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MANALAPAN, NJ - The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey would like to clarify to all horsemen how the $20 million appropriation will be utilized. The amounts will be allocated by the New Jersey Racing Commission equally between the thoroughbred industry and the standardbred industry. Of the funds allocated to the standardbred industry, 60 percent will be allocated to the Meadowlands overnight purses; 16 percent to Freehold overnight purses; 12 percent to the New Jersey Sire Stakes purses; 12 percent to purse bonuses for New Jersey sired horses and for breeders awards programs. Additionally, the Meadowlands purse account will receive a minimum of $1 million per year from the Meadowlands sports betting revenue. The SBOANJ's breeders committee will be meeting shortly to determine the best way to fund the breeding programs. If you have any questions please feel free to call the office 732-462-2357. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ 

LEBANON, OH. - 'Super' Brett Miller has "owned" the inaugural Howard Beissinger Memorial Medley trotting series, winning all four preliminary heats over the first two weeks at Miami Valley Raceway. His toughest decision in the series thus far has to be what horse to drive in the $25,000 championship final next Friday at a distance of 1-1/4 miles. He won with both Deweyknowigotit and Double A Goldrush in the first leg, a pair of ¾ mile dashes for $12,500 purses to kick the new series off. Miller followed that up by winning both $17,500 divisions with the same two trotters on Friday (Feb. 15) at the conventional distance of one mile. Deweyknowigotit and Double A Goldrush ended up tied for the lead in series money earnings, the yardstick used to determine the nine finalists. The remainder of the field will be comprised of Rompaway Galaxy, Lets Go Bucks, Nothinbutanallstar, No Whip Chip, Rockinthepines, Cruzen Cassi and He's Got Pizazz-if they all enter. Both winners went gate-to-wire as favorites in the second leg. Deweyknowigotit topped Nothinbutanallstar (LeWayne Miller) and Rompaway Galaxy (Jason Thompson) in 1:56. The Derek Watiker-trainee, owned by his father Lionel Watiker, paid $3.20. The son of Deweycheatumnhowe is now 5 for 7 in 2019, good for almost $40,000 in earnings, following a forgettable 2018 season when he went 0 for 11 and earned just $3960. Double A Goldrush took a new lifetime mark of 1:54.2 in his split, beating Lets Go Bucks (Dan Noble) and No Whip Chip (Chris Page) who dead-heated for second. Ross Leonard trains the winner, who is approaching $200,000 in career earnings. The 5-year-old gelding by Elegant Man is owned by Michael and Laura Lee in partnership with Terry Leonard. A $25,000 Mares Open Handicap Pace was captured by Zoe Ellasen (Trace Tetrick) in 1:53. Feelin Red Hot (Page), the winner the previous two weeks, finished second after cutting the entire mile from an assigned outside post. Always About Farah (Sam Widger), making her initial start in the open ranks, was a creditable third. Zoe Ellasen sat fourth through the opening :28 panel, then attacked first-over through middle fractions of :56.2 and 1:24. It was the first win of this season for the 5-year-old Santanna Blue Chip lass, but the 19th triumph in an outstanding career that has already netted $340,000 in earnings. She is owned by Ron Steck in partnership with her trainer Tyler George. Leading driver Trace Tetrick and second place Brett Miller each fashioned "Grand Slams" on the Friday program, reaching the winner's circle four times each. Racing resumes Saturday night (Feb. 16) when a $24,000 Open I Pace and two divisions of the second leg of the Bill Dailey Memorial Medley for pacers will be featured. Post time is 6:05 p.m. From Miami Valley Media Department  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Since returning from a four-week layoff on Jan. 25, Resita has been on a roll for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Friday night, the 5-year-old gelded son of Manofmanymissions-Winkys Magik won his third straight, scoring in the $15,750 conditioned trotting feature at the Meadowlands. Resita, who defeated non-winners of $5,000 and non-winners of $8,500 in his last two outings, respectively, took on one-rung below the Preferred Handicap types on Friday - the non-winners of $15,000 class - and passed the test with flying colors. The formful Derf Hanover was away quickly from post eight and had the lead at the quarter in :27.2. Resita rolled past that foe and had the point at the half in :56.4 as Pappy Go Go came after the leader and continued to press the issue at three-quarters in 1:24.4. The eventual winner shrugged off Pappy Go Go turning for home, but the horse Pappy towed into contention - 25-1 longshot Nows The Moment - tipped off cover and came after Resita. Nows The Moment was in position to pull off the upset, but as he inched to almost even with Resita in deep stretch, he went off stride, and Resita went on to a 1½-length win in a lifetime-best 1:53.1. Nows The Moment finished second, but was disqualified and placed fourth for being lapped on break to two other horses - Two Am and Derf Hanover - who were declared the official second- and third-place finishers, respectively. As the lukewarm 5-2 favorite, Resita returned $7.40 to win and stayed perfect in three starts this year. He's owned by Andrea Lea Racingstables and ASA Farm. Lifetime, he's won nine of 48 outings and banked $107,664. A LITTLE MORE: Gingras' remarkable February continued as the 39-year-old scored four times on the card, giving him 27 wins in 61 starts this month. ... A simulcast player in Montreal was the only bettor to last seven legs in the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $15,161. ... Marcus Miller, Corey Callahan and Dexter Dunn all recorded driving doubles. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,661,109. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Tuxedo Bay seeks his third straight win in the weekly pacing feature, the $21,000 Preferred Handicap. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

