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CHESTER, PA - The Bar Hopping - Bella Dolce filly Bella Bellini became the fastest three-year-old harness racing trotter in North America so far in 2021 when she won at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon in 1:53.1. Dexter Dunn kept the talented miss in the pocket behind Worthy Of Honor early as that one put down numbers of :28.1 and :57.4, then pulled her out to challenge the leader nearing the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Bella Bellini cleared to the lead before the end of the far turn, and tacked on her own second successive :27.3 quarter to win by 5¾ lengths over the pacesetter while going comfortably, indicating much more is to come from trainer Nifty Norman and owner David McDuffee, who has long been associated with this filly's famous family. The 1:53.1 broke a seasonal standard for sophomores which had lasted all of 22 minutes, set in the previous race at Philly, when another offspring of Bar Hopping, the gelding Mister Boinga, caught pacesetting favorite Shinkansen to lower his record over three seconds to 1:53.4. Tim Tetrick handled the winner, now 4-of-9 lifetime, for trainer Jill Roland and owner Bernard O'Brien in the richest race of the day, which went for $12,800. BELLA DOICE REPLAY   The two fleet three-year-olds got their races in before a soaking rain moved through the area, forcing the downgrading of the racing surface to "sloppy." A pair of $11,600 contests for fast-class older performers were held after the rainstorm, and in the "tougher" division on paper, the Muscles Yankee four-year-old mare No Mas Drama continued undefeated in three seasonal starts, with the new Michael Russo trainee leaving no doubt she was the best in a pacesetting 1:53.2 lifetime mark. Ginnis Stables LLC owns the winner of $258,305, and that bankroll should be climbing quickly in short order if she can retain her current sharpness. In the other sub-feature, Only For Justice and Moveoutofmyway K exchanged the lead before Only For Justice grabbed it for good early in the backstretch, though Moveoutofmyway K came at him again at the end of a 1:55.2 mile to be defeated only by a length. Only For Justice, making his second start here after coming from Mohawk, is a Justice Hall gelding and a winner of $273,147; he is trained by Andrew Harris for Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. Harrah's Philadelphia still has three cards coming up this racing week: the usual Friday card at 12:25 p.m., and then a special live program on Kentucky Derby Day Saturday, with the same post time as Sunday's racing, 12:40 p.m. Program pages for these cards will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - Eazy Pass justified her backing as the heaviest sort of favorite by brushing to the lead nearing the three-quarters and going on to tie her mark of 1:54.3 in the $40,000 Bobby Weiss Series Championship for sophomore trotting fillies Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. The 32-1 shot P L Olivia was hustled away and put outsiders in behind her before the :27.3 quarter, and she went on to parked second choice quarter-mover Trip Sevens, leaving that rival out in the air past the :56.4 half. Eazy Pass, whom Dexter Dunn had moved out behind Trip Sevens perhaps in anticipation of her clearing, thus had the second-over journey, but before the 1:26 third panel the victorious filly was on her way to the lead, which she maintained to the wire. Eazy Pass won by four lengths over the resilient P L Olivia, with Frankly My Dear third. EAZY PASS REPLAY   Eazy Pass, who won the first and third Weiss prelims for her group while skipping the second, now sports a 4-3-1-0 seasonal record since trainer Nifty Norman removed the trotting hopples over the winter. The daughter of Muscle Hill was successful for the partnership of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing. The partnership of trainer John Butenschoen and driver Tyler Buter clicked three times on the Tuesday card to run their Monday/Tuesday total record to 7-5-1-1 - all with three-year-olds making their first starts of the year. The Donato Hanover gelding Truffles Too and a filly by that sire, Melania, both won in 1:54.4. Fastest three-year-old trotter on the card was the Deweycheatumnhowe gelding Dewey Arnold, now winner of two straight here and home Tuesday in 1:54.1, just a tick off the fastest sophomore trotting mile anywhere this year, for driver Jason Bartlett and trainer David Dewhurst. Four April trotting miles in under 1:55f by three-year-olds is a pretty noteworthy feat. Racing resumes on Kentucky Derby Day Saturday at 12:30 p.m.; joining Pocono's temporary expatriate colony from Ontario on Saturday will be 2017 World Driving Champion James Macdonald. Program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

