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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Barn Notes

Reduced takeout wagers offer true value
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Value players should pay special attention to the Pick 5 and the Pick 4 here at Cal Expo, both offering a reduced 16 percent takeout rate.

The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager conducted on the first five races on the card, while the Pick 4 is a 20-cent bet that includes the final four contests on the evening.

To give you an idea just how much value is available, you need only check out last Saturday night’s Pick 5. The winners in the sequence were 7/5, 4/5, even-money and 5-2, combining with 18-1 upsetter Lincoln for a $1,161 return for the half-buck investment.

Using regular takeout, the payout would have been $1,036, which means $125 more was put in each winning player’s pocket.

The second leg of the Pick 5 found My Little Susie picking up her third stakes trophy at the meeting, with her only Sire Stakes setback coming over a sloppy track, which just so happens to be right in arch-rival Kissed The Boys’ wheelhouse.

Of course, really sweetening the payoff was that $38 surprise by Lincoln in the final leg for trainer Lino Pacheco and pilot James Kennedy. After back-to-back trying journeys over off tracks, the pacer caught firm footing and worked out a pocket trip to pick up his second snapshot at the meeting.

James Kennedy and his brother Mark Kennedy were involved in something special in Friday’s third race, when they dead-heated while guiding Smash and La Diva De Rosa, respectively. There’s something you don’t see every day.

Sire Stakes for 4-year-olds hold spotlight

A pair of $10,000 California Sire Stakes head the marquee Saturday night at Cal Expo, with Sandy’s Song and Zoeys Delight getting top billing in the contest for trotters, while Avila Beach eyes another stakes trophy in the $10,000 event for pacing mares.

There will be 11 races offered under the Watch and Watch LLC banner with a first post of 6:15 p.m. The Sire Stakes for trotters will be the third race, while the stakes for pacing mares will go as a non-betting event prior to the regular program.

Sandy’s Song and Zoeys Delight could not be separated the last time they conducted a stakes dance for the 4-year-old trotters one month ago, finishing in a dead-heat for the top prize in that affair.

Sandy’s Song is a 4-year-old daughter of Claudius Augustus out of the Sacramento mare Ahh Saundra who is owned by Bob Johnson and Hank Wieseneck, takes her lessons from Johnson and will have Steve Wiseman at the controls.

A multiple stakes winner last season, Sandy’s Song was overpowered late as the 1-9 favorite in the first Sire Stakes of 2016 in February, then finished in that dead-heat with Zoeys Delight in that March 5 race that was conducted over a sloppy track.

Avila Beach is looking for back-to-back trophies in the big-money race for the pacing distaffers. A Wayne and Rod Knittel owned-and-bred daughter of Hi Ho Silverwheel’s, she is conditioned by Bob Johnson and has regular pilot Mooney Svendsen at the controls.

Sent off the 2-5 choice in the most recent stakes gathering last month, Avila Beach made every pole a winning one over the sloppy track, coming home with three and a half-lengths to spare over Smash that evening.

JL Cruze Makes Seasonal Bow at The Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ – The upcoming weekend of live racing at The Meadowlands boasts a dozen interesting contests each day and a myriad of promotions and attractions.

On Friday night the 2015 Dan Patch Trotter of the Year and Meadowlands all-time track record holder JL Cruze will make his seasonal debut in the second race, a $25,000 Open Handicap trot.

JL Cruze ascended to the mountain top with a string of remarkable performances at The Meadowlands last year including all of the winter series’ then held his form to win both the Graduate Final and Hambletonian Maturity. He became the fastest trotter in history on a mile track with his 1:49.4 win in that Graduate Final and collected over $660,000 on the strength of 16 wins in 21 starts in 2015 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Steve Iaquinta. Trainer Eric Ell has had him up for a pair of formful qualifiers over the course with regular driver John Campbell at the lines in anticipation of Friday’s race. JL Cruze will be a leading contender in the $150,000e Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff on Sunday, May 8 at The Meadowlands.

JL Cruze will start from the outside post seven as the morning line choice with Crosby’s Clam Bake and Opulent Yankee leading the competition from just inside the favorite.

Friday is April Fool’s Day and we’ll mark the occasion by giving away $1,000 in “It’s Raining Cash” and begin the annual countdown to awarding some lucky customer a first-rate trip to the May 7 Kentucky Derby.

For the horseplayers, all of the usual horizontal guarantees continue and the last race Jackpot Hi-5 opens at $154,428 on Friday. Meadowlands oddsmaker and Race Review handicapper Dave Little’s observations and comments are available from this link.

Also on Friday, in conjunction with BetAmerica and the World Harness Handicapping Championship, the U.S. Trotting Association is sponsoring an online contest that will provide the top 10 finishers with a free entry ($800 value) into the $50,000 World Harness Handicapping Championship at the Meadowlands on Saturday (April 30).

Meadowlands entries and free TrackMaster Platinum Plus past performances are now available for that online qualifier. Sign up and download those materials via this link.

Photo credit Lisa Photos JL Cruze in 1:49.4 Graduate final win.

Elitlopp Playoff to Memorialize Mack Lobell

East Rutherford, NJ – The Meadowlands is pleased to announce that the inaugural edition of the track’s newest stake will be titled “The Mack Lobell Elitlopp Playoff” celebrating the memory of that great trotter. The purse is estimated to be $150,000.

Mack Lobell achieved legendary status in a racing career that spanned six seasons. He was owned during his early career by the One More Time Stables (principally Lou Guida) while being trained and driven by Hall of Fame horsemen Chuck Sylvester and John Campbell. Mack was Horse of the Year in 1987 and 1988 and won virtually all of the classics including the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, International Trot, three Breeders Crowns and the 1988 Elitlopp for those connections. He was later sold to Swedish interests, went on to win Elitlopp again 1990 and retire with career earnings of nearly $4 million.

The race itself was born of a discussion Solvalla Racetrack Directors Markus Myron and Christer Haggstrom had with Meadowlands brass Jeff Gural and Jason Settlemoir during Hambletonian week last summer. Ideas were exchanged and through their joint efforts a trotting bridge between continents has resulted. A group of twenty or so is expected to travel from Sweden to America to attend the race while The Meadowlands will send representatives to Sweden for the Elitlopp.

