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WASHINGTON, PA, July 11, 2020 -- Exploiting a pocket trip, Rocknificent spoiled the sophomore debut of Dan Patch Award winner Lyons Sentinel by outkicking her to the wire in Saturday's $210,932 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for 3-year-old filly pacers, known as the Adios Betty, was contested over three divisions, with Drama Act and Party Girl Hill Taking the other splits. The action-packed harness racing card featured 16 races -- all stakes splits for 2- and 3-year-old filly pacers -- featured a number of budding stars. But the most intriguing story line was Lyons Sentinel's season kickoff, which was delayed by COVID-19 disruptions. She looked sharp in three qualifiers, but on Saturday's sloppy-but-drying surface, she couldn't hold off Rocknificent, who prevailed by a length in 1:50.4. Shouldabeenatd completed the ticket.   The win by Rocknificent, a Captaintreacherous daughter of Dan Patch awardee Rocklamation who banked $285.006 at 2, wasn't much of an upset. In fact, players expected it, sending her off at 3-5 versus 3-2 odds for Lyon's Sentinel. "It was always going to come down to a sprint," said winning driver Scott Zeron. "I was happy my horse was able to win and not have to do any work. She's an extremely intelligent horse who puts herself in great positions all the time. She has a really quick turn of speed. So even chasing a great horse like that, it becomes a foot race at the end. I'm always confident that she has the quicker foot." Linda Toscano trains Rocknificent for Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC. Jim, King, Jr., who conditions Lyons Sentinel, was far from disappointed with her performance. "It was her first time out, and trip beat her," King said. "You can't be upset with that. I don't think there's any shame in her game." Drama Act took to the track when it was at its sloppiest, and she relished the off going, powering to a front-end victory in 1:50.4 with a back half in 54.3. Alexis's Beach finished second, beaten 2-1/2 lengths, with Blazin Grace third.   "She paced the back half in 52.3 last week at Hoosier, so we know she's got it in her," said Krista Harmon, who conditions the daughter of Well Said-Lounge Act for The Ok Corral. "As long we stay healthy and sound, I think we'll be there at the end of the year. You look at her and you don't see a 1:50 mile coming out of this little butterball, but it's in there." $190,283 PASS -- 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Saturday's program also featured the Sand Tart, a PASS for freshman filly pacers, with the splits going to Grace Hill, Continualou and Let 'Er Buck. Grace Hill got to perform after the track's upgrade to fast, and the daughter of Always B Miki-Western Silk took full advantage, roaring to the point with a quarter-pole move for Dexter Dunn and winning her second straight PASS split, this one in 1:52.4. Dancethenightaway was second, 2-3/4 lengths back, while Marsala Hanover earned show. "She has a long stride and does her work pretty easy," Dunn said. "She went in 1:52 today and felt like she was doing it pretty easy. She has a good future." Nifty Norman conditions Grace Hill for Tom Hill. Continualou was sitting second near the three-quarters when Chris Page confidently pulled the pocket with her. The daughter of Sweet Lou-Continual Velocity cruised by, breaking her maiden in 1:54.2. When Uptown Hanover and Ocean's Apart rounded out the ticket, it gave trainer Ron Burke a 1-2-3 sweep of this split. "I realize how old I'm getting when I'm starting to drive the moms of these things, "Page said. "I drove her mom -- had like three lungs -- and I think she passed that on to her baby. She felt pretty good and I thought, well, we'll give her a shot. The sky's the limit for her." $100,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Filly Pacers The Bethinator notched the fastest victory, winning in 1:51.3 for Dave Palone and trainer Brett Pelling, while Enduring Hope provided the tote board fireworks, upsetting at 26-1 for Tim Tetrick and conditioner Tom Fanning. Also victorious were Ashtini, Girl On The Beach and Alexa Skye. $100,000 PA Stallion Series -- 2-Year-Old Filly Pacers Lady Newton and Fighting Evil each scored in 1:54 to share stake honors. Blonde Onthe Beach, Darby Hanover and Podium Girl took the other divisions. