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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

Columbus, OH --- On an absolutely picturesque evening at Eldorado Scioto Downs, Crazy Wow and harness racing driver Chris Page assumed command upon their departure from the gate and did not experience a truly tense moment en route to a powerful 1:52 track record score in the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial in front of a standing-room only crowd on Saturday (June 10). Defending older trotting champion Obrigado (Mark MacDonald) was second, with Canadian invader Musical Rhythm (Peter Wrenn) third. In fact, Page was still rather incredulous at how the race unfolded for his horse after he addressed his legions of young fans in the winner’s circle that were shouting his name and pleading for his whip or his sunglasses as a souvenir of his victory. “I can’t believe how it all worked out,” he said. “I intended to get him involved in the race early-on, but I wasn’t planning on going to the lead. When the wings were still unfolding off the gate I looked to my left and wondered where everybody else was. He just took me out there all on his own and from there on it was all him. I could not have asked for a better trip.” Commencing his journey from post position eight did not seem to hamper Crazy Wow’s need to display his speed. Conditioned by Ron Burke and owned by Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms, the 5-year-old stallion, fresh off his first victory in nearly a year in the $150,000 Maxie Lee Invitational on May 28 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, laid down a very swift first split of :26.2 with Obrigado in hot pursuit in the field of nine with the scratch of Homicide Hunter. In essence it was reduced to eight competitors after 2015 Dan Patch Award winner and world champion JL Cruze broke strode going into the first turn. As Crazy Wow and Page went past the half-mile marker in :55.1, Obrigado was hemmed in and slightly shuffled back to third as Hemi Seelster (Brett Holland) moved aggressively, intent on not allowing his top two rivals to stray too far. After Crazy Wow passed the three-quarter marker in 1:23.1, the rest of the field began their bids to overtake him in their quest for the wire. Both Centurion ATM (Aaron Merriman) and Musical Rhythm made their moves from sixth and fifth, respectively, as Hemi Seelster tired from his earlier efforts to drop back to fourth entering the top of the stretch. This transition of positions provided Obrigado, who was making his 2017 debut, with a desperately needed seam and he and MacDonald pulled to the outside in an attempt to chase down Crazy Wow. Their efforts, however, were in vain, as Crazy Wow appeared to lengthen his stride with each hoof he placed upon the Columbus oval and he maintained a comfortable 1-3/4 length advantage right to the wire. Musical Rhythm spurted up the rail after Obrigado vacated that area to finish third. “I had driven him once before,” Page said. “It was a long time ago and I don’t remember anything specific about him from that race, other than I already knew he was a very good horse, but tonight he was something; he was much more than just very good. I know his connections have worked with him and it certainly has paid off.” Collecting his second consecutive triumph and propelling his 2017 record to 5-2-3-0, with his career resume now at 47-17-10-3, Crazy Wow has now earned more than $1.7 million. Sent off the as the second selection at 3-1, the stallion paid a generous $8.20 for his victory. Obrigado at 3-1 provided $5.00 to his supporters to place, with Musical Rhythm (14-1) offering $7.80 to show. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- When he first became acquainted with the then yearling colt, Paul Kelley definitely wanted to bring him home. Yet he swiftly banished such reveries from his mind, for he knew Such An Angel was a harness racing horse with a price tag that would bust his budget. After all the son of Credit Winner-Michelle’s Angel was a full brother to world champion and Yonkers Trot winner Archangel and last year’s Empire Breeders Classic victor Dante. He simply could not afford him, but on this occasion, Kelley’s dream became a reality. “I was talking with Sam Caruso, the horse’s co-owner, and he asked me if I liked this colt,” said Kelley. “Of course I told him yes. I thought he was an extremely nice horse, but I knew he would go far too high for me to ever get him. That’s when Sam said he wanted him and I told him there was no way that colt would go for under $200,000 at the Lexington Sale. Well, he bid on him and got him for $110,000. I don’t know how it happened, but it sure was a bargain. Then after Sam bought him Wanda Polisseni came in on him too.” Such An Angel will attempt to make his sophomore debut a victorious one, when he and Brian Sears leave from post six in a field of seven at Vernon Downs on Monday (May 29) in a $39,900 New York Sire Stakes engagement. His task, however, will not be a simple one as the field includes Dexter Cup winner Lord Cromwell (Jason Bartlett, post three), last year's NYSS freshman champion Devious Man (Andy Miller, post four) and the talented Another Chapter (Scott Zeron, post one). “I really like how he came back from the winter,” Kelley said. “He looks great and we are really looking forward to this season with him.” Purchased from the aforementioned 2015 edition of the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, Such An Angel is the fourth foal from his prolific dam, who collected $436,921 from her racing career. Her dam is 1991 Dan Patch Award winner Almost An Angel. With that type of heritage, the colt obviously had some significant expectations to live up to, which Kelley feels he has done exceedingly well as he banked $145,695 as a freshman, equaled Saratoga’s track record of 1:57.4 in only his fourth start and was third in the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final. “Unfortunately he should have more money on his card, but around the end of August and beginning of September we started having some problems with him, as he was battling allergies,” Kelley said. “He was not sick, but after he came out of the Sire Stakes final and the race down in Lexington (fifth place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes) he did not scope clean. “We were working on him, but it’s hard to fight allergies because it has so much to do with environmental conditions and the weather. He was never completely sick, but it limited his ability to have that final kick at the end of his races. In both the final and in Lexington he had to come first-over and he just did not have that extra push to get him by.” Steered in eight of his trips to the post by John Campbell and the other two contests by his co-owner Caruso, Such An Angel compiled a record of 10-4-1-1 and captured four of his first five races. With the exception of his appearance in the Bluegrass State, the colt competed exclusively in New York Sire Stakes company. The plan for the colt this year is to send him to other events than those within the confines of the Empire State. “He is Hambletonian eligible, but we have two more months before we can think about that,” Kelley said. “He is eligible to all the big stakes races and I think he deserves a chance to prove himself on the Grand Circuit. He’s really big-gaited and although he can get around very well over a half-mile track, I think he will love the bigger tracks. We would love to be at The Meadowlands with him on Aug. 5, but we will just let the horse tell us what he wants to do. He will have the opportunities to do and we are very excited about him.” There is another horse in Kelley’s barn that he is quite enthused to return to racing in defending Dan Patch Award and world champion Obrigado. The 