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Two year old harness racing pacing fillies took center stage on Wednesday evening at Saratoga Casino Hotel as the New York Sire Stakes highlighted an action-packed fourteen race card. Merga Hanover (American Ideal-Magic Starlight-Real Desire) has emerged as the top freshman filly in NYSS action this summer and the Ron Burke-trained two year old drew the rail for her $53,500 try on Wednesday. Matt Kakaley sat behind Merga Hanover, who cruised to a decisive victory at odds-on and paced the mile in 1:54, the fastest time of the freshman fillies on the evening. Merga Hanover moved her record to five-for-six as she powered away from a strong group of rivals at the Spa. The trend of favorites prevailing continued in the second division of NYSS for the two year olds as John Berger's Galleria Gal (Art Major-Just A Glimpse-Jate Lobell) made good as the public's 4-5 top betting choice. Galleria Gal opened up a big lead in the stretch before stopping the timer in 1:55 to register her second victory of the summer in stakes competition. Tyler Buter piloted the star freshman who now has piled up earnings of more than $82,000 in her seven lifetime tries. The final of the three stakes races on the night went to The Fun Marshall (So Surreal-Hallmark Hanover-Arturo) who was one of her race's three 2-1 shots. Scott Zeron drove the freshman filly for trainer Richie Silverman. It was the second win in six tries for The Fun Marshall who came from off the pace to secure the score in the $52,500 stakes event. Live racing resumes on Friday night at Saratoga with a 7:05pm first post.   Mike Sardella

ANDERSON, Ind.--August 21, 2019-- TJ's Top Pick, with Trace Tetrick in the bike, became Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino's newest harness racing track record holder when he powered home a winner in 1:53.3 in the co-featured event of the evening, the first division of the $64,000 Indiana Sires Stakes action for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings on Wednesday, August 21. The 1:53.3 mark was a lifetime best for the freshman colt and also re-established the previous track record for two-year-old trotting geldings by nearly a full second, a 1:54.2 mark that he equaled in the last round of stakes action. In just the fifth start of his two-year-old season, TJ's Top Pick turned in a dominant performance to finish nearly five lengths in front of his next closest competitor and remain undefeated this season. His 1:53.3 victory also marked the seventh track record that has been equaled or re-established at Hoosier Park through 102 nights of live racing this season. Leaving from post seven in the field of seven, TJ's Top Pick left just enough to grab a seat along the rail in fourth. Osprey Hanover and Deshawn Minor would grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.4. As soon as the field got straightened away down the backside, Tetrick gave TJ's Top Pick the green light and the colt quickly took command at the half in :57.3. When the field hit the three-quarters in 1:25.4, TJ's Top Pick was on top with a five length lead while the rest of the field was struggling to stay within striking distance. Turning for home, TJ's Top Pick found another gear and trotted away from the field with a :27.4 closing kick. Swan In Motion and Ricky Macomber Jr. rallied well late but were forced to settle for second while Emma Town Bud and Mike Oosting finished third. As the heavy 2-5 favorite, TJ's Top Pick returned $2.80 at the betting windows. "He's just so versatile," trainer Jeff Cullipher noted after the victory. "He really started to come around when we shipped into Hoosier Park in March and he's just been getting better every week. He's one of the smartest colts I've ever been around and I think he gets a little stronger every start." With the win, TJ's Top Pick became harness racing's newest $100,000 earner. The gelded son of Swan For All-J A's Ayd is undefeated through the first three rounds of Indiana Sires Stakes action and is owned in partnership by Jeff Cullipher, Pollack Racing, and Trace Tetrick. TJ's Top Pick was bred by Freeman Bontrager. In the second division of the stakes action, Brigotto broke his maiden in impressive fashion and pulled the 15-1 upset. Driven by Sam Widger for trainer Rodney Debeck, Brigotto staged a big rally late in the lane to score in 1:55.3. Leaving from post four, Brigotto found a spot along the rail in fifth and would let the dust settle before making his move. Simply Swan and Joe Putnam were on top through the opening quarter in :29.1 but would yield the lead to the heavily favored, Dude Included and Verlin Yoder just before the half. Dude Included led the field through middle splits of :58.4 and 1:27.4 but Brigotto was on the attack and tracking intently from first-over. Widger was patient with Brigotto through the final turn and when they straightened away from home, Brigotto dipped down to the inside and utilized a :27.2 final quarter to get the win by a length. Dude Included finished second while Rocket Lee Breeze and Jared Finn finished third. As the second longest shot on the board, Brigotto returned $33.60 at the betting windows. "He tries really hard," trainer, owner Rodney Debeck noted after the victory. "He made a break in his last start but he's still figuring things out so you have to expect that. He trained down great." With the win, the son of Bluto-Dream Act recorded his first win from six lifetime outings. Bred by Pond-A-Acres, Brigotto has now earned $35,201 in lifetime purse earnings. Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Thursday, August 22 with three $47,000 divisions for two-year-old filly pacers highlighting the 13-race card. The 13-race card will also feature a $10,000 Guaranteed Pick-4 pool in Races 3-6 and a $10,000 Hoosier High-5 in Race 13. With a daily post time of 6:30 pm, live racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com. by Emily Ratcliff, for Harrah's Hoosier Park