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the 15-race card features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3) and a $2,713.47 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 10, 2020 -- There are action-packed harness racing cards, and then there's Saturday's blockbuster program at The Meadows -- 16 stake splits featuring 113 top filly pacers vying for more than $600,000 in purses. Among those outstanding fillies is Lyons Sentinel, the 2019 Dan Patch Award winner making her sophomore debut. While the program wasn't planned to be so stakes rich, COVID 19-related rescheduling helped create Saturday's extravaganza. Now, the program includes four stakes spanning 16 divisions: the Adios Betty, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake for 3-year-olds; the Sand Tart, a PASS for freshmen, and PA Stallion Series events in both those divisions. The card also features a $1,912.68 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. As you might expect, the program shines brightly with equine luminaries, but keep your eye on these fillies: Lyons Sentinel (race 6, post 6, Tim Tetrick). Although the divisional and PA champ has looked good in three qualifiers, trainer Jim King, Jr. would have preferred an earlier start for the daughter of Captaintreacherous-Tutu Hanover owned by Threelyonsracing. "I didn't want her in an Open with older horses, so there was nowhere else to race her," King said. "I'm satisfied with her qualifiers, but she's not an exciting horse while training; if you saw her, you'd say 'Who's that?' When it comes to show time, look out." Among King's eight starters Saturday, he cites Lyons Softassilk (race 7, post 4, Tetrick) and Sniper Hanover (race 4, post 1, Tetrick) as promising 2-year-olds. Rocknificent (race 6, post 5, Scott Zeron), Baby Your The Best (race 10, post 5, David Miller). Rocknificent is a Captaintreacherous daughter out of Rocklamation, who won a Dan Patch Award as an older mare. She earned $285,006 last year for owners Enviro Stables, South Mountain Stables and Little E LLC. Baby Your the Best was no slouch, with $258,717 in winnings for Richard Young and Joanne Young. Linda Toscano, trainer of both, indicated the cancellation of the Lynch Memorial at Pocono, typically a premier showcase for 3-year-old filly pacers, forced her to modify the schedules for her pair. "Losing the Lynch was hard; we had prep races we'd planned to lead to the Lynch," she said. "The stakes now are a bit more concentrated then I would like, but we're all in the same boat." Toscano said Rocknificent has come back especially well. "Last year we had to protect her a little, make sure she was following horses," she said. "She may be able to take a bit more air this year. She's a stronger version of herself." Let 'Er Buck (race 7, post 2, Mark MacDonald), Rodeo Beach (race 15, post 3, MacDonald). In 2017, Wild West Show was named Dan Patch Pacing Broodmare Of The Year for such outstanding offspring as Huntsville, the divisional champ at 2 who retired with more than $1.7 million in the bank. On Saturday, Wild West Show will be represented by these half-sisters. Let 'Er Buck is of particular interest, since she's from the first crop of Betting Line and captured her stakes debut in a PASS at Harrah's Philadelphia. "She's been a nice horse to be around," says breeder/owner/trainer Ray Schnittker. "I really don't know what her top end is, but she always digs in at the wire." Extending his tradition, Schnittker, a rodeo devotee, named the filly for the Let 'Er Buck Room, a popular watering hole for fans at Oregon's annual Pendleton Roundup. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, July 8, 2020 -- Rainbowinthewest followed the live cover of Tricky Nick, then blew by him in mid-stretch to capture Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Trot. Tricky Nick had little trouble clearing the leader, Quality Kemp, who was weakened by a parked-out first quarter. But Tricky Nick was overwhelmed by Rainbowinthewest, who drew off late for Brian Zendt to defeat Tricky Nick by 3-1/2 lengths in 1:54.3. Tamar rallied for show.   Robert Rougeaux III trains Rainbowinthewest, a 5-year-old daughter of Andover Hall-Miss Milwaukee who now boasts $145,536 in career earnings, for Brocious Racing Stable and Lone Wolf Stable. Dave Palone collected four wins and Mike Wilder three on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday with a blockbuster program -- 16 races, all stakes, spanning four different events for 2- and 3-year-old filly pacers. The stakes include a pair of Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and two PA Stallion Series events with more than $600,000 in purses up for grabs. Saturday's card also features a $1,912.68 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, July 7, 2020 -- An ultra-game Sansovina Hanover endured a parked-out 26 opening quarter yet had enough to hold off all challengers in capturing Tuesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Filly & Mare Conditioned Pace. Sansovina Hanover had to deal first with the uncovered bid of Greenhill Hanover, who could not reach. Then, in deep stretch, the 5-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere-Shacked Up found just enough for Mike Wilder to prevail in 1:51.4. Vibrent Kelly was second, beaten a neck, with Ask Me Ifi Care third. Greenhill Hanover, who had won three straight since being imported from Great Britain by the Ron Burke stable, finished fourth and suffered her first domestic loss.   