International interest in the event is very high. The Meadowlands' Sam McKee is working closely with ATG in Sweden on commingling wagers into the Meadowlands pools, which seems a distinct possibility. The Meadowlands is planning to simulcast a block of seven races to Europe, headlined by the Elitlopp Playoff which will be the first race on the Mother’s Day matinee card set for Sunday, May 8 at 12:40 p.m. There have been discussions of having the Elitlopp Playoff race as part of the V75 wager.

Nominations to the inaugural race number fifteen and include many of the finest trotters in North America. Among them is 2015 Dan Patch “Trotter of the Year” JL Cruze who makes his first start of the season on Friday at The Meadowlands. Also nominated are 2015 Breeders Crown winner Creatine, TVG FFA Championship winner Resolve and millionaire mares Bee A Maician and Shake It Cerry. The complete list is available on the track website.

The winner will be rewarded with an invitation to participate in the 2016 Elitlopp at the Solvalla Racecourse outside Stockholm, Sweden on Sunday, May 29.

Harness racing fan Ken Burgdorf submitted the idea to name the race for Mack Lobell via a message sent to the Harness Racing Fan Zone website.


by john manzi for NAADA

The final leg of the NAADA Winter Trotting Series was contested at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday afternoon (March 30) and once again both Bob Kenney and Bobby Krivelin emerged victorious. Both gentlemen also copped the previous legs at Yonkers Raceway on March 17.  But this time each reined a different horse home first; Kenney scored with Just Like Lloyd in 2:00 while Krivelin won with Permanent Joy in 2:00.2.

The afternoon fans were treated brilliant sunshine and a bright blue ski but gusting winds and temperatures hovering around 58-degrees kept a chill in the air.

In the first split Bobby Krivelin worked himself a great two-hole trip with Permanent Joy and he refused a parked-out Boysdroolgirlsrule (Joe Lee) any room to move down along the pylons in front of him.

Nautilus De Vie and Dave Yarock had surged to the lead with Krivelin and Permanent Joy in hot pursuit and both trotters raced one-two around the double oval. During the entire mile Boysdroolgirlsrule challenged while racing on the outside.

In the lane Krivelin moved his charge to the outside of Nautilus De Vie as Boydroolgirlsrule faded after his overland trip and Permanent Joy rallied to a one- length victory. Sam’s Honeybee rallied from far back  for third money.

Krivelin was pleased when interviewed in the (race) paddock after the race. “He (Permanent Joy) never gets a harness on him (between races). I keep him out in a special pasture and only tow him along with another horse when we jog,” Krivelin related. “He has a sore back so we like to keep the harness off him.”

Krivelin’s, Hero Stable owns the winner and Krivelin also doubles as the trotter’s trainer. He paid $4.80 for win.
For the New York City food purveyor it was his fourth victory in series and he will garner the trophy as the highest point-earner the nine-race NAADA Winter Series.

In the other split Bob Kenny took no prisoners and sent Just Like Lloyd down the road and they made every pole a winning one en route to short head victory over a stubborn Woody (Joe Lee).

In that one, Just Like Lloyd drew off to an open-lengths lead with only Woody within striking distance when they headed for paydirt.

Lee stalked the leader and when he pulled Woody out to challenge in mid-stretch they began closing in on the leader but they ran out of race track and finished second in the photo.

Kenney, an IT Technician from Belchertown, MA is a relative new comer to the amateur driving scene although he has been with and around harness horses since his then girlfriend Linda Parrotta introduced Bob to harness racing back in 1972 at Hinsdale Raceway where her dad raced his horses.

‘At that time Linda was my girlfriend and she still is after 42 wonderful years of marriage,” Kenney said joyfully after he and Linda had explained Bob’s introduction to harness racing while they walked back with the winner to the horse’s paddock stall.

Kenney, a big man at 6ft-5in, now has three wins, one second and three thirds this year in just nine starts.  With just 15 drives since 2014 Kenney has reined seven winners.

The winner, owned by Linda Kenney and The Di Stefano And Son Stable, and trained by John DiStefano. paid $5.30 for win.

The series $15,000 final will be raced at Yonkers Raceway on Thursday, April 7, although a $6,000 Consolation, if it fills, is offered at Monticello Raceway on Wednesday, April 6.

Nutmegs Yankee Notches Stunner In Buffalo Raceway Feature

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Nutmegs Yankee was overlooked at the betting windows but she rewarded those faithful followers by posting a 1-1/4 length victory over Missevil in Buffalo Raceway's $10,000 Open Pace for the ladies on Wednesday night (March 30).

Sent off at 13-1, Nutmegs Yankee (Todd Cummings) used a ground-saving trip to spring the $29.80 upset in a seasonal best 1:55.3 over the fast track.

Missevil (Jack Flanigen) raced to the lead from the rail, putting up fractions of 28.3, 58.1 and 1:26.4. Nutmegs Yankee managed to draft along in second place and pounced on her opportunity in the passing lane, collaring Missevil in mid stretch. A last quarter mile of 28.3 was more than enough to get the job done. Memumsnotnice (Truman Gale) was along late for the show position.

Owned by Mark Jakubik and trained by Angelo Nappo, Nutmegs Yankee (Real Desire-Salty Yankee) has three victories in 10 tries in 2016, putting $14,848 in the bank. The 8-year-old mare has now amassed $389,916 in lifetime earnings.

Cummings finished the night with four victories in the bike, Jack Flanigen tripled while Jim McNeight doubled. Trainer Kirk Desmond conditioned a pair of winners.

Racing will continue on Friday evening with a 12-race program slated to get underway at 5 p.m.

For more information including race replays, results, upcoming promotions and the latest news, go to

Carmine Abbatiello April's featured driver at the new Roosevelt Raceway website

March 23, 2016
by Fred Hudson

Carmine Abbatiello harness racing’s king of the one liners and winner of more then 7,000 races during his career is the first featured driver of the month (April 2016) at the new Roosevelt Raceway website

During his career Carmine won nine dash and eight percentage driving titles and holds the record for having the most wins (over 2,500) at the old Roosevelt Raceway, more then anyone else.

One of the stories to read on the website is the Newsday article written by Tony Sisti about the interaction of fans with the drivers during the questions and answers at the first Roosevelt Raceway “Talk to the Stars” which featured Carmine and Lucien Fontaine.

It was only fitting that he be the first Roosevelt Raceway driver to be featured on the new website.

The websites launch was very successful with over 8,000 hits in a two day period and at the same time the Harness Racing Fan Zone had over 10,000 views with over 500 positive comments.

