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Sweden’s Cruzado Dela Noche made a three-wide move on the final turn and the 30-1 long shot was able to nip Norway’s Lionel at the wire in a dramatic photo finish by a head in winning harness racing’s $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway Saturday. Driven by Brian Sears, Cruzado Dela Noche got away in sixth place as Arazi Boko (Alessandro Gocciadoro) took the early lead away from the USA’s Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) going to the first quarter in :28.2. Race favorite and Elitloppet winner, Ringostar Treb and Pastore Bob both went off-stride going for the lead on the first turn. Then Canada’s Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron) came first-over and was able to clear to the lead and take the field to the half mile in :57.1 as Lionel and driver Goran Antonsen came first-over with Sears and Cruzado Dela Noche followed second over past the three-quarters in 1:27. As they came to the final turn, Sears made the big move three-wide with Cruzado Dela Notche past the mile marker in 1:27 and the three-horses raced side-by-side around the turn and then the battle began down the stretch. Marion Marauder began to tire, Lionel looked if he had the race won, but with every stride, Cruzado Dela Noche gained ground and then in the final strides to the wire, won by a head in 2:24.3. Up And Quick (Jason Bartlett) was third. A six-year-old stallion by Muscle Massive, Cruzado Dela Notche was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms in the USA and raced in the states at age two before being shipped to Sweden. He trained by Marcus Melander and is leased by Courant, Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida. He paid $62.50 to win. Also, of note is that Cruzado Dela Noche had not been in a pari-mutuel race since June 10. He did have two winning qualifying races before going in the International. “I’m just so proud and happy to be here today,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “The trip I got, I could not have drawn it up any better. Maybe I should have tipped him three deep a little earlier than I did. When I did tip out it made the 9 horse (Lionel) worked a little harder. Perhaps if I had waited until the top of the stretch my horse would have gotten to him sooner. “He just raced super,” Sears said. “He got the trip that he needed. It’s just awesome today. To win the International Trot is great. This was my fourth time in the race. You don’t get that many chances to compete at this level. To win this today is quite a thrill.” “We did the qualifiers at Pocono,” said trainer Marcus Melander. “And we really did not know if they were enough for him to get ready for this race. He showed up today in good shape. “We train our horses a lot,” Melander said. “He was use to the extra distance racing from Sweden.” Warrawee Roo and Dube take $250,000 Harry Harvey Trot With a huge three-wide move from fourth place, Warrawee Roo and driver Daniel Dube was able to collar pacesetter Gruden and go on to win the $250,000 Harry Harvey Invitational Trot Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. Gruden, at 22-1, and driver Tim Tetrick grabbed the lead away from In Secret (George Brennan) to start off the seven race one and one-quarter mile race and led the field past the opening quarter in :28.1 and the half mile in :57. Yes Mickey and driver Jason Barlett had started up first-over with Warrawee Roo following the outside flow second-over as they past the three-quarters in 1:27. Then at the one-mile mark in the race at 1:56, Dube moved Warrawee Roo three-wide, clearing by Yes Mickey and then collaring Gruden as they started down the stretch. Warrawee Roo then has plenty of trot in the stretch, holding off Tap Flight Angel (Andy Miller) to win by one length in 2:25.2 with Gruden third. Winless in his last seven starts, Warrawee Roo, a five-year-old stallion by Majestic Son, posted his fourth win of the year for trainer Luc Blais and the Determination Stable of Montreal, Canada. He paid $10.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