Doug Snyder trains the winner, who boosted her lifetime bankroll to $326,543, for Frank Poerio, Jr. It was one of five wins for Wilder on the 15-race card. Elsewhere on Tuesday's program, Just Wanna Feel, who triumphed on Nov. 7, 2018 and followed it up with 54 straight losses, snapped her futility streak when she won for trainer Bob Krenitsky, Jr. and owner Julie Krenitsky. Jeremy Indof kept the 6-year-old mare near the lead, and she responded with a 1:56.1 mile, taking a $5,400 Conditioned Claiming Pace by 1-1/4 lengths. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday, first post 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 6, 2020 --Insta Glam made her harness racing career debut an impressive one, matching the stakes record 1:55 in Monday's $210,221 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Meadow Gladys, was contested over three divisions, with Pub Crawl and Lady Chaos taking the other splits. A homebred daughter of Father Patrick-Hollywood Hill, Insta Glam was away third before Yannick Gingras quarter-poled her to the point. She had the field at her mercy at the top of the lane and drew off to defeat 60-1 long shot You Ato Dream by 4-1/4 lengths, with May Karp third. Her time equaled the stake mark established by Vivacious Allie in 2017.   "She's like an old pro," Gingras said. "She's so mature, does everything you need her to do. She's got it figured out already. One lifetime start and she's got it figured out." Nancy Takter, who trains Insta Glam for Goran Falk and Christina Takter, said the youngster has a full card of stakes engagements, including the Jim Doherty Trot July 31 at the Meadowlands. Pub Crawl had the sort of demanding journey few 2-year-olds like. Used from post 8 for early position, first up, pushed wide into the final turn. Yet with Andy Miller at the helm, the daughter of Bar Hopping-Myth made it all work, prevailing in 1:55.4, a head better than Lexa Hanover. Mazzarati completed the ticket.   "We ended up three deep in the last turn -- didn't really ant to be there," Miller said. "But she kept going, kept digging all the way to the wire. It was a pretty big mile for this early. She'll stay in sires stakes for now; hopefully somewhere down the line we can do a little Grand Circuit racing." Julie Miller conditions Pub Crawl for Andy Miller Stable, Louis Willinger, Kapildeo Singh and Phillip Helmuth. Lady Chaos endured some early adversity of her own in her career bow, parked three wide to the quarter from post 8. "I was worried because I like this filly, and I wanted to see her get started on the right note," said trainer Linda Toscano of her $125,000 yearling acquisition. "But she put in a great effort. She had a horse coming at her down the stretch and she still finished ahead." The daughter of Cantab Hall-Strong Legacy cleared past the quarter for David Miller and held off the Lightning Lane challenge of Kayla's Playmate to down her by a head in 1:57, with Flawless Country third.   Richard Gutnick, Thomas Pontone, Joseph Lozito, Jr. and Enviro Stables campaign Lady Chaos. $80,000 PA Stallion Series -- 2-Year-Old Filly Trotters In Monday's companion feature, Love Muffin zipped to the lead from post 8, picked up key cover and brushed through the Lightning Lane to triumph in 1:57, erasing the stake record Lady Athena set in 2015. Also taking splits were Midpoint, Alpine and Bless Your Heart. Trainer Per Engblom enjoyed a stake double with Midpoint and Alpine. Trainer David Wiest indicated he told winning driver Jim Pantaleano that Love Muffin is an aggressive filly who would leave well for him. "She's aggressive, but she's easy to handle out of the gate," Wiest said. "I told Jim she's a nice, sensible filly to drive. At this point, we plan on keeping her in the stallion series. She has some other stakes later in the year." With her Lightning Lane charge, the homebred daughter of Andover Hall, owned by Ed Kimmel and Don Wiest, defeated Myreanna by 3/4 lengths. Cheesy Hanover earned show. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the card features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, July 5, 2020 — Want an early read on harness racing’s freshman filly trotting division? Check out The Meadows card on Monday, July 6. A total of 59 2-year-old filly trotters are set for their stakes debut in a pair of events — a $210,221 Pennsylvania Sires Stake and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series event. The sires stake, known as the Meadow Gladys, goes as races 3, 7 and 10 while the stallion series splits are races 1, 5, 9 and 12. First post is 12:45 PM. Adding to the appeal: 10 of the fillies are from the first crops of promising stallions Bar Hopping, Creatine and Southwind Frank. Within that group, a youngster named Pub Crawl is particularly intriguing. She’s a daughter of Bar Hopping out of Myth, who already has produced such performers as Mythical Lindy, a winner of $629,104 in only 26 career starts, and Mythical Hall, who earned $587,920. Andy Miller Stable, Louis Willinger, Kapildeo Singh and Phillip Helmuth thought so much of the youngster that they gave $75,000 for her at Harrisburg. “We really liked the way she looked, and we wanted to take a chance on a Bar Hopping filly,” said Andy Miller, who’ll steer Pub Crawl from post 8 in race 7 for trainer Julie Miller. ”So far, we’re very happy with her. She’s trained well all along. Unfortunately, the post position gods haven’t been kind to her.” Indeed, she was stuck with post 8 in her June 26 debut in an overnight at Harrah’s Philadelphia, but she performed admirably, making up ground steadily on the outside and beaten only a neck in 1:57.3. “She’s very versatile, so she can leave or duck,” Miller said. “We have high hopes for her; she’s pretty much eligible to everything. I guess she’ll tell us where to go with her.” On the wagering side, Monday’s 15-race program features a $9,712.33 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, July 4, 2020 -- Heavily favored It's Academic cruised to a 5-3/4-length victory in Saturday's $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters at The Meadows. When Sister Sledge and Crucial waltzed to similarly easy wins in the $64,594 filly division -- each in stake-record time -- they gave harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke a Currier & Ives sweep. Burke's big day didn't end there. He started horses in 11 of the card's 15 races and won a remarkable nine of them. It's Academic entered the Currier & Ives off two strong place finishes in Ohio Sires Stakes legs and looked to lay over the field. In this case, looks weren't deceiving, as the son of Uncle Peter-Annapolis floated to the lead and widened at will, even after Gingras had shut him down. Harley K and Coventry Hall completed the ticket. "He's just a real gentleman -- perfect to drive," Gingras said. "Down by the wire, I left him alone. He's a little bit lazy, but he's a nice horse. To be a top colt, he'll have to go a lot faster, but for Ohio and here, he's the perfect horse." Burke Racing Stable, William Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and Hatfield Stables campaign It's Academic, who vaulted over $200,000 in lifetime earnings. Following last week's facile victory in her season's debut, Sister Sledge continued to roll through the soft part of her schedule, quarter-poling to the point and scoring in 1:53.2. That eclipsed the stake mark of 1:53.4 established about 15 minutes earlier by Crucial. Last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behind Closedoors will begin a tougher stretch with the July 15 PA Sires Stake leg at Harrah's Philadelphia. Is Sister Sledge where she needs to be to handle more competitive fillies? "She couldn't have been any better today, that's for sure," Gingras said. "It will get tougher; that's coming for sure. There are a lot of good fillies that weren't here today. But her timing is right. She's really good right now." Sister Sledge Sans Defaut (trained by Burke) and Perth Angel De Vie finished second and third, respectively. Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC campaign Sister Sledge, who now boasts a career bankroll of $584,843. Although Crucial's stake record was fleeting, her win after a quarter-pole move signaled that she might be ready for more. "She had a class edge on these horses for sure," Gingras said. "She's grown since last year, of course, and she's stronger. I thought she was very professional today." Petey Sarah and Dune Hill rounded out the ticket. In keeping with Burke's huge day, he swept the top three spots in this split. Crucial, a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene, now has banked $159,587 for Burke Racing Stable, Donovan, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. Dave Palone collected four wins Saturday while Dan Charlino and Jim Pantaleano enjoyed triples. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when 59 freshman filly trotters will make their stakes debut in a pair of events: a $210,221 PASS and an $80,000 PA Stallion Series stake. In addition, the 15-race card will feature a $9,712.33 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA (July 3, 2020) -- The Meadows Casino Racetrack Hotel (“The Meadows”) announced today that onsite race wagering will be temporarily suspended effective 11:59 PM, July 3, 2020.  