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Columbus, OH --- They both equaled or established a new Hoosier Park track standard in the same week, are diagonally gaited and hail from the same harness racing barn but other than sharing these similarities, Indiana champions O So Easy and Natural Herbie could not be more diametrically opposed to one another. Each horse, one a new arrival on the scene and another who has established his presence over the course of six years, endeavor to enhance their impressive seasons with victories at Hoosier Park on Friday (Oct. 13) when they compete in their respective Indiana Sire Stakes finals in rein to their conditioner, Verlin Yoder. “I’ve always said with this filly (O So Easy) she was either going to kill me or I was going to kill her,” said Yoder, who co-owns the 2-year-old daughter of Swan For All-Ostia Hanover in conjunction with Eleven Star Stables. “I knew her mother and that was why I was interested in her and I also knew her mother was a strong mare, but this filly would toss herself on the ground the minute you went to buckle the harness on her. All trotting fillies have their quirks though but this one required a lot of patience.”   Linscott Photography O So Easy has compiled a record of 11-9-1-1, has collected $217,550 and is currently riding a six-race win streak. Scheduled to perform in the evening’s second race, which possesses a purse of $220,000 and includes 11 other rivals, O So Easy will leave from post position six and is the morning line favorite at 6-5. From her brief career she has compiled a record of 11-9-1-1, has collected $217,550 and is currently riding a six-race win streak. In this field only Custom Cantab, the second selection at 4-1, has amassed relatively the same amount of purse money ($190,486) and trotted close to the same lifetime mark (1:55.3). O So Easy, until recently, was also the track record holder for her age, sex and gait (1:54.3), which she posted on Sept. 12 with a facile triumph in a $75,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final. That record was rewritten on Sept. 22 when Basquiat lowered that standard to 1:53.4 in the $240,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes over the Anderson oval. That filly returned to capture a $58,000 division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile on Oct. 6. “People always ask me why I put her on the front end,” Yoder said. “It is not because she is speed crazy or doesn’t come back to me, but with 2-year-old trotting fillies you just have to try to keep them out of trouble and she is still very green.”   USTA/Mark Hall photo Natural Herbie won the 2014 International Trot Preview at Yonkers. The same cannot be uttered in regard to Natural Herbie. The 7-year-old gelded son of Here Comes Herbie-Ljanearl has earned $1.12 million, sports a resume of 102-38-20-12 and has captured contests such as the 2014 International Trot Preview at Yonkers in what was then a world record time of 2:24.4 for the 1-1/4 mile event. Despite the horse not traveling as frequently to Grand Circuits events as he once did, Natural Herbie did finish second in last year’s $210,000 Charlie Hill Memorial Trot at Scioto Downs behind Dan Patch Award winner Obrigado and was a fast-closing third to world champions Homicide Hunter and Hannelore Hanover on Sept. 22 of this year in the $240,000 Centaur Trot at Hoosier Park. While Hannelore Hanover returned to become the fastest female trotter in history (1:49.2) at Red Mile on Oct. 7 with Homicide Hunter in her immediate wake, Natural Herbie won a $20,000 sire stakes elimination at Hoosier Park on Oct. 5. He also equaled the track record of 1:52.1 for older trotting geldings, which he shares with I Know My Chip, on Sept. 16 in a Hoosier Park Invitational. Natural Herbie’s seasonal record stands at 17-6-3-3 and he has not been worse than third in his nine trips to the post since July 25. Four of his six 2017 trips to the winner’s circle have come since Aug. 26. Natural Herbie will have earned more than $100,000 in each of the six years he has competed if he finishes first or second in Friday evening’s fourth race, which is a $50,000 Indiana Sire Stakes final for older horses and geldings. The gelding is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line behind Bridge To Jesse's (5-2, post position five, John DeLong) and will begin trotting right beside the favorite from post four. “He is finally getting back to himself,” Yoder said. “I had three vets tell me to stop with him because he had a suspensory injury in his left rear hind. They said he could never come back and be the same horse. “It was so rewarding for me when he equaled the track record after returning from that suspensory. He is a special horse and he loves to race so much, I did not want to take that away from him. So we gave him all the time he needed and it all worked out for him.” Throughout most of this year, Yoder, who is the sole owner of the gelding, kept steel shoes on him and made the switch to aluminum recently. “He has never went in under 1:54 unless he has aluminum shoes on,” he said. “Since I made that change he keeps improving. He was right there in the Centaur (Trot) and he had a great chance to win, but he just ran out of real estate.” Although Yoder easily describes some of the difficulties he had training down O So Easy, the same circumstances never applied with Natural Herbie. “He never wins by very much and I think the only time he did it was by like seven lengths,” Yoder said. “And that was because I tricked him. I tried to do it again when he was on the lead and started acting like he was race driving a ways before the finish by hooping and hollering at him. He just flicked his ears back at me and then forward again. He was onto me and it was like he was saying, ‘Are you kidding me? You think I’m going to fall for that from you again? You are not going to fool me twice.’ That’s what makes great horses; when they have their own personality and are that intelligent.” Yoder is certainly aware Hoosier Park will host the 34th edition of the Breeders Crown on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, but his horses will more than likely be enjoying the sunshine in Florida. “I just said the other day I’m ready to head to Florida on Saturday morning (Oct. 14),” he said. “I checked into the Breeders Crown but decided 12 starts was more than enough for a 2-year-old trotting filly and Herbie is racing well now. We’ll turn out for a few months, then bring them back and hope they continue just as well next year.” To review the full fields, odds, post positions, drivers and trainers for the Friday card, which also includes 10 other sire stakes races and purses totaling more than $2 million, please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- When harness racing trainer Casie Coleman explained to him she might be a little nervous to pull the trigger when bidding on Roughcut at Saturday’s (Oct. 7) final session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale if the price became what she considered to be too high, Ed James decided he needed to get himself to the Bluegrass State immediately. He simply couldn’t take the chance that Coleman might allow Hip No. 608 to slip through his grasp and it was quite fortuitous James arrived prior to the colt’s entry into the ring, as his presence ultimately procured the yearling for an unprecedented $300,000 on the last evening of the event. “I have a pedigree man out East that goes over these sales for me,” James said. “He rated this horse 10 points better than any horse in any sale so far and he told me I needed to buy him. That is when I talked to my trainer in Florida, Jim McDonald, Steve Elliott and of course Casie. They all agreed he was a very nice horse so that’s when I decided I was going to buy him. When Casie said she would be anxious spending too much money on him, because we knew other people wanted him, that’s when I told her I was coming for him. Right after I arrived I put a bid in with the auctioneer on him for $50,000, so that’s where we started and it did not scare anyone away.” Consigned by Hunterton Sales Agency and reared at Hunterton Farm, Roughcut is a black son of McArdle and the Red River Hanover mare Miss Scarlett. The mare banked $518,539 during her racing career and was a New Jersey Sire Stakes champion as a freshman. Out of Odds On J P (Artsplace), Miss Scarlett is a half-sibling to Ticket To Rock (Rocknroll Hanover, $1.11 million) and Limestone Cowgirl (Western Hanover, $32,817), who has already produced three winners. Roughcut’s third dam, Giggle Box, is a three-quarter sister to world champion Die Laughing ($2.16 million) and from 12 foals she is the dam of 10 winners including Mc Smiley (Life Sign, $339,026), Toofunnyforwords (Cam Fella, $315,585) and Giddy Up N Giggle (Grinfromeartoear, $160,860). Despite realizing this Ohio-sired colt would command a sizable amount to possess, James was undeterred. There were also similarities to when he signed the $210,000 check at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale for Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner McWicked, who was second by a half-length earlier in the day in the Allerage Farms Pace at Red Mile. “When I have my mind made about something I do it,” James said. “My ex-wife called me (as she did with McWicked) right after I bought the colt to pick on me a little bit. We are still great friends and she knows I do what I want to do. It is a lot of money to spend on a horse, but I’m 86-years-old and what am I going to do with the money? I’m past the age where I need a nest egg, so why not buy a horse?” Roughcut, who will be conditioned by Coleman, is not only the most expensive yearling James has selected, but is the only horse to ever fetch $300,000 in the last session of the sale. As a result of his price and the $115,000 delivered by Al Libfield for the Uncle Peter-Bavarde colt Fred The Bread (Hip No. 570), this installment of the sale was up 26.1 percent from last year’s. In fact, this edition of the event was the most prolific of any sale conducted since it was re-tooled in 2005. Over the course of five days, 622 yearlings exchanged hands for $36,410,000 with an average of $58,537 and a median of $42,000. Also, 103 yearlings sold for $100,000 or more which shattered the previous record of 77 from 2016. To gain perspective on how successful this year’s sale was, last year’s record-breaking event sold 573 horses for $32,262,000, with an average of $56,304 and a median of $40,000. While more yearlings did go through the ring in 2017, there was no horse that sold for more $480,000, unlike last year when Tactical Landing brought $800,000 and Come See The Show $550,000. Randy Manges and David Reid, co-sales managers, both felt the 2016 numbers would be unattainable this year, but they acknowledged the strength of the middle market and of the catalogue shortly after the sale commenced. “That was a dream sale,” Manges said on the first evening. “We cannot expect this year to be the same, but we have yearlings in each session that are very nice horses and should sell well.” Although established stallions Muscle Hill (49 yearlings sold for $5.67 million) and Somebeachsomewhere (29 yearlings, $3 million) understandably were at the top of the list, the reception of the freshman sires certainly was a powerful force in this sale’s success. Captaintreacherous was responsible for 52 head which sold for $3.66 million; Father Patrick had 21 yearlings sell for $1.72 million and Sweet Lou had 27 horses sell for $2.07 million. Since 2012 only Muscle Hill (28 yearlings, $2.87 million), Rock N Roll Heaven (28 yearlings, $1.93 million), Chapter Seven (26 yearlings, $1.59 million) and Lucky Chucky (28 yearlings, $1.59 million) have fared as well or better with their first crops in Kentucky. Only Muscle Hill ($102,429) had a higher average from his initial group of yearlings than Father Patrick ($82,048), Sweet Lou ($76,778) and Captaintreacherous ($70,481). New stallions Sunshine Beach and E L Titan also did very well from a limited amount of offspring (three yearlings and an average of $84,667 and six yearlings and an average of $79,833, respectively). “Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere are proven stallions,” Manges said. “But we also are quite pleased with how well the new stallions have done this year.” To view full results of the sale, please click here. 