It was a big harness racing day for driver Brian Sears at Yonkers Raceway Saturday afternoon. After capturing the $1 million International Trot with Cruzado Dela Noche, Sears then came back in the 11th race $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace to win with ease with McWicked. It was Mach It So (Jason Bartlett) who flew out of the starting gate to take command and then Nuclear Dragon and driver Tim Tetrick came right after Mach It So to control the pace at the first quarter in :27. As they came past the grandstand the first time, Sear came out with McWicked and started to grind his way towards the leaders at the half mile in :55.3. Following second-over was Bit Of A legend with driver Jordan Stratton. Then in the backstretch, McWicked was able to overpower Mach It So and take command with ease going to the three-quarters in 1:22.4. From there is was all McWicked as he pulled away in the stretch to win by four open lengths in 1:50.4. Bit Of A Legend was second with Evenin Of Pleasure (Joe Bongiorno) third. “He always gives a great effort,” Sears said after the race. “I was OK with getting away third and I knew we would have to come first up and he just makes it look so easy. I don’t want to always come first up with him, but today he was OK. He is just so easy to drive.” A seven-year-old stallion by McArdle, it was the ninth win this year for McWicked. He is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by Ed James SSG Stable of North Boston, NY. He paid $2.90 to win as the race favorite with the scratch of Lazarus from the race on Friday. McWicked now sports 31 career wins in 90 starts and lifetime earnings of $3.500,376. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter has confirmed that Lazarus has been scratched sick from the $250,000 Dan Rooney Invitational Pace at Yonkers Raceway Saturday afternoon. “He started coughing yesterday and continued today,” Takter said. “I was not going to take any chances of hurting him. Now we can make sure he is OK for the Breeders Crown.” Lazarus was to start from post six and rival McWicked drew inside of him (post 2) for their fifth battle. The score now is tied 2-2. The two horses should battle once again in the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Coral Springs, FL – Harness racing driver Bruce Ranger was once the King of the Pompano Park track in south Florida and before that was the top driver in Maine for years. During his illustrious career he competed in nearly 50,000 races with 8,916 wins and purses won at $36,453,179. Then on June 27, 2015 after he finished fourth in the last race with Master Of Puppets at Pompano Park, Bruce Ranger walked away from harness racing. “I was beat back then,” Ranger explained. “Too many accidents, too many mornings jogging or training 15 to 20 horses, then driving in ten or more races at night. My back especially was so sore that I knew it was time to stop.” Ranger returned to his home state of Maine and began rehabilitation, living in Lewiston. He rested up, started to heal and even got married on September 23, 2016 to Mary Beth Beauregard. Now enters Joe Morris in the picture. “My cousin Joe Morris is the one who owns the starting gates up here and it was him that helped get me to get my license and get the job starting the races on the Maine Fair Circuit,” Ranger added. “If It was anyone else other than him I would have said no thank you,” Ranger said. “If anything, it gave me a reason to see him more often. He is my favorite cousin since I was a kid and has helped me in the past.” Now, gone from competing in harness racing for more than three years, Bruce Ranger is returning to the races once again as a driver. His first appearance will be aboard Miss American Bi in the fourth race trot at Scarborough Downs in Maine on Saturday. It’s the $56,437 Maine Standardbred Breeders Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. He has one other drive on card in the sixth race, with Saratoga Liz (post two) in the $89,311 Maine Standardbred Breeders Stake for three-year-old pacing fillies. Both horses are trained by Kim Ireland. “Here comes cousin Joe Morris again,” Ranger said. “He owns Saratoga Liz and put me down to drive and I also got another one of Kim’s (Ireland) horses.” After being away from racing for more than three years, Ranger is making his comeback with a bang in a couple of major stakes races.  “I got the itch,” Ranger said. “I was very fortunate to get the chance to learn and become a starting judge and then was able to get hired as the starter for the Maine Fair Circuit this summer. “I really enjoyed being the starter for the Maine Fair Circuit,” Ranger added. “It peaked my interest to get back on a sulky and drive. But, first I had to get back in shape again. I ate too much of that great Fair food every weekend.” Getting back in shape for Ranger has been enjoyable. “During the winters I do a lot of skiing,” Ranger said. “And when not working during the summer I love to go biking. It has really helped me get back into shape and both the skiing and biking is great fun. “I had