Live Racing at the 5/8 mile harness track will continue as scheduled, though access to the racetrack and racing operations will be prohibited to the public.  Live Harness Racing is currently scheduled to run on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, all 12:45 PM start times.  The casino remain open Sundays – Thursday 8 AM to 4 AM and Fridays and Saturdays 8 AM to 5 AM, closing each night to disinfect and sanitize the property. “It is with an abundance of caution that we are suspending onsite race wagering and prohibiting spectators at Live Races,” said Tony Frabbiele, Vice President and General Manager of The Meadows.  “We will continue to work with the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and the State Horse Racing Commission to maintain the safest conditions so that we may host live races on the racetrack, as currently scheduled.” While patrons are temporarily unable to place race wagers at The Meadows, fans are encouraged to play online at Xpressbet.com or Hollywoodraces.com.  Additionally, Live Races may be viewed at meadowsgaming.com. The property continues to operate under enhanced safety protocols: Social Distancing Capacity on the gaming floor is limited to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. Floor decals and signage to strictly enforce social distancing guidelines in areas where lines typically form has been installed. Table game seating is limited, and slot machines are configured to meet social distancing requirements. Live music, entertainment, and convention services remains suspended. There are currently no large drawings, tournaments, or special events. Restaurant offerings are limited and serviced from The Eatery, Bistecca Steakhouse and The Pub.  Adios Lounge, The Carvery and Delvins remain closed. The poker room and valet also remain closed. Health & Safety Team members and vendors are required to wear masks and undergo a health screening each day, including temperature checks, prior to their shift. Guests are required to wear masks and are temperature checked prior to entering the casino floor. Slot machines and table games are thoroughly and regularly cleaned throughout the day. Sanitizer stations have been installed on the casino floor and are readily available throughout the facility. We deploy a fog machine to disinfect and sanitize the property every night.

WASHINGTON, PA, July 3, 2020 -- Saturday's Independence Day celebration at The Meadows will be more festive and exciting than originally anticipated. Thanks to a reshuffling of harnss racing stakes due to the COVID-19 shutdown, the July 4 card features both the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters and the $64,594 Currier & Ives filly division. The Currier & Ives goes as race 7 while the fillies will battle in races 9 and 10. The 15-race program also features an $8,080.56 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. In the Currier & Ives, Ron Burke will send out It's Academic (post 6, Yannick Gingras), the 9-5 morning-line favorite who's banked $160,002 and enters the Currier & Ives off two straight place finishes in Ohio Sires Stake legs. But they'll be coming at him in waves. Trainer Ake Svansted has three in the race: Steel Schooner (post 3, Brady Brown); Coventry Hall (post 5, Chris Shaw); Easter King (post 10, Jim Pantaleano). On paper, at least, the trio looks unprepossessing; they're a combined 2-18 with nary a stakes win. More threatening may be the duo representing trainer John Butenschoen. Kyrie Deo, who sprang a 21-1 upset in last year's $70,000 New Jersey Standardbred Development Fund championship, leaves from post 9 for owners Harmony Oaks Stable, David J. Miller and James Crawford. The Donato Hanover-Rare Book gelding will have the services of Dan Rawlings. Swipe Right (post 1, Mike Wilder) is an Explosive Matter-Online Exclusive gelding who races for VIP Internet Stable, Lawrence Vincent and Harmony Oaks. Both Butenschoen charges were inexpensive yearling purchases, and the trainer is realistic about their chances. "They're nice horses, but they're not 'A' Class, top-of-the-sires-stakes types," he says. "They're good, consistent colts; they'll show up, and hopefully they'll be good enough to get some money." Butenschoen indicates he kept both horses in training -- within limits -- throughout the COVID-19 disruption. "We didn't quite know what to do with them," he says. "We kept them in training to see what they could do, but we didn't want to train them up too hard, but we needed them to be ready to go." Burke also figures to have both favorites here. His budding superstar Sister Sledge, last year's Pennsylvania champion and Dan Patch Award runner-up who rolled to victory a week ago at The Meadows in her season's debut, leaves from post 3 in race 10. The Currier & Ives could be a tougher test for her if only because of the presence of her stablemate, Sans Defaut (post 1, Wilder), who kicked off her sophomore campaign with a 1:53.2 win at Pocono. In the other division, Burke sends out Crucial (post 1), a daughter of Father Patrick-Jolene Jolene who boasts a bankroll of $143,439 and a show finish in an International Stallion Series split. Gingras will steer Sister Sledge and Crucial. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

