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HAMILTON, May 17, 2019 - The eyes of harness racing will be locked on Flamboro Downs this Sunday evening for the 41st edition of the Confederation Cup. The $188,500 event for four-year-old pacers is the highlight of an 11-race card with $538,551 in purses up for grabs. The field for this year's Confederation Cup is arguably the deepest since the race became an event for four-year-olds in 2015. Trainer Ron Burke has won three of the last four editions of the Confederation Cup and enters with a strong one-two punch of eliminations winners Done Well and Dorsoduro Hanover. Done Well (PP5, Dexter Dunn) turned many heads with a stunning 1:51.4 elimination victory over a 'Sloppy' track that was listed two-seconds off. The gelded son of Well Said is one for two this season and sports career numbers of eight wins and nearly $500,000 in earnings over 23 starts. Dorsoduro Hanover (PP1, Matt Kakaley) won a wild and much-talked about second elimination for the Burke brigade. The gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere is the richest horse in this year's event with over $1.3 million in career earnings. The list of accomplishments for Dorsoduro Hanover includes victories in the Breeders Crown, Adios Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship and a Dan Patch award. The field for the Confederation Cup also includes O'Brien Award winner Jimmy Freight (PP2, Louis Philippe Roy). The Richard Moreau trainee overcame a post-eight starting spot in his elimination to make the final with a fourth-place finish. Jimmy Freight was last year's Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final champion and is an 18-time winner with over $1 million in career earnings. Sunday's Confederation Cup undercard is the start of the 2019 Ontario Sires Stakes season with a trio of Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings and five Grassroots divisions for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings scheduled. Fans attending the Confederation Cup will have an opportunity to win a share of a racehorse. Flamboro Downs is once again teaming with TheStable.ca to giveaway five shares of a racehorse. The track will cover the training expenses of those five shares for the remainder of 2019. Post time for Sunday's card is 6:55 p.m. The Confederation Cup has been carded as Race 10. The full field for the $188,500 Confederation Cup is listed below. 1. Dorsoduro Hanover (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke) 2. Jimmy Freight (Louis Philippe Roy/Richard Moreau) 3. Pretty Handsome (Jonathan Drury/Andrew McCabe) 4. American History (Sylvain Filion/Tony Alagna) 5. Done Well (Dexter Dunn/Ron Burke) 6. The Downtown Bus (Doug McNair/Jeff Gillis) 7. Rockin Speed (Billy Davis Jr/Jared Seekman) 8. This Is The Plan (Joe Bongiorno/Ron Burke) 9. Ghost Dance (Randy Waples/Nick Gallucci) E: Courtly Choice (David Miller/Blake MacIntosh)   Mark McKelvie Woodbine Entertainment, Mohawk Park Manager, Communications

Trenton, NJ — It is safe to say emotions have run the gamut for 18-year-old Zack Gray over the past year. On June 10, 2018, his dad, popular trainer/driver Bobby Gray, passed away at age 56 — shortly before Father’s Day. Flash forward to this past Saturday (May 11) at Saratoga Casino Hotel, the night before Mother’s Day. As sad as things were 11 months earlier, they were that joyous for the family when Zack earned his first harness racing driving win in his 36th start. Making it more special is that he won driving Cool Jack, a pacer that his his mom, Sheryl, co-owns with Joe Facin Jr. and David Faile. “It was pretty good because I figured that’s what (my dad) wanted me to do,” Gray said. “It felt good, but it was a little sad too. I know my mom was pretty happy.” That’s an understatement. “It was the best Mother’s Day present,” Sheryl said. “But it was exciting because it has been Zack’s dream since he was a little boy. Friday was a rough day for us as it was (exactly) 11 months since my husband’s passing. Zack’s Nana Gray and uncle had just drove from Florida and were there for the weekend. Zack is very well-liked and everyone was cheering for him at the home stretch.” Zack nearly got his first win last November with Cool Jack, missing by a neck in a third-place finish. On Saturday, the tandem had to come from behind, with Zack coolly taking advantage of fast early fractions as the leaders reached the opening quarter-mile in :27.1 and the half in :55.1. “I was sitting last at the quarter pole,” Gray said. “I saw the fractions and I thought, this is going to work out good because my horse absolutely flies home. I took the lead around the last turn and I won by three (and a half lengths). I was pretty happy. It was pretty good.” As he crossed the finish line in 1:54.3, Zack looked up and pointed his whip skyward in a salute to his dad who, like his son, was also well-liked and respected. “It took my dad a long time to win his first race and I think he’d be proud of me to accomplish it earlier than he did,” Zack said. “I knew mine would come at some point. You’ve just got to be patient.” Bobby Gray was licensed in 1982 and was a career amateur driver. He competed in the C.K.G. Billings Series and in amateur races predominantly in Maine. He also ran a small stable and amassed 189 wins, 183 seconds and 169 thirds in 1,412 lifetime starts. Those finishes pocketed $564,166 in purses. Perhaps his biggest legacy was doing all he could to care for his horses, and always being there to help his colleagues at the track. He apparently passed that trait on to family members, who were his number-one priority. “He was also well liked in the harness world,” Sheryl said. “Zack sure follows his footsteps in that aspect.” Bobby took his son under his wing and Zack remembers jogging his first horse at age 5. “I loved it right away,” he said. The family sold its stable in 2012 and soon moved from Maine to Saratoga. Bobby went to work for Jimmy Nickerson and Zack tagged along. “I didn’t really start working for somebody until two years ago,” he said. “I always helped my dad. I started working for Dave Spagnola and I worked there for a while.” Bobby became a huge supporter when Zack started driving, and early on some more emotions churned up. “He was always there when I started qualifying,” Gray said. “When I qualified a week after he died, it was kind of different. But I know that’s where he wanted me to be.” Zack Gray earned his first driving win in his 36th start on May 11 with Cool Jack. Melissa Simser-Iovino photo. Zack has driven Cool Jack in all but two of his starts since last November. He is trained by Amanda Facin, Joe’s daughter. “He’s been a good little horse for me; he’s a cool little horse,” Gray said. “And the people who help me out in the barn are just wonderful people. The Facin family helped me out with buying the horse and they’ve been there ever since.” Gray does not do any catch driving, and as far as helping out in stables he said, “I just kind of freelance,” mostly at Saratoga. He is trying to make his way in the business and has full support from Sheryl and sisters Dawn and Mikayla. “My mom is always there to root me on,” Gray said. “Good or bad, she says ‘You did a great job.’ And my two sisters are excellent, they cheer me on and give me support.” As far as driving goes, Zack will continue to do it for now, but has other plans. “If I can get some more wins now driving, I’ll do it,” he said. “But I like training too. I think I could go a little ways as a driver, but I’d like to be a trainer and drive my own stable.” Whatever he decides, his family will be right behind him with support, as will Bobby from up above.   by Rich Fisher USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

The NZ Oaks was won easily in the end but it might well have been won at the beginning. Natalie, in superb form with three Group wins from three drives, thought so when she was able to swing in from three wide and get in front of Belle of Montana. But her decision to improve in the middle stages to take the front while the sectionals were a little relaxed was the key to an easy win. “She felt good and I though I will be off and make the ones most likely work to beat her. She never really felt like she would be beaten in the run home. A great filly and she was on her game tonight” The win heightened the 3yo Filly of the Year award contest which Belle of Montana looked to have a lead after the Nevele R last week. Now it is likely to come down to the Harness Jewels in two weeks. Princess Tiffany ran close 3.08 for the 2600m breaking by close to a second the record set by Spanish Armada two years ago. She continued a great run for owners Phil and Margaret Creighton and Braeden and Caroline Whitelock who separately set new records on the night. One aspect of that was that the Whitelocks Kayla Marie completed a “double second” chasing Belle of Montana home in the Nevele R Final and Princess Tiffany in the NZ Oaks. Bubbled Up again looked a little off her peak finishing midfield after having enjoyed a nice run The Oaks win by Princess Tiffany “It seems surreal -but its actually real” -that sum up by Mike Woodlock co-owner of One Change with Trevor Casey and All Stars, seemed to sum up the remarkable rise of the two year old with his five for five win in the $170,000 Sires Stakes Final at Addington. As for Trevor tears came to his eyes as he remembered his long time partner, the late Neil Pilcher, an original owner of the youngster after he was passed in as a yearling for $20,000 Bought post sale by the stable for $30,000, Neil’s share was taken up by All Stars on his death and Mike, a retired teacher at St Andrews College who helps out at All Stars, was offered a share. He had previously raced a horse successfully with “Pilch”. As chief admirer and handler Ashleigh said “the dream continues” after One Change, looking headed by Flying Even Bettor close to the post kicked back to win. Natalie had given him the run of the race but said afterward it went “nothing like I expected” “I didn’t know how much gate speed he had because he hasn’t be used out of the gate previously. But he had it and we got the break. I wasn’t sure we’d won. Flying Even Bettor, which went a terrific race came back at us and I wasn’t confident at all” One Change has now won over $200,000 not a bad return on his yearling price. He now heads to the Jewels and possibly the Breeders Crown in August if all goes well in the interim. “He’s done nothing wrong and shown he has the early speed as well” Mark said “Smooth Deal was disappointing and he will come out of the Jewels on that run. He is going backwards when he should be going forward” His recovery rate raised questions as well, Natalie said later. But Amazing Dream compensated Bill and Jean Feiss handsomely with an impressive win in the rich PGG Wrightson Sales Final. Natalie wasn’t afraid to use her ability to get handy and then lead and she held on gamely to win well. “She’s a good filly and she is improving. She has always been game but she has a bit of speed too which I used tonight. That was a top effort from her really” Meanwhile even Mark was somewhat taken aback with the ease of Winterfell’s win the FFA Trot which guaranteed him a start in the Jewels. “Really he won that easily and while I expected a top run I didn’t think it would be that easy” Mark said of the big trotter who has hit peak at the right time.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables

When Purnel Jones Jr. and his wife Libby were looking to partner with other people to buy horses several years ago, Jones called renowned owner Mark Weaver for advice. Instead, Jones ended up with an invitation. Life has not been the same since. Purnel and Libby, who at the time were recently retired after selling their regional oil-and-gas business, were asked if they wanted to join the ownership groups involved with horses trained by Ron Burke, harness racing's leading conditioner for the past 10 years in a row. Burke Racing and Weaver, with his longtime racing colleague Mike Bruscemi, are two-time winners of the sport's Owner of the Year Award. "The first thing I thought of when we were fortunate enough to retire was how I could get back into the business," said Purnel, who followed his father into the sport and had a license to train and drive horses before stepping away from racing to focus on business. "I called Mark Weaver, who I've known for about 10 years, to ask him to point me in the right direction. He said there was a spot opening up in the ownership group and that I was welcomed if I wanted to get in. It was a no-brainer for me. My goodness gracious, you can't beat those guys. They're smart. It's not by accident that Burke and Weaver are so successful, that I can say." In 2018, the Joneses were among the owners of Dorsoduro Hanover and Warrawee Ubeaut, who both were Breeders Crown champions and divisional Dan Patch Award honorees, as well as a third Breeders Crown winner, Percy Bluechip, and stakes-winners Baron Remy and This Is The Plan. "I can't even imagine having a year like that again," Purnel said. "You talk about fun and traveling to the races, it was fantastic. I'm hoping for continued success, but to hope for that (kind of success again) is a little excessive. But you can't rule out anything with Ronnie. He has a great eye for the horses." On Sunday, the Joneses will watch three of their horses compete in the C$188,500 Confederation