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 21, 2019 -- Goes Down Smooth and Klutzy each won a Pennsylvania Sires Stake split Wednesday at The Meadows, nailing down berths in the championship for harness racing 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. On Sept. 7, The Meadows will host all four PASS $250,000 championships -- and all four $50,000 consolations -- for 3-year-olds. Goes Down Smooth was the dominant performer in the Super Bowl, as the $167,002 stake is known. The 1-5 favorite quarter-poled to the top for Matt Kakaley and drew off to an insurmountable lead. The Muscle Hill-Peach Martini gelding scored in a career-best 1:53, 7-3/4 lengths better than Macmorris Hanover, with Ginger Tree Skyr third. "He's getting better all the time," Kakaley said. "He's smarter. He lets me do whatever I want with him now. He used to get a little hot leaving, but he's been a gentleman lately." Ron Burke trains the winner, who now has banked $193,804, for Burke Racing Stable, William Switala, Joseph Martin and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. At 2, Klutzy showed intermittent flashes of brilliance that suggested he might become one of the tops of his division. But winning driver Andy Miller acknowledged that Klutzy's talent has been intermittent this year as well. "I wouldn't say he's disappointed us, but he hasn't stepped up as much as I thought he might," Miller said. "But he's done okay. He had quite a bit of go today, and I thought they were tired on the front, so I thought I had a good shot." The son of Cantab Hall-Upside Hanover was sharp in the Super Bowl, moving first over to overtake Final Claim and down him by a length in 1:54.3, a life mark. Explosive Form completed the ticket. Julie Miller trains Klutzy, who extended his career bankroll to $179,262, for Stroy, Inc. $40,000 PA Stallion Series -- 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trotters Faithfulandtrue and Kate's Massive each took a division of the subfeature, and each had to work hard for the winner's check. Faithfulandtrue made the point with a quarter-pole move but had to resist late pressure from Consus Victory to score in 1:54.4, a career best, for Mike Cole, trainer Joseph Columbo and owner George & Tina Dennis Racing. Crossfit earned show. "When he races like that, he usually doesn't let anybody get to him, but I had to chase him today," Cole said. "But he fought him off. He's matured a lot lately and turned into a racehorse." He indicated the Donato Hanover-Seducer Hall gelding likely would be turned out. Kate's Massive had to take a seat after an abortive try for the lead from post 8, then was forced to come first over down the backside. He had just enough left in the tank to prevail in 1:55.2 for Dave Palone, trainer Ray Paver and owner Harry Horowitz. Stonebridge Symba was second, beaten a head, with Ragtime Hanover third. "We knew the eight hole would be a tough spot, that they would all be looking to line up behind him," Palone said. "He fought for me when I moved him from third. He's a nice colt. I'd like to try him without hopples one of these times." Live racing at The Meadows resumes with a special Friday twilight card that features a pair of stakes for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers: a $170.058 Pennsylvania Sires Stake and a $40,000 PA Stallion Series event. In addition, the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) is sponsoring "First Responders Night' to honor the region's first responders and provide them and their families with an entertaining night at the races. All first responders in uniform or with appropriate ID may receive free wagering vouchers and race programs while those whose names are drawn in a lottery will participate in a match race. First post Friday is 5:30 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

Batavia, NY --- With the prohibitive harness racing favorite coming up short, Little Joke took it upon herself to win the $12,500 fillies and mares Open I Handicap Pace at Batavia Downs on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 21) and blow up the tote board at 21-1. Lady London (Shawn McDonough) went right to the front while the rest of the field opted to stay in post position order behind her, except for HP Sissy (Ray Fisher Jr.) who broke behind the gate. Lady London went to the quarter in :28 and an even slower half of :57 and still no opposition from anyone in the race. As they moved into the third turn, 3-5 favorite Sidewalk Dancer (Hunter Oakes) pulled from fifth and tried to advance in the breeze. But progression was negligible as she hung a parked third to the three-quarters in 1:24.4, still 2-3/4 lengths behind the leader. At this point Billy Davis Jr., who had been enjoying a perfect trip in the two-hole with Little Joke, tugged the right line and asked the mare to drive on. And respond she did; pacing past Lady London at the top of the lane and then under an animated drive by Davis, held off a fast closing Miss Mary Mach (Dave McNeight III) in deep stretch to win in 1:53.1. The time was a new seasonal mark for Little Joke and was only 1/5th of a second off the track record for aged pacing mares. It was the sixth win of the year for Little Joke ($44.20) who has now earned $50,928 for owners Vogel and Wags Nags Stable and Jack Rice. Maria Rice trains the winner. Davis and Rice had so much fun in the feature, they teamed up again for an instant replay in the $11,000 Open II Handicap with Hey Sweetie ($7.00), who like her stablemate earlier, tripped out behind the front-running Mach's Echo (Drew Monti) until the top of the stretch where she pulled, took the lead and won in 1:55.1. Hey Sweetie is owned by Vogel and Wags Nags Stable, Jack Rice and Adelphi Bloodstock. Billy Davis Jr. went on to win two more races, giving him the Grand Slam on the evening. Long prices seemed to be the theme of the day and in the third race, Missevil (John Cummings Jr.) was happy to oblige. She scored from post eight at 25-1 paying $52.50, beating 19-1 Keystone Zeta (James McNeight Jr.) who finished second. These top two finishers sparked an 8-3 exacta that returned $1,504, an 8-3-2 trifecta that paid $3,524 and an 8-3-2-ALL superfecta that produced an instant jackpot payout of $11,316. There was a $10,000 guaranteed Pick-5 pool at The Downs on Wednesday that was not hit and as a result another guarantee has been made. When live racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Friday (Aug. 23), the Pick-5 will have a guaranteed pool of $35,000 as part of the United States Trotting Association's (USTA) Strategic Wagering Program and free program pages will be available on the USTA website as a result. This is the highest guaranteed pool ever offered in the history of Batavia Downs. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

