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Laurel, DE --- With just a dozen 2-year-old pacing fillies eligible to the Massachusetts Sire Stakes in 2017, Wisconsin harness racing horseman Jesse De Long knew all along he'd send Delco Dusty to the East Coast to compete. What he wasn't sure of was whether she'd make any money. Three wins and close to $80,000 later, it's safe to say the filly exceeded his expectations. "I never thought she'd be a stakes record mare," De Long said. Delco Dusty is the daughter of longtime De Long broodmare Gypsys Good Girl and Jereme's Jet. De Long said he’d wanted to breed the mare to an East Coast stallion in 2015 and, at the urging of family friend Jimmy Nickerson, decided to let her foal in Massachusetts. “The program was building,” he said, adding that the previous year the 2-year-old pace had gone in 2:02. And so Gypsys Good Girl (Wuzzup-Expresso Gypsy) foaled in Norfolk, Mass., in May of 2015 and was bred to New York stallion Rock N Roll Heaven before heading home to Wisconsin with her young filly. It was there De Long decided to name her in honor of Dustin Deming, the doctor he credits with saving his wife Mary’s life after she was diagnosed with colon cancer. “At first they didn’t give her long to live,” he said. “She’s been clean now for almost two years.” While Delco Dusty was the offspring of one of De Long’s favorite broodmares, she didn’t particularly stand out training down early this year. De Long and his sons, who break and train about 15 head a year, followed their usual routine of giving her a few starts at Wisconsin fairs before sending her to Hoosier Park. There, De Long’s son John maintains a stable. “Actually my son said he had so many fillies he didn’t really even want her,” De Long said. “We didn’t think she was as good as some of the Indiana fillies.” He took her though and raced her several times at Hoosier Park. Though she was an impressive second in her first start, coming from ninth at the half to finish second by a neck, she struggled with sickness during the following weeks. She went on to earn three fifth-place checks before it came time for her trip east. De Long wasn’t optimistic when he sent her to Nickerson and trainer Heidi Rohr. “Her first start out there she was so far back it wasn’t funny,” he said. When Nickerson called him after the race, De Long figured it was to make arrangements to send the filly back to Wisconsin. He was pleasantly surprised by what his friend had to say. “He said she was super fast,” De Long recalled. He pointed out that she’d finished next to last and Nickerson assured him that regardless, she had speed. Delco Dusty went on to prove it, finishing third the following week before really earning some attention in the first elimination of the Massachusetts Sire Stakes. On Sept. 25, driver Greg Merton steered her to a 1:53 win at Plainridge Park, obliterating the previous track record of 1:55 for 2-year-old pacing fillies. She won in 1:54.2 in another sire stakes event the following week. After a fourth in a conditioned race at Vernon Downs and a third in an Oct. 23 sire stakes event, Delco Dusty ended her season with a 1:55 victory in the $90,000 Massachusetts Sire Stakes final for 2-year-old filly pacers last Monday (Nov. 6). De Long says the filly, who’s now on vacation for the winter, made it a memorable stakes season for he and his wife. Delco Dusty has also renewed his faith in her dam, who’s already produced several talented mares that will eventually be part of his broodmare band. “It’s a good old Illinois family,” he said. “We’ve had good luck with them.” by Charlene Sharpe, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent

As it has done on four other occasions the $118,000 Lorna Propes Championship for filly and mare pacers 3yo & up produced yet another repeat harness racing champion as the Jesse De Long owned Let's Go Higher held on to win by a length in 1:52.0 with John De Long at the controls. Last year's winner of this event left hard from post five but was quickly covered up as Dune In Red (Dave Magee) and Party Hangover (Todd Warren) battled through a tough opening quarter of 27.1. Moving first over as the field raced by the half-mile mark in 55.0 the Heidi Rohr trained six-year-old swallowed up Party Hangover as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.3. "I wasn't surprised that we had to do as much work as we did because they're not going to be able to beat her if they just leave her alone on the front end," said a confident De Long. Through the stretch the daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed held sway as Dune In Red came charging at her along the inside while No Respect (Marcus Miller) was closing on the outside. Unfortunately time ran out for that pair as Let's Go Higher dug in gamely to post her 23rd victory in the past two seasons. Dune In Red was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while No Respect was third. After the victory a beaming De Long was more than happy to sing the praises of his charge. "Halfway down the lane I was nervous," he said. "But she fought off the outside horse then nearing the wire she caught the inside horse out of the corner of her eye and she just dug in again. I really believe this is the toughest mare I've ever driven and her will to win is just second to none." The 1-2 choice after a strong elimination win the previous week Let's Go Higher continued the parade of favorites paying $3.00, $2.20 & $2.10 while moving her career bankroll to a gaudy $460,435. Tom Kelley