7-year-old trotting superstar will make his second qualifying appearance on Saturday at The Meadowlands. He won his first qualifier at Vernon Downs on May 19 in 1:58.1. “We missed the Cutler and will be missing the Maxie Lee with him, but that was by design,” Kelley said. “We were taking our time with him and would have had to rush him to get him ready. It wasn’t that he needed extra time as he came back looking great and looks great now. In fact, he seems like he’s more than ready to get himself back in the game, but it’s a long year and last year he seemed to get a little tired in the fall, although he did come back and win the TVG final. “What also helped was that other race being added in Massachusetts at Plainridge that gave us one more thing to point towards a bit later on so we can take our time with him and pick and choose our spots. We are bringing him to Scioto again for the Charlie Hill on June 10 and I am really looking forward to racing him again this year. He seems ready to go and as good as ever.” ROAD TO THE HAMBLETONIAN A look at open stakes for 3-year-old male trotters and state-restricted stakes featuring Hambletonian eligibles Date – Track – Event – First – Second – Third May 6 – Freehold – Dexter Cup – Lord Cromwell – Gustavo Fring – Southwind Cobra May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – Long Tom – Yes Mickey – Deacon Tony May 19 – Meadowlands – NJSS – What The Hill – Southwind Cobra – New Jersey Viking May 20 – The Meadows – PASS – Sortie – Giveitgasandgo – High Glider May 20 – The Meadows – PASS – Andy M – Gustavo Fring – Stealth Hanover May 20 – The Meadows – PASS – Common Parlance – Brown Bear – Brand New Key Hambletonian eligible in bold by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- When many people enter this sport, they have dreams of shiny trophies, prodigious purses and a plethora of win photos, but not Ken Terpenning; he holds no illusions of grandeur. Neither does his partner and conditioner Rob Zink. Just three months ago, however, the duo procured a horse in Earndawg that fulfills any yearning they may possess to occupy the most prolific stages of harness racing. “Most of our horses are older, like age 10 or so,” Terpenning said. “When we buy them we look for a horse with back class, but most of them have issues or some kind of problem. I know I will never have a stakes horse, but I feel like having a horse like this one is as close as I will ever come to that.” Although his last two campaigns have not been quite as successful as when he was a young horse, Earndawg, a multiple stakes victor, appears at Scioto Downs on Saturday (May 13) where he is the 3-1 favorite in a $12,500 claiming contest. “I’ve already told everyone there will be hell to pay if anyone claims him,” Terpenning said. “I wish I could put him in another race where there would never be any risk of that, but that is where he belongs right now. We are just excited to have him and watch him, especially since he went a nice mile last week (second in 1:55.2 at Miami Valley Raceway from post eight). We feel like he is coming around being with us for a little bit now.” Purchased by Zink and Terpenning last February, Earndawg was the 2014 Orange and Blue winner and an Illinois champion. The now 5-year-old son of Sportsmaster-Pacific Sister K has amassed $352,975 from a resume of 84-16-21-7. The gelding was second in the 2014 American-National Stake and also triumphed in the Abe Lincoln, Cardinal and Madison County stakes that same season. As a sophomore, Earndawg still displayed top form as he captured the Maywood Pace, the Illinois State Fair Stakes and the Incredible Finale while setting his lifetime mark of 1:51. In his first two years of racing, Earndawg who is a half-sibling to Sunshine Sister (Real Artist, $147,217), and Doubleshotascotch (Dragon Again, $792,893) and a full brother to Mystical MJ ($317,139) was put through his paces by Roger Welch. He was sold for $50,000 toward the end of his 3-year-old season at the Standardbred Mixed Sale and during his 4-year-old season the horse changed barns multiple times as he resided in the shedrows of James Ellison, Brian Brown and Jim King Jr. prior to Zink and Terpenning bringing him to Miami Valley Raceway earlier this year. He has already faced the starter on 17 occasions this season, with 12 of those for Zink and Terpenning, and his record stands at 1-5-1 with $19,595 in the bank. While Earndawg’s statistics may not be incredibly flashy, the gelding has been struggling with some health issues his owners think they may now have a handle on. “I talked to everyone I could that had him before, like Brian Brown, Ryan Welch and Jim King,” Terpenning said. “I do that with all my horses before I buy them and they all told me he was a very nice horse. His last trainer at Dover Downs (King) said he was a little off behind and like I said, I knew we would have some work to do on him, like we do with all our horses. “So we started on his feet and that didn’t seem to help. In fact, he seemed off in front and behind. That’s when we worked our way up to his knees and then worked on his hocks and stifles. Brian (Brown) and Ryan (Welch) said they had worked on those with him too and it seemed to help. “Unfortunately, after that, he got some kind of fungus and although he looks a lot better now you can still see the spots where his hair fell out. “I sometimes call Rob Houdini because it’s as if he waves a magic wand with our horses. I admire him so much for all the time he spends on them and all the TLC he gives them. He makes sure their legs are done up right every day, that they are shiny and happy. Like I said, our horses have some health problems, but Rob takes all the time in the world to work on them every day.” There was also another issue Earndawg was contending with that most certainly limited his performance. “It was a night Jeremy Smith drove him, I think it was April 2,” Terpenning said. “He went to hand the lines over and when he touched his back, the horse almost went down. That’s when Jeremy told us he thought Earndawg had EPM (equine protozoal myeloencephalitis) and we better get him on some medicine for it. We started with a powder for his food right away and then added a liquid medication to that. He has been much, much better since we started that and got his first win of the season on April 22. Who knows how long he had it for.” Zink, who until the last several years only trained horses as a hobby, explained Earndawg paced in a curious fashion, but he thought maybe it was just the horse, as when he was younger he wore an extensive amount of equipment. “He goes out there like a trotter,” Zink said. “By that I mean he moves his head from side-to-side. It’s not like he is nodding because he is lame, it’s just something he does, but it is unusual. Since we have been treating him for EPM, he has definitely improved. You could not even touch his back before and now it does not bother him at all, plus he is holding his head higher than he was.” Despite his current form not being as strong as it once was, Earndawg is coveted and respected by his new owners for they feel he is an incredibly special horse no matter where he competes or in what class he wins. “He is such a nice horse,” Terpenning said. “I know so many people say that, but anyone you talk to that ever had this horse say it over and over again. He is a pleasure around the barn and is so well-mannered. He loves attention and puts his head right on your shoulder. He’s just a kind, classy horse.” Zink affirms Terpenning’s description of the gelding. “He is an extremely nice horse in the barn and on the track,” he said. “He does anything you ask of him willingly and he sure does love his treats, which he gets a lot of.” Earndawg’s owners are not only extremely proud of this horse they adore and dote upon, but fortunate he came into their lives. “Horses like him don’t come along to people like us very often,” Terpenning said. “He’s on pace this year to make more than $40,000 and he’s already made more this year than he did last year ($18,065). That may not mean very much to most people, but it means the world to us and so does he.