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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Six Pack and Wolfgang won Saturday's $181,000 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters at the Meadowlands, stamping themselves as top contenders for the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 4. Six Pack, the No. 2-ranked horse in Meadowlands' announcer/analyst Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian, won his division in a world-record 1:50. The time eclipsed the previous mark for a 3-year-old of 1:50.1, which was shared by Donato Hanover and Muscle Hill. Six Pack, driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt, won by 2¼ lengths over You Know You Do. Alarm Detector was third. Alarm Detector set the early fractions, leading to an opening quarter in :26.2 and half in :54.4. Six Pack and Svanstedt were third, but went on the attack and were alongside Alarm Detector as they came around the final turn. Six Pack pulled away in the stretch on his way to his fifth win in six starts this year. "He's a tough horse," said Svanstedt, who won last year's Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit. "I had a lot of power when we came into the stretch. I hope he can be sound and healthy (for the Hambletonian). I'm looking forward to that." Six Pack, a son of Muscle Mass-Pleasing Lady, has won nine of 14 career races and earned $557,840. He is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF and Lars Berg. Sent off at odds of 3-5, Six Pack paid $3.40 to win. Wolfgang, the No. 1 horse in the Road to the Hambletonian rankings, won his Dancer division by 2-3/4 lengths over Classichap in a career-best 1:51.2. Zephyr Kronos finished third. Driven by Yannick Gingras, the Jimmy Takter-trained Wolfgang sat behind an early battle for the lead between Evaluate and Hat Trick Habit before moving to the front on the backstretch. He was unthreatened the rest of the way. Wolfgang, a son of My MVP-Summer Savory, has won all three of his starts this season and earned $200,415. For his career, he has won six of 13 races and $516,690. Wolfgang is owned by Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables and Fair Island Farm Inc. The 4-5 favorite, Wolfgang paid $3.60 to win. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA    

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Divas Image, sent off at odds of 31-1, charged through the stretch from near the rear of the pack to win Saturday's $189,750 Golden Girls for older female pacers by one length over 99-1 shot Inverse Hanover in 2:03.1 for the distance of 1 1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. Pure Country finished third. Shartin N took the lead soon after the start and set fractions of :25.2 for the quarter, :53.1 for the half, 1:21.3 for three-quarters and 1:49 at the mile. Divas Image and driver Joe Bongiorno were 10th at the top of the stretch, more than eight lengths behind 1-5 favorite Shartin N, before rallying on the far outside. She won for the seventh time in 16 starts this year. "The fractions were very fast," Bongiorno said. "Fourth over, being out the whole mile, I was a little concerned because she's a small mare, but she's just as tough as they come. When I flipped her out, she absolutely came out of her harness. She was pacing very strong." Divas Image, a 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight-Rocknroll Diva, is trained by Jennifer Bongiorno and owned by Joe Bongiorno LLC, Howard Taylor, Thomas Lazzaro and J&T Silva Stables. She has won 18 of 58 career races and earned $498,917. Divas Image paid $65.60 to win. By Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Hannelore Hanover and Broadway Donna each won a $30,000 division of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters Saturday night at the Meadowlands, with Hannelore's 1:50.2 score coming up just one-fifth of a second off the year's fastest trotting mile. Hannelore Hanover, the defending Horse of the Year, was sent off at 1-9 and led from start to finish for driver Yannick Gingras. Ice Attraction, who tried to reel in Hannelore Hanover along the inside in the stretch, finished second while Celebrity Ruth, who tried to challenge for the lead on the final turn, was third. The margin of victory was a half-length. "I was just measuring it in the stretch," Gingras said. "I don't want to go more than I have to. She was really good." Hannelore Hanover, a daughter of Swan For All-High Sobriety, has won all six of her starts this year and has earned $233,338. For her career, she has won 42 of 64 races and $2.7 million. The 6-year-old mare is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino and J&T Silva Stables. Hannelore Hanover paid $2.10 to win. Broadway Donna won her Miss Versatility division in 1:51.1, equaling her career mark. The 5-year-old mare took the lead from Emoticon Hanover on the backstretch and never looked back on her way to victory by 1½ lengths over Caprice Hill. Emoticon Hanover, the 1-2 favorite, finished third. "I expected a little more speed early in the race," winning driver David Miller said. "When I saw (the opening quarter) in :28, I thought I better make a move. I had to go a good second quarter, but she relaxed and had plenty left on the end of it. She seems really good right now. She's getting pretty wise to racing, she knows what it's all about." Broadway Donna has won three of five races this year and earned $43,750 for owner Fashion Farms and trainer Jim Campbell. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Broadway Schooner has won 20 of 37 career races and $1.32 million. Sent off at odds of 2-1, Broadway Donna paid $6.60 to win as the second choice in the wagering. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

If Louis-Philippe Roy gets goose bumps at the finish of Saturday's Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, it will not be the first time he experiences that sensation as a result of the race. This time, though, it would occur from an entirely different seat and, presumably, for an entirely different reason. The 28-year-old Roy will drive for the first time in a Meadowlands Pace final on Saturday, sitting behind Jimmy Freight in the Meadowlands Racetrack's signature event. Jimmy Freight is 9-2 on the morning line, the third choice behind 5-2 favorite Courtly Choice and 3-1 Stay Hungry in the $701,830 race for 3-year-old harness racing pacers. Roy will try to become the first driver since Tim Tetrick in 2007 to win the Meadowlands Pace in his first attempt. "I was thinking about it last week," said Roy, a native of Quebec who got his start on the fair circuit in his home province. "I remember 10 years ago I was watching Somebeachsomewhere in the Meadowlands Pace and I had the goose bumps when he got beat (by Art Official for the only loss of his career). "The two biggest races in my mind have always been the North America Cup and the Meadowlands Pace because where I'm from (in Canada) we were only racing pacers. So those were the two biggest races I always wanted to win. To be in it this year is very special." Roy spent six years competing, and dominating, at the fairs before making a name for himself at Hippodrome Trois Rivieres, which propelled him to regular drives on the Woodbine-Mohawk/Ontario circuit. In 2016, he won the Gold Cup & Saucer with YS Lotus on Prince Edward Island and received Canada's Future Star Award. Since then, he has lived up to the billing. In 2017, Roy won 377 races, good for second among all drivers in Canada, and earned $4.44 million (U.S.) in purses and was a finalist for Canada's Driver of the Year, which ultimately went to Doug McNair. This year, Roy has 232 victories and $2.66 million in purses and leads Canadian drivers in both categories. "It's just a dream," Roy said. "From the time I got interested (in the sport) I always wanted to be a driver. But it's a long step from starting on the fair circuit and then making it as a living. It's like dreaming about