Most horsemen tend to be cautious about their horses’ chances when Super Night rolls around and don’t want to appear to be too optimistic. After all anything can happen in a horse race and it often does on Illinois most anticipated racing evening of the year. “I have to admit my hopes are up a little bit more for Super Night than they were the week before the eliminations,” said owner and trainer Jesse De Long who has had a Super Night champion in his barn the last two years.” And well they should be. De Long’s mare Let’s Go Higher, the 2013 Lorna Propes champion, breezed in 1:52.1 in her Propes elimination for trainer Heidi Rohr. His 2-year-old filly Sportsmuffler (1:54.3) was much the best in her Orange and Blue Filly elimination, and Jesse and John De Long’s 3-year-old Party Hangover Two finished a strong fourth in  the Grandma Ann stake prep. “Jimmy Richard and Heidi Rohr had Let’s Go Higher out east. I don’t think she came in a sharp this time around as she did last year but they told me ‘don’t worry, she’ll be fine.’ I was a little worried but they were right, she did race really well. “It’ll be kind of strange racing against Party Hangover Saturday. I still cheer for the mare but I don’t want to cheer for her too much when she’s racing my mare. It should be interesting race. “Party Hangover is a very good mare and so is the mare (Dune In Red) that beat her last week. It’s a tough field and it should be a very good horse race. “I have Party Hangover’s little sister (Party Hangover Two) also racing Saturday in the Grandma Ann. Like (my son) John always says about her: ‘We always seem to finish fourth, about a length and a half out of first, and we seem to always draw outside the horse and have to come from way back. Maybe things will be different Saturday.” I told Jesse he can probably count on much quicker fractions in the Grandma Ann Final and its $142,000 purse than he saw in the $10,000 prep when Molly Go Lightly (Matt Krueger) cruised to a  :57.2 half-mile time and got away with a:29.third quarter enroute to her 1:55 flat victory. “I hope you right,” replied Jesse. That would help our filly a ton. She’s close now to being near the top of her game like she was earlier in the summer when she paced in 1:52.3) in a Hanover. “I thought our 3-year-old pacing filly (Sportsmuffler) raced super last weekend in her division of the filly Orange and Blue. “I’m really excited about her now. She had two things that were wrong with her at Du Quoin and they are perfect now. She should be good for the final.” First Super Night post on Saturday will be at 6:30 pm Chicago time. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

With one major Super Night championship on her résumé the year-old ICF mare Party Hangover is looking to add another next Saturday on Illinois’ most anticipated evening of racing at Balmoral Park. Party Hangover, the 2012 Grandma Ann champion for trainer Jesse De Long, had won her first six first pari-mutuel starts after owner-trainer Ken Rucker sent Party Hangover back to Illinois under the care of his wife Catrina and driver Todd Warren before her second place finish last night in her Propes elimination. Dune In Red (1:51.2), given a pocket trip by Dave Magee, overtook Party Hangover in the lane to win the second elimination while defending Propes champion Let’s Go Higher breezed in 1:52 flat in the first split. I asked Catrina to fill me in about Party Hangover. “We bought Party Hangover privately near the end of last year and sent her out East to race,” said Catrina. “She did very well there this year making almost $28,000. But she’s been ever better since she’s been back in Illinois.” In her seven starts ion the Chicago circuit this year Party Hangover has raked in almost $40,000 for the Rucker family. What has made the mare so good in her home state? “In Pennsylvania there was no consistency with drivers,” replied Catrina. “You would get a different driver every week. A couple of times our mare got locked-in with a ton of pace but nowhere to go. You look at those lines it would appear she wasn’t racing well but she was racing great. “Here in Illinois it’s a different type of racing on a different type of track. Party Hangover is a mare that you can race any way you want, on the front or out of a hole. “Todd (Warren) has been great with the mare and he likes her a lot, too. He told us she’s done everything he’s asked her. “We scratched her out her Springfield race when the day of race got moved because of the rain they had down there. We wanted her fit and ready for the Parklane Powerful and she was, coming up with her second new lifetime mark (1:51.2). “We put her in a qualifier last Wednesday to keep her sharp because there wasn’t a race for her last Saturday and we didn’t want to go three weeks in between starts. “Party Hangover is kind of like the barn star right now and she likes being pampered. “A baby can jog her but once you turn her she’s all business on a racetrack. If you train her with another horse she won’t let that horse get past her. She’s just a monster on the track.” As a 3-year-old Party Hangover was an eight-time winner for the De Long stable and put over $161,000 on her card with the bulk of that money coming with consecutive wins in the Springfield and Du Quoin State Fair championships, and triumphs in both her Grandma Ann elimination and its final. Nailing Down Another: Al’s Hammered (Bobby Smolin) uncorked a season fastest 1:49.1 mile last night in his Maurello elimination victory, avenging his recent loss to Fort Silky in the Egyptian stake at Maywood. The win was No. 13 of the season for Al’s Hammered, owned and trained by Bob Phillips, and likely sewed up his role as the morning line favorite for Saturday’s $120,000 Championship. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

