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Batavia, NY---Thrilling stretch drives with close finishes were the order of the day at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Aug. 8) when the 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings visited the Genesee County oval to compete in the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for the $109,000 in available purses. Thunder (Conway Hall-Cr Oh Suzanna) won the first $54,500 division with a big brush from behind. JNR Express (Jim Morrill Jr.) cut a decent first quarter before slowing the half forcing Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) to pull first up with Thunder (Kevin Cummings) following right behind. JNR Express and Chip Chip Conway hooked up and went at it toe to toe from the five eighths all around the last turn with Thunder drafting behind. Thunder tipped three deep at the head of the lane and ran down Chip Chip Conway in deep stretch to win in 1:58.3. "I had to get after him to get him started; he was a little lazy. But he was good once he got started. He's a nice going trotter" said Cummings after the race. It was the second straight win and a new lifetime mark for Thunder ($9.60) who is owned by Crawford Farms Racing, Jeremy Day and the VIP Internet Stable. John Butenschoen trains the winner. Thunder was bred by Walnut Hall Limited. Cavill Hanover (Muscle Mass-Cr Calendar Girl) took the second $54,500 split after a very hard fought battle to the wire. Horns For Three (Kevin Cummings) went right to the front and Cavill Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) dropped in right in behind him. With the field single file to the half, Cummings backed it off considerably forcing Cavill Hanover to pull and challenge just pass that station. Drawing alongside the leader by the three quarters, Cavill Hanover and Horns For Three were now hooked up in a match race. The two trotted like a mirror image around the final bend, down the stretch and all the way to the wire where Cavill Hanover just got the advantage and won in 1:59.3, with a snappy back half of :57.4. Svanstedt was complimentary of both his horse as well as Horns For Three. "My horse went good, but the horse we beat went good too. The race was very competitive." Cavill Hanover ($3.90) has now won three out of his last four races for his connections, Little E, Vanersol Inc. and Wolfgang A Stable. His driver Ake Svanstedt also does the training. Cavill Hanover was bred at Hanover Shoe Farm. There were also three $15,000 Excel "A" races on the card. Lucky June Bug (Lucky Chucky-Ebbtide Hall) trotted in 2:00 flat and registered a new lifetime mark for driver John Macdonald and trainer Stanley Zombick Jr. Lucky June Bug ($9.30) is owned by Michael Pozefsky, William Pozefsky and Myron Eckstein. Sam Stoltzfus Jr. bred the winner. Lights Come On (Chapter Seven-Starlit Eyes) won in 2:02.4 and took a new lifetime mark as directed by Drew Monti for trainer Anette Lorentzen. Lights Come On ($3.10) is owned by ACL Stuteri AB, Theodore Gewertz and Anette Lorentzen. Winbak Farm was the breeder. Jason's Camden (Muscle Mass-Palm Beach Chic) went wire to wire in 2:00.3 for team Orange Crush: Andy Miller in the bike for trainer Julie Miller. Jason's Camden ($2.90) is owned by the Andy Miller Stable, Harvey Eisman and Little E, who also bred the colt. by Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

When she is training or warming up, Plunge Blue Chip can be a handful for driver Ake Svanstedt. Once a race begins, she is a handful for her rivals. A dozen days ago Plunge Blue Chip became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history when she won her division of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters by a nose over Manchego in 1:49.4 at The Meadowlands Racetrack. On Saturday, she returns to action in the second of two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks at the Big M. Plunge Blue Chip, who is also trained by Svanstedt, has won 12 of 15 career races and earned $562,809. She will start her Oaks elimination from post No. 8 in an eight-horse field of 3-year-old filly trotters. "She has everything," said Svanstedt, who owns Plunge Blue Chip with breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock, Tomas Andersson, and Rick Zeron Stables. "She is a strong horse and nice gaited; everything is good with her. She has a good head. She can be pulling and grabby when you train and when you are warming up, but when you come behind the gate she is relaxed. She has focus for the race and she is never pulling. She knows. She is a real racehorse. She loves to race." In addition to the eliminations of the Oaks, the card includes two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial, which feature a number of 3-year-old trotters eligible to the Aug. 4 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. The $500,000 Oaks final also is Aug. 4. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the final. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five. The remaining finalists will then be put in an open draw. Manchego, who has won 15 of 17 career races and earned $961,170, leads the first Oaks elimination. She received the 2017 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old female trotter after a perfect 12-for-12 campaign. She is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Takter has won the past four editions of the Oaks and a record seven Oaks trophies overall. The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian will air live during a 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 4. Plunge Blue Chip is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of Dunk The Donato. She was purchased for $42,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale and her family includes multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Mr Muscleman. Last year she competed primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, where her only loss of the season came in the series championship. She followed the defeat with three consecutive wins, including the finals of the Matron Stakes and Goldsmith Maid.   "I liked what I saw (when buying her) and the pedigree is good," Svanstedt said. "She was a very good looking horse. Her conformation is perfect. "She was very good last year. She had a long season, but she came out good from that long season. She rested for two months and then came back. She grew up a little, but all of them grow up a little." Plunge Blue Chip began this season with back-to-back wins before finishing second twice to Atlanta. She rebounded with her world-record win in the Delvin Miller Memorial. Atlanta, trained and co-owned by Rick Zeron, is undefeated in five races this year and will bypass the Oaks in favor of taking on the boys in the Hambletonian. "She raced good earlier this year, but I had not been satisfied with her," Svanstedt said about Plunge Blue Chip. "Her gait had not been good. We always think it is a joint or something when they are not so good, but then we found it was a muscle on the right side that was the problem. We found that out and after that she's been much better." As for Plunge Blue Chip's world-record performance, Svanstedt said, "I thought she could race (1):50 at the Meadowlands, but then she went (1):49.4. It was a surprise that she could go so fast. But the issue with the muscle is gone now and she feels good always when we train. "It was a tough stretch (drive) but I had a feeling I was going to beat Manchego," he continued about the race, adding with a laugh, "Then when I looked at the replay, it was tougher than it was in the race. Manchego was fighting until the wire. She is a tough horse." Earlier on the July 14 card at the Meadowlands, Svanstedt's Hambletonian-bound male trotter Six Pack temporarily set the world record for a 3-year-old when he won his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:50. Svanstedt-trained horses now hold the records for history's fastest mile by any trotter (Sebastian K, 1:49 in 2014) and fastest miles for 3-year-old female and male trotters (Plunge Blue Chip and Six Pack). "I am happy to have such good horses," Svanstedt said. Plunge Blue Chip's Oaks elimination includes Phaetosive, who also won a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, and will start from post five with trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The filly has won six of 10 career races and earned $352,358 for owner Purple Haze Stables. "I think it could be tough to beat Phaetosive from the outside," Svanstedt said. "I hope Plunge is good enough to be first or second. It is important to win it for the final draw. (Phaetosive) is a very good horse. She is as good a horse as Manchego or Plunge. She looks good. She has won easy every time." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). Following are the fields for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations. Elimination One/Race 5 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-What A Knockout-David Miller-Marcus Melander-15/1 2-Bill's Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 3-Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-10/1 4-Hey Blondie-Andy McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester-4/1 5-Fly Fly Selena-Brett Miller-Dustin Jones-10/1 6-Courtney Hanover-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-8/1 7-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 8-Piranha Fury-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-12/1 9-Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/1 Elimination Two/Race 7 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Blonde Magic-Thomas Durand-Thomas Durand-10/1 2-Lima Novelty-Scott Zeron-Linda Toscano-6/1 3-Winbak Noelle-Andy McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-20/1 4-Perfect Summer K-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-10/1 5-Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-5/2 6-Live Laugh Love-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-5/1 7-Nixie Volo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) for freshman trotting colts and geldings will take place at Tioga Downs on Friday (July 20). All divisions will race for a purse of $37,966 each. The morning line favorite for the first division is Cavill Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) at 5-2. The 2-year-old colt by Muscle Mass-Cr Calendar Girl is trained by Svanstedt for owners Little E LLC., Vanersol Inc., and Wolfgang A Stable Inc. He is one for one in his young career. His victory came at a leg of the NYSS at Monticello ($27,750). The second morning line choice in the first division is Skyway Kon Man (Trond Smedshammer) at 3-1. The 2-year-old colt by Conway Hall-Keystone Sadie is owned by Purple Haze Stables and trained by Smedshammer. He finished third at a leg of the NYSS at Monticello ($27,750) in his only career start. In the second division the morning line choice is the Jimmy Takter trained Keystone Cash (Josert Fonseca) at 5-2. The 2-year-old colt by Chapter Seven-Keystone Cola is owned by Howard Taylor, Judith Taylor, and Order By Stable. He has a win and a second in two career start. His victory was in the NYSS race at Monticello ($27,750). Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) is the second morning line choice in the second division at 3-1. Marcus Melander trains for owners Courant Inc., and SRF Stable. The 2-year-old colt by Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows won a leg of the NYSS at Monticello ($27,750) in his only start. The 2-1 morning line favorite in the final division of the NYSS is Captain Krupnik (Ake Svanstedt). Owned by Lars Berg and Svanstedt (trainer), the 2-year-old colt by Conway Hall-Salt Hill Brigid was second in his only career start. It was during a leg of the NYSS at Monticello ($27,750). The second morning line choice in the third division is Chip Chip Conway (Jim Taggart Jr.) at 3-1. The freshman gelding by Conway Hall-Get Chipped has one win in three career starts. He is owned by Ken Weckstein and trainer Gary Messenger. The 13 race card at Tioga Downs on Friday (July 20) starts at 6:15. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs    

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Two-year-old trotting fillies faced "sloppy" going at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Tuesday, racing in five $30,000 divisions of their Pennsylvania All-Stars stake. The fastest winner was the homebred Sonnet Grace for owner/trainer/driver Rod Allen, and the 1:56.2 clocking despite the off going is certainly "in the pedigree," as the Muscle Massive filly is out of I Believe, an Andover Hall mare out of C R Kay Suzie, possibly the most precocious baby trotting miss of the last 50 years. (Within seven weeks in 1994, C R Kay Suzie trotted world record miles in 1:55.1m, 1:56.1f, and 1:56.3h, records that lasted for respectively 11, 14, and just over 20 years!) Sonnet Grace, a 1:58.1 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner at The Meadows in her previous start, lowered her mark with her All-Stars win, but she had to work hard for it, showing a big acceleration in the Pocono Pike in the last 50 yards to just nose out Rush Lane, who had grinded to the lead earlier in the stretch. The 1:56.2 clocking was not only a divisional season's record for a 5/8-mile track, it also beat the colts' standard of 1:56.4 notched 24 hours ago by Prospect Hill and Fashion Possessed in their All-Stars wins. Trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras twice combined with daughters of Muscle Hill to begin paying back on hefty yearling prices. First up was The Ice Dutchess, a $320,000 purchase and a full sister to $500G winner Ice Attraction (their dam is The Ice Queen), who controlled the pace and took a half-length victory over first-over Scirocco Donnahill in 1:57.1. The Ice Dutchess had previously recorded a 1:56.4 baby qualifying win at The