playing in the NHL; you dream about it, but you never expect it." Roy's success has attracted attention on both sides of the border. Ron Burke, the sport's leading trainer in wins and purses for 10 years running, has given Roy drives in several stakes races. Roy won the 2017 She's A Great Lady with Youaremycandygirl, at odds of 40-1, and finished second with Rockin Ron in the Canadian Pacing Derby. He won this year's Camluck Classic with Rockin Ron and also captured the Fan Hanover Stakes with Shower Play for trainer Rene Dion. Starting in 2016, Roy has driven in 29 Grand Circuit-level races and posted five wins and a total of 18 top-three finishes, good for a .391 driver's rating. He has sat behind only one favorite in those 29 starts, and while several others have gone off at short odds, most of his drives have been with horses with double-digit odds. "Last summer, especially with stakes horses, I didn't have much experience with young horses," Roy said. "I think this year that is part of my driving that might improve. I still have a lot of experience to get, but I have a lot more than I had last year. I hope it will keep helping me. "Getting drives from the big stables, that does help for sure. I guess they like what I'm doing in Canada. As a driver that's what you need, a good stable behind you giving you a lot of chances. We've had some good results so far. I'm very thankful." Roy's drive in the Meadowlands Pace, Jimmy Freight, was not staked to the race, so owner Adriano Sorella paid a supplement of $61,690 to give his horse a shot at the trophy. Jimmy Freight, a son of Sportswriter out of Allamerican Summer, has won five of eight races this year and hit the board in every start. Last year, he won seven of 12 and again was always among the top-three finishers. Jimmy Freight's wins this year include a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and two divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes. The colt finished third in the Gold Cup Invitational, behind top older pacers Sintra and McWicked. He enters the Meadowlands Pace final off a dead-heat third in his elimination. He led for much of the way before Courtly Choice and American History passed him in the stretch. "I can't complain about Jimmy, he raced good like he's always done this season," Roy said. "Courtly Choice impressed me. Even though he had a tough mile having to go first-up, he was a rocket down the lane. We'll have to find a way to beat him, and the eight other horses, in the final." If Roy can, watch for the goose bumps. Following is the field for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, which is part of a stakes-filled card at the Meadowlands that begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Stay Hungry-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-3/1 2-This Is The Plan-Tim Tetrick-Chris Ryder-15/1 3-American History-Yannick Gingras-Tony Alagna-5/1 4-Jimmy Freight-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-9/2 5-Courtly Choice-David Miller-Blake MacIntosh-5/2 6-Nutcracker Sweet-Brian Sears-Jimmy Takter-15/1 7-Hayden Hanover-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8/1 8-Thinkbig Dreambig-Jordan Stratton-Jimmy Takter-12/1 9-Babes Dig Me-Brett Miller-Tony Alagna-30/1 10-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 Elimination winners Stay Hungry and Courtly Choice drew for posts one through six. The remaining horses were then placed in an open draw. For the complete Meadowlands card, click here. For Meadowlands announcer Ken Warkentin's analysis of all the races, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

When it comes to the plight of Donttellmeagain, trainer Jim King Jr. could not put it any simpler. "He's a small horse, and we've given him a big job," King said. And the 4-year-old pacer is doing his job in every way possible, as King added, "He's meeting all expectations, and more." As he readies for Saturday's $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial, with a field of male pacers ages 4 and older at The Meadowlands, Donttellmeagain is a horse that captures the imagination. Everybody loves an underdog, and one look at "the little engine that could," as driver Tim Tetrick refers to him, makes people want to root for him. The gelded son of Dragon Again out of Donttellmewhattodo, Donttellmeagain has won 15 of his 26 career starts. This season he has won two of six starts and is coming off a victory in the $250,000 Graduate Series final, restricted to only 4-year-olds, July 7 at The Meadowlands. "He's a little guy and he's pretty personable, he's a friendly little fellow," King said. "Every time he goes to the track he shows up (to race). He never explodes out of the gate or anything like that. This last race, it was so out of character. All he's ever done was just run them down. Just point him toward them and he can just keep going. He's a come-from-behinder." In the Graduate final, Donttellmeagain moved from fourth to first on the backstretch after the first quarter; then saw Miso Fast charge to the lead. The two raced 1-2 before Donttellmeagain came through in the stretch to win by a neck. "Timmy just did what he needed to do, it was one of the most masterful drives I've ever seen in my life," King said. "The race didn't play out anything the way it went down on paper. For him to be able to do things different and change the plan and overcome and do things he's never done before was all really good. "We were expecting to be in a position to be second- or third-over, hopefully second-over, it just didn't work out that way. For him to get away fourth and be sitting there behind a 95-1 shot, and to move up with Miso Fast, you're looking at a whole different outcome. Timmy won the race. He gave him the opportunity to win the race." It marked the 24th time Donttellmeagain has finished in the money and pushed his career earnings to $426,460. It's the classic cliche of the size of heart making up for lack of physical size. "It's all determination," King said. "It's his will to win, it is just something they're born with. He's the kind you dream of getting ahold of. No matter what I do he's going to try to make it right. He's just a good horse." King refused to take much credit, saying there is nothing he can actually do to make up for the horse's diminutive stature. "It's all about him, it's all about him," said King, repeating it to make sure there's no mistake. "We're trying to be as kind to him as we can because it's a disadvantage being his size. But his determination makes up for it." Donttellmeagain will use that determination to try and meet the challenge of older horses in the Haughton Memorial. The race is an extra one-eighth of a mile, rather than the standard one-mile distance, due to a 12-horse field, which King feels is an advantage. "I find that to his liking, I know he has the stamina," the trainer said. "But this time he's facing the older horses, like he was in the (Ben Franklin Pace) and that's a different ballgame. I don't think he's the caliber of a horse as (Franklin winner) McWicked, who's just so powerful and seems to get better with age. If we get lucky, we can probably follow him around the track." King has been handling Donttellmeagain for Jon and Wendy Paton since he was a 2-year-old. That year the owners decided to race him in the state-bred Pennsylvania Stallion Series while King had suggested he compete up a level in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. The horse won all four of his starts in the Stallion Series and, looking back, King admits it was the right move. "I think it absolutely worked for the better," he said. "I thought he could go with (the Sire Stakes horses). I'm not sure he was as good as the very top ones, but I don't know that he wasn't either. But it ended up that he earned money, won races, and came back to be just a nicer horse, I think." As a 3-year-old, Donttellmeagain placed in every start with eight wins, two seconds and four thirds for $169,738 in