The countdown to the biggest night of the year for Illinois conceived and foaled pacers and trotters began in earnest on Saturday night at Balmoral Park as a bevy of elimination action brought out some of the Prairie State's best. Freshmen pacing fillies started the Saturday night action with a total of 15 youngsters entered in a pair of $15,000 Filly Orange & Blue elim's. The top five will be back on Super Night to battle for a $163,000 (est) jackpot. In the opening split Jesse De Long & Hamm Family Trust's Sportsmuffler made her local debut a winning one as she rolled to an easy 4 ½ length victory in a career best of 1:54.3. Perfectly placed In The Pocket by driver John De Long, the daughter of Sportsmaster--Whatifthere'smore exploded past the pace setting Cowgirl Chic in the lane as she rolled to her sixth win in nine lifetime starts. Cowgirl Chic held on well to finish second while Girls Hunt Too (Dale Hiteman) was third and Star Gram (Brian Carpenter) was fourth. Angel Demon (Ryan Anderson), the 1-2 favorite in the field of eight, stopped badly after a first over bid on the far turn but still managed to gain a spot in the final with her fifth place finish. In the second division Leland Mathias and Paymaq Racing's Mr Leland's Filly continued her dominance of this division as she cruised to a 2 ¼ length victory in 1:56.1 for driver Casey Leonard. Sent from third to first after a tepid opening quarter the Erv Miller trained daughter of Sportsmaster--Incredible Katie appeared to have plenty in reserve through the lane as she toyed with her rivals while posting her fifth win in seven lifetime starts. BS Tyrichess (Brian Carpenter) turned a pocket sitting trip into a second place check while Lex (Kyle Wilfong) was forced to settle for the show dough after a bold first over bid at the top of the stretch. Luvniecestopieces (Ryan Anderson) was fourth while Fox Valley Redhead (Dale Hiteman) finished fifth. A field of 10 was sent postward in the $15,000 Pete Langley Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts with the top nine finishers joining Fox Valley Cupid, who opted for a bye, in next week's $147,000 (est) final. Living up to his overwhelming 1-9 favoritism Megan Rogers Racing Stables Unlocked completely dismantled this field as he reported home with an effortless 6 ¼ length victory in 1:50.3 for driver Dave Magee and trainer Erv Miller. The issue was never in doubt in this one as the good looking son of Duneside Perch--Miss Major Power worked his way to the front after the opening quarter and proceeded to widen his margin at each call while posting his fourth straight victory over these rivals. Fox Valley Deuce (Casey Leonard) followed the winners every move after relinquishing the lead on the backstretch but was no match for the heavy favorite while garnering the second place check. Svaya Knows (Travis Seekman) rallied late to finish third. Also gaining spots in the final were Fox Valley Van, Uncle Ugly, Overloaded, Cotton Eyed Joe, BlueRiver and Sleazeburgernfries. The older pacers renewed acquaintances as a total of 16 veterans were dropped into the box for a pair of $15,000 Tony Maurello Stake elimination's. Once again the top five finishers will be back for what should be a very entertaining $112,000 (est) final next week. In the first division the Bob Phillips owned and trained Al's Hammered came flying down the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths in a seasons best of 1:49.1 with Bobby Smolin at the controls. Content to bide their time near the back of the pack through some quick early splits, Smolin put the five-year-old son of Droppin'thehammer--Alberts Magic into contention at the top of the lane. Uncorking the big late kick he's come to be known for Al's Hammered proceeded to wear down FortSilky (Casey Leonard) in the final sixteenth of a mile for his 13th win in 19 starts this season. FortSilky was forced to settle for the runner-up role on this night while Big Daddy Woo Woo (Ridge Warren) was third. Ice Scraper (Todd Warren), who carved out the fast fractions held on for fourth while Ricky Bobbie (Pat Curtin) was fifth. In the nightcap Bert Hochsprung and the Erv Miller Stables classy veteran Iam Bonasera picked a nice time to grab his first win of the season as he rolled to an easy 1 ½ length victory in 1:51.3 with Travis Seekman at the controls. Perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Big Brad (Robert Smolin) carved out pedestrian splits of 27.4, 57.0 & 1:25.1, Seekman maneuvered the seven-year-old Cole Muffler--Shesoluvabull gelding to the outside with an eighth of a mile to go and the lifetime winner of more than $670,000 did the rest, storming home in 26.1 to get the win. Big Brad settled for second while another Miller trainee, A Cool Card (Dave Magee) was third. Crankin' It Up (Kyle Wilfong) was fourth while Doubletrouble (Todd Warren) was fifth. Next up were the two-year-old pacing colts as a total of 19 hopeful's met in a pair of $15,000 battles. The top five in each race will return for what is expected to be next week's biggest purse of the night at $187,000 (est). The first split provided a thrilling finish as the Roger Welch trained entry of Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova finished one-two with Earndawg getting the 1 ½ length score in a career best of 1:54.0 for the partnership of Bo & Pat De Long and E.J. Miller Jr. Sitting near the back of the back of the pack after starting from post position eight, driver Todd Warren did a magnificent job of guiding the altered son of Sportsmaster--Pacific Sister K through the lane charging from eighth to first in the final quarter-mile for his third win in nine lifetime starts. Rockin Cassinova (Dale Hiteman) parlayed a nice ground saving journey into the place check while Dakota Roadster (Robert Smolin) rallied for third. Also gaining spots in the final was the pace setting Dupage's Z Tam (Casey Leonard) and Thisishowweroll (John De Long). The second elimination was also a barnburner and when the smoke cleared it was Rocco Ruffolo's Lucpark who prevailed by the slimmest of noses in 1:55.1 for driver Dave Magee. Given a Hall of Fame steer by Super Night's leading driver, Lucpark left quickly from post nine and settled in nicely at the pylons until the top of the stretch. That's when Magee went to work with the Erv Miller trained son of Sportsmaster--Treasure The Best, deftly maneuvering off the cones then squeezing through a tight hole with an eighth of a mile to go before wearing down the pace setting King Of The Swamp (Todd Warren) in the last stride for his fourth win in eight lifetime starts. C Note (John De Long) shook loose late to finish third. The last two spots in the final went to Mighty Hot Shot (Brian Carpenter) and Fox Valley Elijah (Dale Hiteman). A total of 23 distaffers were dropped into the box for a trio of $15,000 Lorna Propes Stake elimination's with the top three and one fourth place finisher (drawn by lot) advancing to next week's $120,000 (est) championship. In the first division Jesse De Long's Let's Go Higher, the defending champion in this event, returned to town for trainer Heidi Rohr and promptly served notice that she's going to be tough to dethrone as she posted a 4 ¼ length wire to wire victory in 1:52.1. Confidently handled by driver John De Long, the six-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler--Ten Speed shot right to the top and promptly rattled off splits of 28.3, 57.1, & 124.4 before sealing the deal with a brisk 27.2 final panel for her 22nd win in the past two seasons. No Respect (Kyle Wilfong) followed the winner every step of the way but was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) was third. Fox Valley Touche finished fourth. In the middle split Wilson Racing Stable, Norm Neff and Mark Eichberger's Dune In Red parlayed a perfect trip into a 2 ½ length victory in a snappy 1:51.2 for driver Dave Magee. Sent hard from post five, the chestnut daughter of Duneside Perch--She Has The Look elected to let a hard charging Party Hangover (Todd Warren) go just after the quarter. That put the Tim Wilson Jr trained miss in a perfect spot the rest of the way. Magee then maneuvered the four-year-old out of the pocket and she responded beautifully as she zipped right by the odds on favorite for her fourth win of the season. Party Hangover held on for second while State Street Liz (Robert Smolin) was third. Zumba finished fourth. In the final elimination of the night fittingly went to another Dave Magee driven mare as he guided Joshua Carter's Just By Design to a one-length victory in 1:52.3. As was the case for nearly all of the night Magee had the roan six-year-old perfectly positioned In The Pocket while Fox Valley Absolut carved out splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:25.0. Fit and fresh as she waited for the passing lane, the Mike Brink trained miss cruised right by the pace setter for her third win of the season. Fox Valley Absolut held on for second while Toshie Special (Dean Magee) finished third. Auniqueaquistion finished fourth. The elimination action continues on Sunday, Sept. 7th with a $15,000 Su Mac Lad elimination. That tussle will go as race six on the 10-race card which begins at 7:10 p.m. (central). No eliminations were needed for the Lady Ann Reed for three-year-old trotting fillies or the Grandma Ann for three-year-old pacing fillies. The latter did have a "prep" on Saturday night which was taken by Sawgrass Farms Molly Go Lightly and driver Matt Krueger in 1:55. By Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park    

