who the Australians that like to have a bet are, and more importantly, how much they are spending and betting when taking a punt, the series of Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports are an essential analytical resource to learn more about Australian gamblers and punters. “The Roy Morgan Gambling Currency Reports cover not only horse racing and sports betting, but also casino table games, keno, lotteries, scratchies tickets and poker machines.”   For comments or more information please contact: Roy Morgan - Enquiries Office: (+61) (03) 9224 5309 askroymorgan@roymorgan.com   Reprinted with permission of Roy Morgan

Speedy pacer A G’s White Socks has caused a minor upset by taking out tonights Group One $100,000 Taylor Mile. Trained by Greg and Nina Hope, A G’s White Socks was given a perfect run in the trail for the majority of the race behind the Tim Butt trained Aussie raider Let It Ride. Driver Ricky May had been sitting quietly behind the leader while the pace was on, and only had to flick the reins at the Rock N Roll Heaven 4yo to get him home easily up the passing lane to beat a classy field of 4yo pacers. Ricky who won the Taylor Mile in 2006 with Mainland Banner and also in 2015 with Mossdale Connor, was surprised the time was so quick tonight, as the horse was travelling so well in the trail. "He has definitely got a big motor, I was surprised they went that quick, he was travelling so good all the way," he said after the race. A G’s White Socks paced the 1700m mobile in 2-00.3, which equated to a slick mile rate of 1-53.9. The last 800m was cut ot in 55.8 with the 400m in 27.4 seconds. Eamon Maguire charged home late down the outer to grab second off the TAB favourite Star Galleria on the line.   Harnesslink Media

Unbeaten 2yo filly Princess Tiffany has taken out the Group One $110,000 Woodlands Stud Caduceus Classic tonight at Alexandra Park. Driver Natalie Rasmussen had the Art Major filly in a good spot for most of the race and she was too good for the opposition in tonights race, blasting up the inner near the line to beat stable mate Kayla Marie and driver Blair Orange. "She is the complete package this little 2yo", said Natalie after the win. "With her speed you can place her anywhere and she is so genuine and professonal. " I was getting a little bit worried when Blair got away on us a bit on the turn, but to her credit she just picked them up easily." The All Stars Stable landed the trifecta in the race with Bubbled Up and driver Brent Mangos running home in to third place. Princess Tiffany paced the 2200m mobile in 2-42.6, only 0.7 of a second outside the New Zealand record. The last 800m was paced in 56.4 seconds. Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen also won the $60,000 Haras Des Trotteurs Sires Stakes during the night with smart 3yo Winterfell. New Zealands top training duo were unlucky to have their good filly Luby Lou scratched out of the race with a minor injury, but got the job done with their second stringer Winterfell. Driver Natalie Rasmussen was happy with the effort of the Majestic Son gelding after he looped around to the breeze mid race and was too strong in the run to the line. "He is pretty green this fellow but he has got that bit of raw talent, and I just let him settle early before making a move. "I wanted to be near them at the turn and not be coming wide when the sprint went on and to his credit he is pretty tough and he stuck it out well,"  she said.   Princess Tiffany winning the Group 1 tonight     Harnesslink Media    

Hannelore Hanover is ready to get back on the racetrack and trainer Ron Burke thinks harness racing's defending Horse of the Year is entering her upcoming campaign feeling as good as she did at the end of last season. And that was pretty darn good. The 6-year-old female trotter closed 2017 with a three-race win streak that included the Breeders Crown Open Trot, making her the first mare since Moni Maker in 1998 to claim the trophy, and the lady's division of the TVG Series championships. Two weeks prior to beginning her streak, Hannelore Hanover recorded the fastest mile in history by a female trotter when she captured the Allerage Farms Open Trot in 1:49.2. On Saturday morning, Hannelore Hanover will qualify at the Meadowlands with regular driver Yannick Gingras as she prepares for the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial on May 5 at the Big M. "Everything