Bill Finley

Bill Finley has been covering both thoroughbred and standardbred racing for more than 25 years. He is a racing columnist for ESPN.com and can also be heard on the Down the Stretch show on Saturdays on Sirius XM radio.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


USTA Release: The Rivalry Continues


By Ken Weingartner

As the 2013 racing season came to an end, the most anticipated race of the year featured the sport’s most recent Pacer of the Year Award winners – Captaintreacherous and Foiled Again.

On Saturday, the two stars will renew their acquaintance in the first of two eliminations for the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.

Foiled Again, a 10-year-old who is the richest harness racing horse in North American history, won their first encounter in November’s $512,000 TVG Free For All Series championship. Captaintreacherous, who was trying to become the first 3-year-old to defeat older stakes rivals since Niatross in 1980, finished sixth.

Now at the age of 4, Captaintreacherous will face older rivals on a regular basis. And it begins Saturday.

“I felt good with the way he ended up last year,” trainer Tony Alagna said about Captaintreacherous. “He finished sixth, but he was only beaten two lengths by the best aged horses out there. That showed a lot, with as tough of a 3-year-old campaign that he had. I think he’s definitely going to be a force in the open division.”

Saturday’s two Ben Franklin Pace eliminations are part of a card that also includes two eliminations for the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, three eliminations for the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, and three eliminations for the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers.

Captaintreacherous, who was named the Dan Patch Award-winning Pacer of the Year in 2012 and 2013, has won 22 of 27 career races and earned $3.02 million for the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group.

He won his 2014 debut last Friday at the Meadowlands, beating a field of 4-year-olds in the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity, which pushed him past Presidential Ball to No. 13 in purses among all pacers in history.

Captaintreacherous started the Maturity from post 10 and took the lead on the backstretch on his way to a 1:49 2/5 triumph.

“I was very happy with his first start,” Alagna said. “There’s always concern, first start coming back, drawing the 10 hole against horses that already had some starts under their belts, but off three qualifiers – especially the last one – we thought he was ready to go. He raced very well.”

Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick used a :27 move during the Maturity’s second quarter to take the lead. They settled into a :28 2/5 third quarter before coming home in :27.

“I liked the way he moved up the backside,” Alagna said. “He really went to the backside strong, which is good because he’s going to have to learn a little bit more maneuverability this year against those types of horses. Like always, he came right back to Timmy and was very quiet in the third quarter and when he called on him at the head of the lane he sprinted off.

“He was doing his best pacing at the wire, so I was very happy about that.”

Captaintreacherous won five of six starts at Pocono Downs last year. He won the Breeders Crown in October, two months after suffering his only setback at the northeast Pennsylvania oval, losing the Battle of the Brandywine by a nose to Sunshine Beach in a world-record 1:47 4/5.

“We raced him at Pocono as a 3-year-old and he was very good over the track,” Alagna said. “Of course, it’s a different group of horses, but we think he’s ready to go.”

Foiled Again has won 80 of 207 races and earned $6.25 million. He has won four of nine races this year and only once finished worse than third. He comes into the Franklin elim off a second-place finish in last weekend’s $92,000 Mohawk Gold Cup Invitational.

The top four finishers from each of the two Franklin eliminations advance to the final on June 28. Also advancing will be the fastest fifth-place finisher.

In the first elim, the field in post order is Domethatagain, Bettor’s Edge, Sunfire Blue Chip, Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, Sunshine Beach, and Beach Memories. The second elim is Captive Audience, Modern Legend, Sweet Lou, Allstar Legend, Clear Vision, Rockin Amadeus, and Bolt The Duer.

Saturday’s Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elims feature Father Patrick, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. Father Patrick is 3-for-3 this season and has won 13 of 14 lifetime races.

Uffizi Hanover, who won last weekend’s Fan Hanover Stakes, is among the 3-year-old filly hopefuls in the Lynch Memorial while Art Rooney Pace winner All Bets Off is among the 3-year-old male pacers in the Hempt.

-Courtesy of Harness Racing Communications, a division of the U.S. Trotting Association. For more information, please visit http://www.ustrotting.com

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


Allstar Legend Dominates at The Meadowlands


East Rutherford, June 13, 2014--Allstar Legend was on a mission Saturday night at The Meadowlands in the featured 11th race, a Free-For-All Handicap Pace.