Hinsdale, IL --- The Mike Brink Stable’s King Mufasa, who dominated last season’s 3-year-old ICF colt and gelding trotting division, was named the 2013 Illinois Horse of the Year at last Saturday’s USTA District 5 awards banquet in Springfield. The son of Powerful Emotion, out of the Muscles Yankee mare Foxy N Diamonds, joined Brink after a modest 2-year-old campaign where he won two of eight starts and banked under $10,000 for owners H H Wright and Mystical Marker Farms. King Mufasa was absolutely sensational under the care of Brink, winning every major Illinois bred stake -- including the $50,800 Cardinal, the $51,000 Kadabra, both State Fair crowns at Springfield and Du Quoin and the $124,000 Su Mac Lad on Super Night -- along with open added money triumphs in Balmoral Park’s $37,000 Hanover and the $31,000 Circle City at Hoosier Park. At one time King Mufasa rattled off 12 consecutive victories when he earned $238,590 racing out of Brink’s barn. And to the surprise of many, the ICF star wasn’t sold out east after his huge season and will be back to campaign in Illinois and Indiana in 2014. “His owners like him so well that they didn’t want to put him in a sale. They’re letting me race him in the Midwest for another year,” said Brink, who turned 61 earlier this month. The veteran Springfield based conditioner concluded his most successful year in 2013 with career highs in winners (68) and money earned ($717,414) from his barn. King Mufasa was also voted the Illinois 3-year-old champion male trotter. Other sophomore division winners honored at the banquet were Mystical Walter (1:50, $195,259) as the male pacer for owners Paymaq Racing, D & M Trading of Illinois and Mystical Marker Farms; Auniqueaquistion (1:52.2, $249,235), owned by John Carver and Dandy Farms Inc., as the pacing filly; and Trot Fudge Sundae as the top trotting filly for the Illinois trio of James Bafia, Gene White and Sam Daddono. The 2013 ICF freshmen divisional champions were PQ Three (1:50, $111,899), owned by Obermeier & Quaid Stables as the male pacer; Thesleazyprincess (1:54, $159,615), owned and bred by the Marty Engel Stable of Illinois as the filly pacer; Jerry’s Graham’s Photo Surprise (1:57, $96,825) as the male trotter; and Bailey’s Wish (1:59, $112,710), co-owned by Illinoisans James Bafia and Gene White, as the top filly trotter. John Prentice and Neva Jane Ikeler’s Fort Silky (1:49.3, $269,075) took ICF older horse pacer honors. Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher (1:50.3, $198,236) was the older mare pacing winner. Randall Bendis’ Zumba Mouse (1:54, $103,474) was best among the older trotting mares and Run And Tell Pap (1:53.2, $126,510) took the top spot for older trotting horses for owners Burke Racing LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The state’s 2013 champion pacing stallion was Yankee Skyscaper while Powerful Emotion was named the trotting stallion division titleholder. Shesoluvabull was voted the champion pacing broodmare for a second consecutive year while Just Having Fin took that honor in the trotting broodmare division. District 5 Director and Chairman Sam Lilly was the Master of Ceremonies at the well-attended banquet and dinner where USTA Executive Vice-President Mike Tanner was a special guest. by Mike Paradise, for IHHA

YONKERS, NY, Friday, October 11, 2013--Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $37,000 co-featured Open Handicaps--Pace for the ladies and a Trot for all up to the challenge--were won by a pair of "to-the-houses" in Let's Go Higher (Jason Bartlett, $6.90) and DW's NY Yank (George Brennan, $4.20). Let's Go Higher, leaving from post position No. 7 (in one notch after an inside defection), had things all her own way. Working around 19-10 favorite Rock N Load (Dan Dube), she controlled the crowd through comfy early intervals of :27.1 and :57.1. Lightning Paige (Jordan Stratton) tried it first-up from fifth, moderately pressing the issue toward a 1:25.3 three-quarters. Let's Go Higher owned a length-and-a-quarter lead into the lane, then held sway by a diminishing neck in 1:53.3. Second went to Rock N Load, with Lightning Paige, Sir Jillian Z Tam (Pat Lachance) and Ginger and Fred (Brennan) settling for the small change. For second choice Let's Go Higher, a 5-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler owned by Jesse De Long and trained by Heidi Rohr, it was her 11th win in 31 seasonal starts (fourth in a row at three different venues). The exacta paid $21.80, with the triple returning $92. The featured trot had DW's NY Yank, who jumped it off a week ago as the favorite, regain the faith of the populace. From his ordered eight-hole as the 11-10 choice, he whipped around the site in :27.1, :56.4, 1:25.3, 1:54.2...a new track record for 4-year-old geldings. Second went to last week's upsetter, a loose-pocket Brando's Muscle Man (Eric Goodell), with Zooming (Bartlett), Bound for Fame (Stratton) and Lorenzo Dream (Brent Holland) rounding out the payees. For "DW," a Dilbert Hanover gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Howard Taylor, he's now 12-for-21 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $10.80, the triple returned $117 and the superfecta paid $265.50. A special Friday night salute to occasional (and insightful, as opposed to occasionally insightful) Saturday night co-host Gary Machiz, whose Where to Hanover (Mark MacDonald, $7.30) wired the $22,000, sixth-race trot in 1:57.1. The 4-year-old Donato Hanover gelding, trained by Joe King, is now 8-for-19 this season ($98,260). Machiz was joined by his wife, Stacy, in the winner's circle. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available around the NYRA schedule.   by Frank Drucker for Harnesslink.com  