CHESTER, PA - In the fourth and final preliminary round for the Pennsylvania Stallion Series two-year-old pacing fillies Wednsday at Harrah's Philadelphia, Aplomp Hanover and Arden Hanover both visited victory lane for the third time - after both of them finished second to the other in the one prelim they did not win. First to parade back was the Artspeak - A Pippin Hanover miss Aplomp Hanover, already a five-time winner on the campaign, with an Arden Downs division victory on her resume as well. In Wednesday's contest, Aplomp Hanover went to the lead in front of the stands for the first time and held the advantage from there, withstanding the inside charge of Love For Sail by a neck in 1:54.4. Allan Davis drove the consistent filly for trainer Kevin Lare and owner Frank Chick. Captaintreacherous sired the three other Stallion Series winners of the afternoon, including the 1:55 winner Arden Hanover, who had an arduous trip in getting home first - making the top, yielding, then having to come back on in the last 3/16 for driver Dexter Dunn to defeat the previously-unbeaten Alexis's Beach by a half-length. Arden Hanover (dam Allamerican Coed) posted her third straight triumph for trainer Mark Harder, who is also co-owner with Joseph Jannuzzeli. The Party's Rockin looked on her way to join "Aplomp" and "Arden" as three-time StS winners, but the favorite made a break while on the lead nearing headstretch. Real Long Hanover (dam Rockin Everyway) proved to have the best late rally, outfooting Anthem by 1¼ lengths in 1:55 to take her second Stallion Series win in succession. George Napolitano Jr. drove the winner for trainer Tony Alagna and Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz, and Riverview Racing LLC. The final division had no multiple winners, but it proved to be the fastest of the four, and its winner, Culture Shock, won by the largest margin, 3¼ lengths. Anthony Morgan sent the filly to the front before the half and went on to win over closer Speaking Of Coffee in 1:54.2, the faster victory for the filly who is now undefeated after two starts. Joe Holloway trains Culture Shock (dam Sawyer) for Brittany Farms LLC and Val D'Or Farms. The Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission is the official tallier of the points earned in the Stallion Series and the Sire Stakes, but a quick, unofficial calculation performed after the last race revealed the following nine horses with the most points: 1. (tie) Aplomp Hanover and Arden Hanover; 3. The Party's Rockin; 4. Real Long Hanover; 5. Shotgun Persuasion; 6. Speaking Of Coffee; 7. Keystone Eureka; 8. Sweet Camille; 9. Alexis's Beach. Each Stallion Series division will have its $40,000 Championship at Pocono on Monday, September 9. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

Sandra Kaufman, Chairman of the co-sponsored SOA of New York/Yonkers Raceway Scholarship Committee, has announced that Jennifer Lauer is the winner of the 2019-2020 Scholarship Award in the amount of $5,000. The second place award of $3,000 went to Dean Blumenfeld and John McDermott picked up the third place scholarship award of $2,000. Jennifer Lauer is currently enrolled at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is pursuing a veterinary degree and plans on becoming an equine veterinarian. Jennifer’s father Bruce trains a stable of horses racing in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dean Blumenfeld is currently enrolled at Arizona State University pursuing a PhD in Anthropology. Dean’s father Paul trains horses in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. John McDermott is currently enrolled at the University of Florida Levin College of Law. John’s father John McDermott races horses at Yonkers Raceway and around the East Coast. The annual SOA/Yonkers Raceway scholarships are awarded to SOA members, or members of their immediate families, or to covered individuals (backstretch personnel) or a member of their immediate families, for study beyond the high school level. The recipient is chosen on the basis of merit and financial need. The applicants were judged first by an independent third party to produce the top five candidates. Then the Committee selected the top three winners from the five finalists. Personal information from all the candidates was redacted when presented to the independent party and the Committee to assure a blind judging process. From the SOA of New York

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Sunday card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will feature the fourth and final preliminary round of action for Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old harness racing trotting colts - two divisions of the $184,018 PA Sire Stakes, along with four divisions of the PA Stallion Series competition. No horse was victorious in all of the first three prelim rounds of the Sire Stakes, but the tenth race second division, which on paper figures to be a slightly-tougher cut, features a horse who was victorious in both his PaSS starts - the double world champion Real Cool Sam, who starts from post four for driver David Miller, trainer Jim Campbell, and owner/breeder Fashion Farms LLC. An altered son of Muscle Hill - Cooler Schooner, Real Cool Sam set world records in his last two starts. He equaled the 1:53.1 standard for baby trotting geldings on a mile track, first set by Outburst in 2013, when he won the Haughton Memorial final (for which he skipped a Sires prelim), and then at The Meadows he equaled the divisional world record of 1:54.4 set by Amigo Volo a week earlier. Real Cool Sam is undefeated in six career starts, and has earnings of $248,134. Two other single Sires winners will go against him Sunday: Rome Pays Off (post one, trainer Marcus Melander, driver Mattias Melander), a winner at The Meadows in his last start; and Chestnut Hill (post seven, trainer Nifty Norman, driver Tim Tetrick), who won at Philly on August 9. In the other division, the Father Patrick - Margarita Momma gelding Amigo Volo, who at Philly first set the 1:54.4 divisional world record that was equaled by Real Cool Sam in that one's last start, has drawn the rail for the team of trainer Nifty Norman and driver David Miller. His only other start in the Sires was a neck defeat to Gangster Hanover, a two-time Sires winner who is sitting out this last prelim. Gangster Hanover is part of the Ã…ke Svanstedt stable, and Svanstedt has two single-time Sires winners going against Amigo Volo: Swiss House On Fire (post five, driver Yannick Gingras) and King Alphonso (post six, Svanstedt up); the latter is actually the divisional pointsleader with a win and two seconds in the competition. The battle for high finishes will determine who earns enough points to qualify for the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship and consolation, to be held September 8 at Harrah's Philly. The competition should be equally fierce in the Stallion Series races, which will have their Championship here at The Downs on Monday, September 9. Three horses have two Stallion Series wins apiece so far, and the fourth race StS division matches two of them: Town Victor, the leading pointwinner in the Series so far with two firsts and a third, and Saxon, who is undefeated in his only two Stallion Series starts. The other double winner is Beyond Kosmos, also unbeaten in a pair of StS contests, who will go postward in the sixth race. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