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sales Results – Sire Averages  Sire [Average/#Sold] Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Total Mcardle $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $156,500 2 $156,500 2 Muscle Hill $134,421 19 $115,905 21 $76,556 9 $0 0 $0 0 $115,857 49 Somebeachsomewhere $127,933 15 $96,875 8 $51,000 6 $0 0 $0 0 $103,448 29 Sunshine Beach $0 0 $0 0 $115,000 2 $0 0 $24,000 1 $84,667 3 Father Patrick $120,000 5 $70,400 10 $74,800 5 $45,000 1 $0 0 $82,048 21 E L Titan $0 0 $92,333 3 $76,000 2 $50,000 1 $0 0 $79,833 6 Sweet Lou $120,714 7 $91,667 9 $39,375 8 $36,500 2 $15,000 1 $76,778 27 Muscle Mass $0 0 $0 0 $93,000 4 $51,250 4 $0 0 $72,125 8 Captaintreacherous $109,722 18 $61,304 23 $27,444 9 $16,500 2 $0 0 $70,481 52 Chapter Seven $0 0 $108,750 4 $51,800 5 $18,500 2 $50,000 1 $65,083 12 Cantab Hall $185,000 4 $59,368 19 $43,533 15 $43,500 4 $0 0 $64,167 42 Swan For All $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $59,000 1 $59,000 1 A Rocknroll Dance $100,000 1 $168,333 3 $39,000 3 $27,750 8 $18,500 2 $57,706 17 Kadabra $79,400 5 $59,750 4 $45,500 6 $50,000 2 $35,000 2 $56,789 19 Trixton $79,167 6 $60,778 9 $49,286 14 $39,444 9 $0 0 $54,395 38 Western Ideal $80,000 1 $82,500 2 $56,000 2 $26,000 2 $15,000 1 $53,000 8 Archangel $0 0 $85,000 1 $62,000 1 $44,500 2 $22,000 1 $51,600 5 Royalty For Life $0 0 $100,000 1 $50,667 3 $27,500 2 $0 0 $51,167 6 Explosive Matter $35,000 1 $113,000 3 $0 0 $32,667 6 $22,000 2 $51,167 12 American Ideal $48,333 3 $76,750 8 $31,333 3 $26,200 5 $22,000 1 $50,300 20 Credit Winner $129,000 3 $52,500 8 $45,667 6 $23,571 7 $16,000 3 $47,926 27 Dragon Again $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $44,000 2 $44,000 2 Andover Hall $0 0 $85,000 1 $0 0 $33,333 3 $35,000 1 $44,000 5 Betterthancheddar $57,000 1 $100,000 1 $38,667 3 $20,000 1 $7,000 1 $42,857 7 Conway Hall $0 0 $48,000 1 $100,000 1 $38,750 4 $24,667 3 $41,889 9 Uncle Peter $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $41,600 5 $41,600 5 Western Vintage $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $40,000 1 $40,000 1 Bettor's Delight $130,000 1 $42,000 2 $40,167 12 $22,500 4 $14,000 1 $40,000 20 Heston Blue Chip $0 0 $75,000 1 $0 0 $30,000 1 $14,000 1 $39,667 3 Yankee Cruiser $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $39,500 2 $39,500 2 Donato Hanover $0 0 $42,600 5 $54,333 6 $24,500 6 $11,000 2 $37,263 19 Rockin Image $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $37,000 1 $37,000 1 Sportswriter $0 0 $60,000 2 $45,200 5 $28,444 9 $22,000 1 $36,706 17 Rc Royalty $0 0 $0 0 $27,000 1 $55,000 1 $25,000 1 $35,667 3 Art Major $55,000 2 $50,333 6 $29,300 10 $22,800 5 $20,000 1 $34,958 24 Mach Three $0 0 $0 0 $47,750 4 $18,000 2 $10,000 1 $33,857 7 Manofmanymissions $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $33,333 3 $33,333 3 So Surreal $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $47,000 1 $17,000 1 $32,000 2 Pet Rock $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $30,857 7 $30,857 7 Shadow Play $0 0 $0 0 $34,250 4 $24,000 2 $0 0 $30,833 6 We Will See $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $30,000 1 $30,000 1 Yankee Glide $85,000 1 $35,000 1 $28,400 5 $26,250 8 $23,600 5 $29,500 20 Well Said $0 0 $70,000 1 $40,000 1 $30,000 4 $11,333 3 $29,333 9 Always A Virgin $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $27,500 2 $27,500 2 Roll With Joe $0 0 $0 0 $37,500 2 $19,333 3 $0 0 $26,600 5 My Mvp $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $25,000 1 $25,000 1 Mr Wiggles $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $25,000 1 $25,000 1 Cassis $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $23,000 1 $23,000 1 Vintage Master $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $21,000 1 $21,000 1 Guccio $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $20,000 1 $20,000 1 Wishing Stone $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $20,000 1 $20,000 1 Rock N Roll Heaven $0 0 $12,000 1 $45,000 1 $20,000 1 $7,500 2 $18,400 5 Muscle Massive $0 0 $0 0 $22,000 1 $19,571 7 $14,333 3 $18,364 11 Dejarmbro $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $17,750 4 $17,750 4 Lucky Chucky $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $17,000 1 $17,000 1 Western Terror $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $17,000 1 $0 0 $17,000 1 Ponder $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $16,000 1 $16,000 1 Crazed $0 0 $0 0 $22,000 1 $25,000 1 $7,000 2 $15,250 4 Real Desire $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $12,000 2 $12,000 2 Muscles Yankee $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $7,000 1 $15,000 1 $11,000 2 Cash Hall $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $0 0 $8,000 1 $8,000 1     by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- On the very first evening of the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, many of harness racing media members and those in the audience were swift to commence comparisons between this year’s edition and the record-breaking version which occurred the previous year. Randy Manges, co-sales manager, quickly responded to these queries by stating the two were vastly different, as 2016 was in a class of its own, yet he felt the upcoming four sessions would demonstrate not only the demand for horses, but a very robust middle market. After Mettle and Tangent, however, sold for $180,000 and $100,000, respectively, on Friday (Oct. 6) in the sale’s fourth installment, the 2017 sale is poised to soar past its predecessor to annex the top spot in the history books. “You cannot compare this year’s sale to last year’s because we don’t have a $800,000 or $550,000 yearling,” said Manges. “But we have very nice horses right up until the last horse to sell, so the catalogue we have created should appeal to a number of buyers to the conclusion of the sale.” Friday evening witnessed the passage of 124 yearlings through the ring that were sold for a total sum of $3,674,000 with an average of $29,629. This was increase of 16.1 percent from 2016’s equivalent session, which netted $2,884,000 from 113 horses and supplied an average of $25,522. The median price also increased by roughly 20 percent from last year with two horses bringing $100,000 or more as last year’s highest-priced horse was sold for $97,000 for the corresponding session. As the sale heads into its final evening, 535 horses have generated $34,069,000 in revenue with an average of $63,680. Its 2016 counterpart offered 491 yearlings which sold for $30,553,000 with an average of $62,266. This year 101 horses have sold for $100,000 or better while in 2016, 76 yearlings accomplished that feat. Mettle, a son of Trixton-Angelette Hanover, not only created the highest-price of the evening, but was the first $100,000 horse of the session. Consigned and raised by Hunterton Farms, the colt was assigned Hip No. 442 and is now owned by Celebrity Farms. By Yankee Glide, Mettle’s dam was a talented race mare as she banked $317,892, was second in the Breeders Crown final as a 2-year-old and in the Coaching Club Oaks as a sophomore. She was also third in the Hudson Filly Trot as a 3-year-old. From three foals of racing age, Angelette Hanover has provided three winners, but the potential for her progeny to be future stars is quite promising. Not only is the mare a half-sibling to Annie Hall (Like A Prayer, $103,469), who has also foaled two $100,000 winners, but her granddam is none other than Hall of Fame member Amour Angus. Therefore, Mettle hails from one of the most coveted bloodlines in the sport. Tangent, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Fraction, possesses her own impressive credentials when it comes to her female family, which is undoubtedly one of the primary factors involved in her price. Consigned and reared by Diamond Creek Farm, this filly, identified as Hip No. 448, was selected by Marcus Melander as agent for Al Libfield for $100,000. Tangent’s dam is by Andover Hall and from two foals of racing age has one, Sherrys Lady (Muscle Hill), who is a winner as a 2-year-old. Fraction, however, is out of Decimal Hanover (SJ’s Caviar, $1,536), who in turn is a daughter of D Train. This makes her a half-sibling to 2007 Horse of the Year, multiple Dan Patch Award winner, world champion and successful sire Donato Hanover (Andover Hall, $2.9 million), world champion Here Comes Herbie (Credit Winner, $365,541) and Dream On Hanover (Andover Hall, $119,521). The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continues until Saturday (Oct. 7) with all sessions opening at 7 p.m. To view the full results of the sale or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. The event is also being streamed live and can be seen on this link. Complete recaps of the individual sessions will be available at www.ustrotting.com on the mornings following the evening sessions. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Although each session of every edition of any sale possesses its own unique characteristics, this year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale features an attribute which sets it apart from its predecessors: expect the unexpected. Thursday evening’s (Oct. 5) action certainly demonstrated just that as Southwind Bugz was purchased for $335,000 to rank as the second highest-priced yearling of the harness racing event in its third session, which is obviously extremely unusual. Randy Manges, however, might have provided a bit of foreshadowing for what the sale was capable of providing on Monday evening. “I’m looking forward to the rest of the sale,” the co-sales manager said. “Our third, fourth and fifth sessions have very nice horses so our books have strength right through to the end of the sale.” Despite his extensive experience and knowledge, even Manges himself was probably a bit surprised at how successful this year’s third installment was as Southwind Bugz was merely an indicator of a very powerful sale. Thursday witnessed 160 yearlings go through the ring for a gross sum of $7,615,000 with an average of $47,594. In last year’s record-breaking event, 145 horses were sold for $6,066,000 with an average of $41,834. Therefore, the sale saw a healthy increase of 13.8 percent from the 2016 numbers. In addition, the highest-priced yearling from last year’s version on the third day was $175,000 and six horses sold for $100,000 or more. On this Thursday, nine yearlings sold with that price tag or higher. Identified as Hip No. 368, Southwind Bugz, a son of Muscle Hill-Missymae Bluestone, is now owned by Kenneth Jacobs. Consigned by Preferred Equine Inc. and raised by Southwind Farms, the bay colt entered the arena with a regal air as the bidding ensued around him. The March 26 foal is a full-sibling to Yonkers Trot runner-up and Swedish Breeders Crown winner Southwind Mozart ($300,000-International) and a half-brother to New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Southwind Cocoa (Chocolatier, $277,097). The colt’s granddam, Missy’s Goalfire, earned $329,939 on the racetrack and also produced Missy’s Doubt Fire (Cantab Hall, $177,924) as well as Me And Cinderella (Cantab Hall, $107,398). This family’s first three generations are also listed in the catalogue with an impressive amount of black type. While fellow freshman stallions Captaintreacherous, Sweet Lou, Father Patrick and Trixton have been in the spotlight, Sunshine Beach tossed down his own challenge as his son Ridin On Sunshine, Hip No. 416, was selected for $185,000 by Gino Toscani. Out of the Jereme's Jet mare Takealilridewithme, the colt was consigned by Spring Haven Farm and reared by Rails Edge Farm. Ridin On Sunshine is his dam’s first foal, but she is a half-sister to Riding The Rapids (Red River Hanover, $113,020). The colt’s great-granddam, Motorist (French Chef) produced six winners from seven foals and his fourth dam, Road Runner (Albatross) is responsible for a number of stakes winners as well as stakes producers. Two trotting yearlings, Lindy Express and One More Rosie, shared the third position as the evening’s most expensive purchases when they each fetched $140,000. A son of Trixton-Nashville Lindy, Lindy Express, who will now reside in the barn of Åke Svanstedt, is a half-brother to 2017 Old Oaken Bucket victor Shake It Off Lindy (Crazed, $209,872). Catalogued as Hip No. 375, the colt has a pedigree that affords a glimpse of a promising future, as his second and third dams were prolific producers of stakes winners. One More Rosie, Hip No. 398, was selected by Rene Allard. The daughter of Muscle Mass-Rose De Vie Stena is a full-sister to dual O’Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie ($903,520) and a half-sibling to Howd That Feel (Muscles Yankee, $187,272). The filly’s dam is a 100 percent producer and is a half-sister to Bertorico (Lindy Lane, $237,165), Baron Hall (Victory Dream, $194,818), and Bertolio (Lindy Lane, $204,400-International). The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continues until Saturday (Oct. 7) with all sessions opening at 7 p.m. To view the full results of the sale or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. The event is also being streamed live and can be seen on this link. Complete recaps of the individual sessions will be available at www.ustrotting.com on the mornings following the evening sessions. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Lexington, KY --- As only 20 more of her colleagues prepared to enter the ring for the second session of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale on Wednesday (Oct. 4), the majority of the harness racing crowd had already availed themselves of the exit while firmly gripping their catalogues. Those that remained were obviously paying attention to the price Beautiful Sin was demanding, but all conversation ceased once the toteboard hit $300,000. From there on in, all the observers held their breath while waiting to discover the sum the daughter of Muscle Hill-Sina would command. The answer supplied was $480,000 and when the next hip number flashed on the screen, those in attendance collectively released their breath while clapping in honor of the new sales-topper. “It is unusual to have that happen on the second night of the sale,” said Randy Manges, co-manager of the event. “But it shows the strength of the catalogue.” It does indeed. After the conclusion of the sale’s second session 251 yearlings have collected $22,780,000, with an average of $90,757. Although this figure is down 2.1 percent from last year’s record-breaking affair, the number is an increase of 18.1 percent from 2015. The median is also up five percent from last year, as roughly 20 more yearlings have been sold for $100,000 in the first two days. Beautiful Sin was hammered down for a price of $480,000. Identified as Hip No. 239, Beautiful Sin caught everyone's eye upon her entrance in the walking ring. Consigned by Northwood Bloodstock Agency and raised at Allerage Farm, the filly’s dam banked $144,994 during her career, was stakes-placed and is by Cantab Hall. She is a half-sibling to Derby (Deweycheatumnhowe, $172,228) and this filly is her first foal. Purchased by Robert Lindstrom, Beautiful Sin was bred by Jeff Gural, his wife Paula and their friend Monica Bencal, who is the wife of trainer Bob Bencal. Despite surpassing the top bid of $330,000 placed for Rifleman the day before, Beautiful Sin was not the sole stand-out as Spectrum, a son of world champions A Rocknroll Dance and Somwherovrarainbow, equaled that mark earlier in the evening. Entered in the sale by Diamond Creek Farm, who also was responsible for his upbringing, Spectrum at Hip No. 130, is the first foal from his dam while his granddam is Hall of Fame member Rainbow Blue. That mare has also produced Reflection Of Blue (Bettor's Delight, $168,727) and the budding star Rainbow Room, a full sister to Somwherovrarainbow, who has amassed $333,049 in her freshman season. When Spectrum left the ring, it was under the ownership of Diamond Creek Racing as he was placed in the sale to dissolve a artnership in conjunction with Ted Gewertz. The third highest-priced yearling of the session was Hip No. 180, Money Never Rests. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Lady Be Great, the brown colt was consigned by Preferred Equine Inc. and raised at Hamstan Farm Limited in Ontario. Determination Stable of Quebec signed the $260,000 ticket to acquire ownership of the grandson of Dan Patch and O’Brien Award winner She’s A Great Lady. Lady Be Great established her mark of 1:58f in a qualifying contest as a 2-year-old and earned $2,140. She is a half-sister to Dan Patch Award winner Lady MacBeach (Jenna's Beach Boy, $802,296). Money Never Rests, an impressive individual, is his dam’s first foal and is the product of a female family which contains numerous stakes winners. In fact, the colt’s great-granddam Miss Donna Mayo (Silent Majority) foaled Dan Patch Award winner The Big Dog (Dexter Nukes, $830,011), Mayo’s Mark (Tyler’s Mark, $404,076) and Hold The Mayo (Dexter Nukes, $246,208) in addition to She’s A Great Lady. Another intriguing facet of this sale is the emergence of a group of young stallions that appear to have a spectacular future. Veteran Muscle Hill still retains the top spot by virtue of his offspring generating $4.98 million over the course of two days with an average of $132,565 for his colts and $114,059 for his fillies. Captaintreacherous, however, has assumed second place with his progeny collecting $3.38 million with his averages standing at $84,115 and $79,867. Somebeachsomewhere controls the third position with his foals fetching $2.69 million with averages of $134,615 and $94,400. Despite not placing in the top three, Sweet Lou ($1.67 million), Father Patrick ($1.3 million) and Trixton ($1.02 million) are all in striking distance heading into the final three sessions of the sale, as they are fifth, sixth and seventh behind Cantab Hall ($1.86 million). “We are ecstatic about the way the Sweet Lou yearlings have sold,” said Larry Karr, who owns the stallion in partnership with Burke Racing Stable, Diamond Creek Farm, Weaver Bruscemi, and Phillip Collura. “We looked at every one of his yearlings selling at Lexington and it looks like he has sired very athletic horses. You never know until they sell but based on the prices they have been selling for, it is clear others share our opinion. “We are lucky enough to have bought some of them ourselves (Hip No. 133, Hip No. 162, Hip No. 169 and Hip No. 223), meaning the original Sweet Lou ownership group is involved, but other partners will be in as well. I might go broke on all these horses we are buying, but I love it!” The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continues until Saturday (Oct. 7) with all sessions opening at 7 p.m. To view the full results of the sale or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. The event is also being streamed live and can be seen on this link. Complete recaps of the individual sessions will be available at www.ustrotting.com on the mornings following the evening sessions. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Lexington, KY --- As with any horse sale of great magnitude the location pulses with throbbing energy and anticipation for the moment the event will commence.  The vibe from this year’s crowd, however, was unique as it also emitted a sense of satisfaction with variety, scope and depth of the harness racing youngsters available for purchase.   Those that participated in the first session of the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale on Tuesday (Oct. 3) at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion in Lexington, Ky., demonstrated all these emotions and tremendous faith in the market as evidenced by 54 of the 93 horses selling for more than $100,000 with the median average increasing more than 10 percent from last year’s historic sale.   USTA/Mark Hall photo Hip No. 35, Rifleman, a trotting colt by Father Patrick-Designed To Be, sold for $330,000 to Courant Inc. “We had 13 more yearlings sell for $100,000 compared to last year,” said Randy Manges, co-sales manager. “We are very, very pleased with that, especially since in reviewing the catalogue it did not appear we had an $800,000 or $550,000 horse like last year. We knew we had some extremely nice horses that would sell well, so while the average might be down, we could not be happier with the median. Also, we did not have one horse sell for under $27,000 and last year we did. This is another result we are quite pleased with.” Despite the presence of stalwart super stallions Somebeachsomewhere and Muscle Hill, who made their presence known immediately and did possess high total price tags at $1.9 million and $2.5 million, respectively, the star of the sale was produced by none other than one of the freshman stallions the sport has been so anxious to witness the progeny of -- Father Patrick. “All the new stallions sold extremely well and there was a lot of excitement about them,” Manges said. “Although people went to the proven stallions in Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere, the fact that the sales-topper was by Father Patrick, shows the new stallions were well-received.” Striding into the ring as Hip No. 35, Rifleman, a son of the above mentioned world champion and another world champion in Designed To Be, left the arena after being purchased for $330,000 by Courant Inc. The handsome bay, born in January 2016, was the first foal from his dam who hails from a female family that wins on the racetrack then transfers those performances to the breeding shed. Consigned by Kentuckiana Farms and raised at Walco Farms in Standford, Ky., Rifleman is also a grandson of Donato Hanover, who is establishing himself as a quality broodmare sire. Calmly swishing her tail as the auctioneer was hard at work, Seaside Bliss, a daughter of Cantab Hall-You Want Me, brought the gavel down for $300,000 to be the second highest-priced yearling of the evening. Entered into the sale and raised by Peninsula Farm, the filly is the second foal out of New York Sire Stakes champion You Want Me and is a half-sibling to 2-year-old You Know You Do (Muscle Hill, $362,754), this year’s Peter Haughton Memorial victor, as well as a top contender for divisional honors this season.   