YONKERS, NY, Friday, February 15, 2019-A first-up Delightfulmemphisn (Jason Bartlett, $17) prevailed Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Away fourth from post griposition No. 4, Delightfulmemphisn watched Kaitlyn N (Matt Kakaley) lead through early intervals of :27.3 and :56.3, Delightfulmemphisn left the cones after intermission, as first pacing in place toward a 1:24.4 three-quarters. She picked it up after that, though Kaitlyn N owned a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, that lass was about to wear out here welcome. Delightfulmemphisn surged by, whipping a second-over Itty Bitty (Jim Marohn Jr.) by a length in 1:53. Sally Fletcher A (Joe Bongiorno), Kaitlyn N and Empress Deo (George Brennan) settled for the lesser loot, with 1-2 favorite Betterb Chevron N (Jordan Stratton) last among the half-dozen at every point of the mile. For fifth choice Delightfulmemphisn, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Bettor's Delight owned by Enzed Racing Stable and trained by Nifty Norman, it was her fourth win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $135, the triple returned $685 and the superfecta paid $1,983. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

WASHINGTON, PA, Feb. 15, 2019 -- Arthur Pendragon moved steadily first over and wore down the harness racing leader, Dapper Dude, to take Friday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Arthur Pendragon was third when Mike Wilder sent him after Dapper Dude, a millionaire who seldom gives up the lead late. But the determined Arthur Pendragon edged him by a head in 1:53, with New Evidence a close-up third. Ron Burke conditions the 6-year-old Dragon Again-Western Realist gelding, who now boasts $268,745 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Phil Collura and Jack Piatt III. Wilder bagged four winners on the 12-race card while Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. enjoyed a triple.. In other highlights of the week at The Meadows: Converted Claimer I Want Kandy Captures $20,000 F&M Trot When I Want Kandy took a Jan. 21 $8,000 claiming race, it didn't seem especially noteworthy. Yet it launched a three-race winning streak that carried her to Wednesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Trot. Did she belong with the track's elite distaff trotters? Did she ever. The 6-year-old daughter of Angus Hall-Celebrity Kandy moved first over for Jim Pantaleano and triumphed in 1:59 over a sloppy, tiring track to extend her streak to four. You're Majestic finished second, 2 lengths back, with Goodtogo Hanover third. Scott Betts trains I Want Kandy, who pushed her lifetime earnings to $160,388, for Tim Betts. It was one of three victories on the 13-race program for Pantaleano. Camera Lady Wins Top Distaff Pace, Soars Over $300,000 Camera Lady controlled the mile after a quarter-pole move for Dave Palone and scored for the 46th time in 87 career starts in Tuesday's $20,000 Filly & Mare Preferred Handicap Pace. Burke conditions the 5-year-old daughter of Dragon Again-Ann Van Go, who soared over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, for Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Graceful Vision was second, beaten 2-1/4 lengths, while Medusa rallied from last to third in her seasonal debut. Winning time in the slop was 1:54.4. Tony Hall collected four victories on the 13-race card while Wilbur Yoder fashioned a training/driving double. Uncle Leroy Upsets At 14-1 In $20K Trot Dismissed at 14-1, Uncle Leroy moved confidently to the lead past the quarter and notched a comfortable victory in Monday's $20,000 Preferred Handicap Trot. The 6-year-old Neely Dunn-Plumao gelding drifted out in the sloppy stretch but held off Northern Skyway by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:56.3. Full Surge shot the Lightning Lane for show. Charles Vigneron trains Uncle Leroy, who extended his career bankroll to $163,181, for Richard McCormick. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Sunday at 1:05 PM, the first of four consecutive Sunday cards. There will be no live racing on the Mondays following those special Sunday programs. by Evan Pattak, for The Meadows  

Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack has released its 2019 live harness racing schedule. The season is slated to begin on March 29, 2019. The Opening Day Friday card carries a first post of 12:25 p.m. The standard race week will follow a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday schedule. During the spring/summer season weekdays will carry a 12:25 first post and Sunday's will have a 12:40 first post. The 2019 season will conclude on Sunday, December 15. From the Harrah's Media Department    

Prominent harness racing owner, breeder and equestriane Michelle Crawford of Crawford Farms in Durhamville, New York, was the succefull bidder for top trotting mare, Atlanta, winner of the 2018 Hambletonian and voted the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly of the Year. The sale took place via the internet on www.OnGait.com. In order to buy out part owner and trainer Rick Zeron, who had received a six month suspension stemming from instances in Canada this past year, Atlanta was put up for auction.  The daughter of Chapter Seven, who has already earned $1,140,000, was started at $500,000 as the opening bid. Over the four-day period the bidding continued to increase. During the final five minutes of the auction, she remained at $1,550,000 until the auction was closed.  "This is a real deal," said Eric Cherry, co-owner of OnGait.com. "The other partners weren't sure how to disolve the ownership of Atlanta. Rick Zeron was speaking to me about it and one of the co-owners, Howard Taylor, has successfully sold a number of horses and that led them to us at OnGait. I understand that at least two or three of the partners wanted out on the horse and Michelle Crawford and Brad Grant wanted to keep the mare. "Once we got the page up," Cherry continued. "I started getting phone call from people wanting to know if this was for real. There were more than 23,000 views on the page. We were able to get a fair value on Atlanta as we have people around the world that were interested in her. Using OnGait.com was perfect for this special sale." Brad Grant then confirmed the deal. "Howard Taylor, Bill Holland (Holland Racing), the Crawfords and myself, we were all in to keep the mare and i thank them all." by Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink  