Cup for 4-year-old pacers at Flamboro Downs. Dorsoduro Hanover and Done Well were elimination winners last weekend. Those two Burke trainees are joined by stablemate This Is The Plan in the nine-horse field. Done Well and driver Dexter Dunn, who captured their elim in 1:51.4 over a sloppy surface, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite from post five while Dorsoduro Hanover, with regular driver Matt Kakaley, is the 5-2 second choice from post one. Dorsoduro Hanover won his elimination, also over a sloppy track, in 1:53.4. The other owners on Done Well are Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva, and Wingfield Brothers. The group owning Dorsoduro Hanover is the same, with the exception of Wingfield Five rather than Wingfield Brothers. This Is The Plan, who finished fifth in his elimination and starts from post eight, is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Larry Karr. "I thought Done Well was off the hook," Purnel said. "I don't know how much the track changed between the time he raced and Dorsoduro Hanover raced, but you certainly can't be disappointed with (Dorsoduro Hanover's) race either. He's as tough as nails. "We're all excited to see what happens." Done Well                  ---Norm Files photo Among the Burke trio's competition is Jimmy Freight, who earned the O'Brien Award in Canada for last year's best 3-year-old male pacer. He finished fourth in the elimination won by Dorsoduro Hanover after starting from post eight, a spot that has produced only four winners in 185 pacing races this year. Jimmy Freight and driver Louis Philippe Roy will start Sunday from post two. He is 3-1 on the morning line. "I wasn't that much excited when I saw the draw for the elims, being in my mind in the toughest division and starting from the far outside, but one more time Jimmy didn't disappoint," Roy said. "I'm a little more excited about the draw for the final, I think we're among the three or four horses with the best shot to win. "I haven't seen much difference with (Jimmy Freight) between (ages) 3 and 4," the driver added. "He was and still is the perfect horse on the track, you can do whatever you want with him, smart and perfectly gaited." Jimmy Freight                                        ---Mike Lizzi photo Racing begins at 6:55 p.m. Sunday at Flamboro Downs. Following is the field for the Confederation Cup, which is race 10. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-5/2 2-Jimmy Freight-Louis Philippe Roy-Richard Moreau-3/1 3-Pretty Handsome-Jonathan Drury-Andrew McCabe-15/1 4-American History-Sylvain Filion-Tony Alagna-12/1 5-Done Well-Dexter Dunn-Ron Burke-7/5 6-The Downtown Bus-Doug McNair-Jeff Gillis-7/1 7-Rockin Speed-Billy Davis Jr.-Jared Seekman-15/1 8-This Is The Plan-Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-20/1 9-Ghost Dance-Randy Waples-Nick Gallucci-4/1   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

The Miss Versatility series for trotting mares gets underway on Monday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a single $52,800 harness racing division of five led by Serge Godin's pair of starlets in Emoticon Hanover and Dream Together racing under his nom de course of Determination.   Emoticon Hanover (Dan Dube) has won the past two Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot Finals to go with a World Record and nearly $1.5 million on her imposing resume. The Miss Versatility leg will get her 2019 stakes campaign underway after a convincing 1:52.3 win in an overnight.   Dream Together (Randy Waples) burst onto the Grand Circuit scene with a $105 win mutuel in the 2018 Dr John Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands and is but a cheque away from $700,000 in career booty.   Luc Blais has trained both from the first day they had the harness on and continues to have them beautifully prepared for each engagement.   Sorceress Seelster, Pat Matters and The Erm complete the quintet, which is the second race on the Monday night bill.     Nick Salvi

Plainville, Ma --- Western Stepp came off a career year in 2018 winning 10 races and over $92,000 in purses. The way 2019 is starting off, those numbers may be in jeopardy as the 6-year-old Western Maverick mare scored her fourth consecutive win while taking the $14,000 Winners-Over pace for fillies and mares at Plainridge Park on Thursday afternoon (May 16). Bolting to the lead from post seven, Western Stepp (Drew Campbell) grabbed control of the field and hit the quarter in :26.3. Campbell then backed the half down to :57, forcing an outer flow to form with Shady Secret A (Mitchell Cushing) leading the way. Western Stepp kept that one at arm's length, not letting her get closer than one-half a length away to the three-quarters and around the far turn. At the head of the stretch, Shady Secret A faded and Shez Sugarsweet A (Ron Cushing) popped the pocket and came full-tilt at the leader. But Western Stepp was in full stride under a hard drive from Campbell and they hung on at the wire to win by a head in 1:53.2, which was a new seasonal mark. Western Stepp ($5.40) is owned by Diane Dunn and is trained by James Dunn. This was only one of four wins for driver Drew Campbell who also scored with Village Beat (1:54.2, $7.80), GW Show Faith (1:54, $6.60) and Twelve (1:55, $13.80). Another driver who had a big day was 20-year-old "Matty Ice" Athearn who scored a driving hat trick led by Dangerousprecedent who went off 26-1 and blew up the tote board returning $55.20. Athearn registered career high numbers across the board last year and has been red hot so far this meet. He is well on his way to improving those 2018 totals before the end of the season. Racing resumes at Plainridge Park on Friday (May 17) with post time at 4 p.m.   By Tim Bojarski for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