USTA/Mark Hall photo Seaside Bliss brought the gavel down for $300,000 to be the second highest-priced yearling of the evening. With Paul Kelley signing the ticket as agent, Seaside Bliss, Hip No. 47, has an extensive pedigree of black type as her fourth dam is Armbro Éclair (Speedy Crown, $187,443). This mare produced three horses that broke the $100,000 barrier and her daughters are responsible for a number of stakes winners. Kentuckiana Farms and Walco Farms teamed up again to offer the third highest-priced yearling of the night in Hip No. 93, The Dream Lives On. Selected by Jimmy Takter for $265,000 the colt is by Muscle Hill and out of the 2012 2-year-old Dan Patch Award winner To Dream On. The colt is a half-brother to Chanel Me (Cantab Hall, $14,750), who is currently a 2-year-old and has captured a leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series. The Dream Lives On has a family tree that screams future champion from the catalogue page, as his second dam is Satin Pillows, the dam of another very nice horse in Credit Creation (Credit Winner, $113,251) and from four foals she has three winners. Satin Pillows is out of Bold Dreamer (Donerail, $531,258), an outstanding racehorse and equally prolific broodmare, as she has foaled champion Pampered Princess (Andover Hall, $1.64 million), O’Brien Award winner Was It A Dream (Striking Sahbra, $713,441) and Nothing But Class (Andover Hall, $134,818). The sale got off to a quick start when Hip No. 1, Southport Beach, a pacing colt by Somebeachsomewhere-Benear sold for $250,000 to Geoff Martin. Consigned by Vieux Carre Farms, agent, he is a full brother to 2014 Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach. Despite the proven stallions standing their ground and retaining their value within the industry, the four newcomers in Father Patrick, Captaintreacherous, Sweet Lou and Trixton, not only held their own, but illustrated why they will be forces to reckoned with in the future. Captaintreacherous was just ahead of Somebeachsomewhere in total price for his 18 foals, while the older stallion had 15 offered for sale. The younger horse collected an average of $114,500 for his colts and $103,750 for his fillies. The five offspring of Father Patrick brought a total of $600,000, but his average was a stout $140,000 for his four colts and his lone filly fetched $40,000. Sweet Lou also made a splash, as his three fillies averaged $155,000 and his four colts $95,000. His sons and daughters amassed just under $850,000 in the sales ring. Trixton also was quite successful at the sale as six of his progeny, with only one being a colt, amassed $475,000, with his fillies averaging a healthy $86,000. A total of 93 head sold for $10,634,000, with the average price being $114,344. “We are very happy with the opening day of the sale, but I know we are looking forward to the days that come,” Manges said. “This is a strong sale throughout each day, in fact the second day this year appears more solid than last year’s and many buyers are arriving on Wednesday. While it is not the same as last year in terms of those very high-priced horses, we have built a catalogue that has great depth throughout the course of the sale.” The Lexington Selected Yearling Sale continues until Saturday (Oct. 7) with all sessions opening at 7 p.m. To view the full results of the sale or the upcoming catalogue, please click here. The event is also being streamed live and can be seen on this link. Complete recaps of the individual sessions will be available at www.ustrotting.com on the mornings following the evening sessions.   by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- She may not be a meteorological phenomenon created by an array of unusual circumstances due to light and temperature, but Rainbow Room could very well be classified as a phenom. After an already stout start to her harness racing career, this royally-pedigreed young lady seeks to add another Grand Circuit triumph to her resume in her Red Mile debut on Saturday (Sept. 30) in an $87,400 division of the Bluegrass Stakes. “She began to separate herself training down in late winter and early spring,” said Joe Holloway, the filly’s conditioner. “That is when we knew she could be something special.” Owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Val D’Or Farms and Ted Gewertz, Rainbow Room is a daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Rainbow Blue. The filly, a 100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, is a full sister to world champion Somwherovrarainbow and with that kind of family tree, all eyes were upon her when she was unveiled at the Meadowlands for two contests solely for 2-year-olds.  Since those initial forays on the track, Rainbow Room has compiled a record of 7-6-1-0, has collected $311,199 in earnings and has a record of 1:51.2f. The filly will leave from post six on Saturday with regular reinsman David Miller guiding her journey. She is 8-5 on the morning line, but has some serious competition in the field from rivals Kissin In The Sand (post three, Yannick Gingras, Nancy Johansson, 3-1), Double A Mint (post five, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 4-1) and Majorsspeciallady (Tim Tetrick, Ron Burke, 6-1). Rainbow Room enters this event after defeating Majorsspeciallady by a hard-fought three-quarters of a length at Hoosier Park on Friday (Sept. 22) in the $200,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes. The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion was third in mid-stretch and raced first-over to catch Double A Mint, then fend off Majorsspeciallady and Strong Opinion to reach the wire. After she displayed antics in the winner’s circle similar to those of 2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, Holloway was succinct. “She’s really something special,” he told Emily Gaskin, Race Marketing Manager, Commentator and Publicist at Hoosier Park, in a post-race interview. “She’s the nicest filly I’ve had the opportunity to train.” Holloway, who has been responsible for the careers of the fastest female Standardbred ever in Shebestingin, world champion She’s A Great Lady and 2015 Dan Patch Award winner Divine Caroline, is one of the most humble individuals in regards to the ability of his horses. Holloway also trained triple Breeders Crown victor Jenna's Beach Boy, so his assessment of Rainbow Room should not be taken lightly. In addition, he and his employees were graciously accommodating when prying eyes wanted to witness this filly up close and personal at Hoosier Park. “She can be tough, but she knows she is a diva,” her caretaker explained. “We just work around that with her.” Holloway echoed those words and added his own insight. “She did not get over the track very well at Hoosier,” he said. “But that was my fault because I already had her shod for Lexington and we had that rain before the race. We did bring her there (Hoosier) in preparation for the Breeders Crown, but we are really looking forward to Lexington with her. “She does have her own mind about her, but who doesn’t? We just let her be herself and appreciate the opportunity to be around her. We also know this is a tough division with other talented fillies out there too. We are just thankful to have her.” To view the Saturday Red Mile card, which includes six other divisions of the Bluegrass Stakes for freshman pacing colts and fillies, please click here.   by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

ANDERSON, Ind.-September 22, 2017 - On Friday evening (Sept. 22) the majority of the harness racing fans at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino sought the cooler confines of the great indoors, but braved the humid conditions to witness an overall track record performance by world and Indiana champion Homicide Hunter. The 5-year-old gelding sailed by fellow champion Hannelore Hanover in deep stretch and held off the late bid of another familiar colleague in track record holder Natural Herbie to score in the $240,000 Centaur Trotting Classic in 1:51.2 to complete an Indiana-bred trifecta in the event, which was one of seven on the Grand Circuit contests on the card. "I am very excited about the driving him here in the Breeders Crown," said pilot Brett Miller. "I've only driven him three times, but since he's been here it's like he knows where he is and that he is home; he also loves the track. He is such a well-mannered horse and that is what makes him what he is. Nine out of 10 of the great horses you drive are intelligent and if they don't have that they generally never become very good; this horse has that and much more." Another track record holder over this Anderson oval in I Know My Chip (Sam Widger), led the extremely talented field of 10 through the first quarter mile in a swift :26.1 with world champion JL Cruze (David Miller) right behind him as Hannelore Hanover was content to track this duo in third until shortly after the tote board flashed the time of :54.3 for the half-mile. As the final turn to the homestretch loomed, Yannick Gingras pulled the 5-year-old mare and she responded with vigor to take the lead. As Hannelore Hanover made her move, Homicide Hunter and Miller simply employed her cover to enter second place at the top of the lane. The mare dug deep in reply to Homicide Hunter's advance, yet the gelding's strides appeared to lengthen as he drew on even terms then trotted past his rival. Meanwhile Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) was making his own bid for the victory with an extremely strong move on the outside, but it was too little too late. Owned by Crawford Farms, Homicide Hunter is trained by Chris Oakes. The triumph in the Centaur Trotting Classic improves his record to a sterling 57-30-6-7 and makes him the sport's newest millionaire. The Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes Not to be outdone by her more seasoned and mature elderstatesman, Basquiat (Gingras) demolished the track record for 2-year-old trotting fillies just recently set by Oh So Easy when she tripped the teletimer earlier in the evening in 1:53.4 in the $240,000 race. The time was nearly a full second faster than the previous standard. Trained by Jimmy Takter and competing as a homebred for Order By Stable, the daughter of Cantab Hall-Thatsnotmyname was not hindered by drawing