This Week: Cutler Memorial and Graduate Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. and Currier & Ives, The Meadows, Washington, Pa. Schedule of events: This week's Grand Circuit racing will take place on Saturday (July 4) at The Meadowlands with the $170,900 Cutler Memorial for older trotters and three $50,000 divisions in the second leg of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers. The mares Atlanta and Manchego will battle again as part of an 11-horse field in the Cutler. Also on Saturday, The Meadows will host the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old open trotters and a pair of $32,297 divisions of the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: It wasn't easy, but Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg for 4-year-old trotters on Saturday (June 27) at The Meadowlands in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Gimpanzee came from well off the pace to win one of two $50,000 divisions of the Graduate Series' second leg in a lifetime-best 1:50.2. Lisa photo. Driver Brian Sears opted to race the two-time Breeders Crown and New York Sire Stakes champion from off the pace after a highly contentious several-horse scrum into the first turn had him take back to seventh at the quarter. "I knew the horse to beat was Chin Chin Hall and I wasn't going to press my horse early," said Sears. The son of Chapter Seven-Steamy Windows was sixth in a third-over flow at three-quarters as Chin Chin Hall was sailing along on the lead. But Gimpanzee still had plenty of fuel in the tank. Despite having 4-1/2 lengths to make up through the final three-sixteenths, the Marcus Melander trainee was up to the task, rocketing home in :27 to best Chin Chin Hall by a half-length. Kings County was third. "Gimpanzee is everything you want in a racehorse," said Sears. "I thought (Chin Chin Hall) was going to be spent (in the latter stages) and I thought we had a chance. My horse is a gamer and knows what we are trying to accomplish. He put his head down and did what he had to do." Gimpanzee paid $2.60 to win as the 1-5 favorite in raising his lifetime numbers to 19 wins from 25 starts, good for earnings of $1,770,111 for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable. Southwind Avenger won the other Graduate division in 1:51.3 at odds of 22-1, for driver Andy McCarthy. Don't Let'em, the 4-5 favorite, broke at the start and finished last in the field of nine. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2020, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2020 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Brian Sears - 40; 2. Tim Tetrick - 32; 3. Dexter Dunn - 27; 4t. Aaron Merriman - 20; 4t. Dave Palone - 20. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 55; 2. Marcus Melander - 34; 3t. Nifty Norman - 20; 3t. Norm Parker - 20; 5t. (seven trainers are tied with 10 points). Owners: 1t. Burke Racing Stable - 11.3; 1t. J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby - 11.3; 1t. Weaver Bruscemi - 11.3. 4t. Black Horse Racing - 10; 4t. Oldford Racing - 10. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at The Meadowlands. The July 10 Meadowlands program will feature the second leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares, while the massive July 11 Meadowlands card will offer the finals of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers and trotters; Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

WASHINGTON, PA, July 1, 2020 -- Amelia's Courage A waited patiently in the pocket while the harness racing leaders dueled, then rolled by in the Lightning Lane to capture Wednesday's $17,900 Filly & Mare Open Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Blue Ivy engaged the front-ending Lakeisha Hall down the backside and finally edged past her at the top of the lane. But when Dan Rawlings pointed Amelia's Courage A inside, she proved the freshest of the trio, downing Blue Ivy by a neck in 1:51.3 to match her career best. Lakeisha Hall saved show.   