The site will continue to announce a featured driver each month and will make announcements as new pages are added.

The motto of the site “Promoting the past to promote the future”.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, March 30, 2015—A friendly reminder from Yonkers Raceway and the Standardbred Owners Association of New York about the upcoming YR/SOA of NY Bonus Trotting Series.

The series, contested Tuesday afternoons in April, has its first draw tomorrow (Thursday, March 31) for the Apr. 5 opener.

The “bonus” in the series name is $10,000, which is paid to the winner of the Apr. 26 final provided all connections (owners, trainers and drivers) are members of the SOA of NY before post time for the first leg of the first division and throughout the series.

The SOA is also sending out commemorative hats to those horsemen entering the series. For more information, please contact the race office (914-457-2627) or the SOA of NY office (914-968-3599).

There are 47 trotters nominated to the series, which is open to 3-year-olds and older who were non-winners of six parimutuel races and/or $100,000 lifetime through this past Feb. 1 (winners over $150,000 lifetime through that same cut-off date were not eligible).

A list of eligibles can be seen at and a photo of the spiffy hat accompanies this release.  

ARCI Town Halls Scheduled in April

Lexington, KY -  The Association of Racing Commissioners International has scheduled three additional “Town Hall” meetings in an effort to unify the racing industry and develop a consensus path to improve the policing of the sport and advance uniform regulatory policies.

The next public meeting will take place at Keeneland on April 7, 2016 at 10:30am.   Those interested in attending are asked to pre-register by using the KEENELAND MEETING REGISTRATION LINK.  There is no charge.

Previous meetings have been held at Santa Anita and Gulfstream.    The ARCI is also working with existing organizations to conduct meetings.   During March the association conducted sessions in conjunction the Organization of Racing Investigators as well as the “Mid-Atlantic Group” that has effectively pursued uniform regulatory policies in their region.  

Additional Town Hall meetings are being planned in April for Lone Star Park on April 18, 2016 and in Oklahoma at Remington Park on April 19, 2016.

Click here to register for the Lone Star Park meeting.

Click here to register for the Remington Park meeting.

The ARCI effort is comprised of public meetings, private group discussions, webinar meetings and an online survey for those unable to participate in person.  Organizations interested in co-hosting a webinar or in-person meeting should contact the ARCI office at 859-224-7070.

Details will be posted as they become available on the association’s website .

Vernon Downs readies for 2016 season

by James Witherite, Vernon Downs racing media

Vernon, N.Y. – Racing will soon return to Central New York’s “Miracle Mile”, as Vernon Downs readies for an 84-date season slated to begin on Friday, April 22, 2016.

As in seasons past, top trotters from across North America will visit Vernon Downs through the summer of 2016, as the Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old trotters comes back in July.  Likewise, the Crawford Farms and Muscle Hill trotting events for top older trotters are slated for August.  In addition to the top-tier Grand Circuit stakes, New York-sired 2- and 3-year-olds will visit the Miracle Mile for a full slate of New York Sire Stakes events through the summer, including Empire Breeders Classic events for 3-year-old trotters.  Locally-based young horses are availed a pair of late-closing events in the opening weeks of the season, as well.

The 2016 meet will carry a standard post time of 6:45 p.m., and returns to a Thursday-through-Saturday schedule (along the lines of the 2014 meet) due to run through Saturday, November 5.

As in seasons past, fans on-track will be greeted by a wide variety of promotions, including the always popular Change Your Luck drawings and Horseplay Car Giveaway.  The Vernon Downs Simulcast Network has undergone a winter makeover, and will seek to prove more bettor-friendly for players on- and off-track alike.

Horsemen are reminded that nomination blanks for the Catherine Burton and Anthony Farina late closing series are due Friday, April 1.

Further information about the 2016 season at Vernon Downs is available at

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 29, 2016

--“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

In the case of Rodeo Romeo (Brian Sears, $2.50), try the winner’s circle, which he found with the greatest of ease Tuesday afternoon after Yonkers Raceway’s $63,000 final of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series. 

The Raceway’s annual testament to Teddy Roosevelt—richest local race of the season to date—was open to 3- and 4-year-old gentlemen who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1.

Rodeo Romeo made short of his foes here. In play at the outset from post position No. 2, he easily worked around pole-sitting Toni’s Affection (Scott Zeron), making the lead well before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile. From there (:56.4, 1:25.2, 1:54), no issues whatsoever.

“Romeo” owned a length-and-a-half lead entering the lane, then opened to 4¾ lengths at the wire. Toni’s Affection held second over a two-move J T (George Brennan), with lone 3-year-old Don’tcallmefrancis (Jason Bartlett) and Secret Delight (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder.

Sports Bettor (Mark MacDonald), AM Magic Man (Dan Dube) and B Well (Andy Miller) rounded out the order.    

For Rodeo Romeo, a 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Oompa’s Farm, Michael Day and Robert Mondillo,  it was his third win in four seasonal/series starts. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $7.70, with the triple returning $32.60.

“He’s a good-gaited, handy horse,” Sears said. “They did give me a lot of respect up front and there wasn’t much to it.”

A $25,000 series consolation was won by BB’s Harley (Dube, $13.80) by open lengths in 1:55.2.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, March 29, 2016—When the entry box closed Tuesday morning for Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night program, George Teague Jr. was indeed a man of his word.

There was last season’s Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, in and among the 32 leading Free-For-Allers colliding in Round 3 of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.

The 4-year-old Mr. Wiggles gelding tries Westchester for the first time, landing post position No. 7 in the eighth race, third of four consecutive, $50,000 series divisions.

Wiggle It Jiggleit, or WIJI for those in his inner sanctum, began his “older” purse career with a 1:51.4 win this past Monday evening in a Dover Invitational, his 24th win in 28 career starts ($2,218,495). Teague Jr. co-owns with Teague Racing Partnership, with Montrell Teague taking his usual seat for trainer Clyde Francis.

All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, post 6) starts directly inside WIJI in a stacked field that are features defending series champ Domethatagain (Dan Dube, post 4) and Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett, post 8).

Take it Back Terry (George Brennan, post 4) and Lucan Hanover (Brennan also listed, post 7), each 2-for-2 in the series, oppose one another in Saturday’s final series event, while the other “two-timer,” Bit of a Legend N (Jordan Stratton, post 8), received no venue love in the second division.