Scratched down to a field of five, Mike Lachance powered Allstar Legend right around Golden Receiver early, hitting the opening quarter in 25.3.

Lachance rated Allstar Legend through a 58-second middle half, leaving Golden Receiver behind turning for home and powering away to win easily as the 8/5 favorite.

Stablemate Ultimate Beachboy rallied from last to be second with Sam Hill checking in third. The mile was timed in 1:50. Allstar Legend is trained by Ron Burke for Brittany Farms and John Cherveny.

The second round of the Caramore series was contested Saturday night at The Meadowlands with three divisions.

Tell Us More made it a perfect two for two in the series, winning impressively in 1:50.1. Sent off as the even-money favorite, Tell Us More went right to the lead again and never looked back, ripping off fractions of 26.4, 54 and 1:22 before drawing clear again to win by three lengths for Jim Marshall III.

The final time of 1:50.1 once again lowered the four year olds lifetime mark, which was set last week when he won the first division of the Caramore in 1:50.2. On The Radar and Pembroke Dewey were second and third throughout the mile. Jim Marshall III drove the winner for trainer James Siegelman and owner Michael Casalino Jr.

The second division went to Andwin Hanover who pulled off the 10-1 upset for Vincent Ginsburg. Andwin Hanover took the fight to his competition early, clearing the lead at the opening quarter in 26.1 before flying through the half in 53.3 and three-quarters in 1:22.1.

Ginsburg called on his horse for everything nearing the wire and was able to fend off the oncoming King Point, a 38-1 shot himself, to win in 1:52. Reflection of Blue rallied to be third. The winner is trained by Mel Owens for Rosanne Owens.

The third Caramore split wrapped up the Saturday night card and went to Grab Your Keys who chased down the speedster Duel In The Sun, who wheeled off fractions of 27.1, 54.2 and 1:21.3, putting up consistent 27.1 quarters until he was collared in the stretch. Grab Your Keys rallied for Marcus Miller, giving him a hat trick on the program. The winner is trained by Michael Fiumenero for Sam Demchak and Brian Bennett.

The victory was the third in a row for Grab Your Keys and established a new lifetime mark of 1:50.1.

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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Saturday, June 14, 2014


The Captain Is Back - Wins Meadowlands Maturity


East Rutherford -- The $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity Pace was the feature of Friday night’s card at The Meadowlands and served as the stage for the successful return to the races of two time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous.

Saddled with post ten for his seasonal debut, The Captain was sent away from the gate by Tim Tetrick improving to a mid-field tuck in fifth as first Word Power and then Apprentice Hanover led past the opening quarter in 26 flat. Tetrick tipped Captaintreacherous at about the three eighths mark and within a few strides had the lead at the half in 54 flat.

A 28.2 breather in the third panel was all he needed to get home as The Captain responded to Tetrick urging when Sunfire Blue Chip approached headstretch and then held stablemate Odds On Equuleus safe by a length in 1:49.2 on a track rated good. Dovuto Hanover was third.

The finish mirrored the 2013 edition of The Meadowlands Pace with Odds On Equuleus chasing Captaintreacherous to the wire, but having to settle for the runner-up spot.

Driver Tim Tetrick was dutifully impressed with the performance and stated post-race when asked about facing older “I think he’s as good as any of them. When he feels a horse at him, he goes on. He wouldn’t let anyone by tonight until we got back to the paddock.”

Captaintreacherous Racing owns the winner, who was beautifully prepped for the occasion by his trainer Tony Alagna. The Tetrick-Alagna combination went to the winner’s circle three times tonight, also winning with Handover Belle in a C-1 trot and Mattie Terror Girl in a C-1/B-2 Filly and Mare Pace. Tetrick won four on the night, while leading driver Yannick Gingras scored a hat-trick.

Next reported stop for the Treacherous Team is Mohegan Sun at Pocono for the Ben Franklin eliminations followed by a return to The Meadowlands for the William Haughton Memorial and U.S. Pacing Championshi

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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