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Chester, PA -- Entering from a string of respectable efforts from off the pace in Open company at Dover Downs, a change of tactics proved beneficial for Tiger Thompson N ($3.20) in his Harrah's Philadelphia harness racing debut on Sunday afternoon (April 14), as he delivered a crushing 7-3/4 length blow to his rivals in the featured $18,000 top-level conditioned pace.   "He's been finishing off really well; his last quarters have been really strong," said driver Dexter Dunn of the 6-year-old Big Jim gelding who could only muster a third-place finish in his previous effort at Dover after being hemmed in.   In his local debut, Dunn angled Tiger Thompson N out from third early to brush clear of Bettorever (Tony Morgan) after a sharp :26.3 initial quarter. After clearing with a circuit to go, Tiger Thompson N controlled middle splits of :55.1 and 1:22.2 before drawing off in earnest through the final turn to lead by six at head-stretch. Ultimately, Tiger Thompson N capped his lifetime-best 1:50.3 mile with a :28.1 closing split and plenty of energy in reserve.   "He still had the plugs in; he was doing it pretty easily," Dunn said of Tiger Thompson N's local debut. "He went a strong mile today on the front and hopefully he can keep that form up."   Jack Roger (David Miller) circled a collapsing second flight to take second at 23-1, while Dash Of Danger (Kyle Husted) emerged from last at the top of the stretch to finish third.   Trainer Josh Parker acquired Tiger Thompson N in November along with co-owners Nanticoke Racing Inc., Stephen Messick and the Prestige Stable. So far, the eight-time winner has won three times for his American connections.   For Dunn, the featured win was the cornerstone of a driving hat trick: the New Zealand national also teamed up with Final Justice ($13.00, 1:54.3) and Zampara ($21.00, 1:53.3).   Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (April 17), with first post set for 12:25 p.m. Eastern and a $4,507.07 carryover in the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in race five.   by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

Chester, PA -- Diamond Creek Racing's Grand Teton ($3.60) kicked his 4-year-old harness racing campaign off with a bang, dismissing the mid-stretch challenge of double millionaire Mach It So for a 1:51 win in the $18,000 featured pace on Sunday (April 7) at Harrah's Philadelphia.   A stakes winner in 1:48.1 at three, the son of A Rocknroll Dance took full advantage of his class edge in the upper-level pacing event, letting Mach It So (David Miller) clear midway on the first turn before surging to the fore at the end of a :27.2 first quarter and pulling the pace back to a :56.1 half.   "I knew the move to make was going to the front," said driver Yannick Gingras.   Grand Teton remained uncontested as he picked up the tempo on the backstretch, posting a 1:23.2 three-quarter split. Off the home turn, Gingras asked Grand Teton for a bit more pace, and the nine-time winner responded immediately. He just as easily turned aside Mach It So's pocket rally with a sixteenth to go, edging away by 2-1/2 lengths. Cruise Patrol (George Napolitano Jr.) narrowly missed second after stalking the top pair throughout.   "I asked him, but then he paced away," Gingras said of when Grand Teton faced his lone challenge of the mile. "He responded and he had some left. He raced really well."   Per Engblom trains Grand Teton, who eclipsed the half-million dollar mark in career earnings.   Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (April 11), with a 14-race card slated for a 12:25 p.m. first post.     by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

Chester, PA -- Following a driving grand slam on Friday's (March 29) opening harness racing card at Harrah's Philadelphia, defending driving champion George Napolitano Jr. again asserted his dominance by posting six wins on Sunday afternoon's (March 31) 12-race card.   Cruise Patrol's ($3.00) 1:50.4 win in the eighth race, a $14,500 upper-level conditioned pace, was the cornerstone of Napolitano's six-bagger. The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight entire used a :26.4 first quarter to seize command from Dream Out Loud N (Dexter Dunn) before rating a :29.1 second quarter split and powering away up the far side to put three lengths of clearance on his pocket rival. Turning for home, Dream Out Loud N began to close in, but Cruise Patrol ultimately held his ground, driven out to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.4. Machiavelli (Simon Allard) held third, another 4-1/2 lengths back, after stalking the top flight throughout.   For trainer Mike Dowdall, Cruise Patrol was one of three winners on the afternoon.   Napolitano also teamed up with Dowdall trainees Mayfield Duke ($3.60, 1:53) and Track Master D ($5.00), along with Gilbert Garcia-Owen trainees CC's Desire ($2.80, 1:52.4) and Our Regal Ideal N ($6.80, 1:53), and Norm Parker pupil Unlocked ($2.60, 1:53.1).   Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia with a 12-race program on Thursday (April 4). Post time is 12:25 p.m. Eastern, and the fifth-race 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 will feature a carryover of $1,656.80.     by James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