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- After the Finn Stable sustained a loss that left them reeling, the family is hoping Rockin Racer, who has demolished her harness racing opposition in three trips to the post this year at Hoosier Park, may alleviate some of the sorrow residing in their souls and demonstrate her own prowess at overcoming significant obstacles to even compete. “We suffered a tragedy when we lost ($283,564 winner) Rockin Good,” said JD Finn. “We took her to Ohio to race and she came down with a bad case of the strangles. She immediately went to Ohio State and they provided her with the best of care. Even with their efforts it was very serious and after being there for some time, she was finally able to come home. She was doing really well and was healthy until one day she just couldn’t get up. We tried everything we could to save her, but we knew what we had to do for her. We think now she may have had EPM, but it still hurts every day she is not with us. “Rockin Racer reminded us of her as a yearling and is the reason we bought her. We trained her down in 2:07 and she broke her splint bone in two places in her right front leg, so we had to wait on her. We knew she had talent but we didn’t think she would be winning like this.” Rockin Racer seeks to extend her record to a perfect four-for-four when she takes on nine other rivals in the $15,000 Miss Windfall final on Saturday (April 29) at Hoosier Park. Conditioned by JD Finn, the 3-year-old pacing filly will leave from the rail as the 3-2 favorite in the seventh race on the card with his son Jared holding the lines. Not only has the daughter of  Rockin Image-Portia Blue Chip amassed the highest seasonal earnings in the field ($12,500), but her speed badge of 1:52.4 is nearly a full two seconds swifter than the other contestants have paced. “Everything she has done has been well within herself,” the elder Finn said. “We have never asked her and have been very surprised by how she has been racing.” Despite displaying immense promise at this early stage of her career, Rockin Racer has much more to achieve before she can rival the likes of her former stablemate Rockin Good. Rockin Good was purchased for $9,500 at the 2013 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale. The daughter of Rockin Image-Do Me Good was an Indiana champion, a stakes victress and collected $283,564 for the Finns during her two-year career. Rockin Racer, who is co-owned by Finn Racing and Hinshaw Homestead Farms, was selected from the 2015 Hoosier Classic Yearling Sale for $7,500 and is a full sister to Undertaker ($129,807). Unraced at age two, the filly has been simply dominant in each of her 3-year-old engagements. Her first start was a powerful performance coming from off the pace to stop the clock in 1:54.3 in a $10,000 Rosie Harness Memorial contest on April 8. The following week she went to the top at the half-mile marker and never looked back, lowering her mark to 1:53.1 in the first leg of the Miss Windfall Series. In her latest foray last Saturday (April 22) in the second leg of the Miss Windfall, she decimated 11 other fillies and mares with a wire-to-wire victory while setting her new lifetime mark of 1:52.4. Although she will be extremely short odds at the windows this weekend, Rockin Racer defeated exceptionally long ones to even place her nose upon the starting gate in a pari-mutuel contest, which makes these performances all the more rewarding for the Finns. “Well first we had that splint bone,” said Finn, who conditions his horses at the Jasper County Fairgrounds. “All we could do was take it out and wait to see what would happen. Fortunately, the leg healed beautifully and we have not had one problem with it; it came out just perfect. “But we had another issue and even if the leg had not happened, we would have been embarrassed to take her anywhere because her tail fell out. The vet said it was some type of fungus and it came out in hunks; she had no tail at all and we would never want to take a horse around looking the way she did. It grew back and is black now except for about four inches from her tail bone; that is all gray.” Although she obviously possesses speed and relishes her work, Rockin Racer has quite the personality when she is not on the track pacing. “She is a rip around the barn,” Finn said. “She is very professional when it is time to race or train, but we could not get hobbles on her. She would lay right down whenever we would try to put that last leg in. We have to lay them on the ground for her to step into. She likes to do her things her way.” Like Rockin Good before her, Rockin Racer will target the lucrative Indiana Sire Stakes program and other stakes over the Anderson oval. “She will stay at Hoosier and race in the sire stakes,” Finn said. “That is our plan for the season and of course we always have to consult with our partners on her. She will also tell us where to go herself. We bought her because she reminded us so much of Rockin Good as a yearling and we like Rockin Image as a sire, plus Undertaker’s career was another reason for buying her. “We are very surprised with how this filly has already went in (1):52 and the way she has done it, but Undertaker has been in (1):51, so we are looking forward to the year with her. “It still stings with what happened with Rockin Good and I think it is one of those things that will never really go away; that pain will always be there, but maybe this filly can help ease a little bit of that sting.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- While most eyes and ears may be fastened upon what world champion Downbytheseaside will accomplish this season, harness racing trainer Brian Brown has two fillies prepared to step upon center stage in Friday’s (April 21) $40,000 James Hackett Memorial final at Miami Valley Raceway in Type A Grey and Glorious Intent. Each young lady is poised to make her presence known and seeks to have her own successful season. “Ronnie’s (Burke) filly (Rosemary Rose) is very, very tough,” said Brown. “Mike (Wilder, her driver) was just sitting on her last week and the whole field is quite good. I think Type A Grey is sharp right now, but Glorious Intent might need a race a two to tighten her up.” Type A Grey, a daughter of  Art Official-Just My Type, was purchased by Bruce Trogdon’s Emerald Highlands Farm for $20,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg. The striking filly has collected $109,022 from a record of 8-6-0-0 and was dominant in Ohio Sire Stakes company last year at age two, prior to experiencing some difficulties at the end of the season in the $250,000 Ohio Sire Stakes final and a $60,900 division of the Ohio Breeders Championship series. She will leave from post position two with Chris Page in the sulky and is rated 7-2 on the morning line in the field of nine. “In those two races she tied up,” Brown said. “But she is doing very well right now and we have had no problems with her since. She is in very good form right now and training very well. As I said, this is a very tough field of fillies, but we think she should race well.” Not only will Type A Grey have to contend with the undefeated Rosemary Rose, who is a perfect six-for-for-six in her career and is the deserving early favorite at 5-2 (Mike Wilder, post six), she will have to compete against Rosa’s Touch (Ron Burke, Josh Sutton, post three, 9-2), Ohio Sire Stakes victress Zoe Ellasen (Ron Potter, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., post