Barnawartha horseman Wayne Anderson had mixed feelings when he landed the money at the Shepparton harness racing meeting this week with a 25/1 longshot - and who could blame him? Wayne decided to take the reins himself with bay gelding Postal Express (Flightpath-Bye Focals (Harmony Heaven), giving his 21-year-old son Chris, an up-and-coming junior driver, the night off. "Chris works in the scaffolding business and just lately he's been doing a fair bit of travelling," Wayne said. "As well as all the miles, he's also been working hard because he just recently bought himself a house. So, I said to him that I didn't want him pushing himself to get back and drive at the trots. "And of course, everything worked out perfectly in the race for Postal Express and we landed the money, but only just!" Postal Express won by a neck from Monash (Ros Rolfe) with four metres back to Waterboy (Ryan Duffy). The mile rate was a brisk 1.57-5. View the video here! It was Wayne's first race drive on the eight-year-old, and while he was delighted with the success, he intends to stay "second fiddle" to Chris whenever he can. "Chris has had a couple of wins and my wife Margy, myself and all the other family members are keen to see him get established and do well in the sport," Wayne said. "Whenever he's home and not away working, you'll find him at our place helping out with the team, which is up to five at present. "Chris was a late-starter into trotting as he used to do very well at football and cricket. I think he can make a go of it, because he's keen and will take on any advice. Guys like David Jack, Cameron Maggs and Peter Romero have been fantastic." The Anderson farm, nestled on the outskirts of town, has been in the family since 1956. Wayne said a 700-metre granite track on the property cost "24 dozen bottles of beer and some fuel, back in the day"! "Uncle Bob, who always had horses on the place, now looks after the cattle, while my brother Steve does the cropping and our dad David keeps an eye on things to ensure everything's ticking along okay. We have 60 cattle and 350 sheep as well as the horses," Wayne said. "It's a real family affair and while two of our other sons, Mitch and Isaac, aren't hands-on with the horses, they support us. "We got Postal Express off a mate in Robbie Walters, who thought he would be just perfect for Chris to learn the ropes. "And he is a nice horse-just a gentleman to do anything with. He's improved lately since we changed his feed on the recommendation of a nutritionalist and got his teeth done. "The horse has always shown high speed, but now he's starting to find the line." Wayne said he'd been in and out of the industry for nearly 40 years. "I was trying a heap of horses there for a while but dropped off a bit when I wasn't getting any to the races," he said. "Then in December 2015, we had a wild bushfire go through. We lost 300 sheep, 400 bales and five kilometres of fencing. It also destroyed our wooden horse yards, but fortunately two colts that I was breaking-in weren't injured. "The bushfire destroyed 6000 hectares in nine hours, being fanned by 100kph winds. We saved a few lambs as well as things around the house." Wayne said while Postal Express could be one to follow from the stable, he was excited with former Queensland pacer My Magic Merlin. "Chris got beaten a head at Kilmore with him last month which was his first run for us. He's a nice type by Mach Three and still only a C1," he said. And there's a fair chance that Wayne will be among the loudest supporters for Chris at Albury on Saturday night when the junior driver competes with Miss Rixon in the opening event, followed by My Magic Merlin in race two.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Early season perception clashes with late-season reality in the two group ones at Addington tonight.  The trick for punters is to work out which one matters more.  At different stages of the season it would have seemed farcical there could be a better two-year-old male pacer than Smooth Deal or a superior three-year-old filly to Princess Tiffany in the country.  But the score cards between that pair and their new division leaders in One Change and Belle Of Montana suggest the latter two might be the best of their crops.  But that pendulum could swing back the other way just as easily at tonight’s huge premier meeting.  One Change is unbeaten in three starts but has drawn (barrier four) outside Smooth Deal (two) in their $170,000 final over 1980m mobile.  When Smooth Deal was thrashing his opponents over the summer tonight’s draw would have suggested he would lead and win and plenty of punters would have been piling into a $1.20 divvy to boost their multis.  But cracks in his armour started to appear when he broke for no reason in two races and even worse he led easily and was grabbed on the line by One Change in the Sales Series Pace two weeks ago so will instead start around $2 tonight.  He was found to be affected by a virus soon after that last-start defeat but champion trainer Mark Purdon admits Smooth Deal is no longer than stable’s clear-cut juvenile star.  “We really don’t know which one is the better of them now,” says Purdon.  “So either of them could win this week and while we expect Smooth Deal to be better than last start, One Change might be too because he worked very, very well here on Tuesday.”  While there is plenty of talent in the juvenile crop it is hard to imagine one of the pair not winning whereas the $150,000 New Zealand Oaks might have a little more scope for an upset.  Belle Of Montana was mega impressive coming from well back to beat an almost identical field in the Nevele R Final last Friday and has the draw (five) to go forward and gain a huge tactical advantage over Princess Tiffany, who starts on the second line.  As stunning as Princess Tiffany has been at times, Belle Of Montana’s record this season is clearly better (3-0 head to head) so she has to be the favourite tonight.  “From that barrier I think she can come out a bit early and go forward but I will leave that up to Zac (Butcher),” says master trainer Barry Purdon.  That suggests Belle Of Montana could be seen in a different role tonight as all her major wins have come after sit-sprint tactics, even taking a trail 1200m out when a red hot favourite in the Victoria Oaks two starts ago.  She looks stronger mentally and physically than she was at the start of her debut season so should be ready to change tact and and easy lead would make the Oaks hers to lose. Still, Princess Tiffany has too much x-factor to dismiss while the likes of Northern Oaks winner Best Western and even Belle Of Montana’s stablemate Havtime have shown enough to suggest that are at least place value with their advantageous draws. Meanwhile, at Alexandra Park tonight comeback filly Tickle Me Pink should continue on her winning way even off the second line in the Northern Trotting Oaks.   Michael Guerin