earnings. He was shut down after Sept. 17. "That was our plan," King said. "He's very micro-managed. He's got issues so we picked the spots to go with him." Whatever issues he has seem to be kept under control by the connections. Donttellmeagain is as placid off the track as he is ferocious on it. "Any caretaker would like to take care of a horse like him, he's a real easy keeper," King said. "When you want him he comes to you all the time. He comes through the door all the time. He's not one to stay on the gate and command attention. He's just a real easy horse to be around." And just as easy to cheer for those who love the little guy. The Haughton is part of a card with the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, two divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, and two divisions of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Seven of the top nine horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will be in action: No. 1 Hannelore Hanover (Miss Versatility), No. 2 Shartin N (Golden Girls), No. 5 McWicked (Haughton), No. 6 Manchego (Miller), No. 7 Ariana G (Maturity), No. 8 Kissin In The Sand (Mistletoe Shalee), and No. 9 Wolfgang (Dancer). For the complete Meadowlands card, click here. For Meadowlands announcer Ken Warkentin's analysis of all the races, click here. Following is the field for the William R. Haughton Memorial. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Check Six-Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-15/1 2-Mach It So-Scott Zeron-Jeff Bamond Jr.-15/1 3-Heaven Rocks A-David Miller-Ross Croghan-8/1 4-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-10/1 5-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-5/2 6-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-7/2 7-Rockin Ron-Louis Roy-Ron Burke-10/1 8-Sintra-Jody Jamieson-Dave Menary-9/2 9-Boogie Shuffle-Andy Miller-Mark Harder-30/1 10-Dealt A Winner-Brett Miller-Mark Silva-20/1 11-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-10/1 12-Western Fame-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-15/1 All Bets Off and Western Fame start from the second tier behind the horses in posts No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. Hat Trick Habit impresses new connections heading to Hambletonian prep Hat Trick Habit made his one chance at a first impression count. The 3-year-old male trotter debuted for new owners John McGill and Brian Carsey and trainer Scott DiDomenico last weekend with a career-best 1:52.3 win at the Meadowlands Racetrack and could further stamp himself as a Hambletonian Stakes contender with another solid effort in Saturday's Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Big M. "He was very impressive," DiDomenico said. "We were really happy with him. He trotted good, he looked good, and we're hoping for good things out of him." A total of 16 horses entered the Dancer, which is for 3-year-old male trotters, and were divided into two $181,000 divisions. Hat Trick Habit and driver Tim Tetrick are in the first division, which also includes Goodtimes Stakes winner Wolfgang, who is the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands analyst/announcer Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian. The group also includes No. 5 Evaluate and No. 8 Classichap. Division two features Dan Patch Award-winner Fourth Dimension, O'Brien Award-winner Alarm Detector, once-beaten Six Pack, and last year's Peter Haughton Memorial champ You Know You Do. Six Pack is No. 2 in the Road to the Hambletonian, with Fourth Dimension third, Alarm Detector sixth and You Know You Do seventh. The race also includes No. 10 Samo Different Day. Hat Trick Habit was acquired by McGill and Carsey at the end of June. The horse was owned previously by Fred Monteleone, who passed away in October. For his career, Hat Trick Habit has won six of 14 races and earned $191,594. Of the five times he has failed to hit the board, three were in races that he went off stride. He finished fourth in the remaining two. The colt is a son of Donato Hanover out of Habit's Best. He is a half-brother to O'Brien Award-winning millionaire Habitat and his family also includes millionaire Civil Action. "He has a lot of ability and he's very fast," DiDomenico said. "The biggest thing right now is to keep him in a routine where he's jogging happy and we're happy with the way he's going and to keep him manageable in the race. Watching the replays of him, it looks like he could get revved up and if you wrestled with him he would make breaks. We're trying to do our best to avoid that. "He drove well (last weekend) and there was never really a tense moment, fortunately. We'll try to keep it going that way. If we can harness some of that ability there are big things in his future." A winner of the Dancer has gone on to capture the Hambletonian three of the past five years: Marion Marauder, Pinkman, and Royalty For Life. The $1.2 million Hambletonian is Aug. 4 at the Meadowlands. "If told you I didn't think about that I would be lying to you," DiDomenico said. "I think I've thought about it about 152 times. But we're going to take one week at a time. The Dancer is next and hopefully things just keep going the way they are." The Dancer is part of a card with the $701,830 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers, two divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, the William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, Golden Girls for older female pacers, and two divisions of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Seven of the top nine horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will be in action: No. 1 Hannelore Hanover (Miss Versatility), No. 2 Shartin N (Golden Girls), No. 5 McWicked (Haughton), No. 6 Manchego (Miller), No. 7 Ariana G (Maturity), No. 8 Kissin In The Sand (Mistletoe Shalee), and No. 9 Wolfgang. For the complete Meadowlands card, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

When trainer Blake MacIntosh prepared Courtly Choice for his return to action this season, he sensed the 3-year-old pacer was more professional and focused. Since then, Courtly Choice has seemed determined to prove MacIntosh correct. The colt, with the exception of two luckless starts, has landed in the winner's circle every time out this year and heads to Saturday's $701,830 Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace at the Meadowlands Racetrack as the 5-2 morning-line favorite. "He just wants to win this year," MacIntosh said. "Even training down he was a totally different horse. As a 2-year-old he was looking all over the place and was real lazy. He's really matured a lot." The Meadowlands Pace is part of a card with the $471,100 William R. Haughton Memorial for older male pacers, $405,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, $191,800 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old female pacers, $189,750 Golden Girls for older female pacers, two $181,000 divisions of the Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, two $128,500 divisions of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters, and two $30,000 divisions of the Miss Versatility Series for older female trotters. Seven of the top nine horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll will be in action: No. 1 Hannelore Hanover (Miss Versatility), No. 2 Shartin N (Golden Girls), No. 5 McWicked (Haughton), No. 6 Manchego (Miller), No. 7 Ariana G (Maturity), No. 8 Kissin In The Sand (Mistletoe Shalee), and No. 9 Wolfgang (Dancer). Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). Courtly Choice, a son of Art Major out of Hall of Fame broodmare Lady Ashlee Ann, won two of 12 races and earned $53,351 last year. In his fourth career start, he equaled the track record at Saratoga with a 1:53.1 mile in a division of the New York Sire Stakes, but a tough trip in his next outing launched a six-race stretch in which he failed to hit the board. "The next week (after Saratoga) he got his feelings a little bit hurt, he got parked, and he was sour for a couple starts," MacIntosh said. "He's just really matured. His feelings don't get hurt now; he wants to go and he wants to win races." Last weekend, Courtly Choice and Stay Hungry each won his elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, with Courtly Choice winning in 1:48.2 and Stay Hungry in 1:49. Stay Hungry, the 2017 O'Brien Award-winner as Canada's best 2-year-old male pacer, was made the 3-1 second choice. Courtly Choice's elimination victory was made possible by MacIntosh and the colt's fellow owners -- Joe Thomson, Daniel Plouffe, Steve Heimbecker, and Joe Intine -- paying in the neighborhood of $60,000 to enter the horse in the race because he was not previously staked to the event. MacIntosh said the decision to pay the supplement was made after seeing North America Cup champion Lather Up and Dan Patch Award-winner Lost In Time would miss the race. "I looked at the field and thought we had a good shot at this," MacIntosh said. "I texted Daniel Plouffe and said it's too bad we're not paid in and he said let's do it. He was all for it. I called the other partners and we all agreed to go ahead and do it." Courtly Choice has won five of seven starts this year, earning $120,245. His only losses came in two previous eliminations, the first for the Pepsi North America Cup and the other for the Max C. Hempt Memorial. He failed to advance to the final in both races, undone by hooking wheels with a rival in the Cup and unable to rally from an eighth-place start in the Hempt. He won each event's consolation race the following week. Now he will get his chance in a final. "I think he's a nice horse and deserves to be the favorite," MacIntosh said. Stay Hungry's win in his Meadowlands Pace elimination was his first victory since winning his North America Cup elimination in June. He finished fourth in the Cup final, after which he was found to be sick, and then was third in his elimination of the Hempt and fourth in the final. "He's come back well," said Tony Alagna, who trains Stay Hungry. "The five-eighths-mile racing (in the Hempt) isn't really his forte. I thought he was a little short in the North America Cup, I thought he should have been at least second to Lather Up, but he scoped with some mucous that night. We've been really working hard on that and everything came together (in his Meadowlands Pace elimination)." Stay Hungry, a son of Somebeachsomewhere out of My Little Dragon, has won eight of 15 career races and earned $684,384. He is owned by Brad Grant and Irwin Samelman and is one of three Pace finalists for Alagna, with American History and Babes Dig Me. Alagna won the 2013 Meadowlands Pace with Captaintreacherous. Following is the field for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Stay Hungry-Doug McNair-Tony Alagna-3/1 2-This Is The Plan-Tim Tetrick-Chris Ryder-15/1 3-American History-Yannick Gingras-Tony Alagna-5/1 4-Jimmy Freight-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-9/2 5-Courtly Choice-David Miller-Blake MacIntosh-5/2 6-Nutcracker Sweet-Brian Sears-Jimmy Takter-15/1 7-Hayden Hanover-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8/1 8-Thinkbig Dreambig-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-12/1 9-Babes Dig Me-Brett Miller-Tony Alagna-30/1 10-Dorsoduro Hanover-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 Elimination winners Stay Hungry and Courtly Choice drew for posts one through six. The remaining horses were then placed in an open draw. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

East Rutherford, NJ --- Donttellmeagain is known as a little horse among his connections but he came up big to win Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for harness racing 4-year-old pacers by a neck over Miso Fast in a career-best 1:47.2 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Western Joe finished third. Donttellmeagain, sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 10, saw Western Joe lead the way to an opening quarter in :26.2 before moving from fourth to the front on the backstretch. Donttellmeagain held the lead only briefly as Miso Fast brushed to the top prior to reaching the half in :53.2. Miso Fast continued to lead, hitting three-quarters in 1:20.2, but was unable to hold off Donttellmeagain in the stretch. It was the 15th career victory in 26 races for Donttellmeagain, who has finished worse than third only twice. "I had to make a decision," winning driver Tim Tetrick said. "I knew (Miso Fast) was going to get an easy lead and if I gave him four or five lengths I wasn't going to be able to beat him. I made a quick decision and got up there quick and got to follow the horse I had to beat, I thought." Donttellmeagain won for the first time since capturing his seasonal debut in a preliminary round of the Graduate at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands on May 5. He held his own, though, against older horses in the Ben Franklin Pace, finishing second in his elimination and fourth in the final. "He's chased at them and given them a run," Tetrick said. "They knew that he was in the race every time. The little guy is the little engine that could and it fits him pretty good." Added Jo Ann Looney-King, the wife of winning trainer Jim King Jr., "He's just a wonderful little horse. He's the smallest horse in the race, but he's got a lot of grit. It's great." Donttellmeagain, a gelded son of Dragon Again out of Donttellmewhattodo, is owned by Paton Racing Stables. He has won two of six starts this season and pushed his lifetime earnings to $426,460. Donttellmeagain paid $6.20 to win. Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ --- Ariana G bested the boys with a world-record performance to win Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at The Meadowlands, defeating Moonshiner Hanover by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:50.2. Sortie finished third. The time was the fastest ever by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile track. The previous record of 1:51 was shared by three mares: Mistery Woman in 2014, Hannelore Hanover in 2016, and Emoticon Hanover in 2017. Ariana G, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, also surpassed $2 million in career purses with the triumph. Owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the mare has won 23 of 30 lifetime races and earned $2.01 million. It was her second victory in four starts this year and came in her second race since returning from illness in June. "She was awesome tonight," winning trainer Jimmy Takter said. "I'm so glad she's where she belongs. She went up to Canada (in June) and her blood work was wrong and she scoped bad and I had to give her a little time to rebound from that. She had a good winter, so I knew she was in top-level form, it's just those things happen when they get sick." Ariana G, the only mare in the race and 3-2 favorite in the field of 10, started from post eight and was moved to the lead by driver Yannick Gingras prior to reaching the opening quarter-mile in :27.3. International Moni came to challenge Ariana G on the backstretch and got a quarter-length in front as they hit the half in :55.2, but he was unable to clear completely and continued to race on the outside entering the final turn. From there, Ariana G accelerated and pulled away from the field. She trotted the last quarter-mile in :27, which was the best of the group. "I wanted to keep (International Moni) out there," Gingras said. "He didn't look like he had as much trot as I did. My mare felt so strong. I was going to take matters into my own hands and she showed it. "I told Jimmy it was a taxing half (mile) and I wasn't a hundred percent sure I was going to win, but in the last turn she started to swell up and felt so, so strong. I knew something would have to happen for her to get beat tonight." Ariana G, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of Cantab It All, paid $5.00 to win.  