eight, 12-1), as well as her stablemate Glorious Intent (Kayne Kauffman, post four, 5-1). Glorious Intent, a daughter of No Pan Intended-Rock For Glory, competes as a homebred for Trogdon and enters this contest off a very solid triumph in last Friday’s eliminations. The filly, who is the result of four generations of breeding by Trogdon, demonstrated ability last year as a 2-year-old as an Ohio Sire Stakes winner, before encountering some issues of her own. She has banked $40,500 with a resume of 6-3-1-0, hails from a stalwart female family, just like Type A Grey and also happens to share the same color coat. Trogdon has an affinity for gray horses and Glorious Intent is the result of his passion for that particular shade. “Glorious Intent’s line has become my favorite “gray” foundation,” he said. “It started when I bought the Laag gray broodmare Faded Glory. I remembered her racing for Jack Darling and winning the American-National (1995). I bought her from the reject pile at Harrisburg after her first couple foals when she was still fairly young. She was not very big but very pretty and had great conformation and a nice head. “Faded Glory produced some nice foals for me, most of which I sold but I kept one beautiful gray The Panderosa filly, Bound For Glory. Bound For Glory was trained by Tony O'Sullivan in Ontario back in the day when I did all my racing at Mohawk. We loved her -- she gave everything she had -- and earned over $300,000 while finishing second in the (2005) Fan Hanover. “I would like to have had some more gray fillies from her mother but it wasn't to be. One morning I went to feed her group and Faded Glory was laying in the pine trees behind my house. I thought she was asleep and went over to rouse her; she was dead. I looked at her feet -- they were black -- as she was killed by lightning. That was the only time that has ever happened to me; sad day because I wanted more out of her.” Brown feels the problems Glorious Intent endured last season may be behind her. “She was cross-firing on us,” Brown said. “The time off (winter vacation) has seemed to help her, but I think she might need some time to catch up with the rest of the fillies in this field. They just have more racing experience than she does.” Trogdon also possesses another 3-year-old filly that Brown is conditioning with some talent, although unfortunately, she is a bay rather than a gray. “My remaining gray line is from a gray mare that I bought as a weanling at Harrisburg many years ago,” he said. “Soggy Dragon raced well for us and produced a powerful bay Allamerican Ingot filly Soggy Britches that raced very well for us. She is a 1:48 producer and we are racing her daughter Blazin Britches right now. She is not gray either, but is a fabulous looker and may end up being the fastest filly I ever had; she's a beast. She didn't stay sound at two so she lived most of the summer out in that field behind my house with Glorious Intent and Type A Grey; quite a field. “I turn my 2-year-old fillies out in that field because it has 100 well-spaced, 70-foot tall white pine shade trees that I planted as saplings 40 years ago. It’s the same field where poor Faded Glory met her demise.” For the complete field for the James Hackett Memorial final, click here.   by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Although she certainly enjoyed her recent vacation, harness racing's  Donna Lee was also anxious to return home, for a young lady she dotes on was sure to be exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. “I’ve never been away from Caprice this long,” she said in reference to two-time O'Brien Award winner Caprice Hill. “The only time we have been apart is when she went to Tony (Alagna) after she was broken as a yearling for a couple months, but I got her right back.” Purchased by Tom Hill for $55,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale, Caprice Hill is a daughter of Kadabra and stakes winner Bramasole. Conditioned by Lee’s son, Tony Alagna, the now 4-year-old mare has amassed $992,401 in purse money from a record of 25-15-7-1. Her resume includes victories in the 2015 edition of the $311,600 Peaceful Way, the $192,500 Ontario Sire Stakes Super final that same year and the $149,000 Matron Stake in 2016. Caprice Hill, who is a half-sibling to Bramalea Hanover (Windsong’s Legacy, $288,512), was also second in last year’s $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and has been incredibly consistent throughout her career. “She is just perfect,” said Lee, who oversees the mare's day-to-day care for her son. “She never does anything wrong. She has been like that from the first day I had her. We just show her what she needs to do and it immediately clicks; she knows right away what her job is and she loves her job.” Caprice Hill has definitely been the perfect student as not once has she ever went off stride, even as a youngster. “I tell people all the time and they don’t believe me,” Lee said. “One of the first times I was jogging her, another horse was out there and the driver was playing around. She decided she wanted to go with them and she did, but she did it all on the trot. Right after that is when I called Tony and told him we had something special on her hands. “He didn’t believe me either and was kind of like ‘Don’t fall in love’ but when he trained her down in 2:02, he asked me if I wanted to see my filly train and of course she was just perfect. I think that’s when he started to agree I was right about her.” Performing almost solely in Canada, Caprice Hill has not received anywhere near the attention her former stablemate Racing Hill has, but then again, that stallion did capture the $500,000 Breeders Crown final, the $500,000 Messenger, the $400,000 Adios final and the $500,000 Hempt Memorial final. Now standing at Hickory Lane Farm in Ohio, Racing Hill is also owned by Hill. “Tom was so lucky to have Caprice and Racing Hill in the same year,” Lee said. “Caprice is the first horse he bought and to have that kind of success with not just her, but Racing Hill, is a blessing. “I think Caprice would have been talked about more if she had raced outside of Canada more often, but she loves it up there and the air is good for her.” Lee is referring to the allergies Caprice Hill has battled throughout her career. “She is allergic to oats first of all,” she said. “We had a veterinarian make a serum for her that she has done quite well on, but it was a problem for her. It is something she had to overcome and she has.” One of the reasons Lee feels Caprice Hill is so successful is her attitude and how much she enjoys competition. “She loads herself on the van,” Lee said. “All you need to do is drop the gate and stay out of her way. She knows when it is time to race and can’t wait to get there. If she has a week off and she sees other horses get on the van on a Friday or Saturday night, she gets mad. She starts bucking and kicking because she doesn’t want to stay home; she wants to go.” It has already been determined this will be the last season the mare will appear on-track prior to heading to her second career in the breeding shed. However, the process has already commenced for Caprice Hill to be a mother. “Tom decided he wanted an embryo transfer this year and she was bred to Muscle Hill,” Lee said. “We just checked her and she didn’t take, so she will return to him for another try. “She is used to her big stall with a window and her BFF next to her. When she is bred she might get nervous because she’s not used to the routine and it may throw her off. We’ll see what happens and go from there. “I have to get her ready for stakes season and we are looking towards the second week in June to bring her back.” All the mare’s connections are looking forward to a very exciting 2017 with their charge. Caprice Hill returned from her winter vacation with a terrific coat and put on some weight, which will only aid her in taking on the likes of world champion Hannelore Hanover. “She is just a happy horse,” Lee said. “She is definitely fat, but not in a bad way and she just has a great attitude. This is a tough season to face older horses, but we think she is in a position to show she belongs. Hopefully we can take her to Lexington this year because I think she would love it and literally fly there. “I know this year is it and she will be retired. It will be very hard not to see her every day and she is always paying attention to me, too. She has a stall guard, but is always craning her head out to look in the office and see what I am up to. “She really is just the perfect horse and they so rarely come along. She is a pleasure.