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LEBANON, OH. - Walter White not only stepped back into the Open trotting ranks on Sunday afternoon (April 15) at Miami Valley, but he stepped right to the head of the harness racing class. The 6-year-old son of Cantab Hall took advantage of an inside post draw which resulted in a close-up ground-saving journey and a tiring rain-soaked racing surface that took its toll on frontstepping Ladys Dude and made it difficult for other closers. With new driver Dan Noble at the controls, Walter White found room to split rivals in deep stretch and garner the winner's share of the $25,000 Open Trot purse in 1:55.1. Another Breath (Chris Lems) was the runnerup with longshot Jesse's Promise (Aaron Merriman) rallying for a show finish. Elmo Blatch (Tylor Lough), who entered the Open for the first time with a seven-race win streak, responded with a valiant first-over effort-actually getting a neck lead in midstretch-before fading to fourth. Lady's Dude held on for the final check in the nine-horse field. Walter White was the fourth consecutive different Open Trot winner at Miami Valley. Jim Eaton trains the winner for Robert Silberberg. Walter White now owns 19 lifetime wins and has earned $422,071. Miami Valley will present a Monday (April 16) matinee at 2:05 p.m. featuring the $40,000 James K. Hackett Memorial series championship for Ohio-sired 3-year-old trotting fillies. Gregg Keidel  

April 14, 2018 - Three groupe tests and the Q+ Pris de la Lorraine (purse €72,000, 2100 meters autostart, 17 European entrants) led a superb harness racing  Vincennes Saturday. The Q+ victory was earned by 3.6/1 Blues d’Ourville (7g Password-Pursuit of Charm) with Pierre Houel aboard for trainer Mme. Virginie Lecroq. Race time was a quick 1.11.4kr. 7.7/1 Attaque Parisienne (8f Hulk des Champs) took second for reinsman Sebastian Ernault and owner/trainer Franck Harel, and third was 3.8/1 Blue Story (7f Opium) piloted by Pierre Levesque. 37/1 Eldrick Boko (7m Cantab Hall-Radiant Lindy) and 7.4/1 Ange de Lune (8g Laetenter Diem) with owner/trainer Matthieu Abrivard up completed the top five The Gr. III Prix Beaumanior (purse €85,000, 2700 meters, nine European starters) went to 1.13.8kr timed and 3.1/1 Diademe Blue (5g Gazouillis-Pepite d’Or Blue) with Mathieu Mottier up for trainer J.P. Mary. Catherine Dabouic-Mary owns this winner that defeated 2/1 Duke of Carless (5m L’As de Viretaute) and pilot Alexandre Abrivard. 4.3/1 Ezreal Jiel took third with Matthieu Abrivard aboard, ahead of 23/1 Disco des Molands and 8.7/1 Daniel Bon. Five year olds were on stage in the Prix Henri Levesque (Gr. II, purse €120,000, 2175 meters, 11 starters) and the impressive 1.11.6kr timed winner was 6.1/1 Delia du Pommereux (5f Niky-Noune du Pommereux) reined by trainer Sylvain Roger and owned by breeder Noel Lolic. 18/1 Dragon des Racques (5m Love You-Quinte des Racques) rallied on the pegs for second driven by Alexandre Abrivard and trained by L.Cl. Abrivard. A pack of contenders were next led by 1.7/1 Draft Life (5f Ubriaco-Maflymede) handled by Eric Raffin for breeder/owner/trainer Louis Baudron. 4.4/1 Django Riff (5m Ready Cash-Rasta Perrine) landed fourth for Yoann Lebourgeois, trainer Philippe Allaire and owner Elisabeth Allaire. Detroit Castelets and Dreammoko were fifth and sixth. Delia du Pommereux The Gr. II Prix Hemine (purse €120,000, 2175 meters, three years olds – monte) went to 2.8/1 Fado du Chene (3m Singalo-Star du Chene) with P.Ph. Ploquin in the irons for trainer Julien LeMer and breeder/owner Claude Guedj. This one vaulted to the lead early and kept widening the advantage to score in hand timed in 1.13.3kr.The 7/10 favorite Ferreteria (3f Goetmals Wood-Avenue Victoria) in this race after four straight monte victories, was no match for the winner, and barely held second for Matthieu Abrivard, trainer Yves Boireau and owner Jean Pierre Dubois. 14/1 Fiore de Janiero (3f Vanishing Point) was third in a photo for Anthony Barrier and owner/trainer Franck Blandin. The Prix de Chelles (purse €40,000, 2700 meters, 11 three year old males) went to 3.3/1 Fabulous Wood (3m Ready Cash-Qualita Bourbon) timed in 1.16.3kr and reined by Matthieu Abrivard. Yves Boireau trains this winner for Scuderia Winner and he was bred by Jean Pierre Dubois. 7.4/1 Falco d’Heripre (3m Goetmals Wood-Vedetta d’Heripre) held gamely second for J.Ph. Monclin with 5.2/1 Falcao de Laumac (3m Uniclove-Rangoon) third for Clement Duvaldestin. Thomas H. Hicks  

Vanae des Voirons (9f Quido du Goutier-Danae des Voirons) scored at 21/1 and overcame a 25 meter handicap in today’s second leg of the Trophee Vert Tour de France des Trotteurs, today named the Grand Prix du PMU “Le Saint-Cloud” (purse €45,000, 3500 meters distance handicap, 16 starters). Jean Francois David teamed the winner, he also owner and trainer of the now winner of €283,780. Race time was 1.16.2kr for the winning horse. 13/1 Uvinto (10g Invar) was second for Christian Boisnard, the trainer and driver. This one was clocked in 1.17.7kr off a 50 meter penalty. 23/1 Vanderlov (9g Orlando Vici) took third for driver L-M David clocked in 1.17.9kr also from a 50 meter handicap. 