When Bettor's Wish won May's Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers Raceway, it served as a harbinger of the colt's rise to prominence among harness racing 3-year-old pacers. On Saturday, he returns to The Hilltop for the first time since that victory, facing five rivals in the first of two eliminations of the Messenger Stakes. Bettor's Wish was not staked to the Messenger, so his connections paid $30,000 to make him eligible to the race. The colt, trained and co-owned by Chris Ryder, has won seven of 10 races this year (finishing second in his three defeats) and earned $839,544, which tops all horses in North America. He heads to his Messenger elim off victories in the Carl Milstein Memorial and a division of the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Interestingly, Bettor's Wish was not originally staked to the Art Rooney, either, but his connections paid a $6,000 supplement fee in February to make him eligible. Bettor's Wish won the $300,000 Rooney by six lengths. "He's been great," said Scott Ezzo, an Ohio resident whose wife Lisa heads Bella Racing Ltd., which is part of the horse's ownership group. "The Art Rooney was the one that set the stage. When he won that race, we said he was going to be something to enjoy. "We weren't sure (what to expect from Bettor's Wish entering this year). I talked to Chris throughout the winter and he said he was training really well. But Chris never tips his hand. So, when Chris supplemented him to the Art Rooney, that got my attention." Bettor's Wish has attracted plenty of attention in the months to follow. In addition to winning the Milstein and Rooney, the colt finished second in the Meadowlands Pace, missing by a head after being parked out the entire mile, and second in the Cane Pace, where he was defeated by a neck. He also was second in the North America Cup. Over the course of his career, Bettor's Wish has won 12 of 22 races and finished worse than second only three times, with two thirds and a fourth accounting for the remaining setbacks. "It's been tremendous; we've had a lot of fun following him," Lisa Ezzo said. "We have so many people that are following him along with us. We just love that. It's been fun for a lot of people, I think. "I think he's a little guy and people always want to root for the little guy. But he races big. He doesn't know his size." Bettor's Wish, by Bettor's Delight out of Lifetime Star, was purchased for $20,000 at the 2017 Lexington Selected Sale. He has earned $1.11 million so far in his career. The colt is owned by Ryder, Bella Racing, Leah Cheverie's and Art Zubrod's Fair Island Farm, and the recently created Bettors Wish Partners group of original owner Ken Solomon and newcomers Dana Parham and Eric Cherry's Let It Ride Stables. The Messenger Stakes is the second leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, following the Cane Pace (won by Captain Crunch, who did not enter the Messenger) and ahead of the Little Brown Jug. The Jug is held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, which happens to be the hometown of the Ezzos. Bettor's Wish is not eligible to the Jug, but a win in the Messenger final would allow his connections to supplement. Any horse not eligible to the Jug can be supplemented if it wins either the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Cane Pace, or Messenger. "Our backs are against the wall," Scott Ezzo said. "Hopefully we'll get in." Bettor's Wish is undefeated in three lifetime races at Yonkers, all this season, and has won six of seven career starts on half-mile tracks, such as Yonkers. His only loss on a half came by a neck in last year's Battle of Waterloo. He flashed his big-track ability in his most recent victory, stopping the clock in 1:47.4 at Red Mile, which is tied for the second-fastest mile of the season by a 3-year-old pacer. "He's proven to me to be very durable," trainer Ryder said. "Every time he races, he does something that impresses you, he does something good. It's just a good ride, we just have to keep it up. We're just taking it week by week." The Ezzos have enjoyed success with other horses, such as 2006 Breeders Crown winner Charley Barley and world-record-setter Kiss Me Onthebeach, but Bettor's Wish has been something else. "It's just been incredible," Scott Ezzo said. "We've had some good horses, but he's the best. I'm not taking anything away from the other ones, but he's like the Energizer bunny; he just keeps going, and going, and going." Joining Bettor's Wish in the first Messenger elimination, which is a non-betting race, are Captain Trevor, Escapetothebeach, American Mercury, Branquinho, and Lyons Johnnyjnr. Bettor's Wish starts from post one with regular driver Dexter Dunn. The horses in the second elimination, which is race five on the betting card, are U S Captain, Air Force Hanover, Aflame Hanover, Waterway, Buddy Hill, and Reigning Deo. Buddy Hill is the 9-5 morning-line favorite. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

NORTHFIELD, OH — He may very well be the Roy Hobbs of harness racing. In the classic baseball movie “The Natural,” Hobbs, portrayed by Robert Redford, endures 16 years between striking out a Babe Ruthian character known as Whammer and playing for the big league New York Knights as a 35-year-old rookie. A silver bullet delayed his debut. Cooper, a bay six-year-old harness racing trotter, had been missing in pari-mutuel action for nearly four years, a lifetime for a racehorse, when he showed up to compete at Northfield Park in early June. For a Standardbred who hadn’t raced in 45 months, he’s become an overnight success. Cooper, who failed to win a race in six starts in 2015 as a freshman and banked a measly $3,305, has ripped off six consecutive victories ($20,700 in earnings) at Northfield Park. Remarkably, he trots faster with each and every outing. Where has he been? He was busy pulling an Amish buggy around Sugarcreek, Ohio, a village in Tuscarawas County that’s about an hour south of Northfield Park. Cooper, no longer an equine limousine, seeks his seventh straight victory Wednesday night in the 10th race at Northfield. The masterminds behind the magical rebirth of the son of Canadian sire Kadabra, are longtime Sugarcreek friends Homer Stutzman and Firman Troyer. “He’s a total surprise,” said Troyer, who owns and trains Cooper after purchasing him privately from Stutzman. “Every time he races, he amazes me.” Stutzman, who bought Cooper at auction a few years back for a few thousand dollars, is not as surprised. “When I first got him, he (had a) sore behind and he also had a kidney infection,” said Stutzman. “I called an equine chiropractor and he worked on him. It just took some