Meadowlands for the Coyote Wynd Farms. A bit later, the $480,000 yearling Beautiful Sin (Muscle Hill - Sina) made a beautiful debut, quarter-moving for Gingras and staying strong to the wire to win by 3¼ lengths in 1:58.1. Beautiful Sin had previously notched three straight morning wins at The Meadowlands, fastest in 1:56.2, for the SRF Stable. Matt Kakaley was able to rally Fate Smiled from the pocket to a head victory in 1:58.4, just catching pacesetting Fraulein Blucher (a Cantab Hall out of one of PA's top Sire Stakes performers ever, Frau Blucher). Fate Smiled is a Muscle Massive filly out of $500G+ winner For A Dancer who had won her previous start in a division of the same Sire Stakes event at The Meadows earlier mentioned in 1:58. Ron Burke trains her for Burke Racing Stable LLC, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, J&T Silva- Purnel & Libby, and Michelle Yanek. Fate Smiled was a 9-5 second choice, and the first three winners listed here were their race's favorites. The upsetter in the All-Stars on Tuesday was 12-1 shot Sabrina Deo, a daughter of Muscle Hill out of the half-million dollar winner Caught My Eye, who moved out from the pocket at headstretch and caught pacesetter Fast Reaction by ¾ of a length in 1:57.3 in her purse bow. Corey Callahan was in the sulky for trainer John Butenschoen and the ownership of Harmony Oaks Racing Stable Inc., Rojan Stables, and Tangie Massie. The winner had been twice second in a.m. outings before this win, and she completed a "grandsire sweep" for Muscles Yankee (Muscle Hill sired three winners and Muscle Massive two). From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

WASHINGTON, PA, June 26, 2018 -- Pilgrims Tide exploded first over down the backside, opened up a daylight lead and rolled home to victory -- his second straight -- in Tuesday's feature at The Meadows, a $13,000 Conditioned Trot. Dismissed at 8-1, Pilgrims Tide was third when Dan Rawlings sent him after the leader, Goodtogo Hanover. The 5-year-old Muscle Massive-Raysofgrace De Vie gelding was ahead by 3 lengths before the field turned for home, ultimately downing the 4-5 favorite, Swell Chap, by a length in 1:54.4. Chef Lee shot the Lightning Lane for show. Sarah Andrews trains Pilgrims Tide for Sandbur Farms, Valarie Sutton and Joseph Hemingway. Aaron Merriman and Dave Palone each collected four wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday with a special twilight card, first post 5:30 PM. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows

Tioga Downs will welcome three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes NYSS) for trotting colts and geldings on Friday (June 15). The first division ($39,900) will feature the sophomore debut of Fourth Dimension (Brian Sears). The 2-1 morning line favorite hasn't raced since his win in the Valley Victory final ($464,650) at the Meadowlands on 11-25-17. The 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven is owned by Courant Inc. and trained by Marcus Melander. He won eight of eleven starts as a 2-year-old, amassing almost $400,000 a season ago. The second morning line choice at 5-2 is Helpisontheway (Tim Tetrick). The 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven has won a leg of the NYSS and a finished fourth at the Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) earlier this year at Vernon Downs. Linda Toscano trains the colt owned by Camelot Stable, The Bay's Stable, and Little E LLC. The second division ($40,600) morning line favorite is Tito (Marcus Miller) at 5-2. Owned by Anthony Lombardi, George Golemes, and Louis WIllinger, while trained by Erv Miller. The 3-year-old colt by Muscle Mass is looking for his first win of 2018. He won four races as a freshman trotter. The second choice for the second division is Purpose Blue Chip (Dan Daley), who won his first race of the season during a leg of the NYSS on 6-6-18 at Buffalo. The 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven is trained by Dan Dailey for owners A. Dailey, J. Crawford IV, R Lombardo, and D. Brenner. He is the second choice at 3-1 even though he beat the morning line favorite (Tito) his last time out at Buffalo going gate-to-wire. The third division ($39,900) features morning line favorite Don (Jim Morrill Jr.). Trained by Julie Miller and owned by Andy Miller Stable and Little E LLC, the 3-year-old colt by Credit Winner has won two legs of the NYSS this season. He picked up those wins at Vernon Downs (May 11) and Buffalo Raceway (June 6). The second favorite is Southwind Chrome (Scott Zeron) at 3-1. The 3-year-old colt by Chapter Seven didn't race as a two-year-old and even though he is winless in three starts, he was impressive in the EBC final at Vernon Downs. He charged late in the stretch and finished second to Six Pack by half a length. Owned by Dreamville Stable and trained by Paula Wellwood, he will go for his first win of his career at the five-eighths mile oval in Nichols, NY. The 13 race card at Tioga Downs on Friday (June 15) starts at 6:15. For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com by John Horne, for Tioga Downs                            