CHESTER, Pa. -- Shnitzledosomethin ($7.20) took top honors on the Sunday (April 25) card at Harrah's Philadelphia with a 1:51.3 win in the featured $14,400 pace, while harness racing driver Dexter Dunn captured six of the afternoon's 14 races. David Miller vaulted Shnitzledosomethin to the lead from his outside post seven to control the feature, and the pair rated a :56.3 first half before bracing for a first-over challenge from 3-2 favorite Da Delightful (Daniel Dube) up the backstretch. Despite being forced through a :27.2 third sectional, Shnitzledosomethin held his ground to prevail by 1-1/4 lengths. Da Delightful maintained second by a neck over Dealer's Table (Tim Tetrick), who lifted off cover in the homestretch.   SHNITZLEDOSOMETHIN     Dylan Davis trains Shnitzledosomethin, a 6-year-old son of Fred And Ginger with 24 wins and $843,733 in career earnings, for Howard Taylor, Ed Gold, Abe Basen and Richard Lombardo. Dunn's six-win afternoon was led by Richard "Nifty" Norman trainee Grace Hill ($3.60), who escaped traffic on the backstretch to win a $12,800 distaff pace in 1:52.4. In addition to another Norman trainee, Billy Badger N ($5.00, 1:51.3), Dunn also drove Skyway Billy ($10.80, 1:54), Tango Dancer N ($4.20, 1:52.2), Wagon Master ($9.80, 1:52.3) and Aintnobettor A ($10.00, 1:52). Harrah's Philadelphia will present five programs of racing this coming week: First post on Wednesday (April 28), Thursday (April 29) and Friday (April 30) is 12:25 p.m., followed by Saturday (May 1) and Sunday (May 2) programs slated to begin at 12:40 p.m.   For full race results, click here.   by James Witherite, for Harrah's Philadelphia  

CHESTER, PA - Three $11,200 divisions of the "nw 3 races" class for developing harness racing pacers highlighted the Friday card at Harrah's Philadelphia. In the quickest of the three headline events, the three-year-old Sportswriter filly Sports Duchess was able to sit in third until the three-quarters in her division of the female features, briefly got cover, then went wide for driver George Napolitano Jr. and was along by a neck over Sweet Talker. The 1:53.4 clocking knocked almost four seconds off the lifetime best of Sports Duchess, who is trained by Blake MacIntosh for owners Stuart McIntosh and Leanne Murphy. SPORTS DUTCHESS REPLAY   In the other distaff contest, Lyons Softassilk went first-over into a :56.3 last half in her seasonal debut, yet still had enough to make the lead then held off Game Of Shadows by a neck in 1:54.2. The Somebeachsomewhere sophomore was driven by Tim Tetrick for trainer Jim King Jr. and Threelyonsracing. The race for males saw driver Dexter Dunn atypically pay $55.60 to win as he put the Somebeachsomewhere sophomore gelding Aquaman Hanover just in the right place at two different junctures of the racing in getting a stretch lead, then holding off fast-closing Yankee Litigator by a neck while taking a new mark of 1:54. Nifty Norman trains the winner for Enzed Racing Stable Inc., Robert Cooper Stables LLC, and Kovach Stables LLC. Nutcracker Sweet, the six-year-old star-crossed full brother to the $2.7M-winning Bettor's Sweet and a half-brother to the $3.4M-winning Sweet Lou, had produced a sub-1:51 clocking in each of his first four years of racing, but on Friday he went the fastest mile of his career when he won in 1:50.1. George Napolitano Jr. drove the winner of $441,134 to the sizzling time for the brother team of trainer Tom and owner John Cancelliere. Ontario's "youthful veteran" driver Doug McNair, 2017 Canadian Driver of the Year, wasted no time making his presence felt on the local scene, guiding Betsea to a new mark of 1:52.4 in his initial drive of the season here. McNair is trying Philly and other Mid-Atlantic ovals while the virus locks down his native province, and the winner of 3687 races is likely to acquit himself well. The Sunday card at Harrah's Philadelphia is as good as the southeast Pennsylvania oval has presented in 2021, with features for developing younger horses, fast-class paces for both sexes, and hard-hitting top-level claiming handicaps. Sunday's first card will start at 12:40 p.m.; Program pages for the card will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html. There will also be a live card at Philly on Kentucky Derby Day, Saturday, May 1, at 12:40. Prompted by a carryover of $2,237.98 from Friday's (April 23) Late Pick-4, Harrah's Philadelphia will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Early Pick-4 on Sunday afternoon (April 25). The guaranteed pool is offered in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. As such, past performance pages for the Early Pick-4, which comprises the first four races on the card, will be available on the USTA website. Harrah's Philadelphia offers two Pick-4s daily; both offer a 50-cent base wager and a low 15% takeout.Prompted by a carryover of $2,237.98 from Friday's (April 23) Late Pick-4, Harrah's Philadelphia will offer a $10,000 guaranteed pool in the Early Pick-4 on Sunday afternoon (April 25). The guaranteed pool is offered in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Program. As such, past performance pages for the Early Pick-4, which comprises the first four races on the card, will be available on the USTA website. Harrah's Philadelphia offers two Pick-4s daily; both offer a 50-cent base wager and a low 15% takeout. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The maiden Bar Hopping filly Bella Bellini, making her first start since October 10, equaled the fastest clocking by any three-year-old trotter in North America this year, 1:54, when she won her $17,500 division of the final preliminary of her Bobby Weiss Series action Tuesday afternoon at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. Living up to her pedigree (in addition to her sire, her dam is the $700G+ winner Bella Dolce, she a daughter of champion and producer of three $500G+ winners Pizza Dolce), Bella Bellini had the lead before the :28.3 quarter, backed the half off to :58, then sprinted to hit the three-quarters in 1:25.3 before drawing clear to win by 15¼ lengths for driver Dexter Dunn, trainer Nifty Norman, and owner David McDuffee, who has had a long involvement with this family. The 1:54 clocking equals the figure put up by the gelding Winning Ticket over the 5/8-mile Miami Valley oval, and is superior to any time posted by a sophomore filly on any size of track. BELLA BELLINI REPLAY   