Jesse De Long’s Let’s Go Higher soared to an impressive three-length victory over nine other filly and mare pacers in Saturday’s $130,000 Lorna Propes Stake stopping Mystical Victress’s bid to become the first four-time Super Night winner. The final time was 1:50.4.    Sweeping from fourth to first for driver John De Long after an opening quarter in 27.2 the five-year-old daughter of Cole Muffler then proceeded to roll through splits of 55.0 & 1:22.   “I didn’t want to rough up my mare too much early on so I thought I would just see how they got away and then move to the front once things settled down,” explained De Long. “I was a little surprised Mike didn’t leave a little more with his mare (Mystical Victress) so I was pretty happy to wind up in control of things like we did.”   After putting away a first over bid from Just By Design (Dave Magee) Let’s Go Higher began to put daylight between herself and her rivals quickly opening up a three-length advantage by the mid-stretch call.   “I looked back and saw Dave’s horse was starting to back up the outer flow a bit and we were starting to get away from the rest of them so I was pretty confident at that point,” said De Long.   On cruise control the rest of the way the Heidi Rohr trainee was never seriously threatened as she rolled under the wire with her ninth win in 29 starts this season. Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting) managed to rally for the second place check while Fox Valley Absolut (Robert Smolin), who was used hard to find a good early spot from her outside post held on for the show dough.   Bet down to 4-5 after her impressive elimination win Let’s Go Higher returned $3.60, $2.20 & $2.10 while winning for the 18th time in her career. The victory helped push her career bankroll to a gaudy $235,505.   David Baum