post nine in the field of 10 as she trotted comfortably in third for the first quarter mile, which was timed in :27, before advancing to second behind leader Meadow Brook Grace (Trace Tetrick) just before the :56.2 half-mile. The positions of the top two remained unchanged through three-quarters in 1:25 but when Gingras gave his filly her cue to go after the final turn, Basquiat responded in kind. The filly strode past the pacesetter with ease and defeated a hard-closing Custom Cantab (Peter Wrenn) by a measured length. Hey Blondie (Andrew McCarthy) was third. Basquiat's record now stands at 7-5-2. The Moni Maker Although she did not establish a new track record like her counterparts, Sunshine Delight (Brett Miller) did equal a facility mark with a 1:53.1 victory by two lengths in the $160,000 event. In a race where the lead was inherited by three of the seven contestants in the race, Sunshine Delight (post five) was placed in sixth position for until after the toteboard recorded a time of :57.1 for the half-mile. That is when Miller urged his filly to advance and by the top of the stretch she had a head advantage over Treviso (Charlie Norris, post two). From there on in, it was all Sunshine Delight and daughter of Credit Winner-On The Bright Side set a new lifetime mark of 1:53.1. Trained by Staffan Lind, the filly is owned by James Wilhite Jr. and it is her second win of the year from 11 trips to the post. "She has had some very tough posts, like in the Hambletonian Oaks, but she has always tried her best and raced well," Miller said. "She is a very good filly, but she's had some bad luck. It's great to see her finally win one of these tonight." Sunshine Delight was followed home by Future Secured (Gingras), who is a full-sister to Basquiat, and Treviso. Live racing continues at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, September 24 with a 12-race card. With a daily post time of 6:30 p.m., live racing at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 17. The 24th season of live harness racing is highlighted by the 34th edition of the Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event valued at $6 million, on Friday, Oct. 27 and Saturday, Oct. 28. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com . Story By: Kim French, for Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Johnstown, OH --- A change in venue and an alteration in format did not dissuade those in attendance at the Ohio Selected Jug Sale on Friday (Sept. 15) from investing in the harness racing sport’s future. Trotters, most notably the first yearlings from world champion and Breeders Crown winner Uncle Peter, took center stage at the Brave Horse Show Park in Johnstown, Ohio, as his daughter Tu Eres Mi Corazon went through the ring for $150,000, equaling the highest-price ever paid for an Ohio-bred Standardbred. Another daughter, Majestic Lexi, was the third most expensive horse sold at this event when she fetched the sum of $95,000, while the recently deceased Dragon Again led pacing stallions when his son, Dragon Ruler, changed hands for $100,000. The buzz prior to the sale was about the first progeny of Uncle Peter, who stands at Hickory Lane Farm for a stud fee of $6,000 and his pacing counterpart Rockin Amadeus, a full brother to top Indiana stallion Rockin Image. Rockin Amadeus provides his services from Cool Winds Farm for $3,500 and owns the distinction of defeating Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous in the 2012 edition of the Breeders Crown. One of 40 yearlings by her sire originally consigned to the sale of 237 head prior to withdrawals, Tu Eres Mi Corazon was selected by Ron Burke Racing Stables as Hip No. 71 and placed in the sale by her breeders, Spring Haven Farm and Doug Millard Holdings USA Inc. The striking brown filly is the second foal out of the Muscle Hill mare Corazon Blue Chip and is a half-sibling to 2-year-old Fourth Dimension (Chapter Seven, $81,750). That colt brought $200,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and is now owned by Courant Inc. He is a perfect four-for-four in his young career and has established a new track record at Monticello Raceway as well as equaling the track standard at Yonkers Raceway. “We bought her dam in foal (with Fourth Dimension) at the Harrisburg Sale in 2014,” said Senena Esty, the proprietor of Spring Haven Farm. “She is just a gorgeous mare and she has passed on her looks to Fourth Dimension and this filly. “This filly’s name means ‘a piece of my heart’ and she really is like that to me. She is just so classy and cool, calm and collected. It is so rewarding to see a horse like this go on to top the sale, but there is always a part of you with them when they go on. Maybe it’s a woman thing becoming emotional about it, but we follow all our horses and we have been cheering for Fourth Dimension all year long, just like we will always watch her.” The second horse to equal or exceed the $100,000 mark was the Dragon Again-Canary Island colt, Dragon Ruler. Presented as Hip No. 52 with Hunterton Sales Agency Inc. on behalf of Willow Oak Ranch, the bay colt is the first foal out of his dam who won $155,327 during her racing career and is a half-sister to Elusive Prey (Western Hanover, $802,706) Aba Daba Doo (Cam’s Card Shark, $541,037) and Duneside Perch (Cam’s Card Shark, $160,325). When asked to discuss the legacy of Dragon Again as a stallion and his immediate impact in the Buckeye State, Joe McLead, the co-owner and manager of Sugar Valley Farm, was succinct. "Ed Mullinax's (Dragon Again's owner) heart always belonged to his home state and he is the only one responsible for the success of this horse," he said. "His contributions to the sport have simply been immense." Purchased by M.K. Bencic as the agent, Dragon Ruler’s granddam, Duck Duck Goose has foaled 12 horses and every one of them is a winner. His third dam Misty Bretta, by Bret Hanover, gave birth to 20 offspring with 13 of them collecting at least one victory. Four of her foals amassed more than $250,000 in purse money. The third highest priced horse to leave the grounds under new ownership was Majestic Lexi. The daughter of Uncle Peter-Majestic Taglet was purchased by Black Magic Racing for $95,000 from the LMN Bred Stables Inc., who also bred her. “Breeding is the hardest part of this business,” said Mitchell Nault, the co-owner of LMN Stables with his wife Laura. “I’ve trained horses, I’ve driven them and I’m the tattooer for Michigan and Ohio. We are like a bunch of riverboat gamblers (breeders) every time we come down the pike. “It is incredibly rewarding to be able to come into a sale like this where people are looking for pedigree, not only to race in the Ohio Sire Stakes, but in Grand Circuit events. To be able to satisfy what people want to buy when you begin planning for something like this more than two years in advance is a great feeling. We also have a full brother to this filly that we are hoping to bring to next year’s sale, but you just never know what is going to happen. We are just very, very happy with what this filly brought today, but we felt she did have the pedigree and a lot to offer.” Majestic Lexi’s dam banked $200,116 during her days of competition and is a half-sibling to world champion Muscle Up The Goal (Muscle Mass, $348,858) and Kahoku (SJ’s Caviar, $236,965). This filly also possesses the distinction of being the first foal delivered from Uncle Peter and her arrival was heralded by Hoof Beats magazine when the image shortly after her birth was published. “She was born on Jan. 19 and was the first one of his to hit the ground,” Nault said. “We believe in breeding to foal as early as possible in the year because we think it helps in the long run when they race.” Although the three horses that accrued the largest bids nearly always receive the most attention, the entire sale was a tremendous success as other yearlings by the stallions Rockin Amadeus, McArdle, Manofmanymissions, Pet Rock, Dejarmbro, Triumphant Caviar and Yankee Cruiser were all well received. Complete sales results can be found by clicking on this link. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- After Rockin Ron (Matt Kakaley) blew by Mel Mara (Dave Palone) like the 2-1 public selection was standing still it appeared the harness racing  trophy for the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial would clearly belong to his connections. McWicked, however, had other plans as he and Brian Sears unleashed a scintillating rally through the passing lane to score by a neck in 1:49.3 on Saturday (Sept. 9) at Eldorado Scioto Downs. “I won the 3-year-old Breeders Crown championship with this horse,” said Sears. “You have to ask him a little more than you used to when he was younger but he still has that speed.” As expected speedster Luck Be Withyou (post five, Aaron Merriman) immediately left the gate to take command. After leading the field of 10 swift older pacers through an opening quarter-mile in :26.1, Palone gave Mel Mara his cue and the stallion responded with a first-over move to take the lead through a half-mile in :54.2. The world champion’s stint on top would be short lived as Rockin Ron was loaded with pace and overhauled Mel Mara from fourth in a flash shortly before 1:21.3 for the three-quarters was posted on the board. In a moment Rockin Ron (9-2) not only passed Mel Mara but left him completely in his wake by several lengths. As the field strode toward the final turn, it seemed Rockin Ron was going to collect an emphatic victory, as Check Six (Chris Page), Boston Red Rocks (Josh Sutton) and McWicked all had plenty of work to do from sixth, third and fourth, respectively. As Rockin Ron disposed of Check Six and Boston Red Rocks, McWicked was winding up along the inside and gaining on the leader with every inch. As Sears urged him on, the 6-year-old stallion edged past Rockin Ron with a :27.2 final panel to annex the race. Rockin Ron held for second while Boston Red Rocks and Check Six dead-heated for third place. Owned by Ed James and conditioned by Casie Coleman, 2014 Dan Patch Award winner McWicked boosted his career bankroll past the $2 million mark and collected the 22nd win of his 68-race career. The stallion suffered from breathing problems as a 4-year-old which caused him to miss nearly all of the 2015 season and abbreviated his campaign last year. In 2017, McWicked has compiled a record of 21-7-3-2 after those issues were rectified. “Casie has trained him on and off throughout his career and she has really done a great job with him,” Sears, who also won the Jug Preview with Downbytheseaside earlier on the card, said. “I’m just very happy I received the opportunity to drive him tonight and that I was able to win with him again.” Introduced in 2013, the race honors the late Jim Ewart, who was the race secretary at Scioto Downs from 1976 through 2002. Ewart, who worked as a race secretary at 18 different tracks in North America, plus Australia and New Zealand, died in 2012. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite in the field of seven after the scratch of Henry The Dragon, harness racing world champion and Messenger Stakes victor Downbytheseaside, with Brian Sears at the lines, captured the $125,000 Jug Preview at Eldorado Scioto Downs in 1:51 on Saturday (Sept. 9). “We will take it easy with him next week (to prepare for the Little Brown Jug) and then start training him a little harder as the week goes on,” said Brian Brown, the colt’s conditioner after the race. Owned by Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo, and Diamond Creek Racing, the 3-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover left a step slower than his colleagues from post position one. Ohio Sire Stakes champion Drunk On Your Love (Dan Noble) took advantage of the leisurely beginning and shot to the lead from post position eight with Downbytheseaside right on his back. Drunk On Your Love led the field through a first quarter in :28.2 and that is when Sears decided to wait no longer to send his horse to the top. The duo came to the outside and cleared that rival by the three-eighths pole on the way to a :56.2 half-mile. Although Downbytheseaside remained in control, he did not place much separation between his rivals and himself through three-quarters in 1:24.1. As the horses commenced their drive into the final turn, Drunk On Your Love made his move from the pocket seat, while Sports Column (Andrew McCarthy) came with a brush to make his bid with Filibuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley) taking full advantage of that cover. As the field entered the stretch and continued down the lane, Drunk On Your Love paced through the passing lane while Filibuster Hanover and a very game Sports Column gave chase. Their efforts were in vain as Downbytheseaside held all his challengers at bay by a measured 1-1/2 lengths. Filibuster Hanover (6-1) was second with Sports Column (18-1) finishing third. Drunk On Your Love (13-1) rounded out the superfecta. Brown stated on several occasions this season that the colt’s feet had been problematic at times and after his workman–like triumph in the Messenger Stakes final on Sept. 2 he explained yet again Downbytheseaside was not at his best due to this recurring issue. Brown, however, has made some adjustments he feels could very well have remedied the situation. “We thought we might have to scratch (from the Messenger elimination) because his feet were sore,” he said. “Earlier in the spring he popped a gravel and it came out, but with this it never ever did. They were just bothering him, so we changed his shoes. I have to give all the credit to my blacksmith because he put the new flip-flops on him and he went right out and was much better. “We changed his shoes back to aluminum for the final and then changed them back to the flip-flops tonight. He came home in :26.4 tonight but the fractions were slow early. I’ll need to talk to Brian (Sears) and see what he thinks about how he is. Brian is a man of few words but when he talks I better listen.” With this victory, Downbytheseaside improved his lifetime record to 26-17-4-4 and has amassed nearly $1.6 million. His next engagement will be on Thursday (Sept. 21) in the Little Brown Jug. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

ANDERSON, Ind.-August 11, 2017 - On an absolutely flawless Friday (Aug. 11) evening, Hoosier Park Racing & Casino possessed all the elements for a spectacular 24th edition of the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The crowd was enthusiastic, the weather was sheer perfection and a quality field of 10, half of which were world champions, was certain to provide the harness racing fans with an exhilarating contest. Check Six was ultimately the horse to fulfill that goal with a three-quarter length victory over stable mate All Bets Off in 1:48.1 and stake his claim as the divisional leader. Rock N' Roll World closed with alacrity to reach the wire in third. After celebrating his win, Yannick Gingras, who guided the son of Somebeachsomewhere around the seven-eighths Anderson oval, acknowledged he was not exactly overjoyed when the 4-year-old stallion's post position was selected earlier this week. "I was not thrilled when I saw the draw sheet and we were in post nine," he said. "But you have to go out there, see how things work out on the track and then drive accordingly. He's had some back luck, but he's sharp right now so since the McKee ($224,400 Sam McKee Memorial on Aug. 5) maybe now his luck is changing." Gingras wasted no time putting Check Six into the race as he gunned him to the lead immediately after the wings folded on the gate. He was followed into the first turn by world champion Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair and Rock N' Roll World (John De Long), then tripped the timer for the first quarter-mile in speedy :26. Shortly after the time flashed upon the board, Matt Kakaley decided All Bets Off should control the tempo and that duo seized command by the :54.2 half-mile pole. At that juncture Aaron Merriman had his own ideas on how the race should be conducted and moved Dealt A Winner first-over to gain second place, with Gingras content to sit in third until after the 1:21.1 three-quarters. As Dealt A Winner began to tire from his earlier efforts as the field entered the top of the stretch, All Bets Off began to place of bit separation between himself and his rivals, with Rock N' Roll World and McWicked (David Miller) winding up for their drives to the wire. Just when it appeared All Bets Off was home free and would hold Check Six, Rock N' Roll World and McWicked at bay, Gingras ducked into the passing lane, strode by All Bets Off along the rail an collected the win for conditioner Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, William Switala and James Martin. "He is a very versatile horse," Gingras said. "He has gate speed and last year we used a lot of that with him, but you don't want to get in the habit of going crazy with that. This year we have not been doing that as much with him and he has had a little bit of tough luck with some of his trips, where we could not really do it anyway. This just worked out well for us tonight and hopefully this will carry forward throughout the rest of the year." Check Six had demonstrated an affinity for the Hoosier Park surface last year with a win in the $200,000 Monument Circle in his only previous appearance. The stallion entered this event with $1.4 million in the bank, a sophomore campaign where he captured the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, in addition to competing in admirably in a number of stakes engagements such as the Adios, the Cane Pace, the Breeders Crown, the Matron and Progress Pace. Prior to his appearance at the Meadowlands last week, Check Six had faced the starter on 10 occasions this season with not one win. With two consecutive wins in marquee divisional contests, he is making a bid to leap to the top of a division that has no clear leader. "He is eligible to just about everything, but I'm not sure where Ronnie will end up going with him," Gingras said. Check Six paid $13.40 to win as the 5-1 third choice. The exacta was $77.40 and the trifecta a $689.80. Check Six Hoosier Park's Dan Patch Stakes saw measurable success on all fronts. Excitement pervaded throughout the grandstand as a large, enthusiastic crowd welcomed the 24th installment of Hoosier Park's premier harness race to the track. The wagering front also saw much success and offered remarkable value to the horseplayer with the introduction of a signature $25,000 Guaranteed Superfecta and a $15,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-Five for the Dan Patch Stakes race. Live racing will continue at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Saturday, August 12 with a 12-race card that is set to begin at an adjusted post time of 4:30 p.m. At the conclusion of live racing on Saturday, American rocker Ted Nugent will perform in the outdoor concert venue as Hoosier Park closes its' summer concert series line-up. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.hoosierpark.com . Kim French, for Hoosier Park Racing & Casino

Columbus, OH --- When a horse collects a Dan Patch and O’Brien Award as a 3-year-old, it is rather unusual for he or she to remain in competition as a 6-year-old, especially when that animal is a stallion, yet McWicked, who is also a harness racing world champion, is an exception to that general rule. The son of McArdle-Western Sahara may not exactly be in the spotlight at this juncture of the season, but will endeavor to demonstrate why it should be shining upon him after he attempts to add a triumph in the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes on Friday (Aug. 11) at Hoosier Park to his lengthy list of achievements. “It’s great to have him back in the barn,” said his trainer, Casie Coleman. “We have a good post position and are hoping for nice weather, plus we have David (Miller) back driving him. He’s fit and sound; he’s in good shape and we are looking forward to racing him Friday night.” McWicked will engage in his Dan Patch trophy pursuit from post position three with his Hall of Fame pilot holding the lines. The stallion is the fourth selection on the morning line at 5/1 in the evenly matched field of 10 and will leave alongside the favorite in $2.4 million earner All Bets Off (post two, Matt Kakaley, 7/2), as well as Anderson’s beloved Breeders Crown champion Freaky Feet Pete (post four, Trace Tetrick, 8/1). The field also includes 2015 North America Cup victor Wakizashi Hanover (post 10, Tim Tetrick, 9/2), recent Sam McKee Memorial winner Check Six (post nine, Yannick Gingras, 4/1) and 2015 Cane Pace winner Dealt A Winner (post one, Aaron Merriman, 15/1). “I haven’t driven him since Pocono (fourth in his Ben Franklin elim on June 24),” Miller said. “But right when I started driving him this year up in Canada again I was very happy with him. Obviously he was just super his 3-year-old season, but it seems like he is returning to his old form.” Which is nothing short of superb. McWicked commenced his career in 2013 at age two in Julie Miller’s shedrow. The then-colt turned in a debut campaign that consisted of a record of 10-3-5-1 and $179,617 earned. Subsequently purchased by Ed James for $210,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Mixed Sale, McWicked as a sophomore was sent to James’ regular successful Florida trainer, Jim McDonald, and then offered to Coleman to train. That season McWicked was in the spotlight as he collected $1.47 million in purse money and won the $531,250 Breeders Crown final, the $400,000 Adios final, and the $301,560 Progress Pace. For his accomplishments he was honored as the sport’s 2014 Dan Patch and O’Brien Award 3-year-old pacing colt champion. “I have been in this business 63 years,” James said earlier this year. “I have had some nice horses, but he is the best horse I have ever owned.” Although expectations for him were naturally quite high in 2015 and 2016, McWicked battled breathing issues from the end of his 4-year-old year until this winter, which required medical attention. From 14 trips to the gate in the 2015-16, the stallion did not enter the winner’s enclosure but did collect more than $108,000 from three second and four third place finishes. McWicked returned to the races and winner’s circle on Feb. 12 at Pompano Park under the watchful eye of McDonald and he was steered by Miller in that $12,000 Open Pace. His time of 1:50.4 served notice the stallion intended