CHESTER PA - Luminosity shined most brightly in the $18,000 featured trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon, winning by 5¾ lengths in 1:53.4, just a fifth off the lifetime best of the harness racing nine-year-old. Driver Yannick Gingras reserved the Cash Hall gelding, trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC, off a contested :27.3 quarter, but then gave him the word to go, and Luminosity did, hitting the half in :56.3 and then staying clear the back half, past the 1:24.3 three-quarters and right through the wire. Dream Massive, who four starts ago was laboring in the track's bottom class, raced well uncovered for second, with Sky Marshal closing for third. A winner of $826,917, Luminosity raised his win percentage to 25% both for the season (4-of-16) and lifetime (45-of-180). Luminosity was the even-money favorite, not a fact conducive to producing a single ticket selector of the Jackpot Hi-5 bet, so the carryover into Friday will be $28,316.19. Tomorrow's racing at Harrah's will be in the nighttime, starting at 6:30 p.m. On Sunday, Melady's Monet, Top Flight Angel, and Homicide Hunter will face off in a $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series event for trotters; it is likely that off a good performance this group will be in the running for the $100,000 Maxie Lee Trot here on Sunday, May 26, a day which will also feature the $100,000 Betsy Ross Pace for mares and the $100,000 Commodore Barry Pace, along with Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for three-year-old pacing colts. And the Memorial Day action continues into Monday and a live 12:40 card.   PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia Jerry Connors

London, May 16, 2019 -- The Raceway at Western Fair District has announced a trio of the confirmed starters for this year's Camluck Classic which takes place on Friday, May 31st. All three horses will be making their debut in the race on what promises to be one of the biggest days in Canadian harness racing this season. Sintra, who captured the 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby and remains undefeated in seven starts this season, will make his first Camluck Classic appearance for the husband-wife team of Stephanie and Jody Jamieson. "He's a special horse and one that we've had our eye on for quite some time," said Greg Gangle, Assistant Racing Manager. "We were unable secure him in the past few years due to scheduling so this year is extra exciting. He's certainly a headliner and needs no introduction to our racing fans. He remains undefeated this season and holds the track record for three-year-olds at The Raceway. " The 25-time winner has career earnings over $1.1 million and currently holds the track record at The Raceway for three-year-old gelding pacers of 1:52.4. Ideal Jimmy has enjoyed a resurgence this season for his connections after just making just one trip postward as a five-year-old in 2018. He has amassed an impressive 7-4-1 summary from 16 starts this year and is one of the highest money winners in North America with $223,000 earned for trainer Erv Miller and owner Don Van Witzenburg of Illinois. Ideal Jimmy                             --Mike Lizzi photo The son of Western Ideal is a career winner of more than $750,000 and is fresh off a gate-to-wire score at the Open level at Yonkers in 1:51.1. Ohio-invader Southwind Amazon will be returning to his home soil as he lines up in the $150,000 dash for trainer Paul Holzman. The son of Camluck began his career in Ontario before racking up 77 career wins and earnings well over $800,000. The iron-tough veteran is fresh off a second-place finish at Northfield Park, timed in 1:49.4. "This guy is an absolute beast on a half-mile track and his record over the past couple of seasons speaks for itself," said Gangle. "It's quite likely that he will be the last son of the late, great Camluck to compete in this race so that is just one of the exciting storylines in this year's event." The nine-year-old boasts an 8-4-1 record from 13 starts this season and is one of the few Standardbreds with multiple sub-1:50 half-mile clockings to his credit. The Camluck Classic will move back to its traditional Friday night time slot on May 31 after switching to a Saturday night last year. The powerful undercard will include the Ontario Sires Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, a quartet of City Of London Series finals and several Preferred races. Visitors will once again have a chance to enjoy the action from the confines of the giant Infield Tent, which was a hit with guests last year. It offers a unique vantage point and entertainment experience with fantastic food and beverage offerings for just $55 (taxes and fees included). Tickets to the Infield Event are going fast. The Party on the Patio will be back this year bigger and better than ever. Along with the delicious food and beverage offerings that will be available, popular local entertainers Sarina Haggarty and Connor Morand will be on hand performing their unique mix of new material and cover songs throughout the evening. There will be many other contests and giveaways that night with more details to come. To stay up to date on the Camluck Classic and everything happening at The Raceway, visit www.westernfairdistrict.com.   Greg Blanchard

MAY 16, 2019 - The 46th Ontario Sires Stakes season gets under way this Sunday, May 19 with eight exciting races on the $538,551 Confederation Cup program at Flamboro Downs. Ontario's top three-year-old trotting colts will kick off the Dundas oval's signature event at 6:55 pm with the first Gold Series Leg of the season. Race 1 features last year's champion Forbidden Trade, who makes his sophomore debut from Post 4 for US-based driver Daniel Dube, trainer Luc Blais of Campbellville, ON and owner Determination of Montreal, QC. Louis-Philippe Roy, who earned his first Lampman Cup title in 2018 as the top driver in the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) program, will steer last season's number two colt, Dream Nation, from Post 1 in the second $72,267 Gold Series division. "Dream Nation was one horse coming back for his three-year-old season that I was excited to drive again, and so far it looks good for him. We schooled him Monday and he was really solid," said Roy, who steers the Archangel gelding for trainer Jacques Dupont of Repentigny and his partners Ecurie CSL of Sorel-Tracy, Gestion C. Levesque 2005 Inc. of St-Hyacinthe and Marc Camirand of Montreal, QC. "He was good sized at two, but he looks even better to me, bigger and stronger. He drew good for Sunday, and that's a big thing on the half-mile." In addition to Dream Nation, Roy will steer trotting colt Tymal Houdini from Post 3 in the first Gold division. The Guelph, ON resident will also be hoping for success in the three-year-old pacing colt Grassroots season opener, piloting Keystone Prestige from Post 1 in the first $22,800 division, Chanting Hanover from Post 1 in the second split, Sugartown from Post 2 in the third of five divisions and Sports Charm from Post 8 in the last Grassroots battle. The Gold Series colts will battle in Races 1, 4 and 6 while the pacing colts square off in Races 3, 5, 7, 8, and 9. All eight races will serve as an opening act for the main event, the $188,500 Confederation Cup Final, which features nine of the best four-year-old pacing colts and geldings in North America. Roy will steer Jimmy Freight