Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Captain Is Ready

By Ken Weingartner

Two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous makes his seasonal debut Friday night in the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old pacers at Meadowlands Racetrack. He starts from post 10 in the field of 10, with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Tony Alagna.

To his inside, from the rail, are Tarpon Hanover, Dovuto Hanover, Apprentice Hanover, Rockin Amadeus, Sunfire Blue Chip, Word Power, Dedi’s Dragon, Odds On Equuleus, and Twilight Bonfire.

Captaintreacherous has won 21 of 26 career races and earned $2.97 million. This season he will face horses age 4 and older, including 10-year-old Foiled Again – who is the richest harness racing horse in North American history and was Pacer of the Year in 2011 – and 2011 2-year-old division champion Sweet Lou.

“On Friday, we’re going to unveil the 2014 edition of The Captain and we’re ready,” said Myron Bell, who heads the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group. “We’re very excited. We want to race against the best, and they’re going to race against the best, and the chips will fall where they may.”

At age 2, Captaintreacherous won eight of 10 starts and became the first 2-year-old in 25 years to receive the Dan Patch Award for Pacer of the Year. Last season, Captaintreacherous won 13 of 16 races and $2.05 million on his way to his second Pacer of the Year honor.

His wins included the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace, Max Hempt Memorial, Cane Pace and American-National Stakes. He joined Rocknroll Hanover and Gallo Blue Chip as the only horses to win the Breeders Crown, North America Cup, and Meadowlands Pace in the same season.

Captaintreacherous, who will stand as a stallion at Hanover Shoe Farms in 2015, became the first horse to win back-to-back Pacer of the Year honors since Jenna’s Beach Boy in 1995-96 and joined Niatross as the only horses to accomplish the feat at ages 2 and 3 since the award was first given in 1970. Pacer Bret Hanover was honored at ages 2, 3 and 4 with the Horse of the Year Award from 1964-66.

When you put a horse on a certain pedestal, he has to deliver because the public is very demanding. You’ve got to perform,” Bell said. “He won every major stakes race he could have last year. That speaks for itself. We’re very optimistic about this year.”

nterestingly, three of the five horses to win a race against Captaintreacherous are in the Meadowlands Maturity: Rockin Amadeus, Dedi’s Dragon and Odds On Equuleus. Rockin Amadeus and Odds On Equuleus both accomplished the feat at age 2.

Apprentice Hanover, who has won six of 12 races this year and finished no worse than third, is the field’s top seasonal money-winner with $313,660. He is coming off a second-place finish by a neck to State Treasurer in the Molson Pace on May 30 at The Raceway at Western Fair District.

Captaintreacherous prepped for Friday’s Meadowlands Maturity by competing in three qualifiers since the middle of May. He won the most recent, last Saturday, by 7-1/4 lengths in 1:50.1.

“He’s set the bar high; we had nothing to do with it, we’re just along for the ride,” Bell said. “After a series of races this year against the best we’ll determine where he stands in history.”

Following is the field in post order for the Meadowlands Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Tarpon Hanover, Ron Pierce, Nick Surick; 2. Dovuto Hanover, Scott Zeron, Darran Cassar; 3. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace; 4. Rockin Amadeus, Corey Callahan, Jimmy Takter; 5. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 6. Word Power, Jim Morrill Jr., Larry Remmen; 7. Dedi’s Dragon, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 8. Odds On Equuleus, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna; 9. Twilight Bonfire, David Miller, Paul Reid; 10. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna.

Written by John Pricci of Harness Racing Update

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ready for Rooney

Everything appears to be right on with All Bets Off as he heads into Saturday’s $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway.

All Bets Off, trained by Ron Burke and driven by Matt Kakaley, won his Rooney elimination last weekend by 2-1/2 lengths over Some Playa in 1:52.3. In his eight starts since joining the Burke Stable last September, All Bets Off has won five times and finished second on three occasions.

He finished last season by winning the Matron Stakes at Dover Downs, beating Stevensville by a half-length in a track-record 1:50. Stevensville also is in the Rooney, having won his elimination by 3-3/4 lengths over Gold Rocks in 1:53.

All Bets Off will start the Rooney final from post four; Stevensville, with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Ray Schnittker, from post six. All Bets Off is the 7-5 morning line favorite.