Chester, PA -- A mere three weeks away from mandatory retirement, Foiled Again ($2.20) withstood three strong challenges en route to a gritty 1:54.2 win -- the 108th of his career -- in Sunday's (Dec. 9) $10,000 Foiled Again Farewell Tour Invitational at Harrah's Philadelphia.   The richest pacer of all time and usual driver Yannick Gingras were tested from the outset by Cabbie's Delight (George Napolitano Jr.), but held their ground through a :27.4 first-quarter duel. After rating a comfortable :57 half, the 14-year-old son of Dragon Again faced first-over pressure from Machtu N (Brett Miller) up the far side of the course. Machtu N worked to within half a length of the lead past three-quarters in 1:25.4 before dismissing that challenger, only for Cabbie's Delight to re-emerge up the open stretch.   Driven out to the winning post, Foiled Again refused to lose, parrying Cabbie's Delight's inside challenge by a quarter length for his tenth seasonal score. Hypothetical (Tony Morgan) made late inroads to take third.   "There's tears every time I get to sit behind him, and it gets harder every time," said an emotional Gingras after the win over the same racetrack Foiled Again made a name for himself in 2008 with ten wins, eight of them against open competition.   "There's no doubt that he's helped me to get to where I'm at."   Trainer Ron Burke expressed similar sentiments of the veteran, whose farewell tour will wrap up on Dec. 31 at The Meadows.   It's really energized us as a barn and made us enjoy everything," Burke said about the tour before reminiscing about his star pacer's legacy.   "Probably at seven, he was better than everyone out there. All of a sudden, there wasn't anyone better, and he went for two or three years where he was the best horse in the country." In his 2011 campaign, Foiled Again won six $100,000 events en route to amassing well over $7.6 million in career earnings.   The Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables own Foiled Again, and have have campaigned him since acquiring him in July of 2008.   Live racing resumes at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (Dec. 12); first post is slated for 12:25 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA -- Once again hit by multiple players, the harness racing 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 at Harrah's Philadelphia boasts a growing carryover which now approaches the $12,000 plateau.   Despite 3-2 favorite Shady Secret A missing the ticket in Friday evening's (Nov. 23) fifth race, multiple players had the correct 2-6-4-5-9 combination for a $621.92 dividend. Given that the jackpot is only paid in the event of one unique winning ticket, $11,973.79 will carry over to Sunday's (Nov. 25) program.   The Jackpot Hi-5, offered daily in the fifth race, requires players to select the first five finishers in order.   Post time on Sunday is 2:05 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia  

Chester, PA --- Cutting back to a flat mile after a failed three-wide push in the ten-furlong Great Northeast Series final on Sept. 2, Shartin N ($3.80) reasserted herself as one of the top harness racing pacing mares in the continent with an easy 1:51.2 score over sloppy going in Sunday's (Sept. 23) featured $25,000 winners-over distaff at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Despite being assigned the outside post 7, the 5-year-old daughter of Tintin In America had no trouble getting involved from the start, floating into third on the first turn under Tim Tetrick handling before brushing clear of Bettorhaveanother (Tony Morgan) just beyond a :27.4 first quarter. Shartin N continued on to control middle splits of :56.1 and 1:23.3 before accelerating away from first-over challenger Delishka N (Art Stafford Jr.) off the home turn.   In the end, Shartin N worked 3-3/4 lengths clear of her six foes in earning her 22nd career tally. Bettorhaveanother dug in from the pocket to hold second over Delishka N.   Shartin N, whose wins in the Betsy Ross, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty and Artiscape are among the highlights of her illustrious 2018 campaign, is trained by Jim King Jr. for owners Richard Poillucci and JoAnn Looney-King.   