from Post 2 in the rich final, and the driver is expecting the son of Sportswriter to deliver the kind of consistent effort that led him to the OSS sophomore pacing colt division title and a year-end O'Brien Award in 2018. "Jimmy Freight got us qualified for the Confederation Cup final last Sunday with a nice effort (fourth) from the eight-hole," said Roy, who steers the pacer for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch and owner Adriano Sorella of Guelph, ON. "I like his chances with the draw; Jimmy never disappointed me." In addition to the thrilling racing, fans will have an opportunity to win one of five shares - including training fees for the remainder of 2019 - in a Thestable.ca racehorse. Complete entries for Flamboro Downs' May 19 Confederation Cup program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0519flmdn.dat. In addition to Sunday's OSS season opener, Flamboro Downs will also host two more Gold events this fall, the three-year-old pacing fillies on Sept. 22 and the two-year-old trotting fillies on Oct. 2. A complete schedule can be found at http://www.ontariosiresstakes.com/schedule/schedule_loc.html#FLMD.   OSS Program Information OSS Program Administration Ontario Racing www.ontarioracing.com For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com

Trainer Jose Godinez has brought several different distaffers to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete in the Fillies and Mares Open over the last few years. Last week, his Westsluckycam prevailed in the $15,000 harness racing feature for the ladies as she went coast-to-coast with Bruce Aldrich Jr. in the sulky. On Thursday afternoon, Godinez unveiled his Shezallapples A (Sportswriter) for the first time in the ladies feature at the Spa. The six year old Australian invader came to town as a winner in three of her last four starts and was subsequently the Open's even money betting favorite after she drew the rail. Aldrich put Shezallapples A on the lead and after cruising unopposed in a first half clocked in 56.3 was met with the challenge of Coveredndiamonds N (Jay Randall) who rushed up first-over. Shezallapples A proved up to the task, drawing clear in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:53.3 besting Coveredndiamonds N who was the runner-up and third place finisher Queen Elsa (Steve Genois). The win was the second straight in the Fillies and Mares Open for Godinez and was his stable's third victory in the ladies' feature at the Spa in the last five installments of it. Sally Fletcher A prevailed in an April Open for distaffers for Godinez and Aldrich. Live racing resumes on Saturday evening at Saratoga with a first post time set for 7:05pm.   Mike Sardella

Belgian-born reinsman Sidney Van den Brande will soon feel like he's back home. After two years working with the powerful Ballarat harness racing stable of Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, the 30-year-old is about to change scenery. He's accepted a job with prolific trotting trainer Anton Golino at Pat Driscoll's Yabby Dam Farms, at Cardigan - a move that will return Van den Brande to his harness racing roots. "Before coming out to Australia, I had only competed in trotting races in Belgium, France, Germany and Holland - I didn't drive pacers until I came to Australia. I'm excited at the opportunity to be back working again with them and Anton has an outstanding bunch," he said. "It probably sounds a little crazy, but I really have been missing the trotters. However, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time, firstly with David Aiken, of Avenel, and then more recently with Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin. "I knew nothing about pacers, but they were great and taught me a lot. And I drove some very good (pacing) horses with Emma and Clayton." Van den Brande has worked with leading trainers in the northern hemisphere but is quick to rate Australia as the best of the sport. He recently drove the 100th winner of his career - 52 of those being out here. Van den Brande said his interest in harness racing began when his older brother Nicky started helping out at a stable near the family home in Belgium. "Nicky seemed to spend a lot of time over there and the interest rubbed off onto me," Van den Brande said. "I remember the first time I was given the chance to drive a horse, I was very afraid. I was wearing shorts and the stones were flicking up onto my legs. It hurt a lot! "I was happy to just clean out the boxes and do other jobs. I had never considered wanting to be a race driver." The enthusiastic Belgian said that after spending "quite a while" honing his driving skills, he competed in an event in Holland in 2006 for concession drivers only. "The trotter I was allocated was a winner of only one of his 105 starts and I remember my opposing drivers were laughing very loudly about my unlucky draw," he said. "I was 27/1 and the only one above 10/1. So away we went, and I had the last laugh by winning - officially by 25 metres. "Another memorable time was driving in Paris. It is every young kid's dream to drive there and win. I wasn't that lucky, but it was a thrill to compete there." Van den Brande said the experience of working and driving in Europe was invaluable. "I also worked in America, but never drove in a race. In a strange twist, when I was based in the States, so was Anton. I later moved to Sweden to gain more experience, and Anton did likewise at the same time. We never did meet up but now I'm working for him!" Van den Brande has scored 19 victories this season, likely to comfortably pass his 21 of last season and the 12 he scored in a sensational start to his Australian race driving career in 2016-17. "After joining Emma and Clayton, they gave me a chance and I drove eight consecutive winners in my first eight drives. I then had a second, and then another win. That was unbelievable. "My best win so far has been with Perfect Look. We won the SA Southern Cross 3yo fillies final in Adelaide in July 2017 - that was my first Group race success. "Later the same year I won the $50,000 Tasmania Cup with Major Secret. I guess that was special as well." He rates Melton and Bendigo as two of his favorite tracks. "It's very hard to win at Melton. But I have won three races there and it was in three weeks. I thought how easy is this? Then later reality kicked in! "Bendigo has a nice shape and a good vibe." Van den Brande said naming his favorite driver was easy because Chris Alford is such a champion of the sport. "I also admire the way Gavin Lang is so cool and gets a lot from the horses, while Luke McCarthy always seems to come out of nowhere and be there at the finish," he said. "The racing here is different to back home, but the biggest difference is the longer carts. I just find myself sitting a long way back, but I'm slowly adjusting. "My parents are elderly now and weren't ever interested in horses, but they seem to be enjoying what I do. They ring me all the time so I think they must like it." Van den Brande said that with his time spent with trotters, he hoped he could sometimes offer some positive ideas at his new stable. "But maybe not as Anton is most experienced and very talented! I just want to keep finding my way and don't expect to have too many drives because there's a few above me, but that's fine." Outside of harness racing, Van den Brande admits he has become an avid fan of Formula One racing. "I went down to Albert Park, Melbourne to watch it and got hooked," he said.   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