seems really good," Burke said. "She feels like the way she felt at the end of the year last year, so I'm happy with that. Right at the end of the year she finally put it together. She was winning, but didn't feel right. By the end of the year, she got herself sounder, sharper. "This year right from the get-go she seems better, stronger. I'm hoping last year carries over into this year." Hannelore Hanover won 10 of 17 races last year, finished second five times, and earned $1.04 million for owners Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and J&T Silva Stables. For her career, the daughter of Swan For All out of High Sobriety has won 36 of 58 races and $2.47 million. Burke said Hannelore Hanover did not change much during the winter. "She is who she is now at this point in her career," he said. Hannelore Hanover is one of 14 horses from the Burke Brigade that will qualify Saturday. Among those joining her are 6-year-old male trotter Crazy Wow and 5-year-old male pacer Check Six, both multiple-stakes-winners last season; 2017 Little Brown Jug winner Filibuster Hanover; 3-year-old male trotter U Need Stones, a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion; 3-year-old male pacer Seeing Eye Single, an Ohio Sire Stakes champion; and 4-year-old male pacer Rock N Tony, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion who joined Burke's barn in November. "Right now I'm happy with everybody," Burke said. "Hopefully it will be a good year." Others entered to qualify Saturday include multiple Dan Patch Award-winning female trotter Broadway Donna, multiple O'Brien Award-winning female trotter Caprice Hill, stakes-winning male trotters International Moni, Lindy The Great, and Yes Mickey, stakes-winning male pacers Blood Line, I'm A Big Deal, This Is The Plan, Pedro Hanover, and Closing Statement, stakes-winning female pacers Darlinonthebeach, Blue Moon Stride, and Reign On Me and stakes-winning female trotter Plunge Blue Chip. Qualifiers begin at 10 a.m. (EDT). For the complete list of entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday night at The Meadowlands brings with it a ten race live harness racing card featuring the $52,500 final of the Shiaway St Pat series for trotters. An interesting field it is, with the ultra impressive leg #1 winner Deep Impact getting a slight 3-1 nod from the oddsmaker after skipping last week's leg #2. The carefully managed 5-year-old rolled right on by the field in a career best 1:53.1 a fortnight ago, looking like there was plenty left in the tank. He'll begin from post 9 for trainer driver Ake Svanstedt and owner the Van Camp Trotting Corporation. Deep Impact, however, is not in by himself and faces another fast, fresh horse in the speedy Sutton, leaving from post 7 for Andy Miller. After missing an entire season, Sutton disappointed as the heavy favorite in the first leg but redeemed himself with a scorching 1:51.3 last week and will have to be dealt with in the final. Julie Miller trains the accomplished 5-year-old for Andy's interest as Andy Miller Stable and partners Jason and Doug Allen. We're giving away lawn mowers, too via the "Spring Spruce Up" promotion. The guarantees are in place and the Jackpot Super Hi-5 carry over is way up to $192,943. Get your free pp's for selected wagers here. Post time is 7:15 pm. BIG M HIGH-FIVE CARRYOVER NEARING $200,000  Meadowlands players will have an opportunity Friday night unlike any other in harness racing: Wager a measly 20 cents and walk away at the conclusion of the 10th race with almost $200,000. “When live racing resumes this Friday,” said Jason Settlemoir, the Big M’s chief operating officer and general manager. “The Meadowlands will offer the second-largest carryover in horse racing, behind only the Rainbow Six at Gulfstream Park. The final race on the program will offer a Jackpot Super High-Five carryover that has now grown to $192,943. The popular wager has a 20-cent minimum.” “April has been a very good month at the Big M as the pools continue to grow,” said Settlemoir. “The competitive GSY Spring Fling Series amateur driving club trot was the first race of last weekend and handled $241,407. We never looked back. Our Pick-4 pool exceeded the $100,000 barrier for the third time this year ($105,082) and our average handle per race for the week was $226,917, compared to $188,099 for the comparable weekend a year ago. In addition, our 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 