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- When most people possess an exciting 3-year-old pacing colt that could position himself to become a harness racing world champion and a stakes winner they are brimming with pride and joy as the ultimate, yet elusive reward of this business just may be in their grasp. The Dombecks and Biers, however, are well acquainted with the peaks and valleys that are the chief component of this sport and can certainly speak from experience in regards to both sets of circumstances. Although both families are cautiously optimist that Highalator will separate himself as a top competitor in his division, the demoralizing loss of their beloved Modern Family in 2014 remains a shroud cast over their hearts that perpetually inhibits their expectations, hopes and dreams of what will transpire for not only this colt, but all their stock. "I try not to get too excited anymore," said Charles Dombeck, who co-owns this son of Somebeachsomewhere-Higher And Higher. "We have been fortunate to have Wind Of The North and Bandolito and this colt looks like a nice horse, but we just don't know. The top horses from last year have not returned yet, so he could be a top 10 horse, a top 20 horse or a top 50 horse. "Losing Modern Family the way we did is something that will always remain for all of us, so when my friends ask me why I am not really excited, I explain to them if you remain realistic and take things as they come, then enjoy them if they do, it makes it a lot easier to accept the disappointments." Also co-owned by Daryl Bier, Highalator is a homebred conditioned by Jenny Bier and seeks his seventh consecutive victory on Sunday (April 9) when he leaves from post position four with Victor Kirby holding the lines in the fourth and final division of the second leg of the Bobby Weiss Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the $15,000 contest but Chillin Matisse (post seven, Corey Callahan, 3-1) and Youcaniknow (post one, Anthony Napolitano, 7-2) are also receiving their fair share of attention. "He received a nice, easy trip in the first leg and we are hoping for the same in the race this weekend," Dombeck said. "We are not sure exactly what we are going to do with him, because the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes begin five days after the Weiss final which is on May 1, so we might end up skipping a leg or the final to take him to the sire stakes. It will be whatever the horse tells us to do with him and whatever is best for him." Highalator, with a resume of 9-7-1-0 and $40,620 in the bank, is the first foal out of his world champion dam Higher And Higher, who Daryl Bier and Dombeck purchased in 2012 from Ongait.com. The daughter of Western Terror-Pro Bowl Best earned just under $1 million before being transferred to the breeding shed. While Bier and Dombeck both agreed to keep Highalator, as well as his yearling half-sister Dancin With Jammy (A Rocknroll Dance), the colt's younger full sister, JK Higher Power, was sold to the 3 Brothers Stables for $110,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Demonstrating he had ability as a 2-year-old, Highalator, in rein to Scott Zeron, made a powerful middle move from sixth to sweep the field and reach the wire a half-length over his rivals, several of which were older than him, on July 17, 2016, in a $12,000 non-winners contest upon the very same surface his hooves will grace on Sunday evening. After a fourth place finish on July 31 at the same facility Dombeck and Bier decided the colt had done enough and gave him time to grow for his sophomore season. "When he was training down in Florida he was coming along fine, but had a cough and some allergies," Dombeck said. "As soon as we took him up north they disappeared and he's never had a problem since. His first race, I watched on the computer and he was so far back, then I couldn't even see him until he finished with that rush. The next time I saw him was at the wire and after his next race we just decided to put him away. We don't believe in making 2-year-olds do too much and allowing them some time to mature and fill out." Highalator returned to the racing ranks on Jan. 18 in a $6,000 conditioned event at Dover Downs and was second by a nose. The following week, the colt received the services of Yannick Gingras at the same location and was extremely impressive in a 1:52.2 triumph after a first-over journey from post position seven. "We wanted to know what Yannick thought of him," Dombeck said. "It was around the time we needed to make stakes payments and after he brought him back, he told us we should definitely stake him." Highalator's next engagement was a $10,000 non-winners contest at The Meadowlands on Feb. 4, where he absolutely strode through the lane as much the best, while stopping the clock in 1:52.4 after a :26.2 final panel. Victor Kirby, who will now remain the colt's regular pilot, steered him through the mile, which one again included older horses in the field. The colt started on two more occasions at Dover Downs on Feb. 16 and March 16, again taking on older rivals and collecting two more wins, before returning to The Meadowlands on March 25 with another stellar performance. Competing against older horses in a $12,000 non-winners race, Highalator paced another final quarter-mile split of :26.3 while defeating the 5-year-old Migrate Blue Chip by a neck in 1:52.2. Migrate Blue Chip visited the winner's circle in his next start on April 2 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the same evening Highalator captured a first leg division of the Weiss Series with a wire-to-wire performance in 1:54.4. "Victor said he can be a bit lazy and you have to get into him for the first part of the race, but once you straighten him away and it's time to come home he is all business," Dombeck said. "He has been racing against older horses and defeating them, but like I said we still don't know what kind of horse he is until he faces stakes competition. "He really looks the part though. I had not seen him for a while and when I saw him at Pocono last week, I was impressed because he has turned into such a gorgeous animal. He also has a terrific attitude, unlike his mother, who only Jenny could get near, and hangs his head right on your shoulder." Although Dombeck insists he is maintaining an even keel when it comes to Highalator's future, there is a mere hint of anticipation and enthusiasm when he discusses plans for the rest of the colt's season. "He is staked to nearly everything except Canada and the Jug," Dombeck said. "I have no desire to return to Canada after what happened with Modern Family and I know Daryl feels the same. We didn't nominate him to the Jug because we don't want to put him on a half-mile track, but he is in everything else including the Meadowlands Pace, Lexington and the Breeders Crown. "I hope I will be in the position to be kicking myself for not staking him to the Jug when the time comes, but we are looking forward to seeing what happens with