East Rutherford, NJ - As a result of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signing Senate Bill 2992 (containing the horse racing purse supplement) into law yesterday, The Meadowlands will raise overnight harness racing purses by $40,000 per card beginning the first weekend in March, then institute another $40,000 nightly increase the first weekend of April.   While it is a great help to be able to offer purses competitive with other tracks in the region, it is vitally important that horsemen support The Meadowlands with their entries as we must demonstrate improvement in the product to NJ legislators.   The continuation of the purse subsidy is contingent on their satisfaction that these monies are being well allocated to the horse racing industry in the Garden State.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Silverhill Volo is feeling awfully good these days, coming off back-to-back scores in the Open Trot over something other than a firm surface. The 8-year-old son of Muscle Hill is owned, trained and driven by Chip Lackey and has accounted for the last two clashes at the head of the class for the trotting set, one over a sloppy track and the other over a course labelled good. "I've had him a little over two years," Lackey noted. "He's bred to be a good one. He's by Muscle Hill, his dam won the Hambletonian Oaks and he brought $170,000 as a yearling." Things didn't get off to the smoothest of starts when Chip bought the gelding back in November of 2016, but he's been a solid performer in the interim. "When I first brought him to Cal Expo from the Midwest, he had a real bad fever, but eventually he recovered and he's been a solid trotter for us. "One of the things that used to make my stomach churn is when we would turn to come to the gate and he would switch from the pace to the trot," Lackey informed. "It wasn't always smooth, but eventually it wasn't a problem. "Because of that, I was able to lighten him up front, which has allowed me to leave with him and gives us more options in the early part of the race." And what about his prowess on off tracks? "He's a strong horse. I think when the track gets tiring, it takes less of a toll on him and that's why he does so well." Lackey also related that Silverhill Volo has a secret weapon, something you won't see in the pedigree or past performances. "That would be his caretaker Fern Wald. She deserves a ton of credit for what this horse has been able to do here." Duly noted, Chip. Distaff Open Pace, Goudreau Prep featured A $6,000 Filly and Mare Open Pace that brings out Brighten Your Life and the Shelly Goudreau Prep are the main events on Saturday evening's Cal Expo program. Watch and Wager LLC will present 11 races, with the Open going as the third race and the Goudreau Prep occupying the seventh-race slot, and things get under way at 6:10 p.m. Brighten Your Life is a 6-year-old daughter of Shark Gesture out of the Falcon Seelster mare Our Inheritance who is owned, trained and driven by Nate Sobey. She came into last week's top dance for the pacing fillies and mares having finished second in six straight outings, including the Alan Horowitz Final, but returned to her winning ways with a huge effort over the sloppy going. Leaving from the outside post, Brighten Your Life brushed to command for Sobey with a big move before the half, took complete control of things from that point and came home with four and half-lengths to spare. The Kathie Plested shedrow will be strongly represented with Outrageiousdelightn and Dancingonthesand in the line-up. Steve Wiseman will chauffeur the former and Mooney Svendsen has the assignment behind Dancingonthesand. Rounding out the cast for the Open are Misspanderosajones, who will have the services of Dean Magee; and Lookslikewemadeit, who leaves from the cozy rail slot with James Kennedy guiding. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Saratoga Springs, NY - Proposals to modify the regulatory policy concerning clenbuterol and betamethasone use in Standardbred harness racing will be one of the major topics considered at the upcoming meeting of the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) when it meets April 3-5, 2019 in Arcadia, California. The proposed changes were submitted late last year to standardbred regulatory commissions directly from the Harness Racing Medication Collaborative (HRMC), a subcommittee of the United States Trotting Association (USTA), chaired by Joe Faraldo of New York. Several commissions have deferred action on the proposed change pending a recommendation from the ARCI, the umbrella group of the racing regulatory authorities throughout North America and parts of the Caribbean. The ARCI racing regulatory standards are embodied in its Model Rules of Racing, which form the foundation for the regulation of horse and greyhound racing in North America and, in some cases, beyond. Several ARCI Committees will consider the proposal, which would liberalize the current policy for these two drugs if adopted. The current policy was adopted by the ARCI upon recommendations that had come from the Racing Medication and Testing Consortium several years ago. The proposals to change the point at which a violation occurs for each of these drugs if found in a standardbred horse post race will be reviewed by the RCI Scientific Advisory Group, the RCI Standardbred Committee, the Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, the Model Rules Committee, and ultimately the entire Membership at the April meeting. Representatives from the USTA as well as Mr. Faraldo have been invited to attend and have been included on the various agendas to afford them the opportunity to make the case for the proposed policy changes, which would represent breed specific rules for standardbred races. In the past the ARCI has adopted more stringent breed specific policies for quarter horse races where clenbuterol and albuterol are both considered prohibited at any level. The USTA is requesting a more lenient approach for clenbuterol and betamethasone than what currently exists in the Model Rules. "The regulators are very interested in hearing what they have to say, including why this policy change is necessary and in the best interest of the horse as well as ensuring the integrity of the race," said RCI President Ed Martin. "I think it important to note that standardbred races in Indiana, New Jersey, California, Kentucky, Minnesota, Maryland, and Florida occur consistent with the current Model Rules while other jurisdictions have made exceptions, which is their right. In those jurisdictions that have adopted the Model Rules or are required by statute or rule to implement the Model Rules, compliance has not posed a problem to those who race. That being said, we continually strive to consider any and all information in assessing the appropriateness and applicability of the standards we embody in the Model Rules and are never adverse to modifying a standard if the facts warrant it," he said. Information concerning the proposals are posted online at www.arcimodelrules.online. From the ARCI                        