WILKES-BARRE PA - The Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) will have $30,000 events for open-caliber harness racing horses on both gaits this weekend, with the pacers going during a post-Preakness Saturday night program at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and the trotters getting their turn the next afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The three morning line choices in the GNOS pace will be starting in inverse order from the rail in their Pocono event. Sweet Rock (post three, driver Eric Carlson, 5-2) was second to first-leg GNOS winner Highalator in a 1:48.3 mile at The Meadowlands last week; Dealt A Winner (post two, driver George Napolitano Jr., 3-1) was a close fifth in that race as he rounds into top form; and Rodeo Rock (post one, driver Eric Goodell), gets a big improvement in post as he makes his second start since being second in the Levy Final on April 20. Not to be overlooked, but a bit of an outsider in more than one sense of the word, is the winner of last week's GNOS event at Philly, Tiger Thompson N. The import has won four of his last five races, including his last start when he rode a perfect pocket trip to victory in 1:50.3 over a sloppy track. Driver Pat Berry may need more than a bit of racing luck for his "Tiger," as they start from post six in the field of seven, with an early quotation of 9-2. On Sunday afternoon at Philly, the $1.4M winner Melady's Monet has been named the 2-1 morning line choice, beginning from the track's winningest post position, the five-hole, for driver Jordan Stratton. Melady's Monet won the first leg of the GNOS here in 1:52.4, then took last week off, but this 10-year-old has been known to hold his form for long stretches at a time. He'll need to be on his game, because the next two rated rivals are Top Flight Angel (post three, driver Marcus Miller, 5-2) and Homicide Hunter (post one, Yannick Gingras, 7-2). Top Flight Angel comes in from Yonkers and a second behind Philly divisional track record holder Will Take Charge, while Homicide Hunter, the World's Fastest Trotter by virtue of his 1:48.4 win at Lexington last year, couldn't have had worse luck in his 2019 debut last week, tucking in from post eight, then getting stuck inside and never getting into the flow of the race. An improved race is very likely to result from Homicide Hunter on Sunday afternoon. These two classes, plus the mares open pace, will all have a chance to race for GNOS points next Sunday, May 26, at Philly, as the track presents its three showcase $100,000 Invitationals: the Maxie Lee Open Trot, the Commodore Barry Open Pace, and the Betsy Ross Mares Open Pace. To make that day even more thrilling for race fans, there will be Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for the best Pennsylvania three-year-old pacing colts mixed into the blockbuster card on the 26th.   Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association, in conjunction with The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah’s Philadelphia racetracks Jerry Connors  

Jim Campbell figures when you bring together many of the best 4-year-old trotters in North America, there is no such thing as an easy spot. So, although his returning millionaire Crystal Fashion will avoid two 2018 Dan Patch Award winners (Atlanta and Six Pack) and a 2017 Breeders Crown champion (Fiftydallarbill) in Saturday's (May 18) opening round of the Graduate harness racings series at The Meadowlands, Campbell is not expecting a stroll in the park. Crystal Fashion competes in the second of two $50,000 divisions, starting from post one with regular driver Tim Tetrick. "On paper maybe the other one does look a little tougher, but when you go race them, they're all going to go fast and they're all going to be tough," Campbell said. "So, I don't put a lot of thought into that. Every time I think there is a division that looks easier on paper they always go more. "It's a good group of 4-year-olds out there. The only thing I worry about is my own horse. We're going to send him out there to race and whatever happens, it happens. Just being at the Meadowlands, you know they're going to be going fast no matter what." Generating speed is not an issue for this group. Returning Trotter of the Year Atlanta, with her 1:50.4 season-opening win in the Miami Valley Distaff on May 6, is the year's fastest trotter while Fiftydallarbill's 1:51.3 time in winning a conditioned race last weekend at the Meadowlands is second best. And last year, Six Pack became the sport's fastest-ever 3-year-old with a 1:49.1 win in the Kentucky Futurity in addition to trotting 1:50 earlier in the campaign while Crystal Fashion tied for the sixth-fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old (1:50.1). Not to be forgotten, Atlanta won the Hambletonian in 1:50.4 and had a season-best mark of 1:50.3, which ranks seventh among all female 3-year-old trotters in history, and multiple-stakes-winner Phaetosive - who is in Saturday's second Graduate division with Crystal Fashion - was not far off with a 1:51 mark. Crystal Fashion, who won nine of 17 races last year including the Canadian Trotting Classic and Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, made his first start of 2019 on May 4 in the Great Northeast Open Series for trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia, where he finished fourth. "He's the type of horse that needs to get racing to get himself tight," Campbell said. "He's going to need some more racing to get himself into top shape, but I was very happy with his first race. "He hasn't really changed (from last year). He's got the same personality and everything like that. He maybe filled out a little more, but for both a 2-year-old and a 3-year-old he was a good-sized colt. Maybe he grew a little bit, but for the most part he's pretty much the same." Phaetosive, who won last year's Elegantimage