Friday night, the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker features of trio of $40,000 events (races 5 through 7). Al Raza N (Stratton, post 4), the only repeat winner thus far, drew into the final division.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Monday, March 28, 2016—Odds-on favorite Capela (Scott Zeron, $3.10) maintained her form spree Monday night, winning Yonkers Raceway’s $60,200 final of the Petticoat Pacing Series. 

The series was open to 3- and 4-year-olds who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1.

Capela, the lone lass to sweep her three series preliminary rounds, made short work of post position No.7 here. She worked around the miss directly inside of here, Bin N Heaven (George Brennan), securing the lead before a :27.3 opening quarter-mile.

From there, a 57-second intermission as I’m in Luv (Matt Kakaley) moved from fourth. It was Little Miss Sporty (Brian Sears) gapping from second-over and pole-sitting Brown Brinny (Jason Bartlett) sitting a three-hole in and out of a 1:25.3 three-quarters.

Capela widened to couple of lengths entering the lane, then won by that exact same margin in 1:54.4. Bin N Heaven saved second, with 63-1 shot Heavenly Hill (Jordan Stratton) closing from last to third.

Brown Brinny and I’m in Luv grabbed the last couple of pay envelopes, while Little Miss Sporty, Special Package (Dan Dube) and Rolling Going Gone (Brent Holland) completed the order.

For Capela, a 4-year-old daughter of Sportsmaster trained by Reginald Hazzard for co-owners Reginald Hazzard II and Legacy Racing of Delaware, it was her sixth consecutive win (6-for-9 this season). The exacta paid $25.80, with the triple returning $459.50.

“She’s just been getting better each start in this series,” Zeron said. “When it started, she wasn’t taking the turns very well, but that wasn’t a problem in her last couple of races.

“Tonight, with the wind, that was a very good mile.”

A $25,000 series consolation was won by favored Kryptos ($4.30)—now 5-for-5 in her season/career—in 1:55.4.

Tuesday afternoon, it’s the $63.000 finale of the Sagamore Hill Pacing Series for the 3- and 4-year-olds of the male persuasion. It’s the Raceway’s richest race of the season to date.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Horseplayer Elevated to be New ARCI Chair

LEXINGTON, KY - The Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) has installed Judy Wagner as its new Chair for 2016-2017.

Recently re-appointed to the Louisiana State Racing Commission by Governor John Bel Edwards, Wagner is the first horseplayer to assume the helm of North America’s umbrella group of racing regulatory bodies.  

Mrs. Wagner is the only woman to have won the National Handicapping Championship (2001) and is a member of the National Handicapping Championship’s Hall of Fame.   In 2007 she joined the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) National Player’s Committee.

In 2014, Mrs. Wagner was appointed as the first and only horseplayer to the NTRA Board of Directors.  In 2015, she was elected to a three-year term. 

A native of Mississippi and former school teacher, Mrs. Wagner fell in love with horse racing and owned horses from 1995 to 2006.   She has been a national leader in lobbying Congress on matters pertaining to tax fairness for horseplayers as well as owners and breeders.

Wagner succeeds Arkansas State Racing Commissioner Mark Lamberth as the ARCI Chair.  Lamberth will continue to serve on the ARCI Board and Executive Committee.

The ARCI Board also selected the Chair of the Washington Horse Racing Commission, Jeffry Colliton, as Secretary and Chair-elect.   J. Michael Hopkins, long time Executive Director of the Maryland Racing Commission was elected Treasurer.

In addition to automatic representatives from New York, California, New Jersey, Ontario, and Kentucky the following individuals were re-elected to “at-large” positions on the ARCI Board of Directors:   Dan Hartman – Colorado Division of Racing Events;  Larry Eliason - South Dakota Commission on Gaming; Tom Sage – Nebraska State Racing Commission;  David Lornergard- Trinidad and Tobago Racing Authority; Steve Suttie – Canadian Pari-Mutuel Agency; Tom DiPasquale – Minnesota Racing Commission;  John Wayne – Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission; Bill Phillips - West Virginia Racing Commission, and Edward Menton - Mobile County (Alabama) Racing Commission.

Sunday, March 27, 2016


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 26, 2016—Yonkers Raceway’s Saturday night brought with it the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series.

Five, $50,000 divisions featured all six opening-leg winners, and half of those repeated.

George Brennan had an embarrassment of riches, winning again with a pocket-ripping Take it Back Terry ($2.50) in a night’s-fastest 1:51.1 and a down-the-road Lucan Hanover ($3.50) in 1:52. The pair bookended the divisions in inverse order.

“Terry,” last season’s series runner-up, drew the pylons and sat a chilly two-hole behind Ideal Cowboy (Jason Bartlett). The Cowboy led through intervals of :27.2, :55.4 and 1:24, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane.

“Terry,” meanwhile, was all dressed up. He roared out of the pocket, winning by 2½ lengths. Ideal Cowboy saved second over 49-1 Dream Out Loud N (Yannick Gingras), with Doctor Butch (Tim Tetrick) fourth.

Take it Back Terry, a 7-year-old Western Terror gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura, won his second race in three seasonal starts.. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $6.90, the triple returned $39.40 and the superfecta paid $127.

Lucan Hanover, from post No. 6, won by neck (:27.3, :57, 1:24.4), with Texican N (Jordan Stratton) a pocket second. Te Kawau N (Dan Dube) was a three-hole in his North American purse debut,           

“Lucan,” a 6-year-old Western Ideal gelding owned by West Wins Stable owned trained by Andrew Harris, is now 4-for-4 to begin his season. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $8.60, with the triple returning $34.20.

Bit of a Legend N (Stratton, $2.80), from post No. 4, also doubled-up in the series, easily winning the third division (:28.3, :57.3, 1:25.4, 1:53).

Evenin of Pleasure (Dube) was second—beaten a length-and-a-half—in a two-speed number, with Western Rockstar A (Gingras) a first-up third and Santa Fe Beachboy (Bartlett) fourth.

Bit of a Legend N, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Bettor’s Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, has won four of his five North American starts.  The exacta paid $25.40, the triple returned $228.50 and the superfecta paid $611.

“Best horse I’ve ever driven,” Stratton said.

Last season’s series champion, Domethatagain (Dube, $4.10), won Saturday night’s fourth event by skimming the cones. The pole-sitting people’s choice was content to sat a three-hole behind longshot Sunfire Blue Chip (Mark MacDonald) and Scott Rocks (Brian Sears).