Multiple players correctly selected the top five finishers in the fifth-race Jackpot Hi-5, resulting in a $2,027.19 carryover to Wednesday's (Sept. 26) program. The 20-cent wager occurs in the fifth race on each card at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Post time Wednesday is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA --- After a first-over bid came up short in last week's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, Fashion Farms LLC's Patent Leather ($3.60) overcame the elements and proved dominant in the second of three $30,000 Liberty Bell splits for Pennsylvania-sired 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 9) at Harrah's Philadelphia.   Tim Tetrick floated the son of Broadway Hall forward from his outside post 6 to land in third behind early pacesetter Hill Street (Corey Callahan) and pocket sitter Stonebridge Gamble (Tyler Buter). After drafting patiently behind soft fractions of :29 and :57.2, Tetrick gave Patent Leather his first-over cue with three-eighths to go, and the Jim Campbell trainee's response was instant. He powered past Hill Street at the 1:26.1 three-quarter mark and drew clear at once. He amassed 7-3/4 lengths of clearance over eventual runner-up Stonebridge Gamble at the end of the 1:54 mile, while Hill Street faded to finish third.   Patent Leather, who finished second to Tactical Landing in a Hambletonian elimination, earned the sixth win of his career. For Tetrick, the win capped a Liberty Bell double on the card, as he also teamed up with Tom Fanning trainee Mississippi Storm ($10.60) for a 1:54.3 victory over Scirocco Rob (Callahan) in the first trotting division.   Toast Of Lindy ($9.00, 1:56.1) rounded out the winners of the trotting divisions, taking advantage of an early break from twos-on favorite Lindy's Big Bang (Dexter Dunn) and edging away late in rein to Andy Miller for trainer Julie Miller.   Liberty Bell - 3-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace   Hayden Hanover ($2.20), runner-up to Dorsoduro Hanover in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final, won the last of four $30,000 Liberty Bell divisions for sophomore pacing colts and geldings convincingly, shrugging off a challenge from JK Wildfire (Dunn) en route to a 1:51.1 mile amid intensifying wind and rain. Andy Miller sent the son of Somebeachsomewhere to the lead at race's outset, and the pair controlled fractions of :27.2 and :56 before JK Wildfire emerged at their flank to press a :28 third sectional.   Despite his rival working to within a head a quarter from home, Hayden Hanover responded in kind, kicking on the afterburners at the eighth pole and edging away to a two-length win with plenty left in reserve. Daddyofemall (Mike Wilder) chased off cover to narrowly claim third.   Julie Miller trains four-time winner Hayden Hanover for the Pinske Stables, Andy Miller Stable, TLP Stable and Deo Volente Farms. For the Millers, Hayden Hanover capped a stakes double on the card.   Iluvtomakemoney ($51.00) opened the pacing proceedings with a major upset, circling four-wide from astern under Dexter Dunn to narrowly reach in 1:53.1 for trainer Mark Harder.   Messenger starter Winston ($10.60) followed in the second division by vaulting from the pocket to overtake odds-on pacesetter Terror Atthe Beach (George Napolitano Jr.) and stave off a late charge from Go West Go Fast (Matt Kakaley) by half a length in 1:53. Corey Callahan drove for trainer John Butenschoen.   After breaking in his two previous starts, Wheels On Fire ($10.80) and Matt Kakaley righted the ship in the third division with a 1:52.1 mile which saw him emerge late from the pocket to upend Macadoodledoo (Tetrick) by half a length. It was the seventh career win for the Ron Burke trainee.   Multiple players successfully hit the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in the afternoon's fifth race, resulting in a carryover of $2,119.85 to Wednesday (Sept. 12). First post is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   James Witherite Harrah's Philadelphia racing media

Chester, PA --- Not only did Sunfire Blue Chip ($14.20) duel down double millionaire Mach It So, but he also parried a ferocious late rally from the white-hot Donttellmeagain in Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 26) featured $30,000 Great Northeast event for open pacers at Harrah's Philadelphia.   The 8-year-old American Ideal entire got away cleanly in third behind early pacesetter Check Six (Tony Morgan) and stalked a :26.1 first quarter before watching Mach It So (George Napolitano Jr.) brush from the pocket with a circuit to go before working to clear before reaching race's midpoint in :54.2. Driver Josert Fonseca angled Sunfire Blue Chip first-over up the far side and worked steadily toward Mach It So through a :27.3 third split.   Within half a length a quarter from home, Sunfire Blue Chip inched closer through the far turn and gained equal footing with Mach It So at head-stretch. Meanwhile, Donttellmeagain (Victor Kirby) -- a 1:49.1 winner in Great Northeast action a fortnight ago -- was building momentum around foes after kicking third-over cover.   