Stakes, will be making her seasonal debut, as is New York Sire Stakes final runner-up The Veteran. Custom Cantab, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion mare who won 13 of 17 races last season including the Matron, heads to the Graduate's second division off a third-place finish in the Miami Valley Distaff. In the first division, Six Pack and Eurobond are the two trotters making their seasonal debuts. Six Pack won 11 of 15 races last year including the Kentucky Futurity, Yonkers Trot, and Matron. He received the Dan Patch Award for best 3-year-old male trotter. Six Pack                              Mark Hall photo "He trained back good," trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt said. "He qualified two times. He was maybe a little lazy the last qualifier, but he had an open bridle. I think he is sharp now. He feels much better when we train after the second qualifier. I hope he can do a good race. "We're going to race him in the Graduate and then the Hambletonian Maturity. After that he can go in the open. He feels strong. He's a big horse. He is so big I think he can be stronger when he is older. We'll see after a couple of races what he can do." In addition to Atlanta, there will be a second Hambletonian winner competing on Saturday's card at the Meadowlands as 2015 champion Pinkman looks to pick up his second win in the Mr Muscleman Series for older trotters. A total of four Hambletonian winners will be in action this year: Atlanta, Pinkman, Perfect Spirit (in Europe) and Marion Marauder. The Meadowlands also hosts the second round of the Rainbow Blue Series for older female pacers on Saturday. The six-horse field includes Dan Patch Award winners Kissin In The Sand (2018) and Youaremycandygirl (2017) as well as millionaire Caviart Ally. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). For complete entries, click here.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Two names that have been near the top of the driver standings at the Meadowlands since the start of the current meeting in mid-October belong to a pair of harness racing drivers from "Down Under", New Zealand-native Dexter Dunn and Australian Andy McCarthy. Horsemen from that region of the globe have had an impact over the years at the Big M. Ross Croghan, Noel Daley, Mark Harder, Nifty Norman, Brett Pelling and Chris Ryder. Be they "Kiwis" or "Aussies", these trainers have done their share of winning at the mile oval. Ryder uses Dunn, 29, on many of his horses, and among them is the talented 3-year-old colt Bettor's Wish, who is currently seventh in the weekly "Road to the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace" poll put out every week by the Big M's media relations department. "He's a family friend from New Zealand," said Ryder of Dunn. "But he's not driving just because I know the guy. He's driving because he's capable. I thought he might have trouble hooking on here when he arrived (about a year ago), but his talent and personality have overcome that." The stats back up what Ryder says, as Dunn has won 86 times from 587 starts at the Meadowlands since the meet began. And thus far in 2019, Dunn sits second in the Big M standings with 65 wins, a total surpassed only by Yannick Gingras' 96. As for McCarthy, he was the leading driver at the Meadowlands until he went on an extended vacation earlier this year to his homeland. For the meeting, he's won 50 races from 355 starts. "Is Andy my primary driver?" asked Brett Pelling. "I would say that. He's driving my best horse, Caviart Ally, and when you have a good horse, it puts you in the limelight." McCarthy guided Caviart Ally to a hard-fought victory in 1:50 over a star-laden Preferred for pacing fillies and mares field Saturday (May 11) night, an evening that saw the 33-year-old win the first three races on the card and four of the first five. He also drives Pelling's Reigning Deo, currently ninth in the RTTCFMP. "I want someone who is focused," said Pelling. "And Andy and Dexter know enough to be focused. Dexter is a great talent, and if Andy wasn't available, would I use Dexter? All day long." Pelling also spoke about the sense of community felt by those who hail from Australia or New Zealand: "We are here together. The Down Under people know Down Under people. And that means something." BROWER HITS BIG: Dave Brower of the Meadowlands' award-winning TV production had a night to remember Saturday (May 11), as he gave his followers a hit for the ages. After the nightly segment when Brower gave out his Pick-4 ticket for on-track and simulcast players, favorites won the first (Highalator) and final legs of Brower's $32 play, but what happened in between is what made the payoff special. Somebaddude paid $100.00 to win in the second leg while 10-1 chance On Duty scored in the third. After Albergo Hanover won the final leg (Race 11), Brower's followers collected $2,028.15, good for a profit of $1,996.15. The total Pick-4 pool was a typically strong $102,125 on Saturday and as always, free program pages for this week's 50-Cent Pick-4 - as well as the Can-Am Pick-4 (Friday only) - are available at www.playmeadowlands.com and www.ustrotting.com. SUPER HIGH-FIVE HIT: Despite the 6-5 favorite winning the race, one lucky player betting into the Oregon Express hub walked away with a huge score nonetheless Saturday (May 11) night. The 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five, with the two longest shots in the field finishing second and fifth, yielded only one ticket with the winning combination of 2-3-1-10-9, and was good for a return of $33,010.24. This Friday (May 17), the carryover for the Early 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five (Race 5) stands at $91,214. PREAKNESS UP NEXT: The 144th Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course is the featured simulcast event on Saturday (May 18) at the Meadowlands. Post time for the first of 14 races at Pimlico is 10:30 a.m. The Preakness, for 3-year-olds at a mile and three-sixteenths, is Race 13 on the card and has a post time of 6:48 p.m. BEERFEST ON TAP: On Saturday (May 18), the Meadowlands will host its fourth annual "Beerfest". The event, which is rain or shine, has three tiers of ticket pricing. For a $75 VIP ticket, you get admission, VIP lounge access, a special VIP food buffet, a tasting glass, exclusive VIP tastings and one additional hour of sampling. Only 200 VIP tickets will be sold. A $35 General Admission ticket ($45 if purchased day of) includes admission, a tasting glass and a four-hour sampling. Those with VIP tickets will be admitted at 4:30 p.m. while GA customers can go in at 5:30 p.m. The event ends at 9:30 p.m.   Dave Little

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