Richard Perfido trains Amelia's Courage A, a 6-year-old daughter of Courage Under Fire-American Dreamer who now boasts $153,565 in lifetime earnings, for Thomas Mattingly. Dave Palone, Mike Wilder and trainer Ron Burke each fashioned a four-bagger on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday, Independence Day, when the program features the $102,245 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old trotters as well as the $64,594 Currier & Ives filly division. The card also offers an $8,080.56 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 30, 2020 -- Rebounding from last week's uncharacteristic break, Perlucky exploited a pocket trip and captured Tuesday's $17,900 Open Handicap Trot at The Meadows in a career best 1:52.4. Perlucky shot to the lead for Dave Palone and stretched out Icanflylikeanangel to a demanding 26.3 opening panel before releasing him. The 5-year-old Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl gelding kicked by the vulnerable leader in mid-stretch and downed him by a neck, with long shot Tequila Talkin third.   Ron Burke trains Perlucky, who extended his lifetime bankroll to $370,066, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Mike Wilder and Palone each collected three wins on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the 15-race program features a $6,400.77 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5 and a $1,357.00 carryover in the Early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

WASHINGTON, PA, June 29, 2020 -- Dancin Dragon sat comfortably in the pocket behind the dueling harness racing leaders, then blew by in the lane to capture Monday's $17,900 Open Handicap Pace in a career-best clocking of 1:49.3 for the one mile race at The Meadows. While the first-over Rock Candy threw down a protracted challenge to Windsong Leo on the point, Dancin Dragon and Jim Pantaleano were saving ground in the pocket. When Rock Candy finally backed off at the top of the lane, Dancin Dragon wheeled by Windsong Leo and downed him by 3/4 lengths. Major Nemesis came from far back for show.   Randy Bendis conditions Dancin Dragon, a 5-year-old Dragon Again-McDance Desire gelding who lifted his bankroll to $271,625, and owns with Pollack Racing LLC. Dave Palone and Mike Wilder each collected three wins on the 14-race card. Tuesday's 15-race program at The Meadows features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: a $5,014.15 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3); a $2,025.10 carryover in the early Pick 5 (race 2). First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 27, 2020 -- Facing an overmatched field, a stinging rain and a sloppy surface, freshman sensation Sister Sledge kept her "A" game under wraps and fashioned a workmanlike win in her harness racing 3-year-old debut in Saturday's $53,528 Arden Downs at The Meadows. The stake for 3-year-old filly trotters, known as the Ned McCarr, was contested over two divisions, with 49-1 bomb Dazzling Diva pulling off the shocker in the other split. Sister Sledge won her first seven races at 2, banked more than $500,000, swept the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and finished second to Ramona Hill in Dan Patch Award voting. Under ordinary circumstances, the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors would have had several starts by this time. But with so many stakes canceled or rescheduled due to COVID-19, trainer Ron Burke found that he needed a race for his budding superstar. The Ned McCarr, usually offered as part of Adios Week, fit the bill. Dave Palone idled with Sister Sledge before the pair seized the lead past the quarter. Sister Sledge drew off as she pleased and scored in 1:55.3 under a Palone stranglehold. Cocktails N Dreams was 4-1/2 lengths back in second, with Perth Angel De Vie third. "She's like all the great ones," Palone said. "Not only is she blessed with ridiculous speed, but her manners and her intelligence are what make her a great horse. They'll put her in the right spot every week. She's one you remember for sure." Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby and Weaver Bruscemi LLC own Sister Sledge, whose career bankroll now stands at $569,195. Her next start is tentatively set for the July 4 Currier & Ives at The Meadows. Sister Sledge The other McCarr split was hardly as formful, as 1-2 favorite Dune Hill jumped it off while on a clear lead down the backside. Dazzling Diva, an eight-race maiden entering the stake, already was out and moving and was able to reach the point and open daylight on the field. Yet it wasn't a spot that winning driver Dan Rawlings coveted. "She dehydrated really badly last year," Rawlings said. "She followed the best fillies in the state, and she was wrapped up doing it. But in both qualifiers this year, when she cleared, she pulled up. I was trying to race hard and drop to the two hole, to be honest. When I cleared, I