With one challenger put away, Sunfire Blue Chip held tough to the end of a 1:50 mile, keeping Donttellmeagain a head at bay. Third-place finisher Mach It So proved valiant in defeat, only beaten by half a length.   For Jimmy Takter trainee Sunfire Blue Chip, the Great Northeast win was his 30th career tally and his fifth of the season. Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Brixton Medical and R A W Equine own the millionaire pacer.   No one correctly selected the top five finishers in the afternoon's fifth race, despite 4-5 favorite Penzance Hanover ($3.60, Napolitano) winning the $17,000 conditioned event. As such, the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 carryover for Wednesday's (Aug. 29) program increased to $7,146.35. Post time for the first of 14 races on Wednesday is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia  

Chester, PA --- After a slow start to his 9-year-old campaign, Mel Mara ($3.60) found victory in his ninth start of the year and became harness racing's newest millionaire on Sunday afternoon (Aug. 19) at Harrah's Philadelphia.   The son of Lis Mara left from post five in a $12,500 third-level conditioned pace and worked clear of Cyamach (Pat Berry) at the end of a :27.2 first quarter before using three straight :28 sectionals to outpace the field. Mel Mara and driver Victor Kirby started to gain separation on their seven rivals with three-eighths to go, amassing a five-length lead off the far turn before ultimately defeating the late-rallying Franky's Beach Boy (George Napolitano Jr.) by 4-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. Archangel Three (Tony Morgan), who provided cover to the runner-up, finished third.   Dylan Davis trains Mel Mara, runner-up in last year's Ben Franklin and Sam McKee Memorial events, for the partnership of the Robert Cooper Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Howard Taylor.   The day's $17,000 featured pacing event saw Commentariat ($22.00) skim the pegs to spring a 10-1 upset in rein to Sean Bier. The 4-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding remained perched in the pocket behind favored pacesetter Spondulicks N (Art Stafford Jr.) before working up the open stretch to win by half a length in 1:53. Spondulicks N held second over Rough Odds (Dexter Dunn), who lifted down the grandstand side to miss the runner-up spot by a further neck.   Noel Daley trains eight-time winner Commentariat, a Caviart Farms homebred.   Favorites finished one-two in the day's fifth race, resulting in multiple winners in the 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5. As such, a mounting carryover of $3,852.96 heads to the Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 22) program. First post is 12:25 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

Chester, PA --- Driver Joe Bongiorno captured two of Sunday afternoon's (Aug. 12) three Pennsylvania Sire Stakes events for 3-year-old harness racing pacing colts and geldings at Harrah's Philadelphia, teaming up with Albergo Hanover ($6.80) and Done Well ($5.60), both of whom earned new lifetime marks in their respective divisions.   In the $54,805 first division (race three), the door was opened for Bongiorno and Albergo Hanover with five-sixteenths to go, when odds-on favorite Grand Teton (Andy McCarthy) broke stride after stalking second-over cover.   After pacesetter Odds On Lauderdale (Andy Miller) dismissed an outside challenge from Shadow Cat (Corey Callahan) through a blistering 1:22 three-quarter split, Albergo Hanover found clearance up the open stretch and surged to a 1:49.4 score by 1-1/2 lengths. Odds On Lauderdale held second by a neck over Larry Karr (Matt Kakaley).   Gestion J Y Blais Inc. owns Albergo Hanover, now a five-time winner in his career. For the son of Well Said, it was his fourth win in six starts for trainer Jenn Bongiorno.   Bongiorno came back in the $55,205 second division (race seven) with Pepsi North America Cup runner-up Done Well, calling all the shots en route to a 1:51 score.   The Well Said colt strode clear from post 4 and controlled splits of :26.3, :54.3 and 1:22.4 before turning aside a first-over challenge from Aleppo Hanover (Kakaley) and keeping the late-gaining Captain Deo (Marcus Miller) 2-1/2 lengths at bay. This Is The Plan (McCarthy) circled three-wide through the far turn to take third.   James Stambaugh, Wingfield Brothers LLC, Milton Leeman and Alan Keith own six-time winner Done Well.   Hayden Hanover ($6.20) rounded out the trio of Sire Stakes winners with a 1:50.1 victory in the $55,205 third division (race 11). Matt Kakaley had the son of Somebeachsomewhere in play from the outset, part of a three-way battle with Somebaddude (Marcus Miller) and Nutcracker Sweet (McCarthy) through a :26 first quarter.   