John Butenschoen expects a good effort from Bill's Man in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The only question is how good. "Some days he's a real good horse, some days he's an excellent horse," Butenschoen said. "If the real good horse shows up, we should be able to get a check. If the excellent horse shows up, we are good enough I think to win. There are times when he is absolutely fantastic and there are times that he's just a really, really good horse. It's going to depend what horse shows up. We'll see." Bill's Man was more than good in his most recent start, winning with a then track-record-equaling 1:52.1 mile at Harrah's Philadelphia on June 21. For his career, Bill's Man has won eight of 39 races, cashed a check a total of 32 times, and earned $557,229. He closed last season with a victory in the Matron Stakes. He finished second in a division of the Graduate Series on June 10 at Tioga Downs and was fourth in two prior rounds of the event. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner out of Silver Springs, will start from post seven with Corey Callahan driving for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M And L of Delaware, and VIP Internet Stable. He is 8-1 on the morning line. Butenschoen also sends out Don Dream in the Graduate final. He will start from post six with driver Brett Miller and is 15-1. Don Dream, a son of Donato Hanover out of Gabbys Dream, has won seven of 21 career races and earned $128,803. The gelding is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. "It's nice to be able to start the year off racing against 4-year-olds," Butenschoen said. "I think they're both coming into the race in good shape. "We've got a chance here now for two weeks to race for some really serious money before we've got to jump and tackle the open boys down the line," he added, referring to the July 14 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M. "I think it's a good way to get their feet wet. Bill's Man started early last year and raced all the way through the Matron, so he didn't get a whole lot of time off. So it's nice when they come back they don't have to race against horses that are a little more seasoned. It's a good springboard." Ariana G, the lone female in the Graduate trot field, is the 3-1 favorite. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare from post eight for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Saturday's card also includes the $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers and two eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the July 14 Meadowlands Pace final. Elimination winners draw for posts one through six. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Graduate Series finals are races five and 10. The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are races six and eight. Butenschoen will be busy in the Graduate for pacers, too, with Funknwaffles starting from post six. Funkwaffles, a two-time New York Sire Stakes champ, will have Callahan driving for Crawford Farms Racing and is 10-1. For his career, Funknwaffles has won 13 of 34 races and earned $874,223. He is winless in six starts this season, but has a second-place finish behind Filibuster Hanover in a preliminary round of the Graduate. In his most recent start he was seventh in an elimination of the Ben Franklin Pace on June 23 and bypassed the Franklin consolation last week to refresh for the Graduate final. "He's been victimized in most of his starts by post positions," Butenschoen said. "He's raced extremely well but he doesn't have a lot to show for it. The one time he did get a chance to strut his stuff he was a close second to Filibuster at Tioga. He's not a very big horse, but a very game horse. We figured let them go at it hard (last week) and hopefully we're a little bit fresher. If we can work something out I think we're OK." Highalator, who has won three of his past four races, including two preferred handicaps at The Meadowlands, is the 3-1 Graduate pace favorite from post 10. David Miller will drive for co-owner/trainer Jenny Bier and fellow owners Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lord Cromwell-Jim Marohn Jr.-Ed Hart-10/1 2-Dunbar Hall-Jody Jamieson-Stephanie Jamieson-7/2 3-Moonshiner Hanover-David Miller-Chris Beaver-9/2 4-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Domenico Cecere-6/1 5-Sortie-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-15/1 6-Don Dream-Brett Miller-John Butenschoen-15/1 7-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-3/1 9-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 10-Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Miso Fast-Louis Roy-Virgil Morgan Jr.-7/2 2-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-5/1 3-Western Joe-Scott Zeron-Chris Choate-9/2 4-Mac's Jackpot-Brett Miller-Jeff Smith-15/1 5-Blood Line-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-10/1 6-Funknwaffles-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Maroma Beach-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-8/1 9-Lawrencetown Beach-Doug McNair-Ron Burke-15/1 10-Highalator-David Miller-Jenny Bier-3/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

When a teenage John Fodera began owning racehorses 57 years ago, he had no idea where it would lead him. But over the ensuing years, his involvement has brought him to the winner's circle in many of harness racing's great events, including the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Little Brown Jug and Metro Pace. He will try again this year to add the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace to the list. Fodera, a Staten Island resident who has attended races at the Meadowlands since opening night in 1976, is a partner on three horses in Saturday's eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. All three -- American History, Babes Dig Me and Captain Deo -- are trained by Tony Alagna. Those three horses are among five Alagna hopefuls in the elims, with O'Brien Award-winner Stay Hungry and Odds On Lauderdale joining the group. The eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace, which is for 3-year-old pacers, are part of a Saturday card at the Big M that includes the $250,000 finals of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are races six and eight. The Graduate Series finals are races five and 10. "I've been in the business since I was 16 years old," the 73-year-old Fodera said. "It goes back a long, long time. The majority of years I was in the claiming business, and I did well. I prided myself on watching all the races. I didn't even know what the yearling business was all about back then. "Little by little I got involved (with yearlings) and this is where we are now. It's been fun in the game. It's been really good; I can't complain at all." Fodera got started owning horses with a $2,500 claimer named Sir Carlith that he bought with his cousin, Jim McGovern. He developed friendships with a number of owners over the years at the Meadowlands, including Brittany Farms' George Segal and Myron Bell, who helped get Fodera started with yearlings and stakes races. Since then, Fodera has been a partner on numerous stakes-winners including Luckyisasluckydoes, Yankee Skyscaper, Boulder Creek, Mr Feelgood, Tell All, Shake It Cerry, and Artspeak. Tell All was Canada's Horse of the Year in 2007 as well as a Dan Patch Award winner. Shake It Cerry was Trotter of the Year in 2014 while Boulder Creek and Artspeak were divisional champions. As for Fodera's Meadowlands Pace horses, American History heads to his elimination off a 1:47 mile in a conditioned race last week at the Meadowlands. The time was one-fifth of a second off the world record for a 3-year-old pacer. For his