That previous mark for fillies of 1:54.3 had been established 32 minutes earlier at Pocono by another Dunn/Norman/McDuffee horse, the Muscle Hill filly Eazy Pass. Owned by McDuffee in partnership with Melvin Hartman and Diamond Creek Racing, Eazy Pass also proved uncatchable on the lead, and was seven lengths clear at the finish to run her Weiss record to 2-for-2. EAZY PASS REPLAY   Prospects for a sweep for Dunn/Norman and a second win for Team Eazy Pass were dashed when Rebel Girl, a winner in her only previous Weiss outing, was scratched sick. Taking advantage was another daughter of Bar Hopping, Nancy Bar, who rode in the pocket then edged favored Lexa Hanover to break her maiden in 1:58 for driver Fern Paquet Jr., trainer Rob Harmon, and owner Tom Haughton. NANCY BAR REPLAY   So Nifty Norman has three fillies undefeated in this section of the Weiss, but only the double winner Eazy Pass (the only double winner this section produced) garnered enough points to make the provisionary list of top point winners, which reads: Alpine; Etra De Vie; Eazy Pass; Nancy Bar; P L Olivia; Lexa Hanover; Frankly My Dear and Trip Sevens (tie); and Orange Zest. Two horses, Kayla's Playmate and R Speed Of Light, will decide AE1 / AE2 by luck of the draw if needed. Bella Bellini and Rebel Girl are tied for 16th. The pairing of driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker, along with driver Jason Bartlett, visited Victory Lane three times on the afternoon. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

CHESTER, Pa. -- Meadows invader Whos Better ($5.20) made easy work of his six rivals in Sunday afternoon's (April 11) featured event at Harrah's Philadelphia, an $11,600 high-level conditioned pace. The 6-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding used the entirety of a :27 first quarter mile to clear 33-1 long shot Last Gunfighter for control of the terms. Once in front, Whos Better faced nary a challenge, steadily widening his margin of clearance and defeating Last Gunfighter by four lengths in 1:51.2. Hereittiz narrowly held off a belated rally from Jack's Shadow to finish third.   WHOS BETTER REPLAY     Dexter Dunn, whose three wins on the 12-race program were matched only by Tim Tetrick, drove 15-time winner Whos Better for owner-trainer Jean Rastetter. In the co-featured $11,600 distaff pace, Crazy Cute ($3.40) stole a :57.3 first half before throwing down a :55.3 final half for a 1-1/2 length victory over Eclipse Me N. George Napolitano Jr. drove the 5-year-old daughter of Art Major for trainer Gilbert Garcia-Owen and the partnership of Gilbert Garcia-Herrera and Barbara Arnstine. Racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (April 14), with the first of 14 races due off at 12:25 p.m. ET. by James Witherite for Harrah's Philadelphia  

WILKES-BARRE, PA - The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono hosted its first Tuesday harness racing card of the year, with the spotlight on three $17,500 divisions of the first preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for three-year-old trotting fillies. And all three divisions finished the same way - with the red, black, and white colors of two-time Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn going under the wire first with the winner. Dunn combined with trainer Nifty Norman and the ownership grouping of Melvin Hartman, David McDuffee, and Diamond Creek Racing in two of the successes. The first came with the Muscle Hill miss Eazy Pass, who raced second-over, then made a "nifty" move to the inside off the far turn and came up the Pocono Pike to post a maiden victory in 1:56. EAZY PASS REPLAY   The team also enjoyed success with the Cantab Hall filly Rebel Girl, who swept to the lead entering the far turn and reduced her mark to 1:56.2 in her initial outing of 2021. REBEL GIRL REPLAY   The fastest of Dunn's three Weiss successes (he had a total of four over the entire card) was behind the Chapter Seven miss Trip Sevens, who moved to the lead early and was under little duress afterwards in lowering her speed standard to 1:55.3. Trainer Blake MacIntosh co-owns the winner with Steve Heimbecker and Mortgage Boys Stable. TRIP SEVENS REPLAY   Pocono will be back in action on Saturday afternoon, featuring the second preliminary of the Bobby Weiss Series for sophomore pacing colts - with the entrants likely to enjoy the fact that One Eight Hundred, a devastating 1:50.2 - :26.1 winner in the first prelim, will be missing from the entrants. First post Saturday is at 12:30 p.m.; program pages will be available at https://www.phha.org/downsmsppps.html. For full race results, click here. From the PHHA/The Downs

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Colossal Stride A was wound up early in the Saturday night harness racing feature at The Meadowlands, so his driver Dexter Dunn had to change the game plan. Colossal Stride A, an Australian import who has been stateside for only a little more than two months, recorded his fourth win in six starts since shipping over from Down Under, taking the $27,500 high-end conditioned pace in a lifetime-best 1:50. In a field that saw one scratch decrease the field size to five, Dunn was on board with trying to win from off the pace with the 3-5 favorite. "I was planning on going to the back and chasing the horses home," said the Big M's current dash-win leader. "But when the gate closed, he hit his leg on my bike, so my horse got a little excited in the first turn, so we moved to the front." Dunn went after early leader Shnitzledosomethin and grinded his way to the top at the half in :54.3. On the far turn, Yacht