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Harness racing driver Guy Gagnon was on a tear at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening, winning five of the nine races on the program. Gagnon started off like a rocket, winning the first race with Missionoftheheart in 2:01.3, then the second race with Mrs Dragonfire in 2:00. In the third race, the mares division of the opening round of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters, it was all Y S Suzanne and Guy Gagnon for his third straight win on the night. Lucky Promesses and trainer/driver Jerome Lombart were able to out leave Y S Suzanne and take early command of the lead, but Gagnon wanted his mare back on top and they were by the opening quarter mile in :29. From that point on, Y S Suzanne and Gagnon led to the half in :59.4 and the three-quarters in 1:29.3 before Lombart pulled the pocked going into the final turn and nearly caught up with Y S Suzanne at the top of the stretch. But Y S Suzanne kicked in another gear and went on to win by one length in 2:00.2. Lucky Promesses was second with EAU Naturelle (Simon Delisle) third. The Future Stars Champion in Quebec at age 2, Y S Suzanne is now 5. She is a daughter of Angus Hall, trained by Blake Curran and owned by Jason Jamieson and Blake Curran of Perth, Ontarion. It was her fourth win this year and she paid just $2.10 to win as the overwhelming race favorite. Gagnon then scored his fourth winner of the night in the sixth race with Yoshi in a lifetime best 2:00.2. The seventh race was the horse division of the Quebec-Bred Series and surprising to the wagering crowd, last year's three-year-old champion, Capteur De Reve and driver Pierre Luc Roy were the winners at odds of 8-1, but what a race it was. Kinnder Dangerous and driver Justin Filion left and got the lead away from Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) as they went to the opening quarter in :28.4. Then by the half mile in 1:00.3, it was Captuer De Reve and Roy coming first-over. Captuer De Reve was able to grind his way and collar Kinnder Dangerous at the three-quarters in 1:31.2 as Berube took Holiday Party three wide around the final turn. Kinnder Dangerous was back on top as they started down the stretch and battled Capteur De Reve head and head right to the finish and with a final surge, Capteur De Reve won by a neck in 2:00.1. Holiday Party was just one length back in third place. It was the first win in three starts for Capteur De Reve. The gelded son of Muscle Mass is trained by Maxime Velaye and was bred and is owned by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel. He paid an amazing $18.10 to win. Gagnon then picked up his fifth winner of the night in the eighth race with Beachrunner AM in 1:56.1. Gagnon is now tied with driver Stephane Brosseau as the only two drivers this season to score five winners on a program. Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, first race post time is 12:50 pm. For more information and a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

WILKES-BARRE PA - LMC Mass Gem overcame a double jump in class, post eight, a sloppy track, and being parked 3/8 of a mile before getting the top, surmounting the adversity to post a 1¼-length 1:56.3 triumph in the $17,500 featured trot over a sloppy track Sunday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The Muscle Mass gelding is certainly in the winning grove right now, having taken two straight, three of his last four, and seven of fifteen 2018 starts. Here he defeated Crosbys Clam Bake, who also brushed off covering extra real estate to photo out favored sophomore Whats The Word, facing elders after two straight in the Sire Stakes. Simon Allard, a five-time winner on the night, guided the winner of $215,805 for trainer/brother Rene, the meet leader who added three to his total Sunday, and the partnership of Bruce Soulsby, VIP Internet Stable LLC, Kapildeo Singh, and Earl Hill Jr. Three $17,000 co-features sported two fields of trotters and one of pacers. The first trot was taken by the Glidemaster gelding Joey Pro, who had an explosive last 1/8 to see him come from fifth to take a 2 1/2 length