on making up for lost time, now that his health issues were remedied. “When a horse has a couple million in earnings you know no matter what they have been doing something right throughout their career,” Miller said. Steve Elliott, who was entrusted with the horse during the late winter/early spring of 2016, took McWicked to Yonkers Raceway where he won a non-winners event on March 11 in preparation for the Levy Series. After finishing seventh and sixth in the first two legs of the series, the stallion was second on two occasions and won a division prior to finishing eighth in the final. From there, McWicked was sixth in an invitational at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and fourth in a preferred at the Meadowlands. He returned to Canada on June 3 when he captured a preferred at Mohawk Racetrack and then the Gold Cup on North America Cup night over the same oval. Since failing to make the Ben Franklin final at Pocono, the stallion has appeared in four preferred events at Mohawk, with a win, a second and two fourth place finishes. He, however, had to contend with some circumstances that did impact his performance. “In one of his races he was locked in and had no chance and another he came out of it sick,” Coleman said. “But he’s great now. He’s been staked to everything, but unfortunately it’s been tough to get him in things because of his earnings from the last two years. For the Dan Patch they go on lifetime earnings so we thought this would be a good spot for him. Also, if everything goes well it’s on to the fall stakes and hopefully the Breeders Crown back at Hoosier in October.” Miller anticipates McWicked will give a good account of himself in Indiana. “This horse has never had a problem with any track he has ever encountered,” he said. “For him surface or track size has never mattered. He can do it anywhere as he has shown throughout his career. He is just such a good-gaited horse that he can handle pretty much anything and after racing him in Canada it seems like he is coming back to himself.” James was quite excited to witness his horse earlier this year and certainly will be viewing McWicked’s Indiana engagement with the same enthusiasm. “I bought the horse to race,” he said in March. “I never got in this business to make money. I worked and still run my business (SSG Gloves) primarily by myself. I don’t take partners on horses because I like to control my own fate and I’ve been divorced twice, so that shows I’m not meant to have a partner. “I’m 85 years old and by the time I could watch his foals race I would be 90 and let’s face it, I might not be here then. Horses like this don’t come around very often; some people never get one and I don’t have another lifetime to find another one.” The 2017 Dan Patch field, in post position order with named driver and trainer includes: PP-Horse-Trainer-Driver-Morning Line Dealt A Winner         by Cams Card Shark          Tr: Mark Silva                Dr:  Aaron Merriman    15-1 All Bets Off               by Bettor's Delight               Tr: Ron Burke                Dr:  Matt Kakaley       7-2 McWicked                 by Mcardle                          Tr: Casie Coleman         Dr:  David Miller         5-1 Freaky Feet Pete      by Rockin Image                 Tr: Marty Rheinheimer   Dr:  Trace Tetrick       8-1 Manhattan Beach     by Somebeachsomewhere    Tr: Walter Haynes Jr.   Dr: Sam Widger        30-1 Dr J Hanover            by Somebeachsomewhere    Tr: Tony Alagna            Dr: Doug McNair     10-1 Rock N Roll World     by Rocknroll Hanover           Tr: Jeff Cullipher           Dr: John De Long     10-1 Rockin Ron                by Real Desire                      Tr: Ron Burke               Dr: Ricky Macomber Jr. 6-1 Check Six                  by Somebeachsomewhere   Tr: Ron Burke                Dr: Yannick Gingras    4-1 Wakizashi Hanover   by Dragon Again                   Tr: Jo Ann Looney-King    Dr: Tim Tetrick       9-2 by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Although she has only visited the winner’s circle on three occasions in her 17-race harnes racing career, Awash has banked $181,004 which demonstrates she does possess ability. After a strong showing in her last engagement (third in the $165,700 Mistletoe Shalee), her connections feel her performance in the first of two divisions of the $125,950 Adioo Volo on Saturday (July 29) at The Meadows on the Adios undercard will hopefully yield the statement victory they have been patiently waiting for. “It looked like the list of eligibles was going to come up a little light for the Mistletoe Shalee, so I took a chance putting her in there, but after her race before that at Pocono (a win in a lifetime best 1:51.4) I felt she belonged,” said Tony Alagna, her conditioner. “And I was right. Her odds might have looked to be long on paper but she raced absolutely tremendous and we could not have been more pleased.” Owned by Bradley Grant, Awash is a 3-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Apogee Hanover and was purchased for $130,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. One of her two victories as a 2-year-old was a $74,000 division of the Bluegrass Stakes at Red Mile and in order to collect her second Grand Circuit triumph, the filly must best favorite Rosemary Rose (post two, Mike Wilder, 2-1) as well as New Jersey Sire Stakes leg winner Colorful Jasmine (post five, Corey Callahan, 9-2). Awash will commence her journey around the five-eighths oval from post six and will have the services of Brett Miller. The duo is the second selection on the morning line at 4-1 in the field of eight. “She is rounding into form and we are looking forward to how she races in the Adioo Volo,” Alagna said. “We are expecting her to do very well.” This filly has been held in high regard ever since she walked through the sales ring and with good reason. Awash is the first foal from a mare that captured the $294,000 Ontario Sire Stakes Super Final as a 2-year-old and amassed $633,613 for owner Roger Hammer. Hammer sold the mare to Fair Winds Stable at the conclusion of her racing career in 2013. “Amy Lee Cruise was so thrilled when we bought this filly,” Alagna said. “She was Apogee Hanover’s groom when she was in Erv Miller’s stable and just loved that mare. It was one her favorite horses, if not the favorite, so we gave her this filly and she has been with her since day one; she thinks the world of her.” Her groom was not the only one that Awash elicited emotions from, as Alagna realized her potential while training her down and qualifying her as a 2-year-old. The filly rewarded the faith that was placed in her by compiling a record of 11-2-3-2 and earning $144,878. “She was super training and in qualifying,” Alagna said. “But when it came time to race, it took her some time to figure it out. She really came around later in the summer and was very good at the end of the year, especially in Kentucky. By the time the Breeders Crown came around she was tired and had enough (finishing seventh in her Crown elimination). It was a 2-year-old thing, because it can be a long season for them, so we put her away for the winter and when we brought her back she was in great shape.” Awash kicked off her sophomore campaign with second place finishes in her first two races and was then sixth in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. The filly rebounded from that effort with a strong third at Yonkers Raceway while taking on older rivals and then had her picture taken at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 4 in a $14,000 non-winners event. That mile persuaded Alagna to place her in the Mistletoe Shalee, which proved to be a sage choice, as even though Awash could not catch Agent Q and Idyllic Beach, she powered home with a :26.4 last quarter from fifth place at the three-quarter marker to finish a very stout third. “This filly is following the same pattern as she did last year,” said Alagna. “It takes her a couple races to get going and figure things out. Her race at Pocono showed me she was starting to get ready and the Mistletoe Shalee really demonstrated that. This filly is flying a little under the radar and that’s okay. But she is staked to all the big races for the rest of the year and we really think she will pop up to win one of those. We’ll see what happens on Saturday and the rest of the year, but we do believe she is rounding into form now.” To view the full fields with post positions, odds, trainers and drivers for the entire Adios Day card, please click here. ADIOS DAY CARD AT THE MEADOWS OFFERS $32,500 IN 3 POOL GUARANTEES Saturday’s Adios Day card at the Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer three total-pool guarantees worth a combined $32,500. The guarantees are offered in association with the United States Trotting Association Strategic Wagering Initiative. The special wagers include: Pick 4, races 4-7, $7,500 guarantee; Pick 4, races 9-12 (including the Adios final, race 11), $15,000 guarantee; Pick 5, races 12-16, $10,000 guarantee. The blockbuster Adios Day program, which features six Grand Circuit stakes, begins at noon, with the $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids off at approximately 4 PM. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- He is a harness racing world champion and one of the few horses to possess the distinction of besting Always B Miki and Sweet Lou, yet Mel Mara has not visited the winner’s circle for a stakes race since he captured the 2012 edition of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold final at Flamboro Downs over that year’s Little Brown Jug winner Michael’s Power. His connections are hoping this is the year the 8-year-old stallion collects his fair share of hardware beginning with a victory in his $35,000 Ben Franklin elimination on Saturday (June 24) at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “We have a different plan with him for this year,” said Robert Cooper, his co-owner. “We supplemented him to this very same race last year, but he already had a number of starts in him. We would like to space his races out a bit more throughout the year so we have a fresh horse. Right now he is a happy horse and Dylan (Davis, his trainer) is very happy with him. We think he’s coming into the race very well off his win in 1:48 at The Meadowlands last weekend.” With his regular pilot Corey Callahan at the controls the son of Lis Mara-M L Revrac will commence his journey on Saturday evening in what should be the first of many 2017 stakes engagements. Mel Mara will leave from the rail in the third of three eliminations. He is the 2-1 morning line selection, but faces a field that includes the ever dangerous Rockin Ron (7-2, Yannick Gingras), Rock N' Roll World, who paced the swiftest mile of the season (1:48.3) at Hoosier Park (5-1, Brian Sears) and a potent horse-for-the course in Luck Be Withyou (3-1, George Napolitano Jr.). “We know there are a lot of very nice pacers in this race,” Cooper said. “And not just in Mel’s elimination but all three of them. The difference this year is we don’t have Always B Miki and Wiggle It Jiggleit, so there is no clear leader in the division but with those kinds of horses in this race, we know we are going to have to be very fast to win.” Mel