Pompano Beach, FL...February 15, 2019...Two "Minors" played a "major" role on the Thursday Valentine's Day harness racing program at Pompano Park. Brothers Dewayne and Deshawn Minor each won a race on the card with the latter proving to be the unsung hero after the completion of his event. First, older brother Dewayne guided the four year-old mare Surreal Syrah to a photo finish victory for owner-trainer Edgar "Sparky" Clarke in 1:57, eking the nose victory after an ultra game performance over the late charging Worth Considering (Mike Simons) in 1:57. JJ Brenlin (Andy Shetler) finished a fast closing third. It was the first win of the year in five starts for the daughter of So Surreal and just one tick off of her lifetime best.Off at even-money on the tote board, Surreal Syrah paid $4.20 to win. Three races later, Deshawn was in the bike for a near gate-to-wire score with the Florida bred Danza, owned by Marc Cialon and a relatively new arrival in his Deshawn Minor Stable. Minor used different tactics this night sending the six year-old gelded son of Six Of Diamonds right to the front, proceeding to carve out comfortable panels of :27.4, :57 and 1:25.3 before a :29.3 finale sealed the deal over Soccer Hanover (Drew Campbell) and Gold Star Spike (Mike Simons) for his initial win of the season in three starts. Off as fourth choice at 6 to 1, Danza paid $15.40 to his faithful. Deshawn's heroics developed after he crossed the wire after Soccer Hanover's line broke and tragedy awaited before Minor corralled his rival and guided him to safety. "It was pretty hairy for a spell," said Deshawn. "Drew was screaming, 'my line is broken, my line is broken.' I yelled back, I got your back, brother. Stay cool," as the two horses moved side-by-side after the wire." After guiding Drew's horse to safety, Deshawn reflected, "You know, you never know what is going to happen in a race. In a split second, things can go south and we have to make split second decisions to try and avoid anything serious. Thank goodness I was able to help a fellow horseman. "Winning is nice, that's for sure, and this was even better since this probably was the first time that we brothers won a race on the same racing program, but helping in a situation like this is even more special. All in all, it was a pretty special Valentine's Day." by John Berry, for Pompano Park        

TRENTON, NJ -- February 14, 2019 -- The Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) thanks Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Legislature for passing and signing into law an essential measure to propel New Jersey's horse racing and breeding industry. The $100 million over 5 years will be used for horse racing purse allocations and greatly increase the participation in this thriving industry in the Garden State. "The SBOANJ is grateful for the tremendous support the horse racing and breeding industry has received from the State and the continuous effort to ensure that the many careers and businesses created through the industry are protected," said Mark Ford, President of the SBOANJ. "The New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy have made it a priority to create a sound and reasonable appropriation in an effort to bring tremendous economic development to NJ," Ford added. "For these reasons, we thank the Sponsors and the Governor for their leadership on this issue. This measure guarantees New Jersey's position in the industry in order to compete with the surrounding states." The horse racing industry and breeding farms not only aid and protect the preservation of open space in New Jersey, they heavily support the agribusiness and ensure thousands of jobs around the state. The new law will encourage growth in these businesses and throughout the State's economy. The SBOANJ would like to express its gratitude for the remarkable work accomplished through our advocacy efforts. The relentless work of the Association in conjunction with the valiant efforts of the State will pay dividends for the horse racing and breeding industry and the economy as a whole, allowing us to continue to provide compelling purses that will undoubtedly attract unparalleled competitors back to the state. The SBOANJ is also appreciative of the support shown by their longstanding partners  the Meadowland Racetrack, Freehold Raceway, the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen Association and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association of New Jersey. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