career, the son of American Ideal-Perfect Touch has won five of 10 races and earned $100,243 for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and American History Racing, which includes Fodera. The colt finished last season with a third-place finish behind Lost In Time and Stay Hungry in the Governor's Cup. This year, he was third in his elimination of the North America Cup and 10th in the final. American History, the No. 1-ranked horse in Meadowlands analyst Dave Little's final Road to the Meadowlands Pace, is in the second of the two eliminations, with supplemental entries Courtly Choice and Jimmy Freight plus Fashiononthebeach, Babes Dig Me, Odds On Lauderdale, Grand Teton and Dorsoduro Hanover. American History and driver Yannick Gingras will start from post one. "We were very high on him last year," Fodera said about American History. "Tony took his time with him, that's why he only had five starts. We started real late at the end of the Lexington meet and he showed he had a lot of talent. And it's come to the fore. "I thought he went a giant mile in the North America Cup elim; parked three deep to the quarter in (:26.1), and leading before getting beat by three-quarters of a length. The week after, he was as flat as could be. He couldn't beat anybody. He just didn't go. No excuses. We gave him a week off and he came back and trained great before last Friday. We're confident he will put in a very respectful mile here. I think it's going to be some race." Babes Dig Me, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Western Babe, has won two of 15 lifetime races and earned $122,974 for owners Brad Grant, Joe Sbrocco, Robert Leblanc and In The Gym Partners, which includes Fodera. The colt was third in the Art Rooney Pace and second to Courtly Choice in the consolation division of the North America Cup. Captain Deo is in the first Meadowlands Pace elimination, with Ideal Feeling, Hayden Hanover, This Is The Plan, Nutcracker Sweet, Stay Hungry, and Thinkbig Dreambig. Captain Deo, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Worldly Beauty, has won two of 10 career races and $30,307 for owners Alagna Racing, Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners, and Captain Deo Partners. Elimination winners draw for posts one through six for the final. "I think the eliminations will be very exciting," said Fodera, who retired in 2017 as principal at St. Peter's Boys High School on Staten Island and now serves as the school's president. "It will be a great night." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Hightstown, NJ --- After watching Lather Up’s first loss of the season in Saturday’s Max Hempt Memorial, George Teague Jr. is hopeful his team can get the harness racing 3-year-old male pacer back to the form that saw him begin the year with seven consecutive wins, including the North America Cup. Lather Up, the 1-9 favorite in the $500,000 Hempt, went off stride on the final turn as he tried to pass leader Dorsoduro Hanover following a first-over march from fourth place. It was the first time Lather Up ever made a break in a race. The Hempt was eventually won by Springsteen. Teague, who leads a training stable that includes Lather Up’s conditioner Clyde Francis, said the colt scoped sick following the Hempt and also presented driver Montrell Teague with steering issues because of a mouth sore. Teague also was testing to see if Lather Up suffered from muscle cramping. “It was a combination of things, a perfect storm to have a bad night,” Teague said Monday morning. “He got a little bit of an ulcer in his mouth on the right line again. That’s a little bit of an issue, but I don’t think it’s permanent. I think he’ll be fine. We have a little bit of time now to work on him and get him cleared up (from being sick).” Teague was uncertain when Lather Up would make his next start, but ruled out the upcoming Meadowlands Pace, which would have required a supplemental payment to make the horse eligible to start because he had not been staked to the event. “Physically, he’s fine,” Teague said, adding with a laugh, “It was small things; small things that can add up to (losing) a lot of money. That’s horseracing. I can’t change what happened. We’ll just try to fix it and get him back on course. On to the next one.” Lather Up, a son of I’m Gorgeous out of Pocket Comb, has won 11 of 15 career races and earned $544,765 for owners Gary and Barbara Iles, who also bred the colt. He was ranked No. 2 behind trotter Hannelore Hanover in last week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll; this week’s poll will be released Tuesday. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager 

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Crystal Fashion won Saturday's (June 30) $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, following a battle between Manchego and leader Six Pack before getting room in the stretch to power to a half-length victory over Six Pack in 1:51.4 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Lawmaker finished third. Manchego, the lone filly in the race and 3-5 favorite, went off stride coming around the final turn and finished ninth. It was her first loss in 16 career starts. Six Pack was three-wide around the first turn, a head back in third place, as the field reached the first quarter in :26.2. He grabbed the lead soon thereafter and hit the half in :55.4. Manchego, who was on the outside from the start, worked her way first-over to alongside the leader by three-quarters in 1:23.1, but was unable to get in front. Crystal Fashion was third coming around the final turn, but moved to the outside in the stretch after Manchego went off stride. "I just wanted to get up close," winning driver Tim Tetrick said. "My horse likes to leave the gate and sit close and get a good trip. If he gets room late, he likes to trot. He got by a good horse and we got the job done." Said winning trainer Jim Campbell, "Timmy gave him a perfect trip and he responded well and dug in when he had to." Crystal Fashion, a son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow owned by Fashion Farms, has won three of six races this year and seven of 18 in his career. The gelding, who is eligible to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian, has earned $471,537. Sent off at odds of 9-2, Crystal Fashion paid $11.40 to win. The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial honors the former president of the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, who was a driving force to bring casino gaming to the state's racetracks. The 2017 Breeders Crown winner, the Swan For All colt Fiftydallarbill, had suffered horrendous luck in his Beal elimination last week, so in the $75,000 Beal Consolation driver Brett Miller left little to chance. Letting the horse ride parked through the :28 opener and guiding him to the lead well before the :56.3 half, Miller got the winner of $553,997 to the three-quarters in 1:25, then the pair sprinted home in :27.1 to hold off pocket-sitter Moosonee by a half-length, with the 1:52.1 clocking a lifetime best. Bill Crone is the trainer of the promising sophomore, who certainly has a rich Indiana campaign in front of him. by Ken Weingartner and the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Wilkes-Barre, PA --- Kissin In The Sand raced on the outside for much of the way before rallying in the stretch to get past Youaremycandygirl in deep stretch and win Saturday's (June 30) $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers by a neck in 1:49.3 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Alexa's Power was third. Kissin In The Sand started from post nine and got parked on the outside as Youaremycandygirl got the lead from post