1.1/1 favorite and 25 meter penalized Authorized (8g Kaisy Dream) held fourth for Thomas Levesque after leading at top of stretch and fifth was 25 meter handicapped and 16/1 Bingo d’Attaque (7m Pomerol de Laumac)with Stephane Bourlier up. The day’s activities included trotting on the turf at Tours-Chambray for apprentice drivers and a contest for amateur teamsters. Next week action in France includes Friday’s Prix de l’Atlantique (Gr. I International, purse €200,000, 2150 meters autostart) at Enghien. Initially 33 top flight performers have been engaged including Bold Eagle, Bird Parker, Un Mec d’Heripre, Billie de Montfort, Belina Josselyn, Amiral Sacha and many other tough campaigners. This race is a European Trotting Masters 2018 event. Thomas H. Hicks  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Apple Bottom Jeans stamped herself as the favorite for next week's $54,500 Burning Point Series final with a monstrous win in the first division of the second and final leg of the harness racing event for pacing mares Saturday night at the Meadowlands. Sent to the gate as the 2-5 favorite, 'ABJ' sat a four hole past the quarter as 2-1 second choice Bettorhaveanother was on the point. Apple Bottom Jeans moved to the outside at three-eighths, got up to the leader's throat on the far turn, and then drew clear to a 2¾-length victory in a lifetime-best 1:50.1 for driver Victor Kirby and trainer Kevin Switzer. Bettorhaveanother was second with Tica Hanover third. The 5-year-old daughter of Mr Apples returned $2.80 to win. Valuable Art ($4.60 to win as the 6-5 public choice) made the lead at the quarter in the other Burning Point division and after being passed by a pesky Windsun Glory in mid-stretch, came back to record a thrilling nose win over that foe in 1:51.2. Stormtracker was third. The winner, a 5-year-old daughter of Art Official, was driven by Corey Callahan and trained by Shaun Callahan. Barimah A ($5.60 as the 9-5 second choice) made the lead at the three-eighths and kept 3-5 favorite Windsong Leo at bay throughout the final quarter to record a three-quarter-length win in the lone division of the second leg of the Whata Baron Series for horses and geldings on the pace. Hug The Wind N third. Barimah A is an 8-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight who completed the mile in 1:50.4. He was driven by Andy Miller and trained by Scott Di Domenico and is the likely favorite for next week's $53,500 Whata Baron final. A LITTLE MORE: The Pick-4 continues to be as popular as any multi-leg bet in all of harness racing as the total pool topped the $100,000 mark ($105,082) for the third time this year. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,328,218 on the 10-race card. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five failed once again to result in a single-ticket winner, inching the carryover ever closer to the $200,000 mark, at $192,943. ... The 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 had a record-setting night, as the biggest pool in the history of the wager, $25,061, was the total play. For those who survived all 10 races, the reward was a payoff of $7,633. ... Favorites ruled as post-time choices won 14-of-20 races over the course of the Big M's Friday-Saturday race week. ... Live action resumes at the Meadowlands Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, April 14, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway Saturday night (April 14th) concluded the harness racing preliminaries, with the fifth round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series . A trio of windy, $50,000 events featured many of the best Free-For-Allers in their final shot to be social climbers. First Division - Pole-sitting Long Live Rock (Dan Dube, $16), victimized by a series of bad-fortune trip through the series, took matters into his own hooves here. He stuffed his rival in behind in post-position order, then finished his rounds (:27.3, :57.2, 1:25.3, 1:53.3). Long Live Rock, repelling an early pocket pull by Bettor Memories, owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He held off a first-up Western Fame (Mark MacDonald) by a half-length. Missile J (Tim Tetrick) rallied, losing the place photo as the 6-5 favorite. For fourth choice Long Live Rock, a 9-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his third win in a nine seasonal starts (1-for-5 in series). The exacta paid $71, with the triple returning $216.50 Second Division - Driver and trainer doubled their pleasure as Keystone Velocity (Dube, $4.50), the defending series champ, prevailed. Winning the draw, he sat pocketed to Evenin' of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) and that one's handiwork of :27.2, :56.2 and 1:24.2. Keystone Velocity engaged the leader early in the final turn, then went by. He defeated Christen Me N (Tetrick) by a length-and-a-half in 1:52.1, with Mach it So (Dave Miller) third. Evenin' of Pleasure faded to fourth. For Keystone Velocity, a 10-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owners (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stables, it was his first win in five seasonal/series starts. The exacta paid $28.80, with the triple returning $64.50. Third Division --- A down-the-road Killer Martini (Yannick Gingras, $16.40) was quite good in getting off the series schneid. From post No. 2, he didn't give much else a shot (:27.1, 56.2, 1:24.2, season's-best 1:52.4). Opening 3½ lengths in and out of the final turn, Killer Martini defeated a from-last Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton) by 3¾ lengths. Dr. J Hanover (Brett Miller), as the 4-5 choice, was a conservatively-raced third. For Killer Martini, a 6-year-old Camluck gelding owned and trained by Ricky Bucci, the fourth choice is now 3-for-12 this season (1-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $133.50, with triple returning $271.50. Saturday night's $40,000 Open Handicap Trot, where half the octet misbehaved, was won by In Secret (George Brennan, $13.40) in 1:57.4. The final Levy prelim standings accompany this release. Be advised these are not necessarily the entrants for the Saturday, Apr. 21st final (purse $532,000) and consolation ($100,000). Those participants shall be determined by the race office in accordance with the conditions of the series and in advance of Monday afternoon's (Apr. 16th) draw. A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway that Monday evening’s (April 16th) Pick 5 wager starts with a carryover of $7,066.26 and a $20,000 guaranteed pool. The guarantee is in conjunction with the U.S. Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent base wager comprising races 7 through 11. It has no consolation payoff, meaning if no one selects all five winners (as was the case Saturday night), the entire pool (minus takeout) moves to the next racing program. Monday‘s program may be downloaded at Yonkers Raceway George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series 2018           April 14, 2018                      Name 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg 25 pts/start Total    Bit Of A Legend N 50 12 25 50 25 125    287.0 Somewhere In L A 25 25 50 50 0 125    275.0 Dr J Hanover 50 50 50   12 100   262.0 Mach It So 50 12 0 50 12 125    249.0 Evenin Of Pleasure 25 50 0 25 8 125    233.0 Keystone Velocity 8 25 0 25 50 125   233.0 Western Fame 8 50 50   25 100   233.0 Rockin Ron 50 50 25 5   100    230.0 Missile J 25 12 50 0 12 125   224.0 Long Live Rock 12 0 25 8 50 125   220.0 Bettor Memories 12 25 25 12 8 125   207.0 Always At My Place 50 5 5 0 8 125   193.0 Chumlee A 25 8 8 25 0 125   191.0 Luciano N 8 25 12 0 5 125   175.0 Christen Me N 12 0 0 12 25 125   174.0 Killer Martini 0   12 12 50 100   174.0 Mister Daytona N 25 0 8 0 0 125   158.0 Caviart Luca 5 5 12 0 5 125   152.0 Another Daily Copy 0 12 12 0 0 125   149.0 Simply Susational N 0 0 5 5 5 125   140.0 Change Stride N 8 0 5 5   100   118.0 Bungalow Bill N 5 5 0 0   100   110.0 Franco Rayner N 8 8 0     75   91.0 All Bets Off 12 0 0     75   87.0 Theartofconfusion A 0 8 0     75   83.0 Thisjetsabookin 0 5 0     75   80.0 Waikiki Beach A 0 0 0     75   75.0 Rodeo Rock     8 8   50   66.0 Great Vintage 5   8     50   63.0 Orillia Joe   8 5     50   63.0 Western Dynasty 12 0       50   62.0 Bakersfield 5 0       50   55.0 Artmagic 0 0       50   50.0 Blood Brother 0   0     50   50.0 Mac's Jackpot       8   25   33.0 Awesomeness 5         25   30.0 Hug The Wind N 0         25   25.0 Sports Column     0     25   25.0 Gokudo Hanover           0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0             0 0.0                 ADDED MONEY 1st Leg 2nd Leg 3rd Leg 4th Leg 5th Leg Nom. Fees Total      $34,000 $30,000 $32,000 $22,000 $19,000 $195,000    $332,000                $200,000             Total $532,000 Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - Heavenly Sound and I Soar Him First kept their records in the Bobby Weiss Series for pacing males perfect after two starts, each winning one of the $15,000 three divisions of the second preliminary leg of their Weiss competition Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Heavenly Sound was the fastest of Saturday's three winners, ripping off a 1:50.4 clocking that equaled the mark he set at The Meadowlands two starts back. But the Rock N Roll Heaven colt needed every ounce of energy reflected in that time to overcome a first-over trip and catch pacesetting Heartbeat Hill by half a length - probably a little closer than the backers who sent him off at 1-20* might have liked. However, Heavenly Sound did get the job done for driver Tom Jackson, trainer Bruce Saunders, and M&M Harness Racing LLC. The other two first-round Weiss winners clashed in the heat where I Soar Him First quarter-moved to the lead for driver George Napolitano Jr. and went on to tie the 1:52 mark he set in the first leg. Goose Mountain, at a disadvantage in the post draw, could get to only 1¾ lengths behind the winner at the finish as the So Surreal sophomore gelding contains to thrive for owner/trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera. The other Weiss winner Saturday wasn't triumphant here in the first round - but Ostro Hanover had won his previous five starts between Monticello and Yonkers, and here he made it six straight while lowering his mark over three seconds to 1:52.1. Record Machine, three-quarters of a length back of the victorious Betterthancheddar colt, photoed out unlucky favorite Riggle Wealth for second. Frank Yanoti conditions the impressive Pocono newcomer for Twin Bridge Racing. In the $21,500 featured pace for older performers, Highalator raised his career win percentage to 50%, overcoming a first-over journey to just nip pacesetting American Primetime by a head in 1:49.4, fastest mile of the young season at Pocono and a new mark for the winner. Tyler Buter handled the sulky assignment behind the son of Somebeachsomewhere, now a visitor to Victory Lane 15 times in just 30 trips behind the gate, for trainer Jenny Bier, who is also the co-owner with Joann Dombeck. PHHA / Pocono