After initially protecting inside position, Hayden Hanover yielded to Nutcracker Sweet with a circuit to go and rode the pocket to the open stretch, where he pounced and drew off by a length. Macadoodledoo (Callahan) rallied off the cover of Babes Dig Me (Goodell) to take second narrowly over Nutcracker Sweet.   Julie Miller trains three-time winner Hayden Hanover for the Pinske Stables, Andy Miller Stable Inc., T L P Stable and Deo Volente Farms LLC.   A $30,000 Great Northeast Series event for open pacers (race nine) headlined the undercard, and Graduate final winner Donttellmeagain ($5.80) eclipsed More The Better N for the second straight week, scoring in 1:49.1 in rein to Victor Kirby.   The 4-year-old Dragon Again gelding worked clear of Rodeo Romeo (George Napolitano Jr.) after a :26.3 quarter before yielding to odds-on choice More The Better N (Callahan) with a circuit to go. As More The Better N was worn down by millionaire Sunfire Blue Chip (Andy McCarthy), Donttellmeagain was able to set sail up the open stretch and draw a length clear at the winning post.   Jim King Jr. trains 17-time winner Donttellmeagain for the Paton Racing Stables Inc.   For the second straight card, multiple players had the winning 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 combination, resulting in a carryover of $1,118.61 to the fifth race on Wednesday's (Aug. 15) program. First post is 12:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA --- Perched third-over up the far side, Independent One ($4.60) circled four-wide en route to a 1:51.4 win in Sunday afternoon's (July 29) $17,000 featured pace at Harrah's Philadelphia.   After racing second from last in the early stages while Xpert Bayama (Corey Callahan) and Commentariat (Andy McCarthy) disputed the lead through fractions of :26.4 and :54.4.   Simon Allard then angled the 4-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding third-over up the far side into a late-developing outer flow. As Rough Odds (George Napolitano Jr.) advanced to press Xpert Bayama on the far turn after a :28.2 third sectional, Independent One stayed right on the helmet of Drinkin Again (Eric Carlson), who swung three-wide to the lead an eighth from home. Independent One vaulted clear as the pace collapsed and beat Drinkin Again by 1-1/4 lengths, while Sossy's King Kong (Brett Miller) rallied from astern to take third.   Independent One captured his sixth career win for trainer Vincent Fusco Jr. In addition to handling the driving duties, Allard shares ownership of Independent One with Bruce Soulsby, Allen Weisenberg and Niss Allen Inc.   Trainer Lou Peña recorded his 3,000th career win in one of two $14,500 sub-featured events, teaming up with Eric Carlson for a 1:52.1 victory with Skyful Of Lighters ($29.40).   The 7-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding was left uncovered with a circuit to go, sustained progress up the backstretch, and wore down pacesetter Cyamach N (Pat Berry) to win by half a length. José Cervantes owns the 20-time winner.   The other sub-featured pace saw Rock The Nite ($6.80, Napolitano) dig deep to parry a stern first-over threat from Grand Teton (Andy McCarthy) to earn his 18th career win in 1:50. Andrew Harris trains the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding for Robert Key.   Multiple players hit the afternoon's 20-cent Jackpot Hi-5 in race five, resulting in a carryover of $1,072.27 to Wednesday afternoon's (Aug. 1) card. First post is scheduled for 12:25 p.m.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA - Rockeyed Optimist ($5.20) proved strongest of all in Sunday afternoon's (July 1) featured $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series pacing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, using an extended first-over push to wear down Emeritus Maximus for a 1:49.2 score.   Brett Miller put the 7-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding in play from the far outside as the gates folded, and the pair were able to land in third behind the pacesetting pair of Emeritus Maximus (Andy Miller) and Sunfire Blue Chip (Andy McCarthy) through a blistering :26 first quarter. On approach to the bridge turn, Rockeyed Optimist angled off the pegs and worked into a narrow second through a :54.3 half before turning up the pressure on the backstretch.   After Rockeyed Optimist forced a :26.3 third split, it appeared as though Emeritus Maximus would be able to parry his threat nearing head-stretch, but the longtime pacesetter was engulfed a sixteenth from home. Rockeyed Optimist surged to the fore in mid-stretch, holding off a late bid from pocket rival Sunfire Blue Chip by a length in 1:49.2. Robbie Burns N (Corey Callahan) rallied down the grandstand to finish third.   Jake Leamon trains 32-time winner Rockeyed Optimist for the partnership of Anthony Perretti, Virginia Berkner, the A and B Stable and Joseph Battaglia.