“Sunfire” led through intervals of :27, :55.4 and 1:23.3, taking a length-and-a-three-quarter in and out of the final turn. He hit the wall late, however, as Domethatagain was a deep-closing winner in 1:51.4. Bettor Rock On N (Brennan) was second, with Scott Rocks third. Sunfire Blue Chip faded to fourth.

Domethatagain, a 7-year-old son of Bettor’s Delight co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Bob Hamather and Bruce Soulsby, is now 2-for-4 this season, The exacta paid $31.60, with the triple returning $86.50.`

The evening’s lone non-chalky series result saw Melmerby Brach (MacDonald, $27) pick off 4-5 choice Foiled Again (Gingras) by a second-division, first-up neck in 1:51.3. Away third from post No. 2, Melmerby Beach moved into soft sub-sections (:28.1, :56.4, 1:24.2).

Despite that, Foiled Again could not close the sale, as a determined Melmerby Beach snapped him on the money. Texas Terror N (Kakaley), last week’s $100 winner, was third here…at 3-1.

Fifth choice Melmerby Beach, a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere owned and trained by Ettore Annunziata, won his first race in eight ’16 starts.  The exacta paid $90, with the triple returning $291.

“I’ve driven him before, and he’d raced better than what his lines showed,” MacDonald said. “To get by Foiled Again, even now, takes a good horse, and (Melmerby Beach) raced very well.”  


Ashley’s Husband best in Meadowlands feature; Zeron wins three

by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

William Donovan’s 6-year-old pacing gelding Ashley’s Husband ($16.60) sustained a first-over grind into a :54.4 last half to take Saturday (March 26) evening’s featured $16,000 top-level conditioned event at The Meadowlands.

Vinny Ginsburg wanted no part of the early pace, rating Ashley’s Husband off dueling leaders Dynamic Youth (Joe Bongiorno) and Real Nice (Andy McCarthy) through a :27.1 quarter before tightening in on the backstretch as the pace slowed.  After a :56.1 half, Ginsburg edged Ashley’s Husband first-over, pushing Dynamic Youth to a :28.2 third quarter before wearing him down at the eighth pole.  Ashley’s Husband accelerated to the winning post for a 1:51 triumph, evading both Real Nice, who chased up the pegs, and the second-over Jacksrluckytoo (Jim Marohn, Jr.).  Favorite Mel Mara (Scott Zeron) kept even off third-over cover, but posed no threat in the accelerating late pace, finishing fifth.

The Kyle Spagnola trainee earned his 25th career win, and his second of the year in nine tries.

Scott Zeron led all drivers with three wins on the night, teaming up with Watkins ($7.20, 1:55), Bettor Memories ($15.20, 1:52), and McArdles Lightning ($2.60, 1:51.2).

A carryover in excess of $31,000 spurred $151,096 of new money in the 50¢ Pick 5, which returned $2252.30 to correct backers.  As races 9 through 12 were cancelled due to a lighting malfunction on the clubhouse turn, the Late Pick 4 paid on all tickets with Ashley’s Husband in race 7, McArdles Lightning in race 8, and any horses in races 9 and 10.  The 1-4-all-all late Pick 4 returns $4.75 on every 50¢ wagered.

Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Friday, April 1, with post time at 7:15 p.m. EDT.  The fifth race Jackpot High 5 carryover has grown to $12,633, while the same wager in the final race boasts $154,428 in added money.

China Dream Rebounds For Open Win At Buffalo

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- China Dream ($2.60) proved that last week was just a hiccup and earned redemption this Saturday (March 26) by taking the $10,000 Open Pace at Buffalo Raceway in a seasonal best 1:54.2 over the fast track.

With a fifth place finish last week aided in part by interference at the start, China Dream used another perfect first over trip to score his third win against Open competition in his last four starts. He beat Beach Hero (Shawn McDonough) by 3/4 lengths while Babe's I Scoot (Todd Cummings) was third.

Sitting fourth headed to the half, driver Jack Flanigen tipped China Dream first over and began to slowly grind into the lead of the pace-setting Beach Hero. In the battle to the wire, China Dream was just too powerful and paced away convincingly for the win.

Owned by Jack Rice and trainer Maria Rice, China Dream (If I Can Dream-China Art) is a 5-year-old gelding that now has won four times in eight appearances this season, earning $25,400 and $114,993 lifetime.

Todd Cummings finished with three victories in the sulky while Drew Monti and Flanigen each doubled. Maria Rice had two training wins.

Racing will resume on Wednesday night with an 11-race program scheduled for 5 p.m.

For more information including the latest news, race results, replays and upcoming promotions, go to


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 26, 2016—Yonkers Raceway hosts its richest races of the season to date next week, with finals of the Petticoat (girls, $60,200) and Sagamore Hill (boys, $63,000) Pacing Series.

Both series were open to 3- and 4-year-olds who were non-winners of four races and/or $40,000 through last Dec. 1.

Chivalry has its place, so the ladies of the Petticoat are up first in Monday night’s sixth race. Capela (Scott Zeron, post 7), the only perfect (3-for-3) prelim lass, didn’t get a whole lot of help with the open draw. The 4-eyar-old daughter of Sportsmaster, trained by Reginald Hazzard for co-owners Reginald Hazzard II and Legacy Racing of Delaware, enters having won her last five starts.

Little Miss Sporty (Brian Sears, post 3) won twice in her series legs, while Heavenly Hill (Jordan Stratton, post 8) rolled to a convincing win in her last chance to impress the judges.

Brown Brinny (Jason Bartlett, post 1), I’m in Luv (Matt Kakaley, post 2), Rolling Going Gone (Brent Holland, post 4), Special Package (Dan Dube, post 5) and Bin in Heaven (George Brennan, post 6) round out the roster.    

Tuesday afternoon, it’s the finale (sixth race) of Yonkers’ annual  tribute to Teddy Roosevelt, the Sagamore Hill.

Rodeo Romeo (Sears, post 2) and Don’tcallmefrancis (Bartlett, post 6) each spoke softly and carried a big stick, as in a pair of wins and a second in prelim competition

The former—Sears’ choice of the two—is a 4-year-old son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by Chris Ryder for co-owners Oompa’s Farm, Michael Day and Robert Mondillo, while the latter is a 3-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned by Enzed Racing and trained by Nifty Norman.