really missed the changing of the seasons and wintertime,” Ranger said. “I’d rather be working a snow blower than jogging horses. So, what are Bruce Ranger’s plans for his return to driving? “Since I got the itch,” Ranger said. “I’ve been considering driving at Plainridge. They have some green now and their purses are much better than what is available in Maine. “Why not go down there and race for real money,” Ranger added. “I’ve been there before when they did not have any decent purses. It’s not that far away that I can make the trip. “I have to see how things go on Saturday,” Ranger said. “I could get behind a horse and right afterwards say “no more” and walk away again. I could also love it and want to do more. We’ll know after Saturday for sure.” When asked about returning to Pompano Park in Florida where Ranger won more than half of his 8,916 career wins, Ranger said “No thank you. I don’t want to race in the heat ever again. I was born and raised up here in New England and want to say around here.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

McWicked and driver Brian Sears paced the second fastest mile in the history of harness racing with a 1:46.2 victory over Lazarus in the $179,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace at the Red Mile Saturday. The eighth race feature saw Western Fame and driver Brett Miller leave from post nine and take the early lead away from Filbuster Hanover (Matt Kakaley). Also, on the move was Australian import Heaven Rocks and driver David Miller and by the opening quarter mile in :26.1 they were in command of the field. Past the half mile marker in :52.1, Filibuster Hanover and Kakaley started up first-over and was followed on the outside by McWicked and Sears. Following McWicked third over was Lazarus (Yannick Gingras). They raced past the three-quarters in 1:19.1 as McWicked and then Lazarus started to fan out and come after Heaven Rocks. McWicked was able to collar and pass by Heaven Rocks in the stretch and then hold off Lazarus to win by one length in 1:46.2. Filibuster Hanover was third. It was a lifetime record for McWicked and the $89,500 winners share of the purse pushed his earnings over $1 million in 2018 for trainer Casie Coleman and the SSG Stables of North Boston, NY.   McWicked has now tied his rivalry with Lazarus at 2-2. To see the race click here.  Sired by McArdle, McWicked is seven years old and now sports career earnings of $3,375,376. He paid $5.00 to win. “This horse,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I’ve never had one this old before and wow, 1:46.2, I’ve never had a horse go that fast and that makes him pretty special. “I’ve always liked this big horse,” Coleman added. “When we got him at age 3 he earned $1.5 million and won some of the big stakes races. He still racing now and going strong. “We got invited to Yonkers next week to race for a half a million,” Coleman said. “I didn’t think the owner wanted to go there but he said yes so it looks like we are going to Yonkers.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

Alexa’s Power proved to be the strong horse Wednesday as she overpowered pacesetter Strong Opinion at the top of the stretch to capture the 48th annual $230,7000 Jugette at Delaware, Ohio. The classic grand circuit event for harness racing three-year-old pacing fillies saw the 19th race feature began with betting favorite Youaremycandygirl and driver Yannick Gingras going off-stride at the start of the race and was never in contention. Strong Opinion and driver Chris Page go right to the front from post one with Alexa’s Power and driver Tim Tetrick grabbing the two-hole spot as they sped to the opening quarter mile in :26.4. Then coming to the half mile marker, driver Tim Tetrick came out from the inside in post two and sit there as no one was coming from behind to force him to go on as they went to the half in :55.2. E Dee’s Well Said (Jim Pantaleano) at 62-1 odds, filled the gap behind Strong Opinion. Going to the three-quarters in 1:22.4, Strong Opinion was still in command with Alexa’s Power stalking them on the outside. Then in the stretch, Alexa’s Power and Tetrick wore down Strong Opinion and went on to win by one length in 1:51.2. E Dee’s Well Said came on for second place with Strong Opinion third. “I had about 100 ideas flowing through my head behind the starting gate,” said winning driver Tim Tetrick. “I saw Yannick’s (Gingras) horse (Youaremycandygirl) make a misstep and I didn’t want to fall too far back so we went to the two-hole and figured to outmuscle most of them from there. “She really raced her butt