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Chester, PA - Guardian Angel As turned in a track-record performance in his $30,000 Great Northeast Open Series trotting event on Sunday (June 24) at Harrah's Philadelphia, while Caviart Ally sprung a 35-1 upset after stalking a pressured pace in the pacing mares division.   In the Open Trot, ACL Stuteri Ab and Kjell Johansson's Guardian Angel As ($3.40) rode the pocket to a track-record 1:52 victory over Broadway Donna. Tim Tetrick used inside position to protect the pocket with the 4-year-old son of Archangel, yielding to Broadway Donna (David Miller) in a :26.4 first quarter before stalking middle splits of :56.3 and 1:24.2. Locked in on the far turn, Guardian Angel As took aim in the open stretch and accelerated to collar Broadway Donna by half a length in deep stretch.   Sutton (Andy Miller) held third after his first-over bid weakened in the stretch, while Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) finished a non-threatening sixth.   Anette Lorentzon trains Guardian Angel As, whose 1:52 mile was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old trotting entire at Harrah's Philadelphia.   In the Mares Pace, Caviart Ally ($72.60) stormed up the pegs to upset a softened twos-on favorite Blue Moon Stride (Corey Callahan), runner-up to Shartin N in the Roses Are Red. Andy McCarthy pressed the pace up the pegs with the 4-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight before yielding to Blue Moon Stride in a :26.4 first quarter.   After rating a :55.4 half, Blue Moon Stride felt intensifying pressure from the first-over Agent Q (George Napolitano Jr.) up the far side. After being headed by Agent Q, Blue Moon Stride battled back for a slim lead in upper stretch, but a fresh Caviart Ally emerged up the inside to win going away by 1-1/4 lengths. Skippin By (Brett Miller) emerged off cover to narrowly claim second over Blue Moon Stride.   Noel Daley trains 12-time winner Caviart Ally for Caviart Farms.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia 

Columbus, OH --- Wendy Ross has joined the U.S. Trotting Association's Communications Department as social media and public relations coordinator and Jason Turner has been promoted to assistant editor of Hoof Beats and digital brand strategist for the USTA. In addition, James Witherite has been hired as a freelance editor for the newsroom on the USTA's website, www.ustrotting.com. "We are excited to add Wendy to the communications team for the skills and experience she will add to our social media and publicity efforts," said USTA Director of Marketing and Communications Dan Leary. "And we're pleased to provide Jason with a larger role with our magazine as assistant editor of Hoof Beats as well as a new opportunity to assist us in shaping the USTA's digital strategy moving forward. "With these additions, we've diversified the skills of the communications department and added creativity to our team, which will allow us to do an even better job of promoting the sport of harness racing." Ross, a third-generation horsewoman, is a familiar face to harness racing fans through her work as an on-air television personality at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs, Northfield Park, The Meadows and The Little Brown Jug. Following in the footsteps of her mother, Ross began her career at the age of 15 as an outrider at local fairs in Ohio. She later worked in that capacity at Northfield Park and Tioga Downs and has had the opportunity to be an outrider at some of harness racing's most prestigious events including the Hambletonian, Breeders Crown and Elitloppet in Sweden. After leaving the industry for about a year-and-a-half during 2016 and 2017, Ross recently returned to harness racing at The Meadows where she has been back in front of the camera doing live interviews in the paddock and winner's circle on the track's simulcast. Turner started his USTA career as an intern for Hoof Beats in 2006. After graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in journalism, he was hired as a full-time publishing assistant in 2007 and, later that year, was named as editor of Youth Beats magazine, a publication whose subscribers have grown from 40 to 1,700 under his guidance. A year later, Turner began writing and copy editing and had his first feature story published in Hoof Beats. In 2011, he was promoted to graphic designer. Also in 2011, Turner was named the recipient of the International Media Award for Best Feature Article for his "Racing and the Recession" story in the November 2009 issue of Hoof Beats. His work on the magazine has also won multiple American Horse Publications and Hervey Awards for writing and design. Witherite currently serves as the chart caller and racing analyst at Harrah's Philadelphia. Previously, he was a track announcer from 2006 to 2016 at Harrah's Philadelphia, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. He also served as morning line oddsmaker and program handicapper at The Meadowlands and makes numerous appearance as the bugler at many of harness racing's top events. by Ken Weingartner, for USTA Communications Department  