pool was an all-time best $25,061. We can’t thank our fans enough for their incredibly loyal support.” Free program pages are available here. Live racing at the Big M is this Friday and Saturday. Post time is 7:15 p.m. MEADOWLANDS HAPPENINGS PARKING DURING VOLTA: Those heading to the Big M for live racing need to be aware of what to do when they arrive at the track to avoid a $20 parking fee, which is for those attending the Cirque Du Soleil Volta show. Volta will have performances on the same nights as live racing through Saturday, May 5. When track patrons arrive, they should stay to the right-hand side of the toll plaza to avoid the $20 fee. OWN A HORSE! The Big M’s popular “Own a Horse” promotion offers fans a chance to own a piece of a Standardbred risk free. Sign up on or before Saturday, April 28, and if you are one of 10 lucky contestants chosen during live racing that night, you’ll get a chance to own up to 10 percent of a Big M horse’s earnings during the month of May. CALLING ALL HANDICAPPERS: The World Harness Handicapping Championship, presented by DerbyWars.com, is scheduled for Saturday, April 28 at the Meadowlands and has a guaranteed prize pool of $75,000. The WHHC is a one-day tournament and has a welcome reception the evening prior.  Players that did not earn a seat through a qualifying event can directly buy-in for $1,000.  The WHHC contest format requires players to bet 10 races: their choice of seven Meadowlands races, plus three designated mandatory races from Buffalo, Vernon Downs and the Meadowlands.  Players keep all pari-mutuel winnings.  Prize payouts go to the top 10 finishers. Players interested in purchasing a buy-in for the WHHC can visit http://playmeadowlands.com/contest_detail.aspx?id=8240. ‘SURVIVE’ THE SUMMER: The Meadowlands’ Summer Survival Challenge kicks off on Friday, May 4, with registration scheduled to begin next week. Contestants will need to pick a winner in one of three selected races in a given week to advance and the player at the end of the contest with the largest mythical bankroll will win a grand prize of $1,500 and a spot in the 2019 WHHC final. DERBY COUNTDOWN: The 144th Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs is the main simulcast attraction at the Big M on Saturday, May 5. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. Post time for the Derby is 6:34 p.m.  BEER HERE: The third annual Spring Beer Fest takes places on Saturday, May 19. The beer will be poured until 9:30 p.m. with VIPs welcome to arrive at 4:30 p.m. and those with general admission at 5:30 p.m. Those taking part will be treated to the best craft beer, cider, music, live harness racing and food the state of New Jersey has to offer. To purchase tickets click here.  Meadowlands Media Relations Dave Little

WASHINGTON, PA, April 19, 2018 -- When she takes to The Meadows racetrack in Saturday's $26,000 championship of the Margaret Provost Memorial Trot for the harness racing 3-year-old fillies, Kenziesky Hanover will bring an unusual name -- and an unusual amount of talent -- to the fray. The Margaret Provost (race 2) is one of four series finals for 3-year-olds that The Meadows will host Saturday, with a combined $101,900 in purses up for grabs. Also featured are: the Ruby Cook Memorial Trot for filly pacers (race 3), the Ben Wood Memorial Trot for colts and geldings (race 4) and the Tom Kirwan Memorial Pace for colts and geldings (race 9). First post Saturday is 1:05 PM. The naming of Standardbreds is a phenomenon that's part science, part art, part frustration. All names proposed in this country must be approved by the United States Trotting Association, the breed registrar, which limits names to 18 characters -- including spaces. Hanover Shoe Farms, perennially the sport's leading breeder, always uses "Hanover" in foal names. Add the space before it, and you're left with only 10 characters to fashion colorful, creative names. Hanover's Website lists well over 300 broodmares; naming their foals is a challenge that Hanover meets in part by inviting harness racing fans and Hanover staff to suggest names. Jodi Markle estimates that she's named about 40 foals in the seven years she's worked in administration at Hanover. She named Blaise MM Hanover for her son, for example; that horse has banked more than $285,000 and continues to race. In similar fashion, she named Kenziesky Hanover (Cantab Hall-Kandor Hanover) for