victory in 1:57.1 for driver Matt Kakaley, trainer John Hallett, and owner Mark Wamp. In the other, the brothers Allard combined with another son of sire Muscle Mass, the gelding Zagster, who raced to command at the ¾, then held off a late charge by Critical Mass to take a photo victory, also in 1:57.1. Zagster has now won $165,489 for Allard Racing Inc. and Kapildeo Singh. In the pacing contest, Xpert Bayama grabbed the lead quickly for driver Matt Kakaley, then scooted home in 56 to complete a 1:54.2 victory while 2¼ lengths to the good. The victorious altered son of Up The Credit has won three of his last five for trainer Ron Burke and the omnipresent duo of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Out of town conditioner George Ducharme often brings some of his young horses to Saratoga Casino Hotel to compete, most times early in the year before the start of Sire Stakes season. On Thursday afternoon, Ducharme brought his The Veteran (Muscle Mass) to town to compete in the $9,000 feature for New York sired trotters. The Veteran finished third in last year's New York Sire Stakes Final on the Night on Champions in October and prevailed in his most recent start heading into Thursday's tilt as he set a lifetime mark winning in 1:51.2 at Vernon Downs in the Empire Breeders Classic Consolation. Frank Coppola Jr. catch-drove the three year old trotter on Thursday and sat back patiently with the public's 1-9 betting favorite before making a late move around the final turn. The Veteran made it look easy and cruised to victory in 1:57.2 to move his trainer's record to four wins and a second in just six local starts at the Spa in 2018. The Veteran is poised to make another run at the New York Sire Stakes and will begin that campaign in the coming weeks. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday evening with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

WILKES-BARRE PA - Top purse events on the Tuesday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono were a trio of $15,000 events for "nw 4 races" company, two on the trot and one for male pacers. First up was a trotting field, from which Yuge came away with a new mark of 1:54.1. Tom Jackson moved the Muscle Mass gelding to command in front of the stands and stayed in control from there for trainer Ed Lohmeyer, co-owner with Dr. Patricia Hogan and Ed Lohmeyer Jr. The pacing event came between the two trots; the sidewheeling event was won by the American Ideal gelding A Farmboys Success, who went wire-to-wire while clocking a personal best of 1:52.2. Clear much of the last quarter, A Farmboys Success saw his lead diminish rapidly late as Happy Trio extricated himself from a bad shuffle and swept wide, but his late surge came up a neck shy against the victorious Ron Burke trainee, who is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. In the second trot, the Muscle Massive mare Striking Volo completed a "sweep" of new lifetime marks in the features when she reported home first in 1:57.1. Anthony Napolitano got away last with the winner, but had her moving at the quarter and she gained with every stride thereafter, grinding to a confident neck win over Celebrity Apollo for trainer Jody Riedel and Super Mile LLC as the only successful favorite in the tri-features. Top contest for older performers was a $14,000 pace for mares, which saw Juslikeaqueen never see the rail, be three-wide at two points, and still come on to defeat deep-Pocono Pike-shooting Shady Stella by a neck in 1:51.3. Driver Simon Allard got a second-over trip behind a wild pace and was able to rally the daughter of Palone Ranger to post a gritty victory for trainer/owner Antonia Storer. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Despite not being able to be a snowbird and spend the winter in Florida, trainer Maxime Velaye says the top trotter in his harness racing stable, Capteur De Reve, is ready for the 2018 season and makes his debut Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. Last year Capteur De Reve was the champion three-year-old cot trotter of the year in Quebec. He posted four wins on the season, including an eye-popping 1:55 lifetime mark in winning a $95,000 division of the Ontario Sire Stakes at Mohawk Raceway. He also captured the $65,000 final of the Breeders Cup Series at the Hippodrome 3R. "Neither of us got to spend the winter in Florida," trainer Maxime Velaye laughed. "We spent a nice winter at the farm in Mirabel. He (Capteur De Rebe) did grow and really filled out this winter and now he looks amazing. "I think he will have a great season," Velaya explained. "He has made just 21 starts lifetime over the past