Seelster, who defeated Colossal Stride A the last time the duo met on March 20, was on the go after moving from fifth after the half and inched closer to the leader as they straightened away for the final three-sixteenths. "My horse heard a noise coming," said Dunn, the two-time defending United States Harness Writers Association Driver of the Year. "When you have a good horse like that chasing you, you never know. But when my horse heard the other horses coming, he accelerated." Colossal Stride A then paced home in :27 to record a 1½-length win over Yacht Seelster. U S Captain was third. COLOSSAL STRIDE A REPLAY   A 6-year-old gelded son of Bettor's Delight -Tailamade Lombo who is trained by Nifty Norman, Colossal Stride A returned $3.40 to his backers. He now has 12 wins from 35 career starts, good for earnings of $94,413 for owners Paul Sunderhaus, Derek Menchhofer, En Ess Stable and Enzed Racing Stable. THE FAB FOUR: Leading trainer Jeff Cullipher padded his lead atop the Big M conditioner standings with four winners on the card. Cullipher, whose horses won 125 races during 2020, scored with Lovedbythemasses ($6.20 to win in the third race), Rose Run Vantage ($14.80, fifth), Bechers Brook A ($7.00, seventh) and Dealer's Table ($31.00, 10th). He now has 29 winners at the Big M's current Winter-Spring-Championship meeting, 14 more than Ron Burke, who sits in the second spot. A BETTING BONANZA: All-source wagering totaled $3,444,133 on the 13-race card, the 13th time out of 14 Saturdays this year betting has broken the $3-million barrier. Overall, the $3-million plateau has been reached 18 times out of a total of 27 programs during 2021. A year ago, betting was $3 million or more a total of 11 times. A LITTLE MORE: Betting on the 50-cent Pick-4s was vigorous, as the two popular puzzles combined to see action of just over $203,000. ... Dunn led the driver colony with three winners. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6:20 p.m. For full race results, click here. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Displaying a remarkable closing kick, Major Occasion A was airborne through a final quarter of :26 in her seasonal harness racing debut to become the second straight Friday night feature winner to do it in last to first fashion, taking the $22,500 Winners Over $50,000 Lifetime for pacing fillies and mares in 1:52.4 at The Meadowlands. "She's a good mare," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "Her [1:54.4] qualifier last week was a good one." And it proved to be more than enough to get her ready for the assignment at hand. It appeared that the race belonged to Betalady, who was on the lead through soft fractions of :28.1, :57.2 and 1:25.4. Major Occasion A opted to race from last in the six-horse field for most of the mile, picking up live cover at the five-eighths from 9-5 favorite Sweet Lucy Lou, who was last week's come-from-behind winner. Off the far turn, the 'Major' tipped off her cover before rocketing home to record a 1-length win over Betalady. Sweet Lucy Lou was third. MAJOR OCCASION A REPLAY   "When you're sitting back last and you're chasing good mares, it's going to be hard to catch them," said Dunn. "But she really knocked it down through the stretch. She was good off the helmet and should have a good season." Trained by Nifty Norman for owners Enzed Racing Stable, Major Occasion A, a 7-year-old daughter of Art Major-Fake Occasion, returned $6.40 to win as the 2-1 second choice in the wagering. She now has 21 wins from just 68 career outings, good for earnings of $415,273. HE'S A GRAND OLD MAN: Even though he was making the 293rd start of his career, 14-year-old Statesman N looked like a kid out there in the $12,500 Play Meadowlands Final for $7,500 claimers, scoring by a determined head in 1:53.3. Owned and trained by Yogi Sheridan, Statesman N completed a two-race sweep of the series by brushing to the lead before the half and holding off the pocket-sitting Northern Rock after the pair duked it out toe-to-toe through the stretch. Statesman N, a gelded son of Christian Cullen-Club Sport who was driven by Dunn, now has 58 career wins and lifetime earnings of $949,483. As the heavy 2-5 public choice, he returned $2.80 to win. A LITTLE MORE: Mark MacDonald continued his winning ways by pacing the driving colony with three winners on the card, giving him eight victories over the last five programs. ... There were no winning tickets sold in the 20-cent Pick-6, creating a carryover of $7,384. Those with five correct collected $96.14. ... All-source handle totaled $2,701,155. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6:20 p.m. by Dae Little, for The Meadowlands  

It was a chalky beginning to the 2021 MGM Borgata Series for free-for-all harness racing pacers on Monday night (March 15) at Yonkers Raceway as favorites delivered in four of the five $40,000 divisions. Let It Ride N (Dexter Dunn) began the proceedings, prevailing off a second-over trip at 1-9 to run his record in the United States to seven wins from seven starts. Dunn brought Let It Ride N to the outside from fourth after the 56.4 half, and then picked up cover when This Is The Plan (Yannick Gingras) tipped out of the pocket beyond the 1:24.1 three-quarters. Dunn sent Let It Ride N three-wide on the far turn, and he kicked home strongly to win by half a length in 1:52.2. This Is The Plan was the runner-up, and Rodeo Rock (Tim Tetrick) closed from sixth to third in the last quarter. Richard "Nifty" Norman trains Let It Ride N, an 8-year-old gelding by Rock N Roll Heaven, for owners William Hartt and Enzed Racing Stable Inc. Let It Ride N has won 25 times from 61 lifetime starts, and he has now pocketed $395,959. Let It Ride N paid $2.30 to win and led a $5.30 exacta and a $53.50 trifecta.   