time for him to come up to snuff.” And when he did, Cooper started transporting the Stutzman family around town with improved smoothness. There were the usual trips to the store, to church and to the homes of relatives, all with great zip. It’s also when Stutzman heard a sound that made him think Cooper wanted to once again trot for his dinner. “I started hearing his hooves hitting the axles on the buggy,” he said. “That told me that he was really feeling good and stretching out.” So, Stutzman reached out to Troyer earlier this year and encouraged him to give Cooper a second chance at the races. “I have a day job in Sugarcreek, building doors at Provia Door, so training horses is a hobby of mine,” said Troyer. “Homer knows horses and he said he thought Cooper would do, so I decided to try him as a racehorse.” After getting him in shape at a stable in Sugarcreek, Troyer shipped Cooper to Northfield for a morning qualifying mile on May 30. It was the first time he’d been on a racetrack since Sept. 6, 2015, when he failed to finish in a race at Flamboro Downs in Canada. Not only did Cooper go wire-to-wire over a sloppy track to win the qualifier by 1 ½ lengths, he was timed his mile in 1:57 4/5. “My first reaction was that I wasn’t sure the timing device was working,” said Troyer. “That was mighty fast.” The timer was accurate and the impressive clocking earned Cooper the right to race for purse money at night. He has more than made the most of the opportunity, perhaps fearful of being returned to the life of a Sugarcreek taxi. Cooper has not only won all six of his starts by an average margin of 6 1/2 lengths, he has dramatically lowered his winning time in each subsequent outing, turning in an eye-popping career best 1:53 2/5 last Wednesday. “We never figured this would happen, but we’re enjoying every minute of it,” said Troyer. “Cooper is the best horse I’ve ever had. He has the nicest temperament. There isn’t a mean bone in his body. My little boy could race him.” And what does Mark Steacy think of Cooper? He’s the trainer who had him in his failed first year of racing. “What he’s done (at Northfield) is something you don’t see very often,” said Steacy. “I sent him back to his owner because he was just too slow. But good for him. Perhaps he just matured.” Troyer isn’t sure what has gotten into Cooper, but whatever it is, he’ll gladly accept more of it. “The future? I don’t know,” he said. “The future will just have to tell us what it is.” By Bob Roberts, Special to The Plain Dealer, reprinted with permission

This Week: Messenger eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Nassagaweya, Eternal Camnation, and Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ontario; and W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: This Saturday (Aug. 24), Yonkers Raceway will host a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers, the second leg of the sport's pacing Triple Crown. The top four horses in each elimination will return for the $500,000 final on Aug. 31. Also on Saturday, Grand Circuit action at Woodbine Mohawk Park will feature a single division in the C$228,100 Nassagaweya for 2-year-old pacing colts, two divisions in the C$224,478 Eternal Camnation for 2-year-old pacing fillies; and a pair of C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for older trotters. On Sunday (Aug. 25), Tioga Downs will card four sets of W.N. Reynolds Memorial events for freshman pacers and trotters. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Greenshoe (Brian Sears) rebounded from his defeat in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday night (Aug. 17) at Vernon Downs. Greenshoe rebounded from his loss in the Hambletonian to win the $330,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial. Fotowon photo. Marseille (Ake Svanstedt) assumed the lead heading to the first quarter in front of Don't Let'em (Yannick Gingras) who took up position in second, with Sears waiting patiently in third with Greenshoe ($2.30). Mareseille set a modest first quarter of :27.1 before rationing out the speed to the half in :56.3, where Greenshoe made his move first-over heading into the final turn. Turning for home Marseille had a short lead past three-quarters in 1:25.1, but he could not fend off the pressure from Greenshoe who powered past through the stretch to a convincing six length victory. Greenshoe's stablemate, Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) finished second, while Marseille held on for third. Greenshoe is trained by Marcus Melander for owners Courant Inc., Morten Langli, Hans Backe, and Lars Granqvist. For the Father Patrick sired 3-year-old, it was his sixth win in eight starts this season. The Ice Dutchess (Yannick Gingras) scored a victory in the co-featured $135,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Starita (Dexter Dunn) jumped to the front out of the gate parking The Ice Dutchess ($5.80) to the first quarter of :27.1. After seizing the lead, The Ice Dutchess controlled the tempo to the half in :56.2. Evident Beauty (David Miller) was the first to make a move on the leader heading to the three-quarter pole (1:25.1), but that challenge was repelled by The Ice Dutchess who was two lengths in front turning for home. The Ice Dutchess faced no other challengers through the stretch and won by a decisive 1-3/4 lengths in 1:52.4. Evident Beauty held on for second, while Starita had to settle for third. The Ice Dutchess is owned by Coyote Wynd Farms and is trained by Nancy Johansson. The Muscle Hill sired filly now has four wins on the season and nine career victories. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, 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 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 731; 2. Yannick Gingras - 566; 3. David Miller - 444; 4. Dexter Dunn - 409; 5. Brian Sears - 344. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 673; 2. Tony Alagna - 282; 3. Marcus Melander - 279; 4. Jim King Jr. - 274; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 231. Owners: 1. Fashion Farms - 182; 2. Burke Racing Stable - 127.1; 3. Courant Inc. - 122.5; 4. Weaver Bruscemi - 114.6; 5. Jo Ann Looney-King - 101.