Secret Delight (Kakaley, post 5) and J T (Brennan, post 7) also each won twice in the preps, while Toni’s Affection (Zeron, post 1), AM Magic Man (Dube, post 3), Sports Bettor (Mark MacDonald, post 4) and B Well (Andy Miller, post 8) complete the gang.

Each series is accompanied by a respective $25,000 consolation as a fifth race. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Burke trainees sweep Friday Big M features; $31k carryover in Pick 5

by James Witherite,  Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, N.J. – Ron Burke trainees Sayitall BB and Its Huw You Know swept Friday (March 25) evening’s co-featured $15,000 events at The Meadowlands, and the 50¢ Pick 5 went without a five-of-five winner, prompting a carryover in excess of $31,000 to Saturday’s card.

The featured top-level distaff pace, carded as the sixth event, saw Sayitall BB ($3.80) make good at odds-on, dueling clear and edging away late for a 1:52.4 score.  The 5-year-old Tell All mare scored her 20th career win in front-end fashion, turning in a virtual carbon copy to her victory two weeks prior.

Joe Bongiorno put Sayitall BB in play from the outset, dueling clear of Clear View Hanover (David Miller) through a :27.2 initial quarter.  While Sayitall BB saw no pressure through a :57 middle half, Do Your Job (Jim Marohn, Jr.) sustained a first-over push on the far turn to claim second from a laboring Clear View Hanover.  Meanwhile, Sayitall BB was driven clear to a three-length advantage off the corner, kept to task the length of the stretch to hold sway by 1-3/4 lengths.  Purity (Vinny Ginsburg), sent off at 16-1, emerged from traffic to just nab the staying Do Your Job for second.

Just 20 minutes later, Its Huw You Know ($6.40) emerged late to capture the $15,000 seventh-race trot.  David Miller sent the 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding to a clear lead, but yielded to Saratoga invader Newcastle (Brett Miller) after a :28 first quarter.  Its Huw You Know would enjoy a cozy pocket ride behind Newcastle, who faced pressure from the first-over B Yoyo (Bongiorno) through middle splits of :56.3 and 1:24.4.  Its Huw You Know found a clear lane up the pegs at the eighth pole when Newcastle broke, accelerating to the fore the instant room availed.  The 9-time winner held sway by a long half length, staving off a resurgent Scorcher Hall (Marcus Miller)--who gapped the third-quarter duel before finding more--and a late-rallying You’re Majestic (Scott Zeron) in 1:54.

The Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver, and Mike Bruscemi share ownership of Sayitall BB and Its Huw You Know.

Brett Miller and Andy McCarthy led all drivers on the night with two wins each.

Total handle for the 12-race card was $2,871,616, marking an increase of $262,507 over the corresponding Friday in March of 2015.

Saturday (March 26) evening’s first of 12 races is due off at 7:15 p.m. EDT.  The 50¢ Pick 5 spanning the first five races boasts a $31,206 carryover and a guaranteed pool elevated to $75,000.  Both 20¢ Jackpot High 5 wagers carry over as well, with the fifth race bolstered by $11,033 in added money and the finale by $154,428 should either pool be captured by a lone winning ticket.


BY FRANK DRUCKER, Publicity Director, Empire City @ Yonkers Raceway

YONKERS, NY, Friday, March 25, 2016—Yonkers Raceway’s Blue Chip Matchmaker continued Friday night.

It was “second verse same as the first,” with three consecutive, $40,000 divisions comprising the encore round.

The evening’s opening event saw Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $5.50) take full advantage of a rare good starting station. In play from post position No. 4, she held sway (:27.3, :56.3, 1:24.3, 1:52.1).

Pylon-procuring Request for Parole (Yannick Gingras) chased around the oval, ducked inside and missed a neck, while Mach it a Par (George Brennan), last week’s 39-1 upsetter, was third after a hard challenge down the backside.    

Venus Delight (Jason Bartlett), the wagering favorite by a mere $30, wound up a non-threatening fourth.  

For slight second choice Sell a Bit N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her first win in five seasonal starts.  The exacta paid $26.40, with the triple returning $87.

Friday’s second Matchmaker event had Yagonnakissmeornot (Dan Dube, $5.70), as the second choice, do it from first-up. Away third from post No. 2, she saw season-debuting Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) and 11-10 choice Skippin’ By (Gingras) take early turns (:27.2, :56.2).

When “Yagonna” first moved off the cones nearing the 1:24.3 three-quarters, she didn’t appear all that interested. Skippin’ By owned a length-and-a-half into the lane before Yagonnakissmeornot read the memo. She surged past late, winning by a neck in 1:53.3.

Anndrovette, probably a bit short, was a passing-land third, beaten a half-length,  

For Yagonnakissmeornot, a 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned (as Allard Racing) by (trainer) Rene Allard, Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her first win in three ’16 starts. The exacta paid $10, with the triple returning $38.60.

The night’s final series event was won by an off-the-pace Al Raza N (Stratton, $8.60), who had some numbers to “run at” and did just that.

As was the case a week ago, Al Raza N was content to spectate early. She watched as Krispy Apple (Bartlett) and 13-10 choice Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) were both sent out (:26.4, :55.2).as the rest of the lasses gapped behind them.

Secrets Out N (Brian Sears) did close ranks from third and move to challenge, but never came close. Delightful Dragon (Brent Holland) gapped that one badly in and out of the 1:23.2 three-quarters, which did no favors for the eventual winner.

Al Raza N, sitting seventh and racing from third-over, launched her bid before the final turn. She was fifth entering the lane, but just powered by. The final margin was a length-and-a-quarter in 1:52.1, matching her life-best. It was Krispy Apple nosing a tiring Lady Shadow for second, with a from-last Regil Elektra (Tetrick) and Delightful Dragon settling for the remainder.

For third choice Al Raza N, a 6-year-old Down Under daughter of Gotta Go Cullect owned by Durazzano Stable and trained by Agostino Abbatiello, it was her third win in four seasonal starts. The exacta paid $32, the triple returned $89 and the superfecta paid $1,274.

Saturday night’s card brings the second round of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Five, $50,000 divisions (races 5 and 7 through 10) comprise this go-round.  

Jim Morrill Jr. Still Red Hot At Buffalo Raceway

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Incredible.

That's probably the best way to describe Jim Morrill Jr. and his current hot streak at Buffalo Raceway.

Morrill Jr. continued to make the Hamburg half-mile oval his personal playground as he notched a seven-bagger on Friday evening (March 25). It was the second time this season he has had a seven-win night. He accomplished the feat back on March 3. He's also done it at Buffalo Raceway twice before, on March 1, 2013 and February 15, 2006. 