The lone upsetter was 9-2 offering Lyons Steel (Austin Siegelman), who won the second split in 1:53.1. Lyons Steel raced in fifth through fractions of 27.3, 56.4, and 1:25, went four-wide from third-over on the final turn, and got up in the stretch to defeat American Mercury (Andrew McCarthy), who had the second-over journey, by a neck. Mac's Jackpot (Brent Holland) was third after popping out of the two-hole nearing three-quarters. A 6-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven gelding, Lyons Steel is trained by Dennis Watson for owner BD Racing LLC. Lyons Steel picked up career victory 27, and he pushed his bankroll to $394,668. Lyons Steel returned $11.40 to win. The exacta kicked back $58.00, and the trifecta was worth $231.00.   San Domino A (Todd McCarthy) didn't disappoint at 3-5 in the next grouping, tallying in 1:53.1. San Domino A sped out from post four and cleared to the point around Tookadiveoffdipper (Pat Lachance) passing the 27 second opening quarter. After a 56.1 half and a 1:24.3 three-quarters, San Domino A slammed the door with a 28.3 final kicker, topping a first-over Tyga Hanover (Jason Bartlett) by a length and a half. Pat Stanley N (Jordan Stratton) turned a second-over trip into a third-place result. The victorious 8-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding is trained by Nancy Takter for the ownership group of Joe P Racing LLC. and Oldford Racing LLC. San Domino A now has 30 lifetime wins, and he has earned $367,225. San Domino A paid $3.30 to win and was atop a $23.80 exacta and a $58.00 trifecta. Hesa Kingslayer N (Jim Marohn Jr.) was the even-money choice in the fourth flight, and he would get the job done in a 1:52.4 mile. This race was action-packed as 42-1 shot Ideal Jimmy (Holland) forged his way to the lead going to the 27 second opening quarter, then gave a parking ticket to Shnitzledosomethin (Gingras) through a 55.3 half and a 1:23.3 three-quarters. Hesa Kingslayer N, who had joined the two-wide flow from fourth before the half, went on the attack three-wide prior to three-quarters, assumed the first-over position on the final bend, and showed an advantage on the outside before they turned for home. From there, Hesa Kingslayer N went to win by a length over Semi Tough (George Brennan), with Ostro Hanover (Tyler Buter) third from off-the-pace. Trainer Michael Deters also co-owns Hesa Kingslayer N, an 8-year-old gelded son of Christian Cullen, with Joel Warner. Hesa Kingslayer N now has 18 career triumphs, and he has put away $149,962. He returned $4.00 to win and keyed a $69.50 exacta and a $258.50 trifecta. Siegelman picked up another MGM Borgata Pacing Series victory when he guided even-money favorite Leonidas A to a 1:53.1 decision in the final tilt. Western Fame (Daniel Dube), who won this event the last time it was held in 2019, posted stations of 28.1, 57.1, and 1:25.1, but Backstreet Shadow (Tetrick) was moving quickly towards him from first-over heading to three-quarters, and Leonidas A was glued right to that rival from second-over. Siegelman tipped Leonidas A three-wide on the last turn, he vaulted into the lead in upper stretch, and then drew off to a convincing 2 1/2 length tally. Backstreet Shadow had to settle for second, and Chief Mate (Scott Zeron), who started from post eight, advanced from last to third in the final quarter. Last year's Potomac Pace champion, Leonidas A is trained by Sheena McElhiney for owner Jesmeral Stable. A 6-year-old Mach Three gelding, Leonidas A has won 50 percent of his lifetime starts (26 of 52), and he has earnings of $251,848. Leonidas A paid $4.00 to win. The exacta returned $8.90, and the trifecta kicked back $76.50. The MGM Borgata Series continues with preliminary round action through April 12, and the final is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 19. There is more stakes racing ahead at Yonkers this week with the third and final leg of both the M Life Rewards Ladies Pacing Series on Tuesday (March 16) and the M Life Rewards Gents Series on Wednesday (March 17). On Friday (March 19), pacing mares take to the track in three $35,000 divisions of the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. Alexa Skye, Blue Ivy, and Machnhope, who were victorious in the first leg of that event, have drawn in separate races again this time. Post time for all of those programs is 7:15 p.m. From Yonkers Raceway

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Ana Afreet N and JL Cruze made quick work of their foes Saturday night at The Meadowlands, as each won their respective harness racing co-featured $25,000 Winners Over/Junior Opens with ease on a chilly night at the mile oval. Ana Afreet N, making just his second start back after a two-month layoff, showed that he is all the way back in the groove, as the Jeff Cullipher trainee crushed nine overmatched foes in the marquee event for pacers. Departing from post nine provided little in the way of trouble for the 6-year-old son of Bettor's Delight-Anna Livia, as driver Andy McCarthy left the gate sharply, moving swiftly around the first turn while four-wide before clearing to the top at the quarter in :27.1. It was over right then and there. After being permitted to rate a second fraction in :28.2 with nobody close on the rim, Ana Afreet N then shrugged off token first-over pressure around the far turn from the horse who won this race last week, Shnitzledosomethin, before sprinting home in :26.4 to win by 1¾ lengths over a rail-sitting Gods Spirit N in 1:50.2. Shnitzledosomethin held third.   "He was terrific tonight," said McCarthy. "He really doesn't love the front end but he's going to have to get used to it racing over a half-mile track [in the March 15 Borgata Series] at Yonkers. He's probably better with a target, but he paced home strong. I think if a horse had been nearby, he would have shown even more." Ana Afreet N paid $5.80 to win as the 9-5 favorite and upped his lifetime numbers to 23 victories from just 46 starts. Owned by Pollack Racing and Jeff Cullipher, his lifetime earnings now stand at $180,072. JL Cruze showed no rust after a two-week break, blasting down the pike in the featured trot in 1:53.2 as the 1-2 public choice. "He takes me around the track," said winning driver Dexter Dunn. "He makes my job easy." The 10-year-old son of Crazed-Topcat Hall backed up his pilot's words by having an easy time of it on the front end. "That's what makes him so good," said Dunn, referring to his horse's last start, which he won from off the pace. "He's so versatile, so good out of the gate." JL Cruze, who was assigned post seven in the seven-horse field, exploded away from the gate, made the top out of the first turn, and cut out fractions of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25.3, before sprinting home in :27.4 to win by 1½ lengths over a fast-closing Pikachu Hanover. Winnerup was third.   Trained by Eric Ell and owned by W. Kenneth Wood, W.J. Dittmar Jr. and S.J. Iaquinta, JL Cruze lifted his lifetime statistics to 44 wins from 128 starts, good for an overflowing bank account of $1,584,892. He returned $3.00 to win and has now won four of his last five Big M starts. A LITTLE MORE: McCarthy won three races on the card to finish with five victories over the weekend. ... The 20-cent Pick-6 carryover of $6,225 blossomed into a total pool of $35,136, and those who had winning tickets cashed in for $3,422. ... All-source wagering totaled $3,114,494. There have been 10 Saturday programs conducted at The Big M thus far in 2021, and each has seen the $3-million-handle barrier busted. ... Racing resumes Friday at 6 p.m. For full race results, click here. by Dave Little, for The Meadowlands

DOVER, DE -  Anytime N won the Mares Winners Over/Select harness racing pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday night. Edge Of Eternity and Anytime N both left alertly for early race positioning. Dexter Dunn took back with Anytime N and accepted the pocket position. Edge Of Eternity cut uncontested race fractions of :26.4, :55.3 and 122.4. SkateBoard Chic recovered from a skip and went off stride after the start. She raced 1st up past the half but did not threaten the leaders. At the top of the stretch, Anytime N vacated the pocket and rushed past the 4/5 race favorite, Edge Of Eternity, in 1:51. Anytime N (Bettor’s Delight) won by 2 lengths and was sent off as the public’s 2nd choice at odds of 5/2. Anytime N is owned by Kdp Stables LLC. and is trained by Josh Green.     Pacesetter, Edge Of Eternity, finished 2nd for trainer Chuck Crissman Jr.  Tim Tetrick was in the bike. Skateboard Chic, was most impressive, as she went off stride at the start of the race and spotted the field ten lengths.  She finished a fast closing 3rd for trainer Bart Bradley.  Corey Callahan was the driver. Dexter Dunn won 4 races on the betting card.  There is a $5,000 guaranteed pick 5 wager tomorrow beginning on the 10th race and concludes on the  14th race.  The wager is a fifty cent minimum bet with a 15% takeout. Post Time on Thursday at Dover Downs is 4:30 pm. For full results, click here. by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs  

Down Under harness racing driver has big weekend of winning races. Dexter Dunn jumped back into the bright lights over the weekend while racing in North America when he steered home 8 winners over the two nights of harness racing at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. Two wins came on Friday night and six wins were on Saturday night. The highlight of Dunns successful weekend was with the very in form trotter Jl Cruze in a $22,500 Trot, where the Eric Ell trained son of Crazed won nicely in a time of 1:52.4. The win was Jl Cruzes third of his last 4 Meadowlands race starts. Dunn also drove two down under pacers to victory. The first was with Statesman N, who bolted in scoring a winning time of 1:53.3. The next came in a down under trio victory when Colossal Stride A crossed the wire in first place, who is trained by down under trainer Nifty Norman. The 6yo Bettors Delight gelding had a fight up the stretch but coming out best in 1:50.2.  Eight wins over the weekend took Dexter Dunns lifetime wins of driving harness racing horses to 3300. 1022 of those coming from his brief but unbelievably successful north American harness driving career.    