With all the preliminary action in the books it’s now “go-time” for everyone involved in Illinois’ biggest night of standardbred racing as Super Night 2013 is just six nights away at Balmoral Park. After a hectic weekend which saw 12 elimination tussles on Saturday the action slowed down just a bit on Sunday night with six more elimination’s contested for a trio of Super Night events. Kicking off the action were three-year-old trotting colts as a total of 17 diagonally gaited sophomores battled in a pair of $15,000 Su Mac Lad Stake elimination’s.The top five finishers in each division will be back on Saturday, Sept. 14th for the $121,000 final. In the first elimination “Bill” Wright and Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa continued his domination of this division as he rolled to a one-length victory in 1:56.3 with Mike Oosting at the controls. Sent to the front by Oosting after an opening quarter in 29.1 the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was in complete control the rest of the way as he rattled off middle splits of 58.1 & 1:28.1. With the “soft” middle half under his belt, the Mike Brink trainee had plenty in reserve for the stretch drive, trotting home in an effortless 28.2 for his 11th win in 12 starts this season. Semper Fit (Dave Magee) finished a nice second despite leaving from the outside post while Fox Valley Camo (Jamaica Patton) was third.Happy Balance finished fourth and Riet’s Kid was fifth. The division leader has now banked over $156,000 this year for his proud connections and he figures to be an overwhelming favorite on Super Night. In the second elimination Mystical Marker Farms and Jack & Peggy Hood’sPowerful Poe shed the runner-role he had assumed seven times already this season knocking off eight rivals by two-lengths in 1:56.2 with Todd Warren handling the driving duties. Despite leaving from an outside post the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Fox Valley Poetry landed in a good early spot as Powerful Valor (Jared Finn) and Skyline Road (Marcus Miller) battled through splits of 30.0 58.4 & 1:28.1. After securing racing room in the lane Warren asked the Dirk Simpson trainee for his best and the gelding responded beautifully as he trotted home in a brisk 27.3 to post his third win in 14 starts this year. Fox Valley Legend (Dale Hiteman ) rallied well to be second for red-hot trainer Joel Smith while Fox Valley Dubai (Dave Magee) finished third. Skyline Road and Powerful Valor finished fourth and fifth respectively to earn the last two spots into the Su Mac Lad final. Next up were three-year-old trotting fillies as a field of 10 looked for nine spots in next week’s $106,000 Lady Ann Reed Stake. They will be joined in the finale by Divination who received a bye into the Super Night  tussle. Flashing the form that netted her divisional honors in her two-year-old season, James Bafia, Eugene White and Samuel Daddono’s Trot Fudge Sundae reported home with a half-length victory in a career best of 1:56.0 with “Mr. Super Night”, Dave Magee in the bike. Givena confident steer by Magee the Dirk Simpson trained daughter of American Native—What A Joy shot right to the front from post six putting up splits of 29.1, 59.3& 1:28.1 while under a snug hold from her Hall of Fame pilot. Fit and fresh as she straightened for the money, the long striding bay put up a 27.4 final quarter to secure her 14th career victory in her 26th lifetime start. Little Ms Chrissy (Robert Taylor) finished a game second while Sara The Spy (Todd Warren) was third. Also securing spots in the final were Just For Fun, Fox Valley Yavonne, Powerful Goddess, American Empress, Kelsey’s Star and High Stepper. A total of 25 filly and mare pacers, three-year-olds and up, were entered for the $123,000 Lorna Propes Stake necessitating a trio of $15,000 elimination tussles. The top three in each division along with one fourth place finisher,(drawn by lot) will be back for the big cash next Saturday night. In the first elimination James Strzalka, Nancy Magnus, Norma Schulfer and James Skvarla’s Fox Valley Absolut exhibited the form that has netted her more than $361,000 in career earnings as she shook off a tough first over trip to score by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:52.4 for driver Robert Smolin. Taking advantage of a nice inside draw the seven-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster was able to save ground through opening splits of 27.2 & 56.2 before moving to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Grinding her way towards the top the Mike Schulfer trainee was right on the pace setting Tamarac Sassy’s flank as the field reached the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:25.2. Seemingly finding another gear as the distaffers moved through the lane Fox Valley Absolut swallowed up the pace setter with a 27.1 final quarter as she began to widen her margin while scoring for the fifth time in 25 starts this year. Kimberley R (Dale Hiteman) shook loose late to be the bridesmaid while Tamarac Sassy (Casey Leonard) held on for third. Willow Gram finished fourth. In the middle split the Terry Leonard owned and trained Whistle Pig looked like a princess as she pulled off an 18-1 stunner, scoring by a neck in a career best of 1:52.0 with Casey Leonard handling the driving chores. Placed near the back of the pack despite leaving from post position three the six-year-old daughter of Park Place moved into the outer flow on the far turn as Rev Me Up (John Roberts) sped through splits of 27.2, 55.4 & 1:24.0. Moving up with live cover Leonard tipped his mare four deep turning for home and she responded beautifully, speeding home in 27.1 to put up a career best. Fox Valley Touche (Dale Hiteman) closed well to finish second while Mystical Victress (Mike Oosting), the 1-9 favorite in the race finished third. Kate The Great was fourth. In the final elimination east coast invader Let’s Go Higher made it known that she will be a force to be reckoned with next week as the Heidi Rohr trained  five-year-old posted an eye catching eight-length romp in 1:50.4 with John DeLong at the controls. Perfectly positioned in third as Party Hangover charged through splits of 26.3 & 54.2 De Long moved the daughter of Park Place to the outside as the field moved mid-way around the final turn. Leaving the others in her wake Let’s Go Higher sped by the three-quarter-mile station in 1:22.3 as she set sail for the wire. Finishing off the mile in grand fashion Let’s Go Higher sped home in 28.1 to post her eighth win of the year for owner Jesse De Long. Just By Design (Dave Magee) finished second while Tune In (John Roberts) finished fourth but was moved up to third via a disqualification of Fox Valley Hermia who was cited for interfering with several horses near the top of the stretch. Cole Blue finished fifth but was moved up to fourth because of the DQ. Sunday’s 50 cent Pick 5 wager was not hit so there will be a carryover of $10,416 into Wednesday night’s pool. There will now be a $30,000 guaranteed pool on Wednesday’s Pick 5. The Pick 5 entails races 2-6 each night. Handicappers across North America can get a headstart on their competition with free 12 line program pages for the guaranteed pool courtesy of the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative and Track Master on the handicapping section at www.ustrotting.com. Tom Kelley ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- KING MUFASA POSTED HIS 11TH WIN IN 12 STARTS THIS SEASON AS Mike Oosting STEERED THE DIVISION LEADER TO AN EASY WIN IN THE FIRST OF TWO SU MAC LAD STAKE ELIMINATIONS ON SUNDAY NIGHT. TROT FUDGE SUNDAE AND HALL OF FAMER Dave Magee TEAMED UP TO WIN THE LADY ANN REED STAKE ELIMINATION IN 1:56.0 ON SUNDAY NIGHT. LET'S GO HIGHER ROMPED TO AN EIGHT-LENGTH DECISION WITH JOHN DE LONG AT THE CONTROLS IN THE LAST OF THREE LORNA PROPES STAKE ELIMINATION'S ON SUNDAY NIGHT. THE 5YO DAUGHTER OF Park Place STOPPED THE CLOCK IN A BLISTERING 1:50.4. -----Original Message----- From: David Baum To: Tom Kelley ; Mike Paradise Sent: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 9:09 pm  

COLUMBUS, MN. - Despite a rain storm throughout the middle portion of the program, another huge throng of fans turned out for the final Running Aces program of the season and witnessed eleven Minnesota-sired State Champions crowned in $20,000 races for the various age, sex and gait divisions.  Running Aces average nightly handle increased for the sixth consecutive season since starting live racing in 2008, this year by 5%. Driver John De Long copped four races on the lucrative season finale, three for trainer Justin Anfinson.  Leading driver Nick Roland managed to capture a pair of victories as did Tim Maier, who was also awarded the leading trainer award for the meet. She's A Foxie Lady (De Long) won the two-year-old filly trot over Babygetyershineon (Jenni King) and CD's SOS (James Yoder).  She earned almost $36,000 for owner Jesse De Long by scoring four wins and three place finishes in ten outings. Delco Voracious (De Long) broke her own track record besting Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) and Dakota Law (Steve Wiseman) in 1:55.2 in the freshman pacing fillies split.  Also owned by Jesse De Long and trained by Anfinson, the outstanding filly has won six of eight starts and banked over $50,000. The two-year-old trotting colts division was won by Chewy Dunkerton (De Long) over ML's Journey (Craig Banks) and Al-Mar Passion (Magee) in 2:03.  With three wins and seven seconds in ten tries, the winner has bankrolled over $45,000 for owner Benjamin De Long. Cyber Cowboy (Maier) scored an upset in the freshman colt pace for owner Margaret Epp and trainer Dan Epp.  It was just the second seasonal score for the 1:59.1 winner, but he has finished in-the-money in eight of ten tries and banked $18,704 thus far.  Wounded Warrior (Mark Mintun) was the runnerup with Im So Handsome (Wiseman) getting the show dough. Just three three-year-old trotting fillies went to post in their $20,000 event with Rails Of Victory (Roland) besting Diamond Alliance (Lemoyne Svendsen) and Coffee Black (Ryan Lems) in 2:00.3.  Roland also owns the filly who has captured seven of 15 in her first year of racing and banked about $38,000. Razzle Be Dazzled (Magee) has been the queen of the sophomore pacing fillies class all season and didn't disappoint in the championship, winning in 1:58.2 over Rearin And Ready (Jason Ryan) and Whata Smoothie (Kerry Banks).  The Van Otterloo Stable owns the winner who has managed 11 wins in 14 starts and earned $60,000 in her second season.  David Flinn has conditioned her throughout the summer. Mnia Lightnpower (Maier) went best in the sophomore trotting colts split downing Al-Mar Delrailer (Roland) and French Eclipse (King) in 2:01.4.  Janice Molgaard and Dick McDanel own the state champion who has five wins and $42,000 bankrolled on the season.  He is tutored by Joel McDanel. Circle Me Bert (Lems) was an upset winner in the sophomore pacing colts division, besting Ben N Al (Yoder) and favored Reds Place (De Long) in 1:56.2.  Merlin and Kyle Van Otterloo own the winner and Wolfswinkel Pacers Inc. own the runnerup, but both are trained by Gene Miller.  Circle Me Bert more than doubled his lifetime earnings with his half of the $20,000 purse. 20,000 championships are also staged for older state-breds.  In the trotting division RA's Shakenbake (Roland) was a 2:00.3 winner over Switcheroo (Magee) and Rich Dessert (Maier).  Owned by the Trot Away Stable, the former two-year-old state champ was winless in his five-year-old campaign before his upset neck victory. Country Jewel (De Long) was part of a three-horse Roland Stable entry and managed a 1:54.4 score over Blazing Fury (Magee) and stablemate I Do It Myself (Roland).  The five-year-old mare, owned by Roland, won for the twelvth time in her career and increased her bankroll to $58,000.  The older horses and gelding pace was captured by recently claimed It's Getting Hairy, with Steve Wiseman driving for trainer Tim Maier and owner Denise Maier.  The four-year-old, plucked for $10,500 two starts back, bested Restless Yankee (Roland) and Ya U Bet Cha (Yoder) in an impressive 1:52.3.  It was the sixth season score for the winner who now boasts almost $70,000 in lifetime earnings. by Gregg Keidel