Monticello, NY - No, it's not a typo, yesterday at Monticello Raceway harness racing driver Austin Siegelman won 5 races and today he duplicated the exact same feat. Siegelman won the second race of the afternoon with Reflexionofroyalty from the rail in 2:00.1 and returned a $8.50 win pari-mutuel, it was the first win of the season for Reflexionofroylaty. Histoire Eternelle (PP4) gave Austin his second win of the day, as he scored a wire to wire win in 1:57 for trainer Chris Petrelli. He came right back in the following race to score with Victory Singer (1:59.4 - $2.60) it was the 3rd win a row for Victory Singer. In the 7th race it was Sky Guy from post position 8, to win by 3 lengths after cutting the entire mile in 1:57.1, the son of Sportswriter is trained by Thomas Merton. The last win of the afternoon came aboard Celtic Art, the Joe Moeykens trained son of Artiscape won in 1:59 and paid $10.40 to win. The top 4 drivers are in a bottleneck for leading dash winner with 3 drivers Bruce Aldrich Jr. Michael Merton, and James Devaux all tied with 34 wins, Austin is in close pursuit with 33 wins. Over $780,000 was wagered on the 10-race card. Live racing returns on Monday with a 12:25 post time. by Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway  

Goshen, NY - Bring the kids to the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, located at 240 Main Street, Goshen, NY on Sunday, February 17th from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm for an introduction to the Horse & Human Neurological Systems.   Did you ever wonder how a horse can feel a teensy weenie fly on its leg? We have the answer! Participants will learn through fun while decorating brain hats designating the function of different areas of the human brain, then they will compare the human brain to the design of the horse brain.   The entire horse neurological system design will be demonstrated with a 3-D computer program. Next, decoupage a horsey trinket can, play games and ride the 3-D Simulator. The cost for each child is $5 and free to parents, Scouts, 4-H and Pony Club members. Call to register by February 15th. Space is limited. Programs are made possible by the New York State Agriculture & Horse Development Fund. For further information about the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, the Museum's educational workshops or children's birthday parties, please contact the Education Department at 845-294-6330 or education@harnessmuseum.com. For information on all the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame events, please visit our website at www.harnessmuseum.com. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. From the Harness Racing Museum    

It was beginning to look like always the bridesmaid and never the bride for the 6-year-old harness racing pacing mare Brighten Your Life, but Nate Sobey's protege remedied that in a big way in last week's Distaff Open with a smashing victory. Sent off the 9-5 second choice in that affair over a sloppy Cal Expo Harness track, Sobey motored Brighten Your Life to the lead at the half and she went on to a four and a half-length romp while snapping a string of six straight runner-up efforts. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying that Brighten Your Life had been just missing, including an amazing mile on January 11 where an early miscue had her double digits behind the field at the start to only lose by three quarters of a length that evening. For the record, the last five Filly and Mare Open Paces have seen five different winners, with Brighten Your Life adding her name to the most recent renewal with that scintillating mile in the rain. Sobey claimed the mare back in October at Northlands Park with her previous victory here coming in the Alan Horowitz Eliminations back in December. "I'd had my eye on her for some time," her mentor noted. "She was a real nice 2-year-old and I didn't think she was racing to her abilities. I'm very happy with the way she's come around." Sobey, who brought in a string of 18 performers from Alberta and plans to stay until April, has made quite an impression in his first California invasion with solid numbers in both the driver and trainer standings. Open Pace getting the marquee treatment The $6,500 Open Pace has top billing Friday night at Cal Expo, and to give you an idea just how contentious this highest level has been, the last four top dances for the division have seen three different winners. First post for the 11-race card presented by Watch and Wager LLC is 6:10 p.m. Icy Blue Scooter completed a hat trick in the January 12 Open; King Of The Crop rattled off back-to-back wins on January 26 and February 2, then last week saw Bettor In The Bank taking bows after the get-together at the top rung. A 9-year-old son of Bettor Tuwin, Bettor In The Bank is owned by Debra McCarthy, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will have James Kennedy at the controls. Bettor In The Bank has been steadily climbing his way up the ladder, working out a perfect pocket journey at most recent asking to get the job done over a sloppy track. King Of The Crop looms large and will be looking to make amends after checking in fourth last week as the 9-5 choice. He was very sharp winning his previous two outings for owners Don and Barbara Arnstine, Steve Chambers and Kathie Plested with Plested the conditioner and Steve Wiseman at the controls. Icy Blue Scooter has gone some huge miles at this meet for driver/trainer Nate Sobey, who co-owns the 6-year-old with Diane Bertrand and Robert Gilhespy. He was razor-sharp taking down three straight Opens last month and was saddled with the demanding No. 10 post in his January 26 appearance. He will be dangerous no matter how things shake out early. Almost Cut My Hair (Mooney Svendsen), Why Ask Why Ryan Grundy) and Mr Varsity (Luke Plano) complete the field. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