off today,” Tetrick said. “She was just super.” Sired by Somebeachsomewhere, it was the 9th win in 15 starts this year for Alexa’s Power. She is trained by Jim Campbell and owned and bred by Jeffery and Michael Snyder of New York, NY. She paid $3.80 to win. “This is my first Jugette,” said winning trainer Jim Campbell. “It’s so exciting. We’ve had a really good year with Alexa all season, Timmy has driven her since her first qualifier. We have had a lot of fun and this win is the best.” Jim Campbell did say that they had made an equipment change on Alexa’s Power, adding a pull-down bridle that she was using for the first time today. This year’s Jugette was named in Memory of Hall of Fame Communicator, Laverne A. Hill. To see the 2018 Jugette replay go to https://youtu.be/emEv23NX-io On Thursday is the $627,000 Little Brown Jug for the colts with two elimination divisions followed by heats until one horse has won twice. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Monticello, NY - With just seven two-year-old pacing fillies entered for the New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway Monday, they will race for the entire pot with a purse of $108,300. It will be quite a battle in the seventh race feature between Zero Tolerance (PP2) and So Awesome (PP5). Zero Tolerance, a daughter of Heston Blue Chip, is on a four-race winning streak for trainer Joe Holloway. She has won five of her six starts this year and her lone loss was by a neck. She has a record this year of 1:51.3 taken at Vernon Downs. David Miller is again in the sulky with Zero Tolerance. She is owned by Val D'Or Farms of Freehold, NJ and Ted Gewertz of NY. So Awesome will have Jim Morrill, Jr. in the bike as she has won three of her last four starts. Her loss coming at the hands of Zero Tolerance. Trained by Scott Di Domenico for owner William Hart of Carmel, Maine, So Awesome has yet to lose when racing on the lead and the So Surreal filly has a record of 1:53.3 at Saratoga Raceway. Another major contender in the race is ST Somewhere, who starts from the rail for driver Yannick Gingras. This American Ideal daughter has won three of her last five starts for trainer Ron Burke with a record of 1:52.2 at Tioga Downs. Her last two losses have come from both Zero Tolerance and So Awesome. Completing the field are Hurrikane Norakane (post three), Ladybeluckytonite (post four), Topville Angelina (post six) and Brooklyn Lilacs (post seven). There are two $15,000 Excelsior Series A divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies in the second and ninth races. Boogie Roll (post three) is the morning line favorite for driver Tyler Buter in the second race and is on a two-race winning streak for trainer Buzzy Sholty. She takes on Major Frost (post one) and Joe's Girl (post two). In the ninth race, Siesta Beach (post two) is the favorite for driver Jim Morrill, Jr. and two starts back scored a lifetime mark of 1:55.1. The daughter of American Ideal goes against Under The Hood (post one) and return winner Dorothy's Legacy (post eight). The race card also features one Excelsior Series B division in the fifth race where Justabitofcharm looms over the field. The Heston Blue Chip filly has won five of her last six starts, the fastest in 1:54.4 at Vernon Downs. She will be driven by Jason Bartlett for owner, trainer and breeder, Kelly Hastings of Columbus, NJ. First race post time Monday is 12:50 pm. For more information, visit www.monticelloraceway.com. By Steve Wolf, for Monticello Raceway

Stay Hungry has now won two of the three jewels of harness racing’s Triple Crown for pacers and Six Pack won the Triple Crown jewel, the Yonkers Trot, to headline an actioned packed card at Yonkers Raceway. In the seventh race $500,000 Messenger Stakes for three-year-old pacers it was Babes Dig Me and driver George Brennan getting the early lead, but driver Doug McNair had Stay Hungry on the move and they took command by the opening quarter mile in :27.1. Coming around the second turn, driver Louis Philippe Roy came first-over from fourth place with Jimmy Freight and took off after Stay Hungry and that became a dogfight going to the half mile in :55.3 as McNair would not let Roy get by him. Those two continued their battle down the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:23 and in the stretch Jimmy Freight tried but could not catch Stay Hungry who went on to win by a neck over Jimmy Freight in 1:52.1. Topville Olympian (Jim Morrill, Jr.) was third. It was the fourth win in ten starts for Stay Hungry, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Tony Alagna and owned by Bradly Grant of Milton, ON and the Estate of Irwin Samelman of Las Vegas, NV. He paid $7.80 to win. “The front end is usually not his forte,” Doug McNair said of Stay Hungry. “But he did it tonight. He’s very relaxed, you can drive him with two fingers. Tony (Alagna) does such a great job training him. “The last 16th we were both tired,” McNair said. “We had gone head and head for a half mile or so and in that last 16th my horse was lucky to hold on.” “It may not be his forte to go on the front end,” Alagna said. “But I knew he (Stay Hungry) could handle a half mile.  