Mara was privately purchased by Cooper and J&T Silva Stables in April 2016 from Brittany Farms and Riverview Racing. Prior to competing for his new connections, Mel Mara had amassed $468,364 from 51 trips to the post. Since switching barns, the stallion has earned $265,600 and his lifetime record now stands at 74-20-12-7. In just three starts this season, he is just a nose from being undefeated and has been visually impressive in all three of his miles. “We gave him a nice long turnout over the winter down at Hunterton Farms in Kentucky with Steve Stewart,” Cooper said. “Steve does such a terrific job and Mel came back to us looking like a million bucks.” There are several other differences for Mel Mara than when he was in the same position last year. In fact, 2016 marked the first full year of campaigning for him after a layoff of nearly 16 months and the stallion also struggled through some issues with his feet that certainly hampered his performances. “He is absolutely sound and knock on wood his feet are perfect,” Davis said. “We are also going to ship him really early to Pocono so he will have some time to adjust. We are also going to race him more rather than train him all this year. Like he didn’t train hard this week and did a lot of swimming. That’s not because he’s not healthy, but he’s a hard horse for me to train. He just wants to go fast all the time and can be headstrong. “That’s why I like to warm him up a couple of trips before each of his races. The first time he goes out and goofs around being a show-off. Then the second time he starts to settle down when he gets his mind on business. “You can do anything you want with him in a race and he’s great to drive, but ideally we would like to have a prep race, if you want to call it that, before he goes into a stake so he’s not off for three weeks or so before, like he was at certain times last year. I just think that kind of program will work best for him. “That is one of the advantages of having a smaller stable in that you can take all the time to find out what you need to do that works for the horse, what they like and they don’t like, and that’s what we are doing with Mel.” The Davis family also spends many hours just lavishing affection on the horse. “He just has so much personality,” Davis said. “My wife and my 6-year-old feed him bags of carrots every Sunday and he’s such a smart horse that you don’t hear a sound out of him when my six-month-old is around. “Mel is the kind of horse that screams and hollers and tosses his head around to get attention. He wants people to look at him and it’s hard not to because he does have that personality. He’s also such a beautiful horse and when you look at other horses, then look at him, you see the difference. “He is definitely spoiled, but he is the kind of horse that deserves it. I’m really looking forward to this year with him because he is such a happy, healthy horse right now.” Like Davis, Cooper has a tremendous amount of faith in the stallion and is eagerly anticipating his appearance at Pocono Saturday night. “I just want the horse to have the opportunity to really show himself,” Cooper said. “He’s had some tough luck in big races and has always went up against the best horses. Then he didn’t race for a year and a half. “We think he deserves to win a race like the Franklin, the Haughton or the U.S. Pacing Championship. Sure Dylan and I would like to win those races too, but when I say this, it’s really about the horse. Mel is a world champion and he should have his picture taken in one or more of these races because of the kind of horse he is. We are hoping this is his year.” For a look at all the entries for Saturday at Pocono, click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- She and her husband already have Delaware champion Logan’s Girl, stand-out Newborn Sassy, the top-class Purrfect Bags, the 2015 North America Cup winner in Wakizashi Hanover and a former New Zealand Horse of the Year in Christen Me, but there is one other horse in the care of Jo Ann Looney-King and Jim King Jr. who is intent on accumulating her own accolades rather than linger in the shadows of her harness racing barnmates and that is Nike Franco N. The New Zealand-bred, who competed in Australia, collected $321,393 from 33 trips to the post, with 18 victories, established several track records and has defeated males on multiple occasions. She has yet, however, to capture her first stakes final on her new continent and will seek to accomplish that task on Saturday (June 17) in the C$365,000 Roses Are Red final at Mohawk Racetrack. “She is just her own woman,” said Looney-King. “That is about the best way to size her up and she knows she is her own woman. She just takes everything as it comes and goes about her business.” Like Christen Me, Nike Franco is owned by Richard Poillucci and will be steered by her regular reinsman, Tim Tetrick, on Saturday. The duo will leave from post position three in the field of 10. Although the formidable Lady Shadow is the morning line favorite at 6-5, Nike Franco is the second selection at 2-1 off her powerful 1:49.2 performance in her elimination last week. “We knew she would race well like she always does, but we did not expect that,” said Looney-King. “Just watching her was impressive and Timmy always puts her, like he does with all the horses he drives, in the right spot to win. She certainly was ready last week and we hope to see that again from her, but this is a tough group of mares, especially with Lady Shadow in there, so she will need to be at her best. Nike raced great at Chester against her (second in the Betsy Ross Invitational) but she just could not catch her.” In fact, one of the reasons Tetrick is so enamored with this mare is directly related to the determination she demonstrated in that event to finish a swiftly-charging second. “I love Nike Franco,” he said. “I think she’s a great mare. I don’t think people in America have seen what she can do yet. I’m a very firm believer in her and I don’t think anybody knows (how good she can be). All I know is when I ask her to do something, she does it. Even at Chester when I was in a terrible spot she kept digging. She made up five lengths at Chester in a (1):49 mile being three-wide around the last turn. I race there all the time and horses do not do that.” Since her intercontinental transition, Nike Franco has compiled a record of 10-7-2-0 and earned $131,625. The only time she has failed to hit the board was a seventh place finish in the first leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on March 17, but she certainly had an excuse. “We were really looking forward to racing her in that series, but she ended up being pretty sick and we just weren’t going to push her,” Looney-King said. “It’s a long season and that’s what we try to do is keep the horses happy and healthy as they go through it.” Nike Franco also has regal blood flowing through her veins as the daughter of McArdle's dam, Nearea Franco, was a New Zealand champion and her granddam No Paba, is a half-sibling to 1990 Horse of the Year Beach Towel. King claims the 7-year-old mare even has her own fan club. “She attracts attention wherever she goes,” Looney-King said. “In fact, there are still people in Australia that are watching her over here and the girl who used to take care of her, Amanda Grieve, makes sure she is plugged in to her every move. She’s just a bay mare with her own way about her. Jim and I are just very lucky to have horses like her and all our horses this year. We remind ourselves every day how fortunate we are with them and for our family.” As her fans prepare to witness Nike Franco's second performance North of the Border, her driver is counting on her to illustrate just why those that come in contact with her become so attached. “Last week she won in (1):49 just as easy as you would want a horse to win,” Tetrick said. “It’s a very tough group. Lady Shadow is the horse to beat, but in my heart, if I can keep close to her, I think mine (this mare) can out-kick her; if I can just stay close to her.” * * * * * * Two-time defending champion Lady Shadow heads to this year’s Roses Are Red final off a 1:50.2 victory in her elimination last week, pushing her win streak to six races dating back to last year. She has won 14 of her last 16 races, a stretch that began with her triumph in her Roses Are Red elim last June. She won last year’s final in 1:48.1, just one-fifth of a second off Anndrovette’s stakes record. With a victory Saturday, Lady Shadow would join Anndrovette as the only three-time winners of the Roses Are Red. Anndrovette accomplished the feat from 2012-14. “She’s vicious,” said Lady Shadow’s driver Yannick Gingras. “I think she’s the one to beat. I’m very confident in her. She’s got big lungs. She can go those :27 quarters all day long. She’s got six of them in her. She never gets tired.” Lady Shadow was fifth at the opening quarter of her elimination before embarking on a first-over march to victory. “Sometimes you over-think stuff,” Gingras said. “I was trying to race her easy and get her a covered-up trip and it kind of worked against me. She had to work harder coming first up than if I’d just put her on the front. She was really good.” Lady Shadow, a 6-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Lady Camella, has won 31 of 58 career races and earned $1.72 million. She is owned by David Kryway, Carl Atley, Ed Gold, and BFJ Stable and trained by Ron Adams. “Let’s face it, Lady Shadow has been tremendous,” said Tom Fanning, who trains Frost Damage Blues, the winner of the first of last week’s three eliminations. “Nike Franco is really good. I think there are a couple other ones, us included, that if things work right can be very competitive in there. It’s a competitive bunch this year.” Frost Damage Blues, owned by blueberry magnate Bill Augustine, won her elimination in 1:50.1 with a rally from mid-pack at the race’s midpoint. James MacDonald handled the driving and will be back in the sulky for the final. “She got a great trip,” Fanning said. “She likes those trips; she’ll fire off of that for sure.” A 5-year-old daughter of Western Ideal-Art Matters, Frost Damage Blues has won 14 of 28 career races and earned $180,938. She finished third in last year’s Breeders Crown Mare Pace. “She’s been good,” Fanning said. “She’s filled out. I’m happy with how she is. The best thing about her is she just tries hard. Most of them don’t try as hard as they can. She is one of the few that does.” Following is the field for the Roses Are Red. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Bernadette-David Miller-Ron Adams-20/1  2-Frost Damage Blues-James MacDonald-Tom Fanning-6/1  3-Nike Franco N-Tim Tetrick- Jo Ann Looney King-2/1  4-Lady Shadow-Yannick Gingras-Ron Adams-6/5  5-Wrangler Magic-Louis-Philippe Roy-Rene Allard-8/1  6-Call Me Queen Be-Scott Zeron-Tony O'Sullivan-10/1  7-Witch Dali-Doug McNair-Richard Moreau-20/1  8-Penpal-Patrick Lachance-Patrick Lachance-15/1  9-Pure Country-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-8/1  10-Prairie Sweetheart-Matt Kakaley-Tony O'Sullivan-20/1 by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor  Ken Weingartner also contributed to this report

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