Tuesday 9th February Miami Valley Raceway OH Mary Catherine A – Time: 1:57.1, Stake: $7,500 Threeofthebest A – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,800   Monticello Raceway NY Northern Assassin A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $5,200 Im A Director N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $6,100   Pompano Park FL Glenferrie Blade A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $7,500 Shes Sporty A – Time: 1:53.1, Stake: $4,000 Lucky Artist A – Time: 1:51.1, Stake: $11,500   Yonkers Raceway NY Wardan Express A – Time: 1:56.2, Stake: $9,500   Wednesday 10th February Dover Downs DE Lincolns Girl N – Time: 1:51.4, Stake: $12,500 Infinite Symbol A – Time: 1:50.1, Stake: $16,000 Rock N Shard N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $7,000   Rosecroft Raceway MD Jossie James A – Time: 1:55.3, Stake: $7,000 Jive Dancing A – Time: 1:54.2, Stake: $12,500   The Meadows PA The Spinster N – Time: 1:55.4, Stake: $4,900   Yonkers Raceway NY Sea Change N – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $9,500   Thursday 11th February The Meadows PA Dream Out Load N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $7,200   Yonkers Raceway NY Dongal Rundlscrk N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $11,000 Rockin The Boys A – Time: 1:56.1, Stake: $17,500 Seaswift Joy N – Time: 1:55.2, Stake: $30,000 Bronskimackenzie A – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $20,000   Friday 12th February Freehold Raceway NJ Classy Chapel N – Time: 1:58.4, Stake: $6,300 Msamrcasweethart A – Time: 1:57.4, Stake: $10,500   Meadowlands NJ Statesman N – Time: 1:53.3, Stake: $7,600 All American N – Time: 1:55.0, Stake: $11,000 Its Mesmerise N – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $11,000   Yonkers Raceway NY Macheasy A – Time: 1:54.4, Stake: $9,500 Yankee Roller A – Time: 1:53.4, Stake: $9,500   Saturday 13th February Freehold Raceway NJ Ourlittlegeneral A – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $6,300 Vapour N – Time: 1:56.0, Stake: $10,500 Mister Spot A – Time: 1:55.1, Stake: $7,700   Meadowlands NJ Saying Grace N – Time: 1:50.3, Stake: $12,500 Down Under Trifecta – 2nd Seeuinnashville A, 3rd Our Max Phactor N Tulhurstsantanna A – Time: 1:49.4, Stake: $22,500 Colossal Stride A – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $11,000   Miami Valley Raceway OH Messi N – Time: 1:54.0, Stake: $11,700 Stars Align A – Time: 1:50.2, Stake: $16,200 Hez A Dude A – Time: 1:52.4, Stake: $9,900   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Lord Willoughby A – Time: 1:52.3, Stake: $25,000 Glengarry Knight N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $25,000 Mighty Santana N – Time: 1:51.3, Stake: $11,200   Sunday 14th February Northfield Park OH He Can Fly N – Time: 1:52.1, Stake: $13,500 Elrama N – Time: 1:53.2, Stake: $8,000   Pompano Park FL Gunrneedabgrboat A – Time: 1:53.0, Stake: $6,500   The Downs At Mohegan Sun Pocono PA Myidealson N – Time: 1:54.1, Stake: $10,000   Click here for previous weeks articles   by Carter Dalgety

Dover, DE - Infinite Symbol A, was a definite harness racing winner in the Mares Select Pace at Dover Downs on Wednesday night  Infinite Symbol A had no problem stepping up in class and beating the Select Mares. Moments of Joy and Edge of Eternity both left alertly at the start of the race, as expected. Driver Dexter Dunn moved Infinite Symbol A aggressively from third at the start and led the field to the quarter in 26.3. They continued to lead to the half in 55.1. My Last Bet and Montrell Teague moved off the rail, past the half, and marched 1st over pressuring, Infinite Symbol A at the three quarters in 1:22.4.  They paced the quarter in 27.3 My Last Bet began to weaken and forced My Kiwi Lady N to circle three wide past the three quarter station  Infinite Symbol A proved to be the best and won by three quarters of a length in 1:50.1. Her fastest win ever.   Infinite Symbol A (Indomitable Saab) is owned by Michael Casalino Jr. and Dylan Davis.  Dylan Davis is her trainer.   Moments Of Joy benefitted from another perfect trip but could not gain on the leader and finished second.  Bryan Truitt trained and Victor Kirby drove. Edge Of Eternity reamined on the rail to finish third for trainer Chuck Crissman Jr.  Andrew McCarthy drove. Thursday night Dover Downs will offer a $5,000 guaranteed Pick 5 wager with a fifty cent minimum. The wager begins on the 9th race and concludes on the 13th race. There is a 15 percent take out. Post Time for Dover Downs is 4:30 pm by Alex Kraszewski, for Dover Downs  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - With so many accolades having come his way over the last two years, driver Dexter Dunn can be forgiven for not being aware he had reached a big harness racing career milestone Friday night at The Meadowlands. The 31-year-old New Zealander, who dreamed as a youngster of playing for the All Blacks, a famous rugby club back in his homeland, was his usual aw shucks self after winning his 1,000th career North American race in the second with Roger Rabbit on a frigid night at The Big M. "I didn't know I was close," Dunn said. If that's the case, he probably does not remember that his first win came in June of 2011 with McClelland in a high-end conditioned pace at The Big M. Dunn returned home after that season and was not seen back in the States again until 2017. He won 93 races in 2018 before rising to the top of the sport in 2019, winning 460 times for earnings of over $12 million. Then came his remarkable 2020, when he was named the United States Harness Writers Association's Driver of the Year for a second consecutive season, winning 395 times in a COVID-shortened season while being the only pilot to earn over $10 million, with a bank account that swelled to $11,163,638 by year's end. And he wants to do even more in 2021. "It's a new season and we'll start all over again," Dunn told the United States Trotting Association's Ken Weingartner. "I always want to do better. It will be hard, but I'm going to try. I'm always up for a challenge. I love a challenge." Dexter Dunn guides Roger Rabbit to victory lane Friday night at The Meadowlands Dunn swept the early double Friday to give his backers a handsome return of $120.00. His two victories gave him 23 at the current meeting, tops in the driver standings. A year ago, he led all Big M pilots with 131 trips to the winner's circle. A LITTLE MORE: Todd McCarthy and Simon Allard led the driver's colony with three winners apiece. ... Despite having last raced on Nov. 28, the Shane Tritton-trained Lady Dela Renta A hit the wire first in the featured $22,500 high-end conditioned pace for fillies and mares in 1:54.1 with McCarthy in the bike as the 7-2 second choice in the betting Lady Dela Renta A . ... Corey Callahan equaled Dunn by winning twice. ... The red-hot Jeff Cullipher recorded a training double. ... One sharp player raked the pot in the 20-cent Pick-6, cashing in for $10,352 after a sequence that saw winner's odds of 1-1, 2-1, 7-2, 8-5, 3-2 and 9-1. ... Favorites continued to come up short as only three scored on the card. Over the last 41 races, post-time choices have won but 10 times, for a win percentage of 24. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,938,681. All four Friday programs in January have seen wagering of at least $2.8 million. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 6 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

After picking up his second Driver of the Year Award and becoming the first harness racing driver not named Tetrick or Gingras to lead North America in purses since 2006, Dexter Dunn will attempt this year to accomplish the same goal he sets every season -- do better. He knows it might be difficult. To briefly recap Dunn's 2020 campaign, he was the regular driver of six Dan Patch Award winners, led all drivers in Breeders Crown wins with four, and set world records behind Manchego and Party Girl Hill. Dunn's $11.1 million in purses was North America's best. The last time neither Tim Tetrick nor Yannick Gingras ended the year on top came 15 years earlier when Ron Pierce occupied the No. 1 spot. "It's a new season and we'll start all over again," Dunn said. "I always want to do better. It will be hard, but I'm going to try. I'm always up for a challenge. I love a challenge." Dunn only arrived in the U.S. from New Zealand in August 2018. In his first two full seasons in North America, he won 855 races and $23.2 million in purses. Those earnings ranked second and the wins seventh among all drivers in North America. "It's been a pretty crazy couple of years, really," Dunn said. "I just got to drive so many good horses. It's made my job a lot easier, but it's also exciting for me, so it's been very good. "I got behind some really good horses last year and they performed, and all year too. It wasn't like one race here, one race there, they really did it for the majority of the year. It was a different year for everybody involved, but the horses performed outstanding. The trainers had them ready and really had some good runs." The six Dan Patch Award winners driven regularly by Dunn were 2-year-old female pacer Fire Start Hanover, 3-year-old male trotter Amigo Volo, 3-year-old female pacer Party Girl Hill, older male pacer Bettor's Wish, older female trotter Manchego, and older female pacer Kissin In The Sand. He also drove Horse of the Year Tall Dark Stranger once, winning a Kentucky Sire Stakes division. In addition to his four Breeders Crowns, Dunn's highlights included winning his first Triple Crown event, with Amigo Volo in the Kentucky Futurity, and winning a division of the Tattersalls Pace with Party Girl Hill, who became only the second female pacer in 30 years to defeat males in a race worth at least $100,000. He also won a Jugette elimination with Party Girl Hill in 1:49.3, the first sub-1:50 mile by a female pacer on a half-mile track and drove Manchego to victory in 1:49.3 in the Spirit of Massachusetts at Plainridge Park, the fastest time ever for a female trotter on a five-eighths-mile track. Dunn put an exclamation point on his season Nov. 21 at The Meadowlands, when he won the Governor's Cup with Always A Miki and three TVG Series championships, with Bettor's Wish, Kissin In The Sand, and Manchego. The victory with Bettor's Wish was particularly satisfying. Bettor's Wish was Dunn's first Dan Patch Award winner in 2019 and was making the final start in a career that saw him win 24 of 44 races and $2.6 million. Bettor's Wish final start As Bettor's Wish completed his 2-3/4 length win in the TVG, Dunn thrust his fist in the air as they crossed the finish line. "It was just one of those in-the-moment things, with it being his last race and the way he won it," Dunn said. "It wasn't planned at all, it just happened. "He's been so good to me and had such a great career; it was nice to see him go out the way he did. He was the first good one I got on when I got here. He never let me down. I let him down a few times, but he never let me down. I was just really happy for all the owners for him to go out like that." Prior to arriving in North America, Dunn was the leading driver in New Zealand, leading the premiership in wins for 10 consecutive years from 2008 through 2017. He won the World Driving Championship in 2015. Dunn was encouraged to move to the U.S. by longtime family friend Chris Ryder, a fellow New Zealand native who has trained in the States for decades and counted Bettor's Wish and Party Girl Hill among his stable's stars in 2020. "I've had a lot of help from good friends," Dunn said. "I love it here. I love America and the opportunities. I've been really enjoying it." Editor's Note: To read more on the North American career of Dexter Dunn, check out the cover story in the February 2021 issue of Hoof Beats magazine. For more information, or to subscribe, go to http://hoofbeats.ustrotting.com/. by Ken Weingartner, USTA Media Relations Manager  

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