After he won the Cane Pace it was a no-brainer that we were going after the Triple Crown, that’s why we brought him here tonight. “Cat Manzi, who works for me,” Alagna explained,” brought him here a week before the eliminations and trained him so we had his gear set to go. He did a great job helping me get him ready.” Alagna said they would discuss whether to take Stay Hungry up north to Toronto for the Simcoe Stake next week or just give him a rest before going for the final jewel of the pacing triple crown, the Little Brown Jug in Delaware, Ohio on Thursday, September 20. Stay Hungry Stay Hungry Interview Six Pack easy winner in $500,000 Yonkers Trot Six Pack and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt were able to score a seven and three-quarters length romp in capturing the 64th edition of the Yonkers Trot, the second leg of harness racing’s Trotting Triple Crown, Saturday at Yonkers Raceway. The purse was $500,000. It was Lindsey’s Pride and driver Marcus Miller who shot out to the early lead and parked out Six Pack and Svanstedt to the opening quarter mile in :28.4. Once on the lead, Six Pack was on cruise control for Svanstedt, holding the field at bay past the half mile in :58.1. Heading to the backstretch, Helpisontheway (Jim Morrill, Jr.) came first-over with Maxus (Mark MacDonald) second over. In the backstretch, Svanstedt opened up on the field with Six Pack at the three-quarters in 1:26.3 and they went on to win with ease in 1:54. Helpisontheway was second with Lindsey’s Pride third. The time of the race was the fastest Yonkers Trot ever at the track. It was the sixth win in nine starts this year for Six Pack, who paid just $2.50 to win. The son of Muscle Mass is co-owned by Ake Svanstedt with Little E LLC of NY, Stall Kalmar of Sweden and Lars Berg of DE. “The good horses (Six Pack) are good at age 2 and get better at age 3.” Svanstedt said. “The horse to beat was #1 (Helpisontheway). I was not worried about the horse in front of me early. “Now we (Six Pack) have two New York Sire Stakes to race in to make the final,” Svanstedt said. “Then we will supplement to the Kentucky Futurity at the Red Mile.” Six Pack World Record tied in $129,014 Hudson Filly Trot   The fourth race Hudson Filly Trot Final for three-year-old’s saw Plunge Blue Chip, the 1/5 betting favorite and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt barely hold off Supergirl Riley (Marcus Miller) by a long nose in 1:53.1. The clocking was not only the all age track record at Yonkers, but it also tied the world record set in 2013 by Frau Blucher. The previous all age track record at Yonkers was set by Quick Deal at 1:53.2 in 2013. Svanstedt left quickly from post one with Plunge Blue Chip and held the field at bay through quarters of :27.3; :55.3 and 1:23.2 before Miller was able to catch up with Supergirl Riley in the two-hole. Supergirl Riley made it a horse race down the stretch but Plunge Blue Chip had just enough left to win it at the wire. Lucky Ave (Daniel Dube) was third. It was the fourth win in nine starts this year for Plunge Blue Chip, a daughter of Muscle Mass. She is co-owned by Svanstedt of Wrightowns, NJ, Blue Chip Bloodstock, NY, Tomas Anderson, Sweden and Rick Zeron of ON. She paid $2.50 to win. “She had been pulling too much the first half,” Svanstedt said. “So, we made some changes. She is very well gaited so that is why she does so well on smaller tracks. She is very good now.” Favorite wins $112,904 Lady Maud Pace The fifth race Lady Maud Final for three-year-old pacing fillies started out with Better Than Happy and driver Joe Bongiorno taking the early lead from the rail with 1/5 favorite Alexis Faith (Jim Morrill, Jr,) sitting right on their backs to the opening quarter mile in :27.4. They raced Indian-style to the half mile in :57.1 when Jewels Forreal and driver George Brennan started up first-over with Majorette Angie (Brian Sears) following second-over. Once in the backstretch, Morrill pulled from the pocket and barely got out in front of Jewels Forreal and Alexis Faith cleared to the lead past the three-quarters in 1:25.3. Opening up two lengths on the field, Alexis Faith and Morrill cruised to the wire, holding off a late charge by Solitary (Jim Marohn, Jr.) to win by a half length in 1:53.4. Jewels Forreal was third. Sired by American Ideal, Alexis Faith is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by the West Wins Stable and Jim Fielding of ON, J Robert Darrow of OH and Kevin McKinlay of ON. She paid $2.