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Yonkers Raceway and Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yonkers will feature the Yonkers Trot, Messenger Stakes, Hudson Filly Trot and Lady Maud. Woodbine Mohawk will offer the Canadian Pacing Derby and Maple Leaf Trot, as well as Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Columbus, MN - The Tuesday evening (August 20) harness racing program at Running Aces was jam packed with exciting and competitive races, and featured many outstanding performances. Among those were two major standouts - SB Madame Secretary who stormed home to capture the $8,625 Minnesota-Sired "A" freshman filly pace in track record time, and Amasa Arion, who flew home with a furious kick to get up right on the wire in the $15,000 Mares Open Pace for 5 wins in a row. Driver Darrell Wright floated SB Madam Secretary away from the gate at the back of the field before joining the outer flow with second-over cover near the midway point, while the early fractions were honest (:30.1 and :59.4). Go Margeaux (Rick Magee) had led the early stages before Teachmehowtotory (Nick Roland) took over near the 1:29.2 three-quarters, with Susie's Sister (Don Harmon) bearing down from second and SB Madam Secretary dropping in third as they rounded the far turn. As they straightened for home Susie's Sister took a tentative lead, but SB Madame Secretary was trotting strongest of all to the wire, nailing a track record victory by a neck over Susie's Sister with Passion in Paris (Steve Wiseman) getting up for third money in a career best 1:59.4 mile. SB Madam Secretary ($30.80) is a daughter of Tom Ridge, out of the Revenue S mare Candy is Dandy, owned by breeder Deborah Hofsaess and Susan Holm-Johansen, and trained by Ulf Holm-Johansen. The historic victory was the second career triumph in seven outings for the bay filly. Amasa Arion scored an impressive victory in the $15,000 Mares Open pace feature, besting a very talented field of eight mares, including headliner and race favorite Juslikeaqueen (Dean Magee). Driver Rick Magee got the 4 year old Western Thorn prodigy away in good order from the gate, dropping in third from post four, while Delightfully Wild (Nick Roland) and Juslikeaqueen battled for the front spot, and posted a quick opener in :27.4. Juslikeaqueen would lead from there, while PV Miracle Mary (Darrell Wright) pressed the pace from first-up, and Pull The Shade (Brady Jenson) advanced with the live cover through the middle fractions of :56.3 and 1:25. They were all bunched up turning for home, providing lots of pressure to leader Juslikeaqueen, and Rick Magee angled Amasa Arion from fifth on the inside all the way out to the four-path and they accelerated with an impressive burst to the wire to nail a neck victory over Juslikeaqueen in 1:53.4 with Pull The Shade a close third. Amasa Arion ($6.00) is a sharp 4 year old mare, by Western Thorn, she has now won five races in a row and seven of nine season's starts for owner Kristy Casagranda and trainer Rick Magee. Rick Magee and Steve Wiseman both led the Tuesday program with 3 winners each. Live Racing returns to Running Aces on Saturday, August 24 and offers a trio of Carryover pools: $1,666.54 for the 50 cent early Pick-4, $1,260.64 for the 20 cent Pick-5 Jackpot, and $1,199.42 for the 50 cent Hi-5. Post time on Saturday is 6 pm (CDT). By Darin Gagne, for Running Aces

On Tuesday night, Cash Me Out (Cash Hall) did what Cash Me Out does at Saratoga Casino Hotel. The veteran trotter has spent the last several years competing in the Open Trot and the eight year old added another win to his collection in Tuesday's $15,000 harness racing feature for high-steppers. Leading driver Billy Dobson picked up the catch-drive behind the Kyle Spagnola trainee and wasted no time moving the race's 4-5 favorite out to the early lead. Cash Me Out set fast fractions in the early going but after trotting the first quarter in 27.2 did back it down a bit before reaching the half in 57 seconds. Wings Of Royalty (Shawn Gray) appeared to be the major danger and took a run at the favorite in the final quarter but the chase was futile. Cash Me Out recorded his fifth win in the local Open this season as he stopped the timer in 1:55 making a runner-up out of Wings Of Royalty who came up second-best for the second consecutive week in the Open. Silent Pine (Bruce Cooper) came on to finish third. For Cash Me Out, it was the eighth victory in 2019 and the 45th of his career en route to lifetime earnings of more than $1.07 million. The exacta was chalky in Tuesday's feature returning $7.40 while the triple paid $23.40. The victory behind Cash Me Out was one of four on the evening for Billy Dobson who continues to lengthen his monster lead in the driver standings. Live racing continues on Wednesday night at Saratoga with a 14-race card featuring the New York Sire Stakes for two year old pacing fillies. First post time is set for 7:05pm with one non-betting race taking place before the wagering portion of the card.   Mike Sardella

ANDERSON, Ind.--August 20, 2019-- Despite soggy weather conditions and a tough, trailing post ten, May Baby turned in another dominant performance to capture the co-featured event of the evening, the first division of $66,000 Indiana Sires Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies, at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Tuesday, August 20. With driver, trainer James Yoder in the bike, May Baby avoided traffic issues and came charging late to score the victory in 1:56.1 over a track rated good. With the win, May Baby extended her win streak to four and remains undefeated in stakes action this season. Leaving from post ten, May Baby settled along the rail in sixth and avoided early confusion behind the gate after a break by Phabaj and Jared Finn in post position one. Robert Taylor sent Givemeonemoretry to the front from post six but the young filly made a costly break just before the first quarter in :28.2. Collettes, with Trace Tetrick in the bike, inherited the lead and she led the field through middle fractions of :57.2 and 1:26.4 before ever feeling a threat from the rest of the field. J-S Miss Carly and Alex Udell were unable to find a spot along the rail and pressed on to the front first-over and Yoder quickly grabbed the cover with May Baby. As the field turned for home, Yoder tipped May Baby off cover and she went to work. Using a :28.3 final quarter, May Baby trotted strong to the wire to finish nearly four lengths in front of Deswanslittlelorie and Michael Oosting. Collettes held on for third. As the heavy 1-2 favorite, May Baby returned $3.00 at the betting windows. "The trip didn't go at all like I wanted but she was able to overcome all of it," Yoder noted after the race. "We trained her all winter off a helmet so she is used to it. She's pretty much all business when the race gets going." With the win, May Baby pushed her lifetime bankroll to $83,250 and has now won all four of her lifetime outings while remaining undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes action this season. The daughter of Guccio-Free Wheeling is owned by Cheyenne Yoder and was bred by Oakwood Farms. In the second division of the stakes action, Rock Swan turned in a dominant performance of her own to find