Nichols, N.Y. - Officials at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs have unveiled a new-look stakes schedule for the 2017 harness racing season, with top horses converging on upstate New York to compete for over $3.7 million in purses. Top veteran Standardbreds and 3-year-old New York-sired pacers take center stage on a pair of blockbuster Sundays at Tioga Downs. The August 20 card features the $175,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for open pacers and both $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics for three-year-old pacers. One week later (August 27), distaff pacers contest the $175,000 (est.) Artiscape as a co-featured event with the $175,000 (est.) Crawford Farms Trot and the $175,000 (est.) Joie de Vie (formerly the Muscle Hill) Mares Trot, both of which move to the Southern Tier from Vernon Downs. "We have an amazing stakes lineup on back-to-back Sundays in August," said Jason Bluhm, Director of Racing at Tioga Downs. "I think our fans will enjoy seeing all the sport's top stars--all the top horses, drivers and trainers--converge on Tioga for what should be some phenomenal racing." Other stakes highlights at Tioga include a Graduate Series preliminary for 4-year-olds on the pace and on the trot, the Geers Stakes for 2- and 3-year-old pacers, the Arthur Tompkins Memorial for 2-year-old trotters, the W. N. Reynolds Stakes for 2-year-olds, and a Miss Versatility preliminary for distaff trotters. At Vernon Downs, the marquee event remains the Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, but it has been moved from its late July position to two weeks after the Hambletonian, where it will now take place on Friday, August 18. The main event for top colts and geldings carries a $370,000 (est.) purse, while top fillies vie for $150,000 (est.). "We thought it was the perfect opportunity to move into this spot when Pocono decided not to race the Colonial in 2017," remarked Vernon Downs Director of Racing Scott Warren. "We are hopeful we'll be able to attract the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks winners." New York-sired 3-year-old trotters will compete in the $250,000 (est.) Empire Breeders Classics on Sunday, June 18, and the sport's finest 2-year-olds will compete for an estimated $600,000 as the Kindergarten Classic finals return to the Miracle Mile on Friday, November 3. Full 2017 schedules will be available in mid-winter, pending approval by the New York State Gaming Commission. Further stakes information is available at https://www.tiogadowns.com/racing/horsemen/. by James Witherite, Tioga and Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, N.J. -- In the words of racecaller Ken Warkentin as City Hall ($5.00) entered the harness racing winner's enclosure on New Year's Eve, "You can't stop him; you can only hope to contain him." Any way you look at it, there was no fighting City Hall in Saturday's (Dec. 31) featured $35,000 Auld Lang Syne Invitational at The Meadowlands, as he stalked a hot pace from second-over before vaulting clear to a 2-1/4 length victory in 1:49.3. Brett Miller floated the 6-year-old Metropolitan gelding into mid-division in the initial stages as Doctor Butch (Jim Marohn, Jr.) sprinted clear to control early splits of :26 and :54.3 over fast going. Approaching race's midpoint, City Hall angled second-over behind the live cover of 33-time winner Clear Vision (Joe Bongiorno) and worked closer through the far turn before pointing three-wide off the far turn. City Hall vaulted to the fore at the eighth pole and drew off smartly as Doctor Butch and Clear Vision dueled into defeat. Lucan Hanover (Vinny Ginsburg) rallied into second at 20-1 from third-over spotting, while 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach (Drew Monti) sustained a strong stand-side rally to narrowly claim third over his stablemate. The win was City Hall's fifth in a row after he used a :26 last quarter to evade top-level conditioned pacers in his last appearance on December 16. Amber Buter trains the now 33-time winner for Gene Oldford Farms and Tyler Buter. New Year's Eve Pick 5 pays $41k Despite a 17-1 shot in So Take That being the longest-price winner in the sequence and a pair of favorites living up to their billing, the evening's 50¢ Pick 5 returned $41,671.75 on the 3-6-10-8-4 combination, over 53 times the corresponding win parlay. Thisguysarockstar (5-1, Greg Merton), So Take That (17-1, Corey Callahan), Pickwick (4-5, Brett Miller), Dash of Danger (2-1, Merton), and Alberto Contador N (6-5, Marohn) proved victorious in the sequence. Players combined to wager $2,473,933 on the 13-race card. The 2017 season at the Big M kicks off Friday, January 6; post time is 7:15 p.m. Eastern. by James Witherite, Meadowlands

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