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway presented the $24,000 annual Craig Colston Memorial Open Pace on Saturday (April 14) honoring the memory of one of old Lebanon Raceway's staunchest harness racing supporters. When the winner, Night Pro, returned to the winner's circle he was surrounded by about 40 of Colston's family and friends. Owner-trainer-driver Dale Decker reverted to "catch me if you can" tactics for this victory, following a failed effort to win from behind last week. Night Pro had to work hard to secure the front in a :26 flat opening panel, but was able to throttle back to a :54.3 half before being pressured. The intact 8-year-old son of Pro Bono Best-out of the fantastic former race mare Midnight Jewel-continued to show the way to the 1:23 three quarters station, then tacked on a :28.4 final split to hold off all challengers in 1:51.4. Longshot Savage Seelster (Jason Brewer) took full advantage of the innermost post position and a pocket ride throughout to gain runnerup laurels, while My Hero Ron (Tyler Smith) rallied from last in the full field down the backstretch to grab the show dough. Co-featured on the Saturday card were a pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett eliminations for some of Ohio's finest 3-year-old colt pacers. Sectionline Bigry (Tyler Smith), who set the 1:51 track record for the age and sex in his last start, overcame an outside post to score a 1:51.3 tally over Bounding Dragon (Josh Sutton) and Bus Ninethirtysix (Chris Page). Also advancing to the $40,000 championship were fourth place finishers Oberlin (Kyle Ater) and Gotarockinmypocket (Peter Wrenn) on the merits of the quickest fifth place finish in the two eliminations. Harold Lee and Harold L. Bauder of Delaware, Ohio bred and still own the winning son of Pet Rock out of their prize broodmare Aquatic Yankee. Steve Bauder is trainer. Dragonology (Chris Page) from the Brian Brown Stable proved best in the second split, topping fellow championship qualifiers Stark Hanover (Josh Sutton), In Trouble Again (Jeff Nisonger) and Harambe Deo (Kayne Kauffman). The son of Dragon Again earned $75,000 as a freshman, including a third place finish in the $250,000 Ohio Sires Stakes championship and a victory in the Ohio Breeders Championship at Delaware. It was the first start of the promising colt's sophomore season for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco and AWS Stables. The fields are now set for all four $50,000 Hackett Memorial finals next week. The 3-year-old trotting fillies will go postward on Monday (April 16) with the trotting colts vying for supremacy on Tuesday (April 17). It will be the sophomore pacing fillies contesting their final on Friday (April 20) and the pacing colts completing the annual Hackett series on Saturday (April 21). Gregg Keidel

WASHINGTON, PA, April 14, 2018 -- Lightly regarded Return Of The Sith saved ground for most of the mile, then exploded late to pull off a 13-1 harness racing shocker in Saturday's second leg of the Tom Kirwan Memorial Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings at The Meadows. On Saturday afternoon, April 21, The Meadows will host the $25,000 (est) finals of four current late-closer series, including the Tom Kirwan. Return Of The Sith was third at the top of the lane when Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. angled him off the cones for racing room. He held off Antagonist by a neck to score in 1:53.4, lowering his lifetime mark by 4.4 seconds, with early leader His Excellence third. Norm Parker trains the son of Bettor's Delight-Gothic Lady for Megan Rogers Racing Stables. In the $20,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, Phoenix Warrior N rallied from sixth to score in a career-best 1:50.3 for Jeremy Indof, trainer Scott Betts and owners Timothy Betts, Nicholas Catalano and Stephen Moss. The 8-year-old Jereme's Jet-Never Walk Alone gelding now boasts $246,993 in career earnings. Aaron Merriman, harness racing's "winningest" driver in each of the past three seasons, enjoyed a big day with six wins on the 12-race card for six different trainers: Randy Bendis, Paul Corey, Clay Faurot, Jr., Herman Hagerman, Bill Rhoades and John Zawistowski. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino has doubled — to $15,000 — the total-pool guarantee for its Monday, April 16 Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. While $7,500 Pick 4 guarantees are offered each card, The Meadows upped the ante when Saturday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a carryover of $4,666.48. In addition, Monday’s card includes a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Pick 5 — also a regular feature of each program at The Meadows Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (races 4-7) and Pick 5 (races 9-13) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post Monday is 1:05 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