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Entries for the fifth revival of the Prix D'Ete race at the Hippodrome 3R are due by 11:00 am Tuesday morning. The Prix D'Ete purse is $200,000 and will be held on Sunday, August 19. The race is restricted to only four-year-old pacers that have made all three of the prior sustaining payments. There are no supplement entries allowed in the Prix D'Ete and Lasix is not allowed in the province of Quebec. The race is sponsored by the Quebec Jockey Club. The drawing of post position the Prix D'Ete will be done live at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday evening after the fourth race on the wagering card. For more information on the Prix D'Ete race please contact Murielle Thomassin at mthomassin@clubjockeyduquebec.com or Steven Wolf at stevenwolf1956@gmail.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

This Sunday, the 108th edition of 'Le 5 Milles' - a five-mile, 10-lap harness racing tradition in the province of Quebec - will take place at the Hippodrome de la Vallee in St-Aimes des Lacs. It is Quebec's oldest horse race, with Major B.O. capturing the first four editions from 1910-1913. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were as many as four five-mile events each year in Quebec City, usually contested by the same horses. After a hiatus in 2012, the race is back at St-Aimes des Lacs, Quebec as part of the Quebec Regional Fair Circuit. There will be races both Saturday and Sunday at St-Aimé-des-Lacs. The Le 5 Milles main event takes place on Sunday when a field of eight pacers (no trotters this year) will compete in the $10,000 Casino-Charlevois Five Mile event. The track record is 10:59.3 by Sea Donkey (Stephane Gendron) in 2015; the world record is 10:54.1 set by Life Thrills (Gabriel Boily) at Hippodrome de Quebec on August 26, 2001; both in this same event. Sunday's big race has Clever Thing as the 5-2 favorite, with Montana Ben and Niceandup as the closest rivals. The Sunday card also has an Invitational handicap on both gaits. The trot has Quebec champion Holiday Party, from the outside post six. The top pacer is Rainbow Palace as the favorite. Many other familiar names (including SOS Mach Extreme, the regional circuit's fastest-ever performer, 1:53 at Bedford in 2016). Saturday's card has new track recordholder Washington Hanover (1:56.4) in the last of nine races. From the Quebec Jockey Club        

It's an all-star harness racing field Friday night at Hoosier Park for the $325,000 Dan Patch Stakes. The Dan Patch takes place in the 11th race on the program. While it is the USA debut for Lazarus, it may not be a walk-in-the park for one of the top horses ever to come over from New Zealand since Cardigan Bay. Country-mate Bit Of A Legend has raced against Lazarus in the past and comes into the race off a 1:51.4 triumph in the Open at Yonkers Raceway. McWicked goes from post six and he has won four of his last five starts and is rated the top Free-For-All pacer currently in North America. And the hometown hero, Beckhams Z Tam, will look for a big upset as he has returned to winning form and enters the race off a 1:49 triumph. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Lazarus N, the world champion harness racing pacer from New Zealand was given a tough welcome to the United States as he drew the far outside post 9 for his debut race in North America in the $325,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park on Friday. The career winner of more than $2.6 million (US), Lazarus N, a son of Bettor’s Delight, was supplemented to the Dan Patch for a fee of $25,000 that went directly to the purse. Lazarus N was purchased earlier this season for a reported 3.9 million by Taylor Made Stallions of Kentucky and is being trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter. Just ten days ago, Lazarus N, driven by Yannick Gingras, won a qualifying race at the Meadowlands in 1:48.3 in an impressive performance. It is off that mile that Lazarus N has been made the 6/5 morning line favorite in the Dan Patch despite drawing the outside post. Second choice in the