two seasons and that makes room for him to continue to improve. He is the kind of horse that is still learning and gets more mature every year." On Sunday, Capteur De Rebe faces a tough task in his 2018 debut. He has the far outside post eight in the 9th race Invitational-Handicapped trot and will be driven by Pierre Luc Roy. His competition includes Rocky Boy, the 5/2 favorite from post five for driver Marc Belanger. In his last start at H3R, Rocky Boy and Belanger cruised the half mile oval with a 1:57 score that tied his lifetime mark and is the fastest trotting mile so far this season. In post seven is lone mare in the field, Torches Angel for driver Stephane Brosseau. She has won her last two starts at H3R and three of her last four starts. Other return winners in the field include Caroluzzo (post one) and Neon Lights (post nine). "I look for him (Capteur De Reve) to be lucky with his post tomorrow," laughed Velaye. "We know we would get the eight post because of his good earnings in his last five starts. I want him to race good and finish strong in the last quarter." The top pacers are in action in the seventh race where Rainbow Palace, again the lone mare in the field of nine, starts from post seven and is coming off a super strong win in her last start. She will be driven by Francis Picard and on May 13 was able to wire the field in 1:55 for her first win in three starts. Rainbow Palace will have it tough having to go against return winners HP Patriote (post two), Onyx VA (post four) and Mister Big Top (post five). There will be a major announcement Sunday from the Quebec Jockey Club at the Hippodrome 3R about a special upcoming event on Sunday, June 24. First race post time Sunday is 12:50 pm. For a free race program just visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Vernon, NY - A sampling of top Hambletonian prospects will lead the charge to Monday's $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) trotting finals at Vernon Downs as part of the Memorial Day matinee card beginning at 1:05 pm. The imposing Muscle Mass colt Six Pack (PP#2) equaled Market Share's track record of 1:52.1 in last week's elimination race and needed every bit of that strong effort to get past Helpisontheway by just a half-length on the wire for the win. He's won both of his seasonal starts at Vernon and heads into the $223,673 final (race 8) in top form for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt who owns the colt in partnership with Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg. Trainer Linda Toscano sends out a pair of leading contenders, both sired by her 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven. The aforementioned Helpisontheway (PP#3 Tim Tetrick) did much of the work before succumbing very late to Six Pack. He's owned by the trainer (as Camelot Stables) and The Bay's Stable. Local owner Ken Jacobs will watch his colt Seven Iron (PP #4 David Miller) who won the second EBC elimination. He's a rock solid trotter who gives an honest effort every time he puts his nose on the gate, was a Grand Circuit winner at The Red Mile and second in the Kindergarten final last season. The route to the $238,613 EBC filly final (race 9) winners circle appears to go through Atlanta, not the city but Rick Zeron's wicked fast Chapter Seven filly. She absolutely cruised to victory in 1:53.1, fastest of three elimination divisions for driver Scott Zeron and appeared to have plenty left. Atlanta will leave from post 4 as she carries the hopes of HA Taylor, Holland Racing and Brad Grant who own her in partnership with trainer Rick Zeron. Svanstedt manages the other two elim winners in Natalie Hanover and Plunge Blue Chip (Svanstedt) who start from the inside most posts respectively on Monday. Plunge Blue Chip was the state's top freshman filly trotter last season and also won the Grand Circuit stake Goldsmith Maid final, earning more than $400,000 at two for the trainer and his partners Blue Chip Bloodstock and Tomas Andersson. Natalie Hanover (Mark MacDonald) took a lifetime mark with her 1:54.1 score last week and seeks her biggest payday for Van Camp Trotting Corp, Anders Olsson, Lars Berg and Bjorn Nasstrom. The supporting card includes consolations for both EBC finals and a $120,000 New York Sires stake divided into three divisions, it's the first battle of the year for the state bred 3-year-old colt pacers. Vernon and the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative have joined to offer a $3,000 guaranteed pool on a Pick 4 wager on races 6-9 that includes both EBC finals. Free program pages for the races included in the wager will be available on the web. From the press box at Vernon Downs    