the winner's circle in 1:57. With Trace Tetrick in the bike, Rock Swan made her game winning move down the backside and never looked back. Leaving from post three, Rock Swan left just enough to protect her position and found a spot along the rail in second. RJZ First Lady and John DeLong were the first to get a call through the opening quarter in :28 but yielded the lead to La Nancio and Jared Finn down the backside. Just before the half in :58.1, Tetrick gave Rock Swan the green light and the filly quickly ranged up to take command. Rock Swan led the field to the third quarter in 1:27.1 before she began to distance herself from the rest of the field. Using a :29.2 final quarter, Rock Swan trotted evenly to the wire and finished nearly five lengths in front of I'd Rather Be Red and Brandon Bates. RJZ First Lady held on for third place honors. As the 3-5 betting favorite, Rock Swan returned $3.40 at the betting windows. "I pushed her out of the gate to get a good spot," Tetrick noted in the winner's circle. "She's a very handy filly who has a good mindset and really likes her job." Trained by Erv Miller, Rock Swan has now won four of five lifetime outings. Owned in partnership by S&R Racing and Anthony Lombardi, the daughter of Swan For All-Jessica has now amassed $79,481 in lifetime purse earnings. Indiana Sires Stakes action will continue at Harrah's Hoosier Park on Wednesday, August 21 with two $64,000 divisions for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. The evening's 12-race card will also feature a $20,000 Guaranteed trifecta in Race 10 and a $10,000 Guaranteed Hoosier High-5 in Race 12. With a daily post time of 6:30pm, live racing at Harrah's Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 9. For more information on the upcoming entertainment and live racing schedule, please visit www.harrahshoosierpark.com. by Emily Ratcliff, for Harrah's Hoosier Park

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 20, 2019--Sometimes, we realize communication ain't all it's cracked up to be. That's our story and we're sticking with it. When the list of Yonkers Trot entrants was sent out Monday (Aug. 19th), it numbered seven. Well, make it eight. A bad game of telephone omitted one...a Hambletonian-winning one. Forbidden Trade was indeed put in the box Monday for the 65th Trot, and for that omission in print, it's a mea culpa. "It wasn't in our original plan, but plans change," trainer Luc Blais said. "We let him tell us what to do and he's been training so well." Forbidden Trade, a son of Kadabra, was among the list of Yonkers Trot eligibles, supplemented after his 2-year-old season. He has won six of his nine starts at 3 ($671,484), the latest an Ontario Sire Stakes Gold event at Mohawk. The colt, has who made two half-mile-track OSS starts in his career, is owned by Serge Godin's Determination and driven by Bob McClure. Even with the 'addition' of Forbidden Trade, the limited number of entrants makes this season's race a one-dash-for-the-(half-million-dollar)-cash event, set for Saturday night, Aug. 31st. The new-and-improved alphabetical list of Yonkers Trot entrants, with declared drivers, are... Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) Gimpanzee (Brian Sears) HL Revadon (g) (Jim Marohn Jr.) Livinonthedash (Marcus Miller) No Drama Please (Tim Tetrick) Osterc (Dexter Dunn) Sheena's Boy (g) (Dunn also listed) Soul Strong (g) (Dunn also listed) by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Roll With Joe mare Obvious Blue Chip, a winner despite being parked the mile at Saratoga on Friday, came right back to triumph in the $14,000 distaff pacing feature on the Tuesday twilight card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Simon Allard got away third with the career winner of $511,324, then quarter-moved to command and did not get too taxing a middle half. This moderation left Obvious Blue Chip with plenty in the tank for the last quarter, which she stepped in :26.2 while taking a new mark of 1:50 flat, 1¼ lengths ahead of a game pocketsitting Shes Pukka N. Simon's brother Rene, the leading trainer at The Downs, conditions the winner for NLG Racing Stable and Stephen Klunowski. Simon Allard and George Napolitano Jr. each drove four winners on the Tuesday Pocono card. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs   Pocono Downs Week In Review This past week at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was filled with stakes action once again. We featured both Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and Stallion Series action for two-year-old pacing colts and geldings (Sunday) and two-year-old trotting fillies (Monday.) In addition, we enjoyed another round of the Great Northeast Open series on Saturday night, this time with the Open pacers taking a center stage. A busy week to be sure, and one that provides us with many candidates for this edition of the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: AFLAME HANOVER This three-year-old colt from the barn of Linda Schadel has been tearing it up of late in condition paces. And that’s understandable, considering the kind of competition he faced earlier in the year. Facing extremely long odds in both the North America Cup in Canada and the Max Hempt Memorial Pace at Pocono, Aflame Hanover snuck in for fourth-place finishes in both, managing to get his handlers pretty substantial payback in the process. When he returned to overnight racing, he was ready to flex his muscle. First up was a victory at Pocono on July 29 over non-winners of two. Then he headed over to Harrah’s at Philadelphia for a victory over non-winners of three. His quest for three in a row brought him back to Pocono on Sunday night, where he went off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of eight non-winners of four for a purse of $15,000. Leaving from post position #2, Aflame Hanover swooped Rickybobbyinthehaus to take the lead on the first turn. From there, there were really no anxious moments. Driver Andrew McCarthy rated the pace at a solid level, so that Aflame Hanover didn’t overexert himself but also so that nobody could put a real challenge to him with a first-over move. In the home stretch, the colt solidified his lead, holding off the closing A Bettor Beach to pick up the win by 2 ¼ lengths. The winning time of 1:51:2 on a track listed in good condition was a new career-mark for Aflame Hanover, who just keeps getting stronger each time out. Other top pacers this week include: T’s Electric (Tyler Buter, Emily Bost) who picked up his third straight claiming handicap win on Sunday night, getting it done in the slop in 1:53:4; Backstreet Shadow (Pat Berry, Ron Burke), who followed up three wins in a row elsewhere by shipping in and capturing Saturday night’s division of the Great Northeast Open Series pace in 1:49:2 in the slop; and Derecho (George Napolitano Jr., Gilberto Garcia-Herrera), who moved up in class to win his second straight condition pace on Saturday night, this one in 1:52:4 in the sloppy conditions. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: VERY VERY FAST Whoever named this trotter must have had a very good premonition of what was to come in his racing career. Now aged 10, Very Very Fast has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, back on July 14 at Pocono, the gelding set a career-best with at Pocono with a win in 1:52:2. A few weeks later, he stepped up into the $21,500 condition trotting group and managed another victory, this one in 1:53:2. Last week he very nearly missed capturing an Open Handicap trot at Tioga, finishing second from an outside post. He returned to Pocono on Sunday night to once again face off with the $21,500 condition trotters. And it was a stout field he faced. In fact, despite all his recent success at Pocono, Very Very Fast went off as a 7-2 third choice. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of eight, he was sent immediately to the front end by driver Tim Tetrick in the sloppy conditions. Even though he was rated well, however, the 6-5 favorite Scirocco Rob seemed to be a major threat as he lurked in the pocket for much of the mile. In the stretch, Tetrick asked Very Very Fast for more juice and the veteran provided it. When Scirocco Rob tried to respond, he went off-stride. There was still the matter of Pappy Go Go, who was closing very well out three-wide in the lane. But Very Very Fast held him off to win it by a half-length, posting a mile of 1:54 in the off-going. That gives him three top-flight condition wins at Pocono in a little more than a month’s time, once again living up to that speedy name of his. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Bill’s Man (Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen), who followed up a win at Tioga with a condition victory on Sunday night in 1:54:1; Zlatan (Tim Tetrick, Vincent Fusco Jr.) who shipped in to pick up a tough condition win on Sunday night in 1:55:4; and Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke), the budding superstar two-year-old filly who stayed unbeaten in her career after five races with a Sire Stakes win on Monday in 1:56:1. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: SHARP ACTION MONEY There were a lot of live long-shot winners this week, but this pacer driven by Tom Jackson topped them all, winning a condition on Saturday night at 44-1 for a $91.80 payout on a $2 wager. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: MATT KAKALEY Kakaley loved the stakes action on Sunday night with two wins apiece in the Sire Stakes and Stallion Series, with one of the Sire Stakes victories coming aboard 44-1 long shot Tell Them Lou. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: PER ENGBLOM During Monday’s stakes action for two-year-old trotting fillies, Engblom managed a Stallion series victory with Rebecca Clark and a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes win with Queen Of The Hill. That will do it for this week at Pocono, but we’ll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me atjbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

Three $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes went postward on a steamy Tuesday at Scioto Downs, with temperatures dropping from the low 90s to the low 70s after a harsh, mid-afternoon torrential downpour. That, coupled with a gait-breaking-ridden third division contested after the rainfall, didn't stop even-money favorite It's Academic and driver Chris Page from tying the track record for 2-year-old trotting colts in 1:56.3. The Uncle Peter colt, who is the first foal out of the Muscle Hill mare Annapolis 3, 1:55 ($49,549), trotted decisively to a 1¼ length triumph after sitting chilly on the heels of eventual second-place finisher Action Uncle (Brett Miller) throughout the mile. Doubleyellowline (Dan Noble) was third. The victory was the fifth in six starts for It's Academic--who has swept all four OSS legs for trainer Ronnie Burke--sitting the colt atop the OSS standings with 204 points and $80,000 in OSS earnings, and firmly securing him a starting berth in the $300,000 Championship slated for Sept. 1 at Northfield Park. A $50,000 purchase at the 2018 Ohio Select Sale, It's Academic's career earnings stand at $83,400 for Burke Racing Stable, Bill Donovan, Joe Sbrocco and the Hatfield Stables. He was bred by Gbw Breeding Farms Inc., of Ohio. Prior to the downpour, a pair of appropriately-named trotting youngsters battled through the stretch in the second OSS contest, with Carter Duer's Buxton (5-1) and driver Danny Noble holding off 9-1 Holton (Brett Miller) by a 1¼ lengths in 1:57.1. It was the first start in OSS competition for the Bob Stewart trainee and his first lifetime victory in four starts. Herecomescharlie B, the 1-5 choice, was third for Ryan Stahl. Bred by Peninsula Farm, Buxton brought a $15,000 tag at the 2018 Ohio Select Sale, and this maiden win in his first start over an Ohio oval upped his career earnings to $22,085. He is the fourth foal out of the Andover Hall mare Love U Overandover 4, 1:55.2s ($152,960) and is a half-brother to Love Crazy Love (by Crazed) 2, Q1:57.1s ($90,808). Finally, the first OSS division saw the diminutive but mighty Exhibit Class and driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr., take a new lifetime mark of 1:57 en route to their third OSS triumph. The son of Triumphant Caviar has won three OSS legs and was second in another, sitting him second in the standings with 179 points and $70,000 in OSS earnings, securing his eligibility for the $300,000 Championship. Exhibit Class left the gate at 3-1, besting 3-1 Jarmbalou (Brett Miller) by half a length in a near wire-to-wire effort, with 6-1 Expect The Sweep (Aaron Merriman) holding on for third. Exhibit Class now has $73,458 in career earnings from four wins and two seconds in six starts for trainer Sean Smithpeters and owner Marion Beachy. This homebred is the third and most prolific foal out of the Classic Photo mare Classic Blaze 5, 1:55.3 ($27, 185). The top eight point earners eligible the $300,000 Championship are as follows: It's Academic (204 points); Exhibit Class (179); Big Box Hanover (124); Attache' (109); Expect The Sweep (86); Doubleyellowline (80); Jarmbalou (79); and Action Uncle (65). Ohio Sires Stakes continue on Wednesday, August 21 with three $40,000 divisions for 2-year-old trotting fillies. by Kimberly Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund    

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