race is perhaps the top pacer in North America, McWicked, who drew post six. He is at odds of 2-1 and third choice in the field is Dealt A Winner, post one, at odds of 8-1. Lazarus N will also be facing fellow country-mate, Bit Of Legend N, who drew post five. Bit Of Legend N has been in the USA for some time now and is a career winner of $2.3 million. These two have faced each other before in New Zealand. This is the 25th annual Dan Patch Invitational, which started out with a purse of just $40,000. The Friday night feature will go off as race 11 as the main event of the richest weekend of racing at Hoosier Park in 2018. Here are the Dan Patch Post Positions: $325,000 Dan Patch Invitational Race 11 Dealt A Winner by Cams Card Shark (8-1) Beckham’s Z Tam  by Always A Virgin (20-1) Split The House by Rocknroll Hanover (20-1) Rockin Ron by Real Desire (10-1) Bit Of A Legend N by Bettor's Delight (12-1) McWicked by McArdle  (2-1) All Bets Off by Bettor's Delight (10-1) New Talent by Mach Three (20-1) Lazarus by Bettor's Delight (6/5) By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Late Monday evening at Northfield Park in the $19,000 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap, the harness racing world record for four-year-old pacing mare on a half mile track was tied by Bye Bye Felcia in the 11th race on the program. The daughter of Woodstock, from the Camluck mare, Tea Time, left from post seven for driver Aaron Merriman, was parked out to the opening quarter mile in :27 and then took control of the lead to the half mile in :54.2, the three-quarters in 1:22 and pulled away to win by three and one-half lengths in 1:50.3. The world mark is now co-held with Lakeisha Hall (Matt Kakaley), set in 2017, also at Northfield Park.   The $232,000 career winning mare is trained by William Rhodes, owned by Leah Rhodes of Clarksville, PA and was bred by Billy Walters and Joe McLead of Sugar Valley Farm in Ohio, where Woodstock stands stud. She went off as the betting favorite paying $5.00 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

Lazarus N, with a :25.3 last quarter mile for harness racing driver Yannick Gingras, was able to beat North America Cup winner Lather Up, by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:48.3 in his USA qualifying win Saturday morning at the Meadowland. It was Lather Up and driver Montrell Teague who left from post seven to take the early lead over Lazarus N in :28.2. The field then raced in alignment past the half mile in :55.3 and then the action began to heat up. Approaching the three-quarter mile marker, Gingras came first-over with Lazarus N and brushed right by Lather Up in 1:23. As they came down the stretch, Teague tried to urge Lather Up to come back against Lazarus N, but Lazarus N proved to be the strong horse as Lather Up could gain no ground on the winner. Blood Line (Andrew McCarthy) was third. The last half mile was also super impressive in :53 flat. "I couldn't be any happier with him," said Yannick as he dashed off to catch a flight to The Meadows for today's Adios stake. "He's very easy on himself and had tons of pace." Trained by Jimmy Takter for the Taylor Made Stallions of Nicholasville, KY, Lazarus is the richest Standardbred of all time down under. The son of Bettor's Delight came to the USA from New Zealand, seeking to break the world record of Always N Miki of 1:46 and then become a duel hemisphere stallion, serving stud both in North America and Australasia. Lazarus N by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink

The following story is reprinted with permission from the www.sunsentinel.com.   This Pompano Beach harness racing horse track once thrived in spectacle, luring thousands each night to the “Winter Capital of Harness Racing.” Some nights, the crowds at Pompano Park increased the city’s estimated population by a fourth. More than 50 years ago, they started coming for the harness racing, an extravaganza whose origins link to the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, a kind of tourney mentioned in Homer’s The Iliad. They cheered as racers reclined in two-wheeled carts and shook the reins, urging their horses to advance. The throngs of people, who once included the likes of Jackie Gleason, Kay Stevens and Rodney Dangerfield, have thinned out at Florida’s last remaining harness racing track. Now, changes are on the way. Pompano Beach Mayor Lamar Fisher said he met with Isle Casino’s leaders this week and plans are to tear down the old grandstand building and build a 400-room hotel on the Isle Casino’s property. After the first phase, the