“He was very good,” Burke said about All Bets Off’s elimination win. “He’s been super since we got him. We’re trying to figure out how good he is and where he fits. This is a chance for us to see if he belongs in the group with the top 10 colts in the division.

“But he’s been pretty special since we got him.”

Burke owns All Bets Off with Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable Corp. and Rosemary Shelswell. A resident of Ontario, Shelswell was part of the previous ownership group that purchased All Bets Off for $7,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale.

All Bets Off is a son of stallion Bettor’s Delight out of the mare Armbro Penelope, who enjoyed success on the Ontario circuit in the mid-1990s.

For his career, All Bets Off has won six of 15 races, finished second five times, and earned $216,917. All Bets Off is not eligible to the North America Cup or Meadowlands Pace, but has the Max C. Hempt Memorial, Messenger Pace, Progress Pace and New York Sire Stakes on his schedule.

This season, he had a win and a second against older horses before his victory in his Rooney elim.

“He’s done everything we’ve asked of him,” Burke said. “He’s got a good spot (for the Rooney final). He can do it both ways, so he should be good there.”

* * *

If luck counts for anything, trainer Tony Alagna should feel good heading into the Rooney final. He saw his Bondi Hanover and Gold Rocks draw posts two and three, respectively, and then found out his Maxi Bon, who was also-eligible, got the coveted post No. 1 when Thereisapaceforus scratched.

Gold Rocks and Bondi Hanover finished second and third behind Stevensville in their Rooney elim. Maxi Bon went off stride and finished fifth in his elim, which was won by All Bets Off.

“Both (Gold Rocks and Bondi Hanover) raced very well,” Algana said. “Gold Rocks won the Babic at Freehold last year, so we knew he was a good half-mile horse. That was only Bondi Hanover’s fourth lifetime start and he raced excellent. For a maiden to go against those horses and be third, we’re very happy with him.

Maxi Bon is a fast horse that had some trouble in the last turn when he was out and going. We made some adjustments and he trained well (Wednesday).”

Alagna said All Bets Off and Stevensville are the horses to beat.

“Other than that, I think our horses are as competitive as anyone else’s,” Alagna said. “Gold Rocks, the half-mile track and five-eighths are going to be his thing. He’s handy and you’ve got to use that to your advantage. I don’t think the big track picks him up nearly as much. He’s Meadowlands Pace eligible just in case he rises up, but we’re going to concentrate on the smaller tracks.”

Following is the field in post order for the Art Rooney Pace with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Maxi Bon, Daniel Dube, Tony Alagna; 2. Bondi Hanover, Jason Bartlett, Tony Alagna; 3. Gold Rocks, Eric Goodell, Tony Alagna; 4. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 5. Some Playa, George Brennan, Jennifer Sabot; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 7. Unlocked, Brent Holland, Erv Miller; 8. Ideal Fashion, Jordan Stratton, Jim Campbell.


Ron Burke is happy with Southwind Silence as she prepares for Saturday’s $124,744 Lismore Pace for 3-year-old filly pacers at Yonkers.

Southwind Silence finished fourth in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes in her seasonal debut at The Meadows on May 3, but bounced back last weekend to win her Lismore Pace elimination by 1-1/2 lengths over Bettor Business in 1:54.

Last year, Southwind Silence won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old filly pacers and also won a division of the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes.

For her career, the daughter of Well Said-Southwind Solara has won four of 15 races, hit the board 13 times, and earned $391,211 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Joseph DiScala Jr.

“She was a very good filly last year,” Burke said. “I wasn’t completely happy with her first start this year. It was alright, but she had to come first up and that doesn’t usually work at The Meadows if you can’t clear. (In her elimination) she seemed more like her normal self.

“She seemed to handle the track well, and at Yonkers that’s a big thing.”

Tyra, who was third in last year’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, also won a Lismore elimination. She beat Rusty’s Bliss by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.4 and is the 8-5 morning line choice in the final.

Following is the field in post order for the Lismore Pace with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Also Encouraging, Matt Kakaley, Casie Coleman; 2. It Was Fascination, Brent Holland, Tony Alagna; 3. Bettor Business, Daniel Dube, Scott DiDomenico; 4. Tyra, Tim Tetrick, Joann Looney-King; 5. Southwind Silence, George Brennan, Ron Burke; 6. Rusty’s Bliss, Jason Bartlett, Douglas Lewis; 7. Gentlemens Delight, Marcus Johansson, Nancy Johansson; 8. Palm Beach, Eric Carlson, Douglas Lewis.