him. It definitely is more special when the horse is a homebred." For the full Sunday card at Pocono, please click here. by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- As Hoosier Park commences what very well may be its most scintillating harness racing season on Saturday (April 1), there will be one individual, who was not only a stalwart presence at the facility but a cornerstone of the Indiana racing community, that will not be physically present to witness the track’s hosting of the Breeders Crown or the horse that meant more than any words can adequately portray compete in that event. It is certain, however, that Larry Rheinheimer will be in attendance, not only for that contest, but for every other occasion Freaky Feet Pete places a hoof over any racing surface, for the bond that remains between the 5-year-old stallion and his late breeder/trainer is real. Therefore, it transcends circumstances such as mere mortality or the fact Freaky Feet Pete has his own challenge to overcome in a significant injury, which prematurely ended his 2016 campaign, shortly after Rheinheimer’s still surreal and sudden death on Sept. 24. It appears as if the world champion is up to the task, as Freaky Feet Pete has goals Rheinheimer clearly established for him to fulfill and is currently working towards accomplishing exactly that. “He broke a splint bone in his right front leg and pieces entered his suspensory,” said Rheinheimer’s son, Marty, who is now responsible for conditioning the Breeders Crown and Indiana champion he co-owns with his mother, Mary Jo. “He essentially finished his last race (the Dayton Pacing Derby on Sept. 30) and still was third behind those two horses (Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki). We think the injury actually began the night of the Dan Patch (Aug. 12) when he raced so poorly for him (finishing sixth). “All the vets told us to not perform surgery and to allow the bone to heal, then the suspensory. We just ultra-sounded him last week and the bone has healed up great, the suspensory looks great as well. He’s been jogging every day and he is staked to everything. The plan is to qualify him at Hoosier in the coming weeks and if he’s ready, the Ben Franklin (eliminations June 24 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono). “That is not necessarily the spot where he will go though. We are not rushing him, because there are some other races we are focusing on later in the year.” The younger Rheinheimer is referring to the Dan Patch on Aug. 11, an appearance during the fall at the Red Mile and of course, an attempt for a second Breeders Crown title on Oct. 28. “Obviously the Breeders Crown being here at Hoosier Park makes it mean even more to us,” Rheinheimer said. “But dad always wanted to win the Dan Patch and he really wanted Pete to race at Lexington, so those three races are what we are primarily pointing for.” After the injury was diagnosed, the son of Rockin Image-Skyway Lori not only had to adjust to the absence of the person he spent nearly all his time with, but to an extended period of stall rest, which he did not appreciate. “He did not like spending all that time in his stall one bit,” Rheinheimer said. “Pete really enjoys his work and likes to be out and active. It was tough on him having to stay still for so long and when it was time for him to start moving again, he was more than ready. He just is such an intelligent horse with good manners that he is never a problem. Not even when we have mares around him. He is professional and just wants to go out there to do his work.” Before returning to the jog cart, Freaky Feet Pete, who has banked more than $1.5 million, compiled an outstanding resume of 42-30-5-2 and amassed a throng of devoted fans rivaling his colleague Wiggle It Jiggleit, was exercised on the underwater treadmill and is continuously scrutinized for even the tiniest sign of discomfort or swelling. “With Pete it’s just so hard to tell when something is bothering him because he is such a relaxed horse,” Rheinheimer said. “He doesn’t let you know and with him being that way, it makes it more difficult to know when something is bothering him or when he is hurt. “In his last race, he still paced like that with that kind of injury. He just has so much heart and will give it more than 100 percent in any situation.” While Rheinheimer and his mother are eagerly anticipating Freaky Feet Pete’s upcoming year, he also acknowledges the emotional struggles he is enduring with the loss of his father, who left this earth just hours before the stallion finished second to Always B Miki in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. “It was a night that I will never, ever forget and is burned into my memory,” he said. “But I know if he had to pick a way to go out, that would be what he would have wanted. Pete was his pride and joy, his horse of a lifetime and when he went, it was with Pete. “He is the product of all those decades of dad’s hard work in the business and he never dreamed he would have a horse like this. Everyone would ask him about Pete wherever he went and he would just love talking about him. He did everything himself with the horse and for all we know, there were many hours we wouldn’t see him and he could have very well been sleeping in there with Pete. He was with him all the time. “The plan was always for me to take over the stable from dad, but I never expected it to happen like this and then with Pete being hurt, it’s been a real big transition for me. “Also, I have a lot of pressure on me because I do have a horse like Pete and I know exactly how dad felt about him. There are a lot of expectations when you have any horse like this; it’s a lot different than a stable of five or six racehorses. We know what dad wanted for him, like taking him to Lexington, for him to win the Dan Patch and to win the Breeders Crown again here at home. I have to live up to that and the simple fact that he’s not here, but we plan on carrying out all his wishes for this horse. It’s up to me now.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- In this business, it’s very rare that even the most carefully constructed strategies actually yield results, but the machinations of Ron Cushing, Kevin Sywyk and Heidi Gibbs have produced an incredible amount of joy and satisfaction with the purchase of the New Zealand-bred harness racing mare Shesjustadelight N. The 7-year-old was in the winner’s circle for every one of her 12 trips to the post last year, has defeated males and captured her first $40,000 leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (March 17). The trio’s fledging plan has certainly come together, as they prepare to contest the second $40,000 leg of the series on Friday (March 24). Shesjustadelight N will commence her journey from the rail with Cushing at the controls as she seeks to collect another Grand Circuit victory. She is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of three Matchmaker divisions. “I had the best season of my career in 2007 training and driving at Saratoga with more than $1 million in both categories ($1.1 million training and $1.2 million driving) and then we had to leave,” said Cushing. “People used to joke there should be an ‘N’ after my name on my stable sign at Saratoga because we were so successful with horses from New Zealand. After leaving Saratoga, everything just seemed to go bad; like cars breaking down, my dad being diagnosed with leukemia and only several horses in the barn. It actually worked out returning to Maine, where I grew up, so I could spend that time with my dad, which I would never trade for the world, and to work my way back. “I had worked with an agent before and I spoke with my good friend Peter Tritton about buying a mare from New Zealand to race here. We selected Shesjustadelight and from