Richard Poillucci is looking forward to watching his New Zealand-bred standout Shartin return to action this season and the 6-year-old Dan Patch Award-winning mare has a new stablemate that Poillucci hopes can keep her company on the stakes trail. Shartin hit the racetrack for the first time this year on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at Dover Downs, winning a qualifier in 1:56 as she prepares to defend her title in the upcoming Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway. Expected to join Shartin in the series is New Zealand-bred Bettor Joy, who was purchased in December from the Down Under stable of Cran Dalgety and is owned by Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. Bettor Joy, who is a dathe difference in breeding seasons, Bettor Joy, who was born in October 2014, is considered a 5-year-old in North America as opposed to a 4-year-old in New Zealand. Shartin, also owned by Poillucci and Looney-King, and Bettor Joy could provide their owners and trainer Jim King Jr. a strong one-two punch in the pacing mare division. "That's what we hope for, but you never know," Poillucci said. "Bettor Joy is a real good mare. She is just getting started. She raced once at Dover and came up sick on us and finished fourth. We'll probably race her again next week. We're looking for big things from her." Of course, Poillucci also is looking for big things from Shartin. Last year, she became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million in a season, finishing with $1.05 million thanks to 19 wins in 24 races. Her victories included the Breeders Crown, Roses Are Red, Lady Liberty, Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship, TVG Series Mare championship, Artiscape, Betsy Ross Invitational, Chip Noble Memorial, and Allerage Farms Mare Pace. In December, she was named the sport's best older female pacer of 2018 and joined Hall of Famer Cardigan Bay as a "Down Under" import to receive a Dan Patch Award. Cardigan Bay, also from New Zealand, was a two-time honoree (1965 and 1968). Shartin's connections will accept her Dan Patch Award at the U.S. Harness Writers Association's Dan Patch Awards banquet at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando on Feb. 24. The mare remains a top contender for Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year, which both will be announced at the banquet. "It was amazing, absolutely amazing," Poillucci said about Shartin's season. "Looking back at what she did, it's surreal trying to take it all in. You know how many people start out in January with horses and to end up the year with a mare that could stay as good as she stayed all year long is mindboggling. She's just a very special mare. If all goes well, I can't see why she can't come back this year and be a top contender again. There is no reason." Shartin can be a tricky horse to drive, so Poillucci gives credit to Tim Tetrick for playing an integral part in the mare's success. Tetrick has been Shartin's only driver in North America. "Jim King does a tremendous job as a trainer, but the key is Tim Tetrick," Poillucci said. "Timmy took the time to understand her and learned how to drive her. When she goes to the gate, he really has to work with her. She's aggressive. She's not a mean horse by any means, but when you put her behind the gate she just wants to roll. She just wants to go. Those few bobbles she made last year, those were her trying to outpace herself." The 2018 season was Shartin's first in North America. Poillucci hopes the mare can build upon last year's performances now that she has become more mature and acclimated to racing here. "I'm not saying that is going to happen, but that's what you would think," Poillucci said. "We're definitely in the hunt for a good year. I think it can happen. They said she was absolutely just running over horses (in her qualifier). That's a good sign. She doesn't like time off. She wants to race, that's her thing. "I know it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to have a horse like her). They don't come along very often like this. I may have a couple of very good ones behind her and I'm hoping for good things, but to say they can do what she does, that's a tough act to follow. It's very rare to find a mare that can do what she does." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

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