Kevin Cummings holds the all-time mark at the track with eight victories on June 11, 2005. 

Morrill Jr. lost his chance to tie the record as his final ride of the night, Diditagain Hanover, was a late scratch in the 11th race.

In just 75 starts in 2016 at Buffalo Raceway, Morrill Jr. has 38 wins, putting him second in the driver's standings.

As far as the main event, the toughest part of Ali De Vie's race in the $8,200 trot on was getting the lead and that wasn't difficult. Once he gained control, it was smooth sailing to the finish line, winning his fourth straight race.

Ali De Vie ($3.40) and Morrill Jr. waited patiently for the front end to sort itself out and it proved to be the right strategy. The pair steamrolled to the top just before the opening quarter pole and were never challenged in the 1-3/4 length win over Kahoku in 2:00.1. It was the fourth consecutive week that Ali De Vie and Morrill Jr. have combined for a victory.

Setting fractions of 30.3, 1:00.3 and 1:30.2, Ali De Vie felt only minor pressure from Edom Up Blue Boy at the three-quarter pole but that fire was quickly extinguished. Kahoku (Ron Beback Jr.) took the second place spot with Im The Cash Man (Drew Monti) third.

Owned and trained by Marc Shuttleworth, Ali De Vie (Conway Hall-Excusez Moi) is a 6-year-old gelding that has now won five times in eight starts in 2016. His seasonal earnings jumped to $17,806 and $110,044 lifetime.

Jack Flanigen, Buffalo Raceway's leading driver, doubled and trainer Maria Rice had a pair of victories.

Racing will continue on Saturday night with a 12-race card slated for 6 p.m.

For more information including the latest news, results, race replays and upcoming promotions, go to

Friday, March 25, 2016

Action All Day Saturday at the Meadowlands

Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday is shaping up to be a day-long action fest at The Meadowlands. The gates will open at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate wagering on the Dubai World Cup card, Victory Sports Bar will offer discounted food & drink all day and night for the Sweet Sixteen round of March Madness, the $1 million Louisiana Derby opens the final round of prep races for the May 7 Kentucky Derby and there are a dozen live races beginning at 7:15 p.m.

However, the pièce de résistance on this action filled day is the chance to hit “The Big One” with Gulfstream’s Rainbow Six pool now in excess of $4 million. Saturday has been set as the mandatory payout day for the bet, which means the pool will be paid out regardless of how many winners there are. Usually, the pool continues to carry over until a day when there is just one winning ticket.

Assuming nobody prematurely takes down the carryover on Friday’s card, Saturday’s pool is expected to climb over the $10 million mark. In theory, a horseplayer could have an even better day than the owner who wins $6 million for finishing first in the Dubai World Cup!

The Rainbow 6, with just a 20-cent minimum, consists of Gulfstream’s last six races Saturday, races 7 through 12 (preliminary fields of 14, 15, 12, 14, 11, and 16). First post at Gulfstream is 12:35 p.m.

The Meadowlands live races are the usual mix of large, well matched fields. The featured seventh race will see emerging talent Pansformative face his toughest test to date. Having climbed the condition ladder with remarkable ease, Pansformative is but a head away from a four race win streak for new owner Carly Roman who bought the lightly raced four-year-old gelding just over a month ago. Brett Miller will drive for trainer Richie Johnson.

Pansformative will find a millionaire to the left of him and one to his right as the venerable war horses Dynamic Youth (post 2) and Real Nice (post 6) lay in waiting. Dynamic Youth has collected more than $1.1 million in career earnings and boasts a résumé that includes the 2012 Cane Pace. Racing out of the Ron Burke barn, the prospect of driving Dynamic Youth lured Joe Bongiorno away from Pansformative despite his win streak.

Real Nice, at age eleven, has earned nearly $1.4 million the hard way and equaled his career best 1:49.4 earlier this season, so he hasn’t lost much off his fastball for trainer Scott Blackler.

The presence of a rejuvenated Mel Mara coming in to this off a punishing 1:49.1 win last week adds intrigue to the race.

Get your free Late Pick 4 program pages here. If it’s action you seek, you’ll certainly find it at The Meadowlands on Saturday.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cal Expo Saturday Barn Notes

Kissed The Boys, My Little Susie in rematch

My Little Susie, who accounted for the first two stakes dances for the division; and Kissed The Boys, who upset her in the most recent big-money clash two weeks ago, get another chance to settle the score in Saturday night’s $15,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old trotters.

An 11-race card will be presented under the Watch and Wager LLC banner with the action starting at 6:15 p.m.. The Sire Stakes will go as second event on the evening.

My Little Susie is by Claudius Augustus out of the S J’s Photo mare Sue’s Photo and she goes about her business for A Piece Of the Action LLC with Gene Vallandingham training and Chip Lackey in the sulky.

The bay miss left little doubt in the first two stakes for this group in February, on both occasions sitting a tracking trip to the lane and then igniting when it counted to win going away.

The most recent Sire Stakes was decided over a sloppy track two weeks ago and this time it was Kissed The Boys prevailing for Team Desomer, while My Little Susie had to settle for the place money as the 3-5 favorite.

Kissed The Boys is a homebred who is also by Claudius Augustus who has won three of her seven starts, with each of those decisions coming over an off track with veteran Steve Desomer at the controls. Rounding out the field are Lodi Bank Robber, Delta Breezeoflodi, Sixtringsandapick and CW Raisinette.


There will be no live racing Easter Sunday, with next week returning to the regular Saturday and Sunday night schedule.

Distaffers, trotters square off at Big M Friday

by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations

East Rutherford, N.J. -- A pair of $15,000 co-featured events quite literally serve as the centerpiece of a 12-race Friday (March 25) evening program at The Meadowlands, and leading trainer Ron Burke starts a top contender in each.

In the sixth event, a top-level conditioned pace for fillies and mares, the Burke stable's 19-time winner Sayitall BB will once again battle with Clear View Hanover, among eight others.  Sayitall BB rises off a pillar-to-post 1:51.2 victory in which she held clear of pocket rival Clear View Hanover via a sharp :27.2 closing split.  Joe Bongiorno once again handles the driving duties of the 5-year-old Tell All mare, and they will start from post 3 as the lukewarm 7-2 morning line favorite.  Clear View Hanover--a winner at this level twice in her last five races--drew one position to her inside as the 9-2 second choice, and Hall of Fame driver David Miller will take the lines of the Henrik Lundell trainee.