two. Youaremycandygirl hit the opening quarter in :26 and then battled with Kissin In The Sand as they reached the half in :53.2 and three-quarters in 1:20.3. As the horses came around the final turn, Kissin In The Sand moved to the pylons behind Youaremycandygirl, but she wasn't finished fighting. After straightening up in the stretch, Kissin In The Sand returned to the outside and was able to pass Youaremycandygirl in the final moments. The time was one-fifth of a second off the stakes record. "How the heck did she win that race?" a smiling trainer Nancy Johansson said as she posed for the win photo. "Nobody wants to sit parked the whole way," winning driver Scott Zeron said. "I felt like I was going against the other best horse in the race and it was a battle between the two of us. "I had a decision in the first turn, I thought maybe I would be able to get in but I felt I was really going to have to wrestle her to do it and Yannick could have stolen the race at that point. I made the decision to go to the front. When I ducked her back in on the last turn she picked the bit back up, which surprised me. When I angled her back over in the lane she really was game." Kissin In The Sand, a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere out of Kiss Me Kate, has won three of five races this year and 10 of 19 in her career. She has earned $495,545 for owners Marvin Katz and Hatfield Stables. Kissin In The Sand went off at odds of 4-1 and paid $10.20 to win. The Lynch Memorial is named in honor of James M. Lynch, who served in positions from steward to racing secretary to director of racing to general manager during a career that took him to tracks around the country. He was the director of racing at Pennsylvania's Liberty Bell for all 23 years of its existence. He also was a horse owner and director of the U.S. Trotting Association. He passed away in 2000. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Goshen, NY --- Check Out Trixie attracted plenty of attention Friday (June 29) at Historic Track, winning the $8,475 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters in a track-record 1:58.4 on the opening afternoon of the half-mile oval's four-day Grand Circuit meet. The clocking shattered the previous mark of 2:01.3 for a 2-year-old female trotter, which was set by Daytona Blue Chip in 2012. Check Out Trixie, trained and driven by Historic Track-based Ray Schnittker, is a daughter of 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton out of Schnittker's two-time Dan Patch Award winner Check Me Out. She prepped for her career debut at Historic Track with a 1:57.4 win in a qualifier June 20 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Her Pocono win time is the fastest of the season so far for a 2-year-old filly trotter on a five-eighths-mile track and her Historic Track clocking is the fastest for a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile track. Check Me Out is owned by Schnittker and Steve Jones, who also are the breeders of the filly. She is part of Trixton's first crop as a sire and the second foal out of Check Me Out, who won 25 of 31 races at ages 2 and 3 and set multiple world records. "The mother, in my mind, is one of the greatest trotting fillies of all time," Jones said. "Trixton looks like he's got horses that have speed. I guess in time we'll find out if they have quality. I saw a couple at the Meadowlands that looked like they could fly. So I think he's off to a good start. This looks like probably his best filly, but you never know. Time will tell. But it looks like she's off on the right foot." Jones said Schnittker liked Check Out Trixie from the beginning and the filly is staked heavily. "Who's to say whether she's good enough to be the top dog, but she's off to a good start," Jones said. "I think trotting in (1):58.4 over this racetrack is a pretty good accomplishment. "I'm hoping that she shines when the lights get bright later in the summer." Jones also was the breeder of two other Landmark Stakes winners, with Major Sugar Rush (Art Major-Sugarcoated) taking the $12,100 event for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:54.2 and Hickfromfrenchlick (So Surreal-My Girl's A Star) winning the $11,000 event for 2-year-old male pacers in 1:57.3. Major Sugar Rush was driven to victory by Jordan Stratton for trainer/owner Schnittker. It the gelding's first win in eight starts this season. Hickfromfrenchlick, a reference to the nickname of basketball legend Larry Bird, was driven to his career-debut win by trainer Schnittker, who owns the colt with Nolamaura Racing and Thomas Spatorico. The Nolamaura Racing group is based in Goshen and led by Patrick English and also includes his father, Kerry. The family owns a beer distributorship. "This is our third year of racing," Patrick said. "The stable name is Nolamaura Racing; it's my two daughters' names. This is just a group of guys that like to have beer and have fun and we're just lucky to be with Ray and have a good horse. "I'm the third generation on the board of directors here at the track. My dad is on the board and my grandmother was here. It's fun to be involved and give back and now actually have a horse that looks really good and is winning." Other winners on the card Friday were Grammy Winner in the $6,125 Landmark for 3-year-old female trotters, Solitary in the $6,125 Landmark for 3-year-old female pacers, Midnight Express S in the $13,600 Landmark for 3-year-old male trotters, Ladybeluckytonite in the $9,125 Landmark for 2-year-old female pacers, and Amico Mio Bi in the $14,350 Landmark for 2-year-old male trotters. Grammy Winner (Credit Winner-Grammy Hall) won in 1:58.3 for driver Tyler Buter and trainer Todd Buter. The filly is owned by Gene Oldford Farms, Lynette Buter, William Fuhs, and Carol Fuhs. She has won three of 13 lifetime races and earned $24,733. Solitary (American Ideal-Lonesome Day) won in 1:55 for driver Marcus Miller and trainer Nick Surick. The filly is owned by William Daggett Jr., Lawrence Vukovic, and J L Benson Stables. She has won three of 22 career starts and earned $71,555. Midnight Express S (Maharajah-Truly Devoted) won in 1:58 with Oskar Florhed driving for trainer Ake Svanstedt. The colt is owned by Olle Leven and has won four of 14 career races (and three of his last five) and earned $32,881. Ladybeluckytonite (Art Major-Run On Luck) won in 1:57.3 for driver Jordan Stratton and trainer Rick Dane Jr., who owns the filly with the Rock And Roll Stable. Ladybeluckytonite has a win and a second in two races, with $17,687 in purses. Amico Mio Bi (Donato Hanover-Lapponia) won in 1:59.1 in his career debut for local owners Janice Connor, who also trains the colt with her husband Chuck, Brian Connor and Ebby and Peter Gerry's Arden Homestead Stable. Stratton piloted Amico Mio Bi to the victory. "He's a nice colt, so hopefully he'll keep going like he is," Chuck Connor said. "We made some changes on him that helped him. We put the trotting hobbles on him for the half-mile track. When we trained him last week he was a little shaky in the turns, but not bad. We wanted to steady him a bit with the hobbles and it worked. We'll keep (the hobbles) on now and just let them out for the bigger tracks. "He seems like he's improving, so that's a good thing." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