COLUMBUS, MN. - Two-year-old Delco Voracious stamped herself as the filly to beat when her division lines up on Saturday, August 31 for a $20,000 Minnesota State Championship race at Running Aces.  Following a strong brush to the front before the halfway point on Wednesday night, she cruised to a 1:56 score by a widening margin over Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) and Chilly Breez (Jason Ryan) in the final $6750 tune-up.  Already the winner of a Hanover Filly Stake at Balmoral, the precocious lass owned by Jesse De Long already has five wins in seven starts and over $30,000 in seasonal earnings. A pair of two-year-old pacing colt divisions were also contested with Wounded Warrior (Ryan Lems) capturing the Class A split in 1:57.2; and V Mack (Adam Hauser) just getting up in 1:59 to triumph in the Class B event. The $8925 Open Trot was also presented with Silence Son (Craig Banks) repeating his front-stepping dominance--this time in 1:56.  Silence Son, who is owned by Hinshaw Homestead Farm, held off Salutation Hanover (Nick Roland) and Franky Provolone (Steve Wiseman). With just five nights remaining in the 53-night 2013 season at Running Aces a pair of former driving champions are deadlocked for the dash title lead with 54 victories apiece.  Rick Magee and Nick Roland are close friends, but neither is giving an inch in this down-to-the-wire competition to be named this year's champion driver. by Gregg Keidel

COLUMBUS, MN. - Driver-trainer Craig Banks put Silence Son on the engine in Wednesday night's $9000 Open Trot at Running Aces and the strategy worked great as owner Hinshaw Homestead Farms' stalwart wired the field in 1:55.3.    In the process he became the fastest four-year-old gelding and etched his name in the local record books for the second time.  About a year ago Silence Son set the three-year-old gelding track record in 1:56.3 with Banks aboard.   It was just the ninth seasonal start for the winner and second win, first in Open company.  Sent off at 6-1 odds, Silence Son beat Franky Provolone (Steve Wiseman) and Shelby County (Rocky Stidham).   Earlier in the program, Flick A Fly (Rick Magee) pulled a mild upset in an $8000 two-year-old Minnesota-sired Class A event.  It was the fourth straight victory for the filly owned by the Van Otterloo Stables and trained by David Flinn. She just nosed out Delco Voracious, who had won a $29,600 Hanover Stake in Chicago for the trainer-driver combination of father Jesse De Long and son John De Long, in 1:56.2.  Cyber Cowboy (Tim Maier) rounded out the trifecta for owner Margaret Epp.   The $5500 Class B two-year-old race was captured by Wounded Warrior (Ryan Lems), who romped by open lengths in 1:58.4 over Ksmewithurizclosed (Magee) and Im A Tinker Too (James Yoder).  The colt is owned by Mark Mintun.   All Minnesota-sired horses are anticipating the State Championship program on August 31, which will feature eleven state-bred races for $20,000 each on the season's closing night.   Gregg Keidel

COLUMBUS, MN. - Owner Jesse De Long's She's A Foxie Lady (driver John De Long) chopped a full second off the Running Aces track record for two-year-old trotting fillies on Tuesday night to capture a $13,500 race restricted to state-bred freshmen trotters.  The daughter of Sos Lunar Eclipse, trained when in Minnesota by Justin Anfinson, stormed home in 2:00.2 to lower the record that was set earlier this summer by Babygetyershineon.  Chewy Dunkerton (Steve Wiseman) and Al-Mar Passion (Rick Magee) were both within a length at the wire in the record-setting mile. A pair of $9000 Open Paces were also contested on the program with familiar names coming up winners.  In the horses and geldings split it was Restless Yankee (Nick Roland) resuming his winning ways after a pair of near misses in the weekly feature race.  It was the 39th career win for Ron Emerson and Mark Holtan's prize possession who is trained by Bob Lems.  He will be the likely favorite in his division when all the best Minnesota-sired horses line up for eleven $20,000 state championship races on August 31.  Ya U Betcha (Gerry Longo), another Minnesota-sired gelding, finished second with Six Gun (Wiseman) rounding out the trifecta. In the distaff feature, the outstanding three-year-old filly Show Runner beat the best older mares racing in Minnesota for the fifth time since moving up to the open ranks eight starts ago.  The daughter of Little Steven now boasts 11 seasonal triumphs and over $60,000 in 2013 earnings.  She is trained and driven by Tim Maier and owned by his wife Denise in partnership with Eileen Brodbar.  The winner overcame the assigned outside post to beat Still Electric (De Long) by a head with Cheese Plumper (Rick Magee) third. Racing resumes Wednesday night with just ten programs remaining in the Running Aces season. Gregg Keidel