YONKERS, N.Y. – Last year, Keystone Velocity used a victory in the George Morton Levy Series as a springboard to a successful harness racing season. In addition to the Levy, Keystone Velocity posted wins in the Ben Franklin Final and the Potomac Pace. His accomplishments ultimately earned him the Dan Patch Award for Older Pacing Male.  “He definitely had a great year from start to finish. He’s definitely a very nice horse. We love the horse,” said trainer Rene Allard, who also won the Levy Final in 2015 with Domethatagain. Allard pointed Keystone Velocity to a similar start to his 2018 campaign. However, unlike last year when Keystone Velocity won two legs of the Levy to secure a spot in the final early in the series, this year the son of Western Hanover is winless in his first four starts. After a fourth and two runner-up finishes in the first four preliminarily legs of the Levy, Keystone Velocity is ranked 12th by points heading into tonight’s last leg. The top eight earn a spot in the final. “This year, he’s had a little bit of a slow start, but he had a little bit of a virus and I think it just took a little something out of him,” Allard said. “It seems like he’s getting better, feeling better this week. We definitely need a win to make the final.” Although Keystone Velocity is now 10 years old, Allard hasn’t seen any signs of aging from his star pacer. Keystone Velocity missed almost two years of racing between 2014 and 2016 and has 114 lifetime starts. He’s won 27 and earned $1,353,413 for Allard and partners Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. “He trained down really good. He’s just a very classy horse. He does everything you want, very happy going, just loves his work. That’s one thing about him, he just loves to do his work and that makes him great,” Allard said. “He doesn’t show any signs of getting older or slower. If you have a bad day, you just go jog him and it makes you feel better. It’s nice to have him around, that’s for sure.” After posting a 9 ¼-length, 1:52.1 win in a Pocono Downs qualifier March 6, Keystone Velocity made his seasonal debut in the series the following week. After starting from post seven, he led at every call, but faded in the stretch to finish fourth. In week two, Keystone Velocity closed from an 8 ¼-length deficit to finish third and was later placed second by the judges. He suffered from the effects of a virus when he finished a disappointing sixth in leg three and last week, rebounded with a second-place finish to Mach It So, who scored a wire-to-wire win off a :56.4 half. “I think he should be bouncing back, I’m hoping. He’s not racing horrible. Last week, he sat the two-hole, finished second, I thought with a trip like that, he would have a little bit more punch coming home, but it was really slow fractions,” Allard said. “For a horse like Mach It So to get fractions like that, it’s tough to catch them. Hopefully he keeps improving and best-case scenario, if he wins (tonight), we might be able to get in the final.” Keystone Velocity will start from post one in tonight’s $50,000 Levy split, the second of three on the 12-race program. To help ensure a top performance in tonight’s race and give Keystone Velocity the best chance of making the final, Allard opted to make a change to glue-on shoes. Keystone Velocity wore glue-on shoes in his Levy Final, Ben Franklin, and Potomac Pace wins last year. “Usually, we just glue them on for the final, but we need to try to get a win tomorrow, so we’re going to glue his front shoes on. It seems like he’s always way better with glue-ons, but we just can’t do it every start,” Allard explained. “He’s always had a history of feet a little bit. Every horse has his little things, his feet can get a little sensitive here and there. We always take good care of his feet, but when you glue the shoes on, it always seems like he’s a little better.” Keystone Velocity will start from post one tonight with regular driver Dan Dube in the sulky. The inside draw made him a 5-2 morning line chance. Mach It So is the 9-5 morning line favorite from post three while Evenin Of Pleasure is a 9-2 shot from post four. Simply Susational, Christen Me, and Another Daily Copy complete the lineup. “That was very exciting that he got the rail because he has a shot. He has Mach It So and Evenin Of Pleasure in there as his two main competition I think in this race,” Allard said.  “We definitely appreciate what the horse has done for us and we’re just going to take care of the horse. We’ve still got to decide his schedule from here on, but he’s doing really good. If there was a reason for him not to race, we wouldn’t be racing in the Levy, but he’s definitely feeling really good right now. I think he’s going in the right direction.” First post time tonight is 6:50 p.m. For entries to the card, click here.  By Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY  

April 13, 2018 - The Friday evening program at Paris-Vincennes included the Q+ Prix Eukrate (purse €48,000, 2850 meters, 16 starters) and the Gr. II Prix Jean Riaud (purse €115,000, 3535 meters distance handicap, 13 starters). The former went to 12/1 Vanillette (9f Lord du Pin-Etoile de Rivray) reined by Adrien Lamy for trainer Jean Morice. The winner recorded her 10th career victory now for €226,170 earned. 8/1 Ahrima Turgot (8f Prodigious-Night Turgot) was a close second for Mathieu Daougabel driving for trainer Herve Dauougabel. 1.9/1 favorite  Andiamo de Monchel (8g Kiwi) was third for J-M Bazire ahead of 5.5/1 Biniou de Connee (7g Ni Ho Ped d’Ombree) and 12/1 Bettina de Tillard (7f Ouragon de Cellard). Race time was 1.12.7kr. The Prix Jean Riaud went to 12/1 Beau Gamin (7m Quinoa du Gers-Cadette) timed in 1.13.6kr for J-M Bazire the trainer/driver. Ecurie Jean Michel Rancoule owns this 11 time career winner now for €631,110 earned. 15/1 Cash Gamble (7m Ready Cash-No Way Back) was second for J.Ph. Monclin teaming for Norway’s Stall T.J. Gamble. 