The night's top distaff serves as the payoff leg of the Early Pick 4, which carries a $25,000 guaranteed pool.

Just twenty minutes later, the $50,000 Late Pick 4 commences in the seventh event, a top-level conditioned trot with no shortage of talent.  Burke trainee Its Huw You Know enters this race off back-to-back wins, most recently making much of the pace in a 1:55.2 Pocono triumph.  David Miller is slated to the 8-time winner from post 6 as the 7-2 second choice.

Among those to square off against Its Huw You Know is B Yoyo (3-1 morning line favorite), who won at this level in mid-February before a pair of unsuccessful efforts in Open events.  Bongiorno drives the 17-time winner for trainer Richard Johnson from post 4.

Of note, four of the other six in the featured trot enter this race off winning efforts, including Mr Lover (Andy McCarthy, post 1), Dreams of Thunder (John Campbell, post 3), Scorcher Hall (Marcus Miller, post 5), and Saratoga invader Newcastle (Brett Miller, post 7).

In addition to the two Pick 4s, the Pick 5 (composed of the first five races on the card) carries a $30,000 guaranteed pool.  A pair of 20¢ Jackpot High 5 wagers in races 5 and 12 boast carryovers of $9210 and $148,441 respectively.  Fans on-track can enter to win a Florida vacation in Friday's Spring Break Sweepstakes, as well.

Post time for Friday's first of 12 races is 7:15 p.m. EDT.

Ugly Betty Dominates In Buffalo Raceway Feature

by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- Ugly Betty is becoming the dominate damsel once again as she blew away her rivals in the featured $9,000 pace for the mares Wednesday night (March 23) at Buffalo Raceway.

After four so-so efforts to start the season, Ugly Betty is starting to regain her old form. She made it two straight victories by beating Mach This Way by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:57.4 over the fast track. 

Retaking the lead just past the quarter-mile marker from Mach This Way (Ron Beback Jr.), Ugly Betty and driver Billy Davis Jr. toured the Hamburg half-mile oval worry-free the rest of the way home. A 29.3 last panel was more than enough to hold off any threats and allowed Ugly Betty to post the popular $3.20 victory. 

Mach This Way held on for second place with Fashion Katie (Drew Monti) finishing third.

Ugly Betty (Camluck-Red Road Rage), a winner of over $70,000 in 2015 thanks to 11 wins, has $11,084 in earnings this season and $255,312 lifetime. The 8-year-old mare is co-owned by trainer Jennifer Falcone and Margaret Payne.

Todd Cummings and Davis Jr. each posted three victories while Beback Jr. doubled on the night. Trainer Kirk Desmond conditioned two winners.

The harness racing action will continue on Friday evening when an 11-race card goes off at 5 p.m.

For more information including the latest news, race results, replays and upcoming promotions, go to

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cal Expo Friday Barn Notes

Special Friday program features sophomore pacers
By Mark Ratzky, publicity – Cal Expo Harness

Allmyx’sliveintexas and Moonstone Beach, who have made clean sweeps of their respective stakes divisions this year for the team of owner/breeders Wayne and Rod Knittel and trainer Bob Johnson, look to continue their dominance in Friday night’s two $10,000 California Sire Stakes for 3-year-old pacers.

A special 12-race card is on tap Friday with first post set for 6:15 p.m. The trotting and pacing action will continue Saturday night, with no live racing on Easter Sunday. Next week will find a return to the regular Saturday and Sunday programs.

Allmyx’sliveintexas is son of Hi Ho Silverheel’s out of the Distinguishedbaron mare Annie Get Your Gun and he will once again be handled by Mooney Svendsen. He comes into this assignment having won four of his eight starts, with a victory in the opening leg of the Lonnie Beck Series to go along with his trio of stakes decisions.

The Knittel homebred did the stalk and pounce to get the job done in the first two Sire Stakes in February, then proved a sloppy track was in his wheelhouse as he romped home by 10 lengths in the most recent big-money gathering for his group.

Lining up against him this weekend are Midnight Adventure, to be handled by Chip Lackey; Rock Of Ages with Mike Jarvis; Mathachussetts, Steve Wiseman; and One More Chance with Luke Plano in the sulky.

Meanwhile, Allymx’sliveintexas’ stablemate Moonstone Beach has been just as dominant among the fillies for the Knittel/Johnson/Svendsen team. A daughter of Crisis Situation, she has captured the last two Sire Stakes by a combined 13 lengths, the most recent coming over an off track on March 12.

Little Emma (Luke Plano) and Plain Awesome (James Kennedy) will tak

Frankthebank continues to make deposits

Frankthebank showed he still has the right stuff at age 14 when he posted an 8-1 upset over a sloppy track on last Sunday night’s program.

Racing for Rick and Marlene Thomas with George Reider his longtime conditioner and Luke Plano at the controls, the old guy sat patiently in the pocket and then came when it counted to be up by a neck for his second victory on the season from 11 tries.

The victory pushed Frankthebank’s bankroll over the $460,000 plateau with a 1:51 lifetime standard and Reider noted he will go to Hawthorne this summer and then return here in the fall here before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 15.

“He has his senior moments, but he’s all class,” trainer Reider noted after last Sunday’s win.

“Frank is the gift that just keeps on giving. Luke got off him and said he's a good old horse very set in his way, but when he gets behind the gate he's all business and can still get the job done.”

George admits that being the senior citizen around the barn does come with its privileges.  “One thing about him being 14 now is that I kind of spoil him. Every time he sees me he uses me as a scratching post for his head. He will literally rub his head on me for five minutes if I let him.

“Two months ago, somehow he got his stall guard down at night. I keep a big bag of carrots next to my office and he knows exactly where they are. It was about two-thirds full, and when I came in the next morning the bag was empty and his morning breakfast and the two horses next to his was gone and he was lying down in the stall.

“Most mornings he has seniority and he's the first to go out, but this time he was the last to go out after his big breakfast.”

This summer Frankthebank is headed back to Illinois where he was born. “I'm pretty sure if he could talk,” Reider said with a smile, “he would be saying going to Chicago is nice for a visit, but I want to retire in California”

And so it shall be for the veteran pacer who has brought so much joy to Rick and Marlene Thomas and his trainer/scratching post George Reider.