the first time I jogged her I knew she was talented. To be here in this series with her at Yonkers was a year in the making and we are just fortunate it all worked out as we planned.” A daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Love The Look, Shesjustadelight N was not exactly a terror in her home nation, but was a solid performer in stakes company, where she placed in multiple events and earned $78,215. Since her hooves landed on U.S. soil, however, the mare has been simply superb. While competing solely in New England, the mare amassed $81,000 and set her mark of 1:51 on Nov. 17 when defeating her male rivals with authority at Plainridge Park in a $20,000 Open event. Her first foray into deeper waters resulted in another triumph in a $45,000 Open Handicap against her own gender at Yonkers Raceway on Dec. 9. In three appearances this season, Shesjustadelight N has a record of 3-1-0-1, with all of her performances at Yonkers Raceway. The only occasion she has not hit the board was her first start of 2017 on Feb. 24 after a brief freshening. “That race just did not work out for her,” Cushing said. “She was coming back from a rest and she still closed like she always does; she was just too far back. When she finished third in her next start ($50,000 Open on March 3) I put her in the passing lane and she was closing again, but just couldn’t get there because we had 40-mph headwinds she had to contend with.” Shesjustadelight N’s next engagement was a triumph in the first $40,000 leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series on March 17. Cushing was provided with a perfect pocket trip for the mare, who made the most of her advantage and once again, had her picture taken. “The race just set up well for us,” Cushing said. “I did not have to use her and that is exactly what you want for a win in this series. With six legs and this kind of competition you could not ask for more. I know this week is very tough as well. We are in against Divas Image, (9-2, post two) who raced really well here last week from the eight-hole and the Remmens’ mare Sandbetweenurtoes (3-1, post four). Also how can you not respect Mach It A Par and Bedroomconfessions? We will have to meet them in this series and they are both very nice mares; their trainers have done an excellent job with them.” In Cushing’s opinion, he is comfortable with where he, his fiancée Gibbs and partner Sywyk are sitting. “It’s like I told Frank (Drucker, publicity director for Empire City at Yonkers Raceway) last week,” Cushing said. “She is just so handy; you can do anything with her. She also really enjoys her job; she loves being out there. That is why we decided to not push her, build up her confidence and allow her to transition in New England. We wanted her to like winning and for her attitude to be good. I hate to say it, but it is different with girls. Like with us boys, we can get in a bar fight, be with another man’s girlfriend and the next day we shake hands and it’s all good. With women it’s not like that and their attitude can change in a minute. I guess that’s what’s good about it, because it can only take five seconds for their mood to move on to something else, but it just is so much different to have a really nice mare with this kind of talent; it means more.” While Cushing, Gibbs and Sywyk definitely have their eyes on the Blue Chip Matchmaker prize, they already have mapped out a plan for Shesjustadelight N following this series. “We didn’t stake her for the Canadian series races like the Roses Are Red,” Cushing said. “But we do have her eligible for the Golden Girls and Lady Liberty at the Meadowlands. We are also hoping she receives invitations for other events like the Betsy Ross. We know there are so many excellent older pacing mares out there, but as long as she stays well, we really like our mare for the rest of this year.” For the complete Friday (March 24) evening card at Yonkers Raceway, please click here.  by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

Columbus, OH --- Although he did not capture the 2016 Horse of the Year crown, Wiggle It Jiggleit still received a tremendous outpouring of emotion from some very devoted admirers who were not intimate with the harness racing sport. From the raucous crowd chanting his name as he led the post parade for last year's Little Brown Jug, to the many parents who whispered in their children's ears as they held them aloft to witness such a great horse, Wiggle It Jiggle has undeniably achieved superstar status. Unfortunately, his legions of fans have three long months to wait before the 5-year-old gelding returns to competition and commences a season that could be every bit as spectacular as Horse of the Year Always B Miki's final campaign. "He'll come back in the Ben Franklin June 24," said his owner, George Teague Jr. "There was no sense in bringing him back this month after all the hard racing he did the last two years. The last thing I want to do is pound him into the ground early this year in a spot like the Levy. It's a long year and we have the TVG and Breeders Crown at the end of October and in November. "I thought about putting him in the Battle of Lake Erie, but that's a little too early (June 3). We will start training him in three weeks, then just qualify him a few times before the Franklin." With his last appearance on Oct. 28 in the $421,000 Breeders Crown final, where he relinquished the lead to Always B Miki in the stretch to finish second, the 2016 O'Brien Award winner as Canada's Older Pacing Horse of the Year has now been on vacation for four months. Wiggle It Jigglit has virtually been an iron horse for the last two years with an astonishing resume of 51-38-10-2. The only occasion the son of Mr Wiggles-Mozzi Hanover has not been in the trifecta was a fourth place finish in the $319,400 Cane Pace in 2015. Conditioned by Clyde Francis and steered by Teague's son Montrell, the horse has banked just over $3.9 million, accumulated multiple world records and various track standards in a simply stellar career. Teague is certainly more than justified in providing Wiggle It Jiggleit with some extended time to rest and relax, which the gelding appears to be relishing. "I realize people are probably wondering about him," Teague said. "I know when a horse is not racing for that long when they usually are out there all the time, I would be asking if something was wrong, but he's just fine. He's here with me out back where I can look out my window and watch him. "We started jogging him about two weeks ago, but I just have him turned out all the time. We jog him and put him right back out. He's with another horse, Western Ace, who is 14, and it's actually really funny to watch; he follows Ace around everywhere. It's like that's his mother or something. He's really a different horse out there than when he is in his stall. You can go right up to him and pet him." Teague is referring to the fiery temperament and unpredictable antics Wiggle It Jiggle has displayed on the track, in the paddock and in the winner's circle throughout his career. Unlike many champions, the gelding does not enjoy having his picture taken and hammers that preference home with alacrity. "He is not a horse that likes attention, that's for sure," Teague said. "He likes to be left alone and do his thing. You have to watch him even when he's jogging because a horse turns around and starts pacing when he's out there, he wants to go. That's just who he is." Despite the absence of Always B Miki who handed Wiggle It Jiggleit four of his losses after epic battles, the older pacing division is still stocked with the likes of the classy All Bets Off, U.S. Pacing Championship winner Shamballa, the talented Split The House and returning rivals Freaky Feet Pete and Wakizashi Hanover. Both Freaky Feet Pete, a world champion