Kenzie Sky, the 4-year-old daughter of her cousin, Mike Wolf. Weanling/yearling purchasers have the right to change the names bestowed by breeders, so even the most clever or appropriate monikers may not last. That's where the frustration can come in. "That's happened to me a couple times, but it doesn't bother me," Markle says. "I'll just reuse the original names somewhere down the line." Her colorful name won't allow Kenziesky Hanover to win the Margaret Provost championship, but her talent might. She was purchased for a modest $7,000 by J. Patrick Huber and Glenn Congrove, and her trainer, Bill Zendt knows what shut down the auction so soon. "I like her body and the way she looks, but her conformation is not the best," Zendt says, "I was a little leery, but when she went for so little, Pat Huber wanted her. She showed signs of being a nice filly last year, but she got a little sore, and we quit with her early." Indeed, she had only two starts at 2, but after a pair of in-the-money finishes to begin this season, she added Lasix and put it all together in last week's series leg and scored impressively on the front end in 1:57.2, fastest mile in the series thus far. "She raced good on the front, but I don't think it really matters," Zendt said. "There are three or four in the final who are real even, so it should be competitive. I don't know where we'll go with her after the series, but if she stays healthy, I think she'll compete." Kenziesky Hanover goes from post 5 with Brian Zendt aboard. Also on Saturday, Mychoice members can compete in a Thoroughbred handicapping contest, with Laurel Park the featured track. More information is available at the retail counter in the track's Racebook. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Following the same as Yonkers Raceway, management at the Quebec Jockey Club has announced that they are removing the passing lane at the Hippodrome 3R for the 2018 harness racing season that gets underway on Sunday, April 29. "We starting looking at the wagering on Yonkers around the end of January after they did away with their passing lane," said Murielle Thomassin, general manager at the Hippodrome 3R. "and we continued to look at their increasing numbers in February. "Sometimes there is no need to re-invent the wheel," Thomassin explained. "Of course, Yonkers did other changes that contributed to the rise in wagers, but this change was a no-brainer, we need to at least try it and see if our clients like it. The entire dynamic of the races will have to change. The strategies the driver's use will have to be much different and thought of. No more waiting in the hole until the passing lane to come out and steal the win." The passing lane was first installed at the Hippodrome 3R in the late 1980's. Track superintendent, Sylvain Blais, and his team has already begun working on restoring the old home stretch. "We were able to locate the old lane in the stretch," Thomassin said. "and it is still in the ground from 18 years ago. We just need better weather and soft grounds to complete the change. "We had more snow Wednesday, but it melted and now it's raining. Our fingers are crossed that Mother Nature cooperates this week and it looks like it will with warming temperatures and some sunshine to dry up the mess we have so we can do more work on the track." Thomassin said she has talked to various horsemen and when told about getting rid of the passing lane they have been very positive about it. "They understand that we are trying to better the sport and race quality," Thomassin added. "That additional purse money coming from the increase in wagering will mean purse increases in the future for them." There are new post times at the Hippodrome 3R this season. Sunday's afternoon program will begin at 12:50 pm and the Tuesday evening racing will start at 6:30 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- A disappointing second place finish last week left a bitter taste in the mouth of Sportsmuffler. But on Wednesday night (April 18), she bounced back nice and tasted sweet victory by registering a two length decision over Aritzia Hanover in the featured $10,400 Open Pace for the mares at Buffalo Raceway.   After watching Aritzia Hanover reel off fractions of :28.4 and :58.4 to the half, Sportsmuffler (Drew Monti) began her first over journey to the lead. Getting to the top with a quarter mile to pace, Sportsmuffler ($3.10) used a :28.0 final panel to seal the deal in going the mile in a seasonal best 1:56.3.   