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Iowa horses start the year with exciting racing at What Cheer
Sunday, May 28, 2017 - by Gretchen Springer, for Iowa Harness Horse Association

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What Cheer, IA --- The first meet of the Iowa racing season went off at What Cheer on a sunny Sunday (May 28) afternoon. Trailers rolled in and the barns filled with horses, fans found seats in the grandstand and lined the fence with lawn chairs and 56 fresh competitors vied for their first Iowa win in 2017.

Roland N Rock returns home to compete and win at What Cheer for Duane and Connie Roland.

The races began with four fields of 2-year-old maidens. The fastest trot went to He's A Wilson, clocking in at 2:20.4. Adam Hauser trained and drove the Wilson Wyoming gelding for owners Carol and Tyson Paris. Big Daddy Cam lead the pacers for owner Stephfon Mitchell crossing the wire in 2:11.2. The Real Desire colt is trained and driven by Aaron Mitchell.

Four fields of 3-year-olds followed. Similar to his stellar 2016 debut, the Trailboss Hanover gelding Harry Fredrick started this year with a win. Owned by Robbie and Dorothy Anderson, the 3-year-old bested his class with a time of 2:02.2. Lous Game N Match took the fastest trot for owner/trainer/driver Steven Renard. The Lou's Legacy filly finished in 2:04.3.

There was tough competition in the Free For All Trot. Iowa newcomer Airman Batten took an early lead and held off challenges from Survivor Di and Becky Badger Baby. Larry Mather and CD Huffman had purchased the 5-year-old stud for breeding stock and he's already bred seven mares. After trying him jogging, they decided to have some fun racing him as well. Rick Huffman piloted the Swan For All horse to his first Iowa win in 2:03.1.

Photos courtesy of Iowa Harness Horse Association

Five young horses from the Dan Roland stable gain experience behind the gate in the fourth field of schoolers.

The Free For All Pace was Roland N Rock's to lose, and he didn't disappoint. The 5-year-old gelding floated off the gait settling toward the back of the pack. Making his move just before the half, Duane Roland and Roland N Rock swept to the front and easily bested the field in the fastest time of the day - 1:58.1. The Rocknroll Hanover son has already won over $117,000 for owners Duane and Connie Roland this year and shows no signs of slowing down.

The race day ended with a qualifier and four fields of schoolers - green horses learning how to follow the gait and navigate around other horses.

Iowa racing resumes next weekend at Bedford on Saturday (June 3).

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