Trainer Paul Kelley unveiled a trio of young filly trotters on Thursday afternoon at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The top flight conditioner focuses mainly on young horses and thus hadn't had any of his trainees compete at the Spa thus far this season before Thursday's matinee card. Kelley's Byway (Muscle Mass) got his day started win a victory when the three year old filly went coast to coast in 1:59.3 to break her maiden with Billy Dobson in the sulky. The meet's leading driver also piloted Kelley's Fast Love (Chapter Seven) to a wire-to-wire win when she cruised to a 1:59.4 score to break her maiden. Kelley looked for the Thursday hat trick when his The Russian Spy (Credit Winner) competed in a $7,500 non-winners of two race lifetime or $25,000 lifetime trot. The Kelley stable moved to three-for-three on the day when The Russian Spy jogged by open lengths in 1:57.3. Kelley has his group of young trotters prepped and ready for New York Sire Stakes season which has just gotten underway. The first NY Sire Stakes to be contested at Saratoga will be on Sunday afternoon (May 27th) when three year old pacing fillies are featured on the fifteen-race program. Live racing continues at Saratoga on Friday night with a 6:45pm first post. by Mike Sardella, for Saratoga Raceway  

Kentuckiana Farms is pleased to announce that Muscle Mass’s book for 2018 is now full and closed. We would like to thank all harness racing breeders for their interest and support in Muscle Mass.  In 2017 Muscle Mass dominated the New York Sire Stakes program with his first NYeligible 2YOs hitting the track. The Muscle Mass 2YOs out-earned their nearest competitor (Chapter Seven) by over $650,000 - lead by Matron and Goldsmith Maid Elim and Final winner Plunge Blue Chip 2,1:53.1m ($404,690) and Kindergarten Classic Final winner Tito 2,1:55.0m ($239,963).  Bob Brady 502-863-3070 rmbrady@kentuckianafarms.com    Ken Jackson 859-335-0928 kjackson@kentuckianafarms.com

Up The Alley (Muscle Mass) continued his harness racing hot streak in the Open Trot at Saratoga Casino Hotel on Sunday afternoon. The Richie Silverman-trained trotter has proven to be dynamic and versatile since joining the Open ranks a few months back. On Sunday, the five year old flashed early speed and yielded to the race's favorite Consolidator (Billy Dobson). Consolidator came to town fresh off a win in last week's Open Trot at Yonkers. The Rene Allared-trained Consolidator set the fractions and braced for a late rush from Up The Alley as those two gave themselves separation around the final turn. Up The Alley trotted past the invading favorite in the stretch and secured his third Open Trot victory of the season as he stopped the timer in 1:55.2. Consolidator was a clear second in her local debut while Twisted Pretzel (Jimmy Devaux) earned the show spot in the $18,000 Sunday feature. Up The Alley, who was piloted to the Open score by Mark Beckwith, was the race's 8-5 second choice in the wagering. The exacta with the favorite second paid $9.80 while the triple returned $24.40. Live racing resumes at Saratoga on Thursday afternoon with a 12:15pm first post. Mike Sardella  

Dynamic Edge (Mike Simons) captured the harness racing featured Open Handicap Trot ($12,000) at Tioga Downs on Friday night (September 15). Dragin The Wagon (Aaron Byron) would lay down all the early fractions, :27.3, :57.0, 1:25.1. Dynamic Edge (Muscle Mass) who is owned and trained by Mark Ford, would go first-over and take the lead at the top of the stretch and hold off the late rush of Picture This (Tom Jackson) to win in a lifetime best of 1:54.2. Picture This would have to settle for second with Theraputic (Mike Merton) finishing third. Dynamic Edge ($18.60) would notch his sixth win of the season and 11th career victory. Little Santamonica (Aaron Byron) would win the fillies and mares feature ($10,000). Little Santamonica (Little Steven) would go gate-to-wire hitting all the fractions :26.4, :56.1, 1:24.1, 1:52.1. Owned by Courtney Crawford and trained by Jordan Hope the 9 year-old mare would win for the 13th time this season and the 58th time in her career. Truth And Liberty (Austin Siegelman) would come on late to finish second. K J's Caroline (Jim Taggart) would settle for third. Tioga Downs returns to live action with closing night on Saturday (September 16). The 11 race card which features NYSS sophomore pacing colts and geldings with a post time of 6:50 p.m. Firework follows the live racing For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com John Horne for Tioga Downs

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