site, at 777 Isle of Capri Circle, may be developed into a retail, restaurant and office complex similar to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complex in Hollywood. He said the Isle Casino has partnered with the same company that developed the Hard Rock — The Cordish Cos. “This is a major game-changer for Pompano,” Fisher said. There is still harness activity afoot. Jennifer Swope, spokeswoman for Isle Casino, which owns Pompano Park, said she’s working on firming up a racing schedule for next year. The track, which opened in the 1960s, is filled with memories. The old grandstand closed after the current grandstand was built 10 years ago. Isle officials aren’t saying anything about the long-term plans for the old grandstand beyond a sign that says the building is permanently closed to the public. How the development will fit in with the existing track is unclear as plans have not yet been submitted to the city. There is still harness activity afoot. Jennifer Swope, spokeswoman for Isle Casino, which owns Pompano Park, said she’s working on firming up a racing schedule for next year. The track, which opened in the 1960s, is filled with memories. Mayor Fisher said he used to go there, even as a young boy. “My grandfather was part owner of some of the horses there,” he recalled. “I would go with him to the stables and to watch the races.” To read the rest of the story click here

On July 4 it was not just a special day of remembrance of our United States winning the war for independence against Great Britain, it was also a very special for a young man by the name of Anthony DeFrancesco, IV at Harrah’s Philadelphia harness racing track. Anthony, 18, of south Philadelphia, just graduated high school in June. He had perfect attendance for 12 years of school. Finished with a GPA of 3.93 and a top 1st Honors Student. And when not in school, Anthony learned about harness racing, from both his father, Anthony DeFrancesco III and from his grandfather, Anthony DeFrancesco, Jr. thus making Anthony IV a third-generation horseman. It looks like some of those training skills rubbed off on young Anthony as on July 4, he sent ABC Again out for the 6th race pace at Harrah’s Philadelphia. Along with his cousin, Joseph Laino, also of south Philadelphia, they co-own the six-year-old gelded son of ABC Garland. It was only the 14th start for DeFrancesco as a trainer. Anthony, IV, admits he was pretty nervous before the race. “The whole week I felt nervous,” Anthony explained. “because I knew he was dropping in class and he had been racing well against better horses. I just felt getting Tony Morgan back to drive and in a lower class and great post that this was gonna be the week. “And bam, we won!” Anthony said. “My heart was pounding during the race. I saw George Napolitano on the outside coming to us and I know he wins all the time, so I was sweating. But the big horse held on in a new lifetime mark. “With tears in my eyes I point up to my grand pop (Anthony, Jr. who was the first to train horses) and thanked him for looking over me. I only wish my dad didn’t have his issue and was with me, but I know mom and he were watching at home and I have their full support.” “About 10 seconds after the race my phone start blowing up from family and friends,” Anthony said. “They were just so happy for me but the horse did all the work and he deserves all the credit ABE Again. I never forget this horse or my first win.” ABC Again and driver Tony Morgan led from start to finish and won in 1:55.2. He has career earnings of $74,751. “I was so excited for my son,” said Anthony DeFrancesco, III. “I am currently on suspension right now and can’t go to the track, but we watched it on the computer and it was very emotional. Especially when I saw my son point to the sky, pointing to his grandfather. He has done that in all our win pictures in the past. I would always do it too.” Anthony trains his horse at Jjeps Training Center in Mullica Hill, NJ. So, what will Anthony now do for an encore? Well, he starts at the Community College of Philadelphia in September but will also continue to work and race his horse while in school. He hopes to get at least one more horse in the stable. Anthony also works a few nights a week at Johnnie’s Fine Foods in south Philadelphia for extra pocket cash. “I like to keep busy,” Anthony said. “So, between school and training and racing, I know that I will not have much free time, but I love what I am doing and that’s what counts.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink 

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