himself, and Wakizashi Hanover, the 2015 North America Cup winner, own the distinction of defeating Wiggle It Jiggleit and possess outstanding credentials of their own. At this junction, however, Wiggle It Jiggleit is assuredly the marquee attraction among his colleagues and expectations are incredibly high that the gelding may not only best Always B Miki's mark, but leave his own unique entry in the history books. Even with all the hype surrounding his horse for 2017, Teague does not feel pressured to outpace Always B Miki or establish new records. In fact, he has another goal, one that reflects how generous he has been with presenting Wiggle It Jiggleit to his fans and spending so much of his own personal time to offer insight to the multitude of inquires about his horse. "My only hope is to keep him a healthy, happy horse so we can have him around for several more years," Teague said. "He needs to have the time to find another horse to pass the baton to that can make people want to continue to turn on the TV to watch races and to come to the track. He has generated so much interest in the sport and that is so exciting to watch. He has so many people that follow him and I'm proud of what he has done for racing; so that's his job now and we just have to make sure he has the opportunity to do that. "From where I am sitting, this is the best seat in the house. I just get to watch it all unfold myself, as Clyde (Francis) and Big Mike (Taylor, his caretaker) do all the work. Without them there would be no way all the travel would not have taken a toll on him. I'm the lucky one; those two make everything happen. They deserve all the credit for this horse." by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Columbus, OH --- Although his behavior is certainly not deceitful, dishonorable or underhanded, harness racing New York Sire Stakes champion Devious Man does have a mischievous glint in his eye, which warrants special surveillance and lends credence to his name. “He’s a horse with lots of personality, that’s for sure,” said Julie Miller, the colt’s conditioner. “He’s a character; always nickering around the barn. He already knows he is a talented horse and he wants the attention from everyone else for it.” Owned Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Stroy Inc., Devious Man is a newly turned 3-year-old son of Credit Winner-Miss Garland. Selected by the Millers and purchased for $62,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale, the colt is the 12h foal out of his prolific dam and is a half sibling to Goodlookngirl (Giant Hit, $154,088), Celebrity Shark (Dream Vacation, $139,528), Broken Record (Muscles Yankee, $134,858) and the multiple Dan Patch Award winner, O’Brien Award winner, world champion and 2005 Hambletonian victor Vivid Photo (S J’s Photo, $3.27 million). “He stood out to us right from the beginning,” Miller said. “We were prepared to go higher for him, but were happy to get him for what we paid. We were surprised though with this pedigree and the fact he is a half-brother to a Hambletonian winner. He was a little on the smaller side and the mare is older, so maybe that is why, but he was very nicely gaited from the beginning.” From his sole season of racing, Devious Man has amassed a record of 12-7-1-1 and banked $308,233. The colt commenced his career on June 30, 2016 at Monticello Raceway in a $22,200 New York Sire Stakes event. He lost by a mere neck. He then broke his maiden in his next trip to the post on July 13 at Buffalo Raceway in the same company prior to finishing third on the same circuit at Vernon Downs. Devious Man’s next engagement was the Peter Haughton Memorial where he was fourth in his $20,000 elimination and fifth in the $294,450 final on Aug. 6 at The Meadowlands. His journey in the final, however, was quite eventful and impressive despite the fact he broke behind the gate. After spotting the field a ton of real estate, Devious Man, who was steered by regular pilot Andy Miller, gobbled up ground to finish extremely well once he returned to trotting. “That was one of those things where he didn’t mind his manners,” Miller said. “He got hot going to the gate and did not keep his mind on what he was doing, which with him you need to keep him focused. He’s the kind of horse that will pay more attention to the birds flying around than his business. But Andy and I were really pleased with how he performed in the race once he was back on stride. That was quite a big move he made to finish where he did.” After the miscue in the Haughton, Devious Man returned to the Empire State for his New York Sire Stakes schedule where he reeled off five consecutive triumphs, including the $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final on Sept. 24 at Yonkers Raceway with ease. He then traveled to the Bluegrass State where he earned his sixth win in a row by capturing his $56,000 division of the International Stallion Stake on Oct. 6 at Red Mile by a hard fought neck over the talented Simply Volo from the John Butenschoen barn. Devious Man’s next engagement would be a $20,000 elimination for the Breeders Crown, but he failed to make the final after an eighth place finish behind Walner. Sent off as the public’s third selection behind Dan Patch Award winner and world champion Walner, the colt certainly had a valid reason for the worst finish in his young career. “He displaced his palate that night so he had a breathing problem,” Miller said. “He did not hit What The Hill’s wheel (the second place finisher) but he got on that line and veered in when it happened. Fortunately, it was not a serious enough problem that required anything other than some extra care, but it was unfortunate it happened on that night.” Although he was scheduled to compete in the $147,100 Matron Stake at Dover Downs on Nov. 3 to conclude his freshman campaign, Devious Man was scratched shortly before that race. It was not related, however, to the breathing issue he endured in the Breeders Crown elimination. “He ended up ripping his right front shoe off on the ship down to Dover and drove a nail up into his hoof wall,” Miller said. “It’s not the first time he’s done that, but this time was more serious and it wasn’t something we could fix right away so he could race. That is when we just turned him out for the winter. “He can be a handful and you have to watch him all the time, but it’s only because he is such a good-feeling horse. He is very playful; but he loves to trot. Even when he’s out there bucking and rearing, he comes right back down into his gait.” As to what Devious Man’s 2017 campaign consists of, expect to view him on the New York circuit and select open stakes engagements, which could include the Hambletonian. The Millers finished third in the trotting classic last year with Sutton. “I am very happy with how he came back in,” Miller said. “He put on weight and grew taller. He looks great, but now you have to hope his mind matured as much as the rest of him. This is a horse that needs to mind his manners and be kept to his task. He has talent, but he needs to learn to stick to his business when he’s out there. Andy was always very happy with him last year and said he always had something left in the tank, which is what you want. “We will follow the same plan with him as we did last year. People say you should always stick to what the horse does best. This horse got over all those different New York surfaces and then transferred that form to the Red Mile. That is another thing you want to see. “We know Walner is definitely the big horse in this division and he will be tough to beat, but we think we have a nice horse. “The Hambletonian for him? We will see how it goes, but getting there is in the family.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

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