Aritzia Hanover (Billy Davis Jr.) held on for second place while Hey Kobe (David McNeight III) rallied late for third.   It was the second victory in five starts in 2018 for the 6-year-old Sportsmuffler (Sportsmaster-Whatifthere'smore). Owned by Rose Campbell and trained by Steven Kiblin, Sportsmaster has now earned $14,309 this season and $227,165 lifetime.   Monti completed the evening with a triple in the sulky while Ray Fisher Jr. doubled. Kiblin finished the night with two training wins.   Racing will continue on Saturday night at 6 p.m. with a 12-race program scheduled.   For more information including the latest news, race replays, results, entries, simulcast schedule and upcoming promotions, go to www.buffaloraceway.com     Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway   Photo: Sportsmuffler taste sweet victory at Buffalo Raceway. Photo by Steve Roth  

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, April 19, 2018 - Sometime about a decade ago, a meeting of the minds took place. The purpose of the skull session was to put an end to rampant equine gender discrimination and 'invent' a harness racing companion event for Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. The Levy, honoring the memory of harness-racing visionary and Hall of Fame founder of Roosevelt Raceway, was and remains a staple stop for the sport's best Free-For-Allers. The event, started in 1978 (as a one-dash affair), had been resurrected in 2007 after a decade-long hiatus, and the brain trust decided there was no reason the guys should have all the fun. Accordingly, Yonkers Raceway race secretary Steve Starr reached out to the good folks at Blue Chip Farms in not-too-far-away Wallkill, NY, with the idea of putting together a 'ladies only' Levy companion event for standout pacing mares. Hence, 2009 saw the beginning of the Blue Chip Matchmaker. It was/is as long (five preliminary legs) as the Levy Series, also for serious coin ($40,000 per division, per leg) with an rich, added-money final. Then, there's the 'Matchmaker' part of the equation, a lovely carrot at the end of the stick where the first three finishers in the final get a free breeding to one of the farm's pre-selected roster of world-class stallions. The winner gets first choice, runner-up gets second choice, third gets third. With this Saturday night's (Apr. 21st) $373,000 final going as the 10th Matchmaker, what better time-with apologies to Mr. Peabody and Sherman-to make use the WABAC Machine? It was the first Saturday in May, 2009, merely hours after Mine That Bird pulled off a 50-1 stunner in the Kentucky Derby. The first Belle of the Ball turned out to be a 5-year-old daughter of Noble Ability named Pancleefandarpels. "First time I drove her came after Jason (Bartlett) picked off in an Open Handicap here," Jordan Stratton said. "She was a fairly big mare who could take air and was easy on herself." Stratton and Pancleefandarpels won consecutive local distaff derbies-the latter from an assigned eight-hole-leading into the '09 Matchmaker. Competing in the all five prelims, the duo went 1-3-1-5-1 before drawing post position No. 3 in the $229,000 final. Stratton, who hadn't turned 22 years of age, remembered that night. "There was an early breaker (2-5 favorite Chancey Lady [Cat Manzi]) and I had to go a bit wide," he said. "I was able to get in (fourth), then moved first-up. "As I said, she could take air. She put away the leader (Omen Hanover [Eric Abbatiello]) and was sharp." Pancleefandarpels defeated Double Dream N (Brent Holland) by a length-and-a-quarter in 1:54.4, becoming the first name in the annals. After winning his second Matchmaker last season with Mackenzie A, Stratton tries for the hat trick Saturday with Sell a Bit N from post position No. 2. Now an 'over-the-hill' 30, Stratton has fond memories of Pancleefandarpels. "It was my first big stakes win, so definitely" he said. "People sort of forget about her, but she was very talented." Pancleefandarpels, a Peter Pan Stables homebred trained by Erv Miller, raced through 2012, ending her career with 35 wins and earnings of $1,057,244. This Saturday's Matchmaker goes as the ninth of a dozen races, right before the 31st finale of the Levy, worth $532,000. First post for the $1.3 million card is the usual 6:50 PM. Frank Drucker

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