Ron Waples always enjoys returning to Historic Track in Goshen, N.Y., but this year's visit will combine business with pleasure. The business comes in the form of competing in Sunday's $10,000 Mr. and Mrs. Elbridge Gerry Memorial Trot, an invitational race for Hall of Fame drivers. The pleasure will be seeing renowned writer Dave Briggs inducted into the Communicators Hall of Fame during festivities later that evening. "I always liked Goshen," said Waples, a Toronto native who was inducted into the U.S. Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1986. "Even back when I was racing New York-sired horses, it amazed me that there is no betting there but you've got all the fans. That just takes you back to your roots. "When you look up there in the grandstand and it's full and everybody is hooting and hollering and cheering, it just gives you a very good feeling." The Gerry Memorial Trot is the highlight of the third of the four-day Grand Circuit meet at Historic Track. The meet coincides with the sport's Hall of Fame inductions, which will be held Sunday evening at the adjacent Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Also participating in the Gerry Memorial Trot are Wally Hennessey, David Miller, Dave Palone, Brian Sears, Richard "Dick" Stillings, and Jimmy Takter. Commemorative cards will be distributed to the first 500 fans on Sunday and the Hall of Famers will be available for photos and autographs following the race. Waples won the Gerry Memorial Trot in 2015. When asked if he was looking forward to this year's event, he responded with a laugh, "How did I draw?" When informed he drew post six, he laughed again and asked, "Did I get any power?" He then said, "It's a pretty big honor to be in there. The Gerry family, they support (harness racing and the museum) so much, it's unbelievable really. I think everybody kind of feels the same way; you don't want to let them down and you want to help out a little bit. If this helps out a little bit, then so be it." Among this year's Hall of Fame inductees are breeders Jules Siegel and Margareta Wallenius-Kleberg, and the late horseman Hakan Wallner. Briggs will join announcer Carl Becker as inductees into the Communicators Hall of Fame. Briggs, who like Waples resides in Ontario, has received a record 11 John Hervey Awards for excellence in harness racing feature writing and reporting. He also is a three-time winner of the Standardbred Canada Media Excellence Award for Outstanding Written Work as well as the recipient of multiple International Harness Racing Media Awards and American Horse Publication Awards, and the Ontario Equestrian Federation Media of the Year Award. "I have a special feeling this year because Dave Briggs is getting inducted there," Waples said. "He's just one of a few. He's a great writer and a great guy and just all for the sport. It will be worth the trip just for that." Racing begins at 1 p.m. each day at Historic Track. For Sunday's complete entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

After suffering through early-season issues, All Bets Off appears to be back on his game. The 7-year-old stallion, who is within striking range of $3 million in career purses, leads three horses from the stable of trainer Ron Burke into Saturday's $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. All Bets Off is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind 5-2 favorite McWicked. All Bets Off was winless in his first four races of the year, with three finishes of sixth or worse, before getting time off to regroup. After a six-week absence, All Bets Off returned with a third-place finish in the Battle of Lake Erie, a win in the preferred handicap at the Meadowlands, and a second-place finish by a nose to Sintra in his elimination of the Ben Franklin. However, Sintra was dropped to third for racing inside the pylons, giving All Bets Off the victory. For his career, All Bets Off has won 29 of 110 races and earned $2.99 million. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, Frank Baldachino, and The Panhellenic Stable Corp. "In his last three he's been back to the All Bets Off that we know," Burke said. "The beginning of the year was a complete disaster. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. But it was a bunch of things; it wasn't just one thing. We knew he wasn't sound, he wasn't breathing. For two weeks we turned him out and basically let him reset himself. He's been lights out his last three." The Franklin is one of four marquee events that make up Sun Stakes Saturday at Pocono. The card also features the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, where filly Manchego is the 5-2 morning-line favorite; the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial, with Lather Up the 2-1 favorite; and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, where Sidewalk Dancer is the 5-2 choice. All Bets Off will start the Franklin from post No. 5 with driver Matt Kakaley. "I think he's ready, it's just how does he get there," Burke said. "He doesn't like to sit two holes; he'd either rather cut the mile or come off the back. But if he's sitting sixth or seventh it's probably too far to come from there." Burke's remaining two Franklin finalists are Filibuster Hanover and Rockin Ron. Filibuster Hanover was third-placed-second in the same elimination as All Bets Off and will start from post eight with driver Yannick Gingras. Rockin Ron was second in the elimination won by McWicked and will leave from post six with driver Louis Roy. Filibuster Hanover, a 4-year-old gelding, has won five of six races this year and 12 of 39 lifetime to accumulate earnings of $1.04 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Joseph DiScala Jr., J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. "He's been super," Burke said. "Last week I was a little disappointed, I thought he should have won from the trip he got. We scoped him and he didn't scope the best, so we worked on him all week and I would expect that he'll be better." Rockin Ron, a 6-year-old gelding, has won five of 12 races this year and finished second on four occasions. For his career, he has won 33 of 93 starts and $1.26 million. He is owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, RTC Stables, and J&T Silva Stables. The 28-year-old Canadian-based Roy has driven Rockin Ron three times, winning an elimination of the 2017 Canadian Pacing Derby in 1:47.2 at Mohawk before finishing second by a neck to Sintra in the final, and posting an eight-length win in May's Camluck Classic in a track-record 1:50.1 at The Raceway at Western Fair District. "Rockin Ron is the wild card," said Burke, who has won the Ben Franklin twice. "For whatever reason, the two best starts of his life have been with Roy driving so that's why we brought him down. The kid just rolls him and the horse reacts to it. I don't know if he'll change tactics, but the horse does step out of the blocks when we use that kid driving." Joining All Bets Off and McWicked as Franklin elimination winners was Australian-bred Heaven Rocks. He will start from post four with David Miller driving for trainer Ross Croghan. McWicked, trained by Casie Coleman, will be driven by Brian Sears, who also piloted the stallion to victory in his elim. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Pocono. The Franklin is race No. 11 on the card, preceded by the Lynch and Hempt and followed by the Beal. Following is the field for this year's Ben Franklin Pace. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Mac's Jackpot-Brett Miller-Jeff Smith-15/1 2-McWicked-Brian Sears-Casie Coleman-5/2 3-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-12/1 4-Heaven Rocks A-David Miller-Ross Croghan-4/1 5-All Bets Off-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-3/1 6-Rockin Ron-Louis Roy-Ron Burke-10/1 7-Sintra-Jody Jamieson-Dave Menary-6/1 8-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/1 9-Western Fame-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-20/1 Complete entries for the card are available at this link. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

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