2.8/1 Valko Jenilat (9f Kepler) overcame a 25 meter penalty to capture third with Aric Raffin up for trainer Sebastien Guarato. The 25 meter handicapped Traders (6m Ready Cash) at 8.4/1 took fourth for Joann Lebourgeois and 43/1 Tony Gio (6m Varenne-Ilaria Jet) was fifth with Matthieu Abrivard driving. The 25 meter handicapped Uniflosa Bella at 9/1 and 50 meter penalized Up And Quick (10m Buvetier d’Aunou) at 80/1, a winner of €2,046,040, raced well with the latter clocked in 1/12/9kr Thomas H. Hicks  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, April 13, 2018 - Yonkers Raceway paid homage to Friday the (April) 13th, wrapping the preliminaries with the fifth round of the harness racing Blue Chip Matchmaker. Three, $40,000 events again brought together many of the best pacing mares in the last chance to impress the electorate. First Division - A first-up toughie, but Dude'salady (Tim Tetrick, $27.80) prevailed in a blanket finish. Early leader Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) gave it up to Lady Shadow (Jason Bartlett), with the latter setting early intervals of :27.3 and :56.4. From post position No. 2, Dude'salady took out of fourth, with 11-10 favorite Mackenzie A (Jordan Stratton) towed from second-over. Dude'slady found her best stride after a 1:24 three-quarters, though Lady Shadow owned a length-and-a-quarter lead in the lane. The pursuer surged late, whipping the pace-setter by a neck in a life-best 1:52.4. Lakeisha Hall found inside room but was photoed for second. Call Me Queen Be closed well for fourth, while Mackenzie A wound up a flat fifth, the quintet of payees separated by just a half-length. "I thought she was good last week (third), so I wasn't surprised she dug in," Tetrick said. For fifth choice Dude'salady, a 4-year-old daughter of Shadow Play co-owned by First Staters M&L of Delaware & Victoria Dickinson and trained by Bruce Saunders, it was her fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts (1-for-5 in series). The exacta paid $131.50, with the triple returning $629. Second Division - Pole-sitting Sell a Bit N (Stratton, $8.50) went the distance (:27.1, :56.3, 1:25.1, season's-best 1:53.1). She stuffed Medusa 19-10 fave (Yannick Gingras) in behind, then dealt with a first-up Twinkle (Eric Goodell). The latter could have been a tad better 'front ma'am' for Newborn Sassy, who herself was gapping a bit. Newborn Sassy rallied wide and did get into second. Sell a Bit N owned a three-quarter length lead in and out of the final turn, maintaining that margin to the wire. Medusa was third, with Twinkle fourth. For third choice Sell a Bit N, an 8-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Von Knoblauch Stables and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her fifth win in 10 '18 tries (2-for-4 in series). The exacta paid $42.40, with the triple returning $155.50. Third Division --- Well, this was a surprise. Series domimnatrix Shartin N (Tetrick), who had won all three of her Matchmaker starts before getting a week off, couldn't get out of her own way. The 3-10 choice broke right at the start, caught the field, then jumped it off again at the half. While this hard-to-believe was happening, pole-sitting L A Delight (Gingras) retook from Clear Idea (Mark Mark MacDonald), then held the other three in-range lasses at bay (:28.2, :57.4, 1:25.1, season's best-matching 1:53.2). Clear Idea was second, beaten a length-and-a-half, with Shesjustadelight N (Ron Cushing) third. Shartin N wound up last among the octet. "Just wasn't her night," Tetrick said. "There have been times when she's been fussy with her mouth, and I don't know if that's what happened. She jogged back to the paddock and seemed sound, so we have to see. " For second choice L A Delght, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Diamond Creek Racing and trained by Nancy Johansson, she's now 2-for-4 this season (2-for-3 in series). The exacta paid $59.50, with triple returning $298. The final standings accompany this release. Be advised these are not necessarily the entrants for the Saturday, Apr. 21st final (purse $373,000) and consolation ($75,000). Those participants shall be determined by the race office in accordance with the conditions of the series and in advance of Monday afternoon's (Apr. 16th) draw. Saturday night (Apr.14th) offers a trio of $50,000 divisions of Free-for-Allers in the fifth (final) round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Frank Drucker

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - One week after breaking stride in a disastrous start to his 2018 campaign, Sutton came back with a superb performance at the Meadowlands in the Friday night harness racing feature, the second and final leg of the Shiaway St. Pat series for trotters. After disappointing the chalk players last week - finishing last in a seven-horse field as the 3-5 public choice - Sutton's trainer Julie Miller added trotting hobbles to the 5-year-old son of Donato Hanover and everything worked to perfection. In the early stages, it was the Millers' Opulent Yankee who had the lead. The 4-5 favorite had the top at the quarter, yielded the point to Royal Becca J at the half, and then retook the front at three-quarters, leaving Sutton uncovered. Andy Miller moved Sutton to the pocket briefly when Opulent Yankee was clear at the head of the stretch, but Sutton had more in the tank, and after tipping to the outside, he used a final quarter of :27.2 to overtake his stablemate - who would taste defeat for a second straight week as the odds-on choice - on the way to a 1¼-length win in 1:51.3. Opulent Yankee held second with Perseverance grabbing the show dough. Sutton returned $15.80 to win for owners Andy Miller Stable and Jason and Douglas Allen. Next Friday's $52,500 Shiaway St. Pat final shapes up as a great matchup with Sutton, Opulent Yankee, and leg one winners Elysium Lindy (who broke at the start of Friday's race) and Deep Impact (who took the week off). A LITTLE MORE: Andy McCarthy kept up his winning ways, scoring three times on the card. His 21 wins since his March 16 return are tops in the driver colony. ... Make it seven straight Pick-4 pools of at least $88,000, as a total of $90,804 was poured into the pot of the Big M's signature wager. ... Speaking of seven, that's how many favorites won on the 10-race card. ... The Late 20-Cent Jackpot Super High-Five did not result in a single-ticket winner, upping the carryover to $189,336. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,210,132. ... Racing resumes at the Meadowlands Saturday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

LEBANON, OH. – The photo finish operator at Miami Valley had a busy night on Friday (April 13) as thrilling close finishes were the order of the day, including the three featured harness racing events.  A pair of $15,000 James K. Hackett Memorial elimination heats produced crowded photo finishes as did the $24,000 Mares Open Pace. Up Front Flor Ida (Kayne Kauffman) pulled a major upset in the initial Hackett elim, nosing out Filou Fly Fast (Chris Page) and Just Zip It (Keith Crawford) in 1:53.4.  Big Bad Goldie (Mike Wilder), who lead the field to the first quarter pole in :28, also qualified for the $40,000 Hackett championship next Saturday with a fourth place finish.  The top seven fillies in the ten-horse field were within 1-1/4 lengths at the wire.  The winner, a daughter of Woodstock who had just two wins and $15,824 in freshman earnings, paid $46.00.  Up Front Flor Ida is trained by Tim McKoy for owners Kevin McKinney and Virginia McKoy. The second Hackett elim went to favored Kay Again (Chris Page), who won by 1-1/4 lengths and paid $3.20.  It took the camera to separate the next four finishers, however, as they were all noses apart.  Also advancing to the final were Grant Me This (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.), Badlilvelocity (Aaron Merriman), Auntmilly’smartini (Rocky Ward) and fastest fifth place finisher Merciless (Tyler Smith).  Kay Again also had just two wins, good for $45,190 in earnings, heading into the Hackett but now must be considered one of the favorites in a very competitive and evenly matched championship field.  The daughter of Dragon Again is owned by Alan Keith and trained by Mike Roth. The lucrative Mares Open Handicap was not to be outdone, producing another exciting photo finish.  American Girl (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) eeked out a mild upset over Colorful Sky (Aaron Merriman), Zoe Ellasen (Tyler Smith) and Rockin Racer (Jared Finn)—all of which “you could cover ‘em with a blanket” at the finish line. It was the third seasonal win for American Girl, although she hadn’t visited the win circle in two months.  She paid $16.40 for topping the elite field with over $2.5 million in career earnings.  The 9-year-old Art’s Chip lass now has 49 career victories and $913,160 in life bounty for owners Darla Gaskin and Stanley Rosenblatt.  Trainer Tyler George manages her daily routine. Gregg Keidel

CHESTER PA - It may have been 117 days since driver George Napolitano Jr. and harness racing trainer Gilbert Garcia-Herrera were crowned tops in their respective categories for 2017 at Harrah's Philadelphia, but on Friday's opening card of the 2018 season, the duo showed "no signs of a layoff," combining to win the two featured races as an evening session kicked off the year at the suburban Philadelphia track. In the $18,000 featured pace for distaffs, Napolitano and Garcia-Herrera combined with the Gotta Go Cullect mare Taketothesky N as the Kiwi import took a North American mark of 1:53. "George Nap" had the mare well-placed behind live cover, then tipped her wide and came from fifth at the stretch call, despite a good-sized wind up the lane, to catch pacesetting Juxta Cowgirl for owner/trainer Garcia-Herrera. Trainer Garcia-Herrera is also the owner of the Sportswriter mare Windy Sport, whom Napolitano moved to the lead at the quarter, then urged home to withstand the late burst of Lil Miss Gorgeous in 1:52.3 to take the $16,000 co-featured pace. Both feature winners scored by a half-length. The next card at Harrah's Philadelphia comes on Sunday at 12:40, when race 9 will feature former North America Cup champion Wakizashi Hanover and the streaking Awesomeness, winner of two straight and four of his last six, trying to overcome their assigned outermost posts in a $22,500 winners-over handicap pace. Until Labor Day this year, Harrah's Philadelphia's basic schedule will be Wednesday - Thursday - Friday at 12:25 p.m., with Sunday action set for a post of 12:40 p.m. PHHA / Harrah's Philadelphia