Written by Bill Finley of Harness Racing Update

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Sweet Lou Stands Atop the Free For All Pacers

East Rutherford, NJ, May 24,2014--Sweet Lou overpowered a stellar field of fast class pacers to win the $50,000 second leg of the TVG Free For All Championship Series in 1:48 on Saturday night at The Meadowlands.

Ron Pierce was in the driver's seat again and used Sweet Lou's speed to get into the race early from post ten, tucking third as first Golden Receiver then Bolt The Duer took turns on the lead through the 26.1 opener. Pierce edged Sweet Lou to the outside and had command in a matter of strides, clicking off a half in :54.2 and three quarters in 1:22 before streaking home in 26 flat for the win.

Clear Vision parlayed an uncovered move into the place finish behind his barn mate for Matt Kakaley (who won both ends of tonight's Daily Double). Thinking Out Loud closed to be third with John Campbell aboard and looks like he might be sitting on a big one for conditioner Bob McIntosh.

Now five years of age, Sweet Lou is in career form currently for the Ron Burke stable and the partnership of Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. The 1:48 mile is a mere fifth of a second off his lifetime best, taken in an elimination for the North America Cup at age three.

Owner Larry Karr mentioned in a post race Bob "Hollywood" Heyden interview that a trip to Tioga Downs for next Sunday's $160,000 Roll With Joe FFA Pace may be the next objective for the partnership's star player.

Doo Wop Hanover exploded in mid-stretch and drew away from the field to win the $48,500 second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the fifth race on Saturday night, May 24, 2014 at the Meadowlands.

Driver John Campbell bided his time with 3-5 favorite Doo Wop Hanover [$3.40], sitting in the outside tier, then fanning out to mid-track in the stretch and blowing by for a two and a quarter length victory in 1:50.4 on a racing surface rated good.

The Steve Elliott trainee put away runner-up Dancin Hill and Rock Out, who was third by three and a quarter lengths. All three top finishers are sons of Rocknroll Hanover.

At two, Doo Wop Hanover finished in-the-money in six of 12 starts and was second to Western Vintage in his 2014 debut last week. The $52,000 Harrisburg Yearling has now earned more than $87,000 for owners Peter Blood of Pompano Beach, FL; Rick Berks of Boca Raton, FL and Gary Piontkowski of North Smithfield, RI.

Sayitall BB and Act Now each paced career best miles in taking their respective $21,000 division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies.

Sayitall BB [$3.20], driven by Ron Pierce and trained by Ron Burke, took the lead at the quarter and drew away to a three length victory in 1:51 flat in the first division, the third race.

The daughter of Tell All –Challo BB picked up her fourth win in six starts this year after winning all five of her outings at two.

Rockingham Park [Rocknroll Hanover] was second best while it was four and a half lengths to Fanticipation [Rocknroll Hanover] in third.

Sayitall BB has now banked more than $60,000 for Burke Racing Stable LLC of Fredericktown, PA and Weaver Bruscemi LLC of Canonsburg, PA.

Act Now [$2.80], a daughter of Western Ideal-CPA, was a wrapped up winner in 1:50 flat in the second division of three-year-old pacing fillies, the fourth race, finishing four and a half lengths ahead of Blixtra [Rocknroll Hanover]. It was four and three-quarter lengths to Highland Rockstar [Rocknroll Hanover] in third.

Act Now, driven by Tim Tetrick and trained by Nikolas Drennan, was a $40,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase who has now banked more than $200,000 for Joseph Davino of Clarksburg, NJ and Patrick O’Brien of New Hyde Park, NY.

This year she has a first and a third in two tries and last year she posted three wins, a second and a third in nine starts with her largest payday in the $394,950 Three Diamonds when she finished second by a neck to Delightful Dragon.

The $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for all the three-year-old divisions will take place on May 31.

Despite less than stellar weather conditions, live handle at The Meadowlands showed gains of 15-percent.

Written by Darin Zoccali of Harness Racing Update

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