Illinois conceived and foaled trotters closed out a big weekend of racing action at Balmoral Park on Sunday, August 4th as a field of eight three-year-old colts battled in the $25,000 Mikes A Mystery Stake. As has been the case throughout the entire 2013 season, H. “Bill” Wright & Mystical Marker Farms King Mufasa toted home top honors as he posted a hard fought head decision in 1:55.1 for driver Mike Oosting. Leaving from post eight the gelded son of Powerful Emotion—Foxy N Diamonds was unhurried early on allowing Maplegrove Shaelyn (Jamaica Patton) to dictate terms through splits of 28.4, 58.3 & 1:27.2. Getting underway as the field moved towards the half-mile mark Oosting tried to flush cover as he proceeded his march towards the front but with his rivals electing to sit in King Mufasa pulled alongside of the pace setter as the diagonally gaited sophomores hit the top of the stretch. Zipping right by Maplegrove Shaelyn Oosting and King Mufasa then dug in gamely to hold off a late surge from the ground saving Powerful Poe through the final sixteenth of a mile for his eighth win in nine starts this year. Powerful Poe settled for the runner-up role for the eighth time in 11 starts this season while Monticello Lane (Robert Taylor) benefitted from a disqualification to move into the show spot. The Mike Brink trained King Mufasa now boasts 10 wins and 2 seconds in 17 career starts with earnings of $117,452. Grand Circuit action highlighted the Saturday, August 3rd program as a pair of Hanover Stakes for two-year-old attracted 27 colt and filly pacers. An overflow field of 12 colts were sent postward for a $46,100 jackpot and when the smoke cleared it was Lawrence Gary’s good looking Quik Pulse Mindale—Hast yDewer colt Blooming Genius who emerged on top with a wire to wire score in1:54.1 for driver Dave Magee. Despite making only his third career start, the Todd La Fountaine trainee looked like a seasoned pro as he took full advantage of the inside starting spot while leading the field through splits of 28.0, 57.1 & 1:25.1. With plenty in reserve Blooming Genius sealed the deal with a 29.1 final marker towin for the second time in three starts. PQ Three (Mike Oosting) rallied nicel yto finish a fast closing second despite being outside every step of the mile while another Erv Miller trainee, Badger Quinn (Lewayne Miller) finished third. Fresh off his back to back wins after finishing second in his career debut Blooming Genius now boasts $26,475 in career earnings. With a total of 15 fillies dropped into the entry box the filly tussle was split into a pair of $29,600 divisions. In the opening battle Engel Stable of Illinois’ Marzy Bearzy came up with a career best as she rallied from mid-pack to score by a half-length in 1:54.3 with Casey Leonard at the controls. After saving ground through splits of 28.0 56.3 & 1:25.2 Leonard moved the Nelson Willies trained daughter of Rocknroll Hanover—Sleazebiscuit to the outside as the field headed around the final bend. Hitting her top gear with an eighth of a mile to go Marzy Bearzy cruised right by the leaders with a 28.2 final quarter to notch her second win in four starts. Rock Groupie (Brian Carpenter)battled through a tough first over trip to finish in the bridesmaid role while Boxed Chocolates (Dave Magee) was third. In the second division the Jesse De Long owned and trained Delco Voracious pulled off the upset as the Running Aces invader found room late and rallied sharply for a 2 ¾ length triumph in a career of 1:53.1 with John De Long handling the lines. The home-bred daughter of Voracious Hanover—Gypsys Good Girl used her inside starting spot to perfection, saving ground throughout the mile as Western Dame(Casey Leonard) put up splits of 28.2, 57.2 & 1:26.0. After finding racing room in the lane Delco Voracious unleashed a wicked 27.0 final quarter to roll right by for her fourth win in five career starts. Western Dame held on for second while Thesleazyprincess (Mike Oosting), the even-money favorite was forced to settle for the show dough after a tough first over journey. Sent off at 19-1 despite opening her career with three straight wins in Minnesota Delco Voracious returned $40.20 while pushing her career bankroll over the $24,000 mark. by Tom Kelley  

Let’s Go Higher (Cole Muffler) won her first harness racing "Fillies and Mares Open" at Saratoga on June 30th. She went out to Vernon Downs and set a lifetime mark in their Open for distaff pacers in her last start. Thursday night, the Heidi Rohr trainee was back in town and wound up back in the winner’s circle. Let’s Go Higher sat the pocket to the race’s favorite Bell On Wheels and pounced on her in the stretch to record a 1:54 victory in the $18,000 feature. Bell On Wheels (Harry Landy) was the runner up while Persistent (Stephane Bouchard) earned the show spot. Let’s Go Higher won for the fifth time this season for owner Jesse De Long of Clinton, WI. Live racing continues on Friday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 7:05pm. MIke Sardella  

While there are plenty of disappointments for horsemen in the harness racing industry there are some pleasant surprises as well. The four-year-old Iowa bred mare Miss Moon Light has been one of those cheery revelations for the Wisconsin based father-son tandem of trainer Jesse and driver John De Long.

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