The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the Breeders Crown series, will raise the purses of the four freshman divisions of the Breeders Crown races to $600,000 each for 2018, making them the richest harness racing events for 2-year-olds of each gender and gait in the country. All 12 year-end Championship events will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Given the Society's longstanding mission to support and promote the breeding of Standardbred horses and in a continued effort to address the issue of declining foal crops, an immediate boost to 2-year-old purses will benefit breeders, owners and yearling buyers. "This will be the fourth straight year we've been able to bump the 2-year-old Breeders Crown purses to $600, 000," said John Campbell, president of the Hambletonian Society. "With the spike in February and March payments we want to give owners an immediate return on their investment in young horses. Eliminations for 2-year-old races will be held Friday, Oct. 19, while 3-year-old and older eliminations will be held Oct. 20. The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted the Breeders Crown events in 2010 and 2013, setting new handle and attendance records each year. The complete purse schedule for the Breeders Crown is as follows Harness Racing’s Championship Series Presented by The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Twelve Events • $6 Million Estimated in Purses  Saturday, October 27 $600,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT $600,000 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE $600,000 2-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT $600,000 2-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE $500,000 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROT $500,000 3-YEAR-OLD COLT PACE $500,000 3-YEAR-OLD COLT TROT $500,000 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACE $400,000 BREEDERS CROWN PACE $250,000 MARE PACE  $500,000 BREEDERS CROWN TROT $250,000 MARE TROT  

Bill Matz enjoyed the highest of highs last year when Beckhams Z Tam delivered the longtime harness racing owner his first Breeders Crown trophy. As Matz awaits the pacer's return this spring, he is keeping an eye on Heavenly Sound; a 3-year-old that he hopes can follow in Beckhams Z Tam's hoof prints and develop into a stakes player as the season progresses. Beckhams Z Tam, who was winless in six races at age 2 in 2016, last year posted five early-season conditioned-level wins followed by multiple successes on the Indiana Sire Stakes circuit before upsetting Downbytheseaside in the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers at his home track, Hoosier Park. "That story turned out great," Matz said. "Those are the moments you wait your whole life for. What an experience. It was just awesome. There was electricity in the air that night. It was a great party for everybody. "I'm not that much of a trotting guy, I've never had much luck with them in my career, so whenever we talked about what race we'd most like to win, the Hambletonian or the Breeders Crown, I always said that for me the Breeders Crown would be the thrill of a lifetime. I reached the pinnacle." Matz hopes Beckhams Z Tam can keep him feeling like he's on top of the world. Beckhams Z Tam, owned by Matz's Z Tam Stables and trained by Jamie Macomber, will start his stakes campaign in the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and also test himself against older horses in unrestricted stakes events. Last year, Beckhams Z Tam won 11 of 20 races, hit the board a total of 18 times, and earned $512,545. "It should be interesting," Matz said. "Turning (age) 3 to 4, you never know what you're going to get. You keep your fingers crossed. They say he's trained back great, that he's rock solid. We're hoping to have the luck continue straight through to the end of the year." Heavenly Sound, owned by Matz and Cary Potkin as M & M Harness Racing, won two of 13 races last year. He started this season in conditioned-level races and finished second his first two starts, by a total of less than a length, before posting back-to-back victories. The colt's first win was in 1:50.4, with a :26.1 final quarter-mile, at the Meadowlands. The time is tied for the season's fastest by a 3-year-old pacer. His second win was a 1:52.2 triumph in the first round of the Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Heavenly Sound returns to action Saturday in the second round of the Weiss. He will start from post five in the first of three divisions, with Tom Jackson driving for trainer Bruce Saunders. The colt is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. "I've got to give Bruce all the credit," Matz said. "Bruce picked him out and thought we had a good one. He told us to shut him down last year and give him some time and he's come back great. He went a big mile at the Meadowlands and it looks like he's one of the top ones in the Weiss, which is always a great feeling." Heavenly Sound is a son of 2010 Horse of the Year Rock N Roll Heaven, who was trained by Saunders, out of Frankie's Dream, who is a full sister to stakes-winner Happy Dreamer. Heavenly Sound was purchased for $27,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale. The colt is eligible to a number of events including the Breeders Crown, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace, Matron Stakes, New York Sire Stakes and Empire Breeders Classic. "I love that he's showing some speed, especially when I know he's got a lot of races on half-mile tracks down the road," said Matz, a New Yorker who owns two dozen horses. "If you don't have speed and get away toward the back, it's game over before you even start." Following Saturday's races, the Weiss Series for male pacers will continue with preliminary rounds April 21 and April 28. The $30,000 championship is May 5. For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. First race post time is 7 p.m. (EDT). The Weiss divisions are races three, four, and 12 on the 14-race card. Ken Weingartner  

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