thought, it's all or nothing now. I kept screaming at her, and she kept going." The daughter of Cantab Hall-Hustle Heart persevered and downed Sentebale by 3/4 lengths in 1:56. Ginger Tree Bren earned show. Norm Parker trains the winner for Jacobs Creek Racing, George Romanoff, Martin Garey and Jon Erdner. Dazzling Diva Mike Wilder and Palone each collected three wins on the 14-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday when the program features a $5,000 total-pool guarantee for the Early Pick 4 (race 3) and a $3,295.59 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 26, 2020 -- The Meadows kicks off its reconfigured stakes season Saturday, and the opening event has attracted one of harness racing's budding superstars. Sister Sledge, who banked $555,313 at 2 and finished second in Dan Patch Award voting, will make her seasonal debut in the $53,528 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. The stake goes as races 7 and 10. Sister Sledge will leave from post 3 in race 10 with Dave Palone driving. The 14-race card also features a $2,093.64 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. Sister Sledge was a phenom at 2, winning her first seven starts and sweeping all four Pennsylvania Sires Stake preliminary legs en route to the championship. She finished second to Ramona Hill, who won the Dan Patch Award, in the Breeders Crown final. Had trainer Ron Burke been able to stick to his original schedule, Sister Sledge likely would have a few starts under her belt instead of just the pair of qualifiers she's mustered. But with racing and stakes schedules disrupted by COVID-19, Burke decided to ship Sister Sledge from her New Jersey base for the Arden Downs -- and possibly for the Currier & Ives filly division July 4 at The Meadows. "With the schedule changes, this was the first stake she was eligible for," Burke said. "She needs the race, and we didn't want her in an Open Trot. We want to stretch her out a bit." Mark Weaver of Weaver Bruscemi LLC, which owns the daughter of Father Patrick-Behindclosedoors with Burke Racing Stable, Jason Melillo, and J&T Silva-Purnel&Libby, noted that, although Sister Sledge will compete for much higher purses later in the year, this race is important to her. "We hope this will lay a foundation for her for the rest of the year," Weaver said. "Anytime we go to the gate, we want to win, and the purse isn't chopped liver." Saturday's program also features The Meadows debut of Portrstownchris IR (race 1, post 4, Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.), a 9-year-old Irish bred who is part of a package of six horses that the Burke stable purchased through Irish horseman/broker Derek Delaney. "Derek had been pushing us for a few years to buy some horses from Great Britain, but we thought that wasn't really our game," Weaver said. "Then, one of the British horses beat one of our horses and I thought, maybe there's method to Derek's madness." So far, it's been a successful new route to the winners' circle for the Burke stable. In their 18 starts to date (counting qualifiers), the British/Irish six pack has 16 victories and two place finishes. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, June 24, 2020 -- Tequila Talkin commanded the mile from start to finish, putting away a couple challengers and capturing Wednesday's harness racing feature at The Meadows, a $10,800 Conditioned Trot, in a sharp 1:54.4. Tequila Talkin and Dan Rawlings grabbed the point early from post 5 and refused to release Truman Jr Hanover, who found a seat third. Tequila Talkin later thwarted the first-over bid of Cherry Peep and rolled home to down her by 1-3/4 lengths, with Truman Jr Hanover third. Richard Perfido trains Tequila Talkin, a 5-year-old Cantab Hall-Margarita Nights gelding who lifted his career bankroll to $145,383, for Thomas Mattingly. Elsewhere on Wednesday's card, fans of classic television got a thrill when Aunt Bee, a 3-year-old filly trotter named for the wise but vulnerable matriarch in The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D., broke her maiden in her eighth try. Wilbur Yoder piloted the daughter of Donato Hanover-Mayberry for trainer Kelly Rader and owners Greg Callihan and Susan Callihan. Mike Wilder collected four wins on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Saturday when the 2020 revised stakes schedule kicks off with the $53,528 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Heading the field is Sister Sledge, last year's Pennsylvania freshman champion who banked $555,313. Also featured is a $2,093.64 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post is 12:45 PM. By Evan Pattak for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association  

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