Life Sign, harness racing

World champion pacer Life Sign passes at 24

Shepparton, Victoria, Australia --- Life Sign, the 1993 Little Brown Jug winner and Hall of Fame member, died at Morley Park stud near Shepparton, Victoria, Australia on Aug. 14, 2014, at the age of 24. A son of the incomparable Abercrombie and world champion filly Three Diamonds, Life Sign raced only as a 2- and 3-year-old, amassing $1,912,454 from 18 wins, 10 seconds and five thirds in 35 starts. Besides his record-breaking Little Brown Jug success, he won such prestigious classics as the 3-year-old Breeders Crown, Art Rooney Memorial, International Stallion Stake, Burlington Pace, Governor’s Cup, American-National and the Bluegrass Stake. At the stud Life Sign left the winners of more than $113 million in stakes in North America, placing him among the top ten money-winning sires at his gait of all-time. While in Australia his stock has earned $12.4 million and in New Zealand, they amassed almost $2 million. Real Desire 1:48.2 ($3.1 million), the 2002 Horse of the Year; Peruvian Hanover 1:49.4 ($1.8 million); the Meadowlands Pace winner Day In A Life 1:49.4 ($1.8 million); and the 2-year-old pacing colt of the year I Am A Fool 1:51.2 ($1.1 million) were among the seven millionaires sired by Life Sign. He was the broodmare sire of the winners of more than $97 million and eight millionaires including Loyal Opposition 1:48.4 ($2.6 million) and Breeders Crown winner Village Jolt 1:50.4f ($1.6 million). Life Sign was inducted into the Living Horse Hall of Fame in 2013. by Peter Wharton

Stig Johansson, harness racing

Stig Johansson wins Legends race in Sweden

Video of Mack Lobell & John Campbell

Knud Monster, harness racing

Knud Monster takes European Drivers Championship

Denmark’s Knud Mönster won the title as the 2014 European Harness Racing Driver Champion. He was in first position after day one at Solanget on Monday and achieved the total points victory after the second day at Umaker. Mönster didn’t win any races during the Tuesday session but a second place was enough to grab the points total standings. This was the first Danish victory since 1989 when Birger Jönsson got the victory and driver Mönster was satisfied with his performance stating “previously I’ve won the Danish Derby and this win is just as big.” Swedish driver Björn Goop won one race on Tuesday and with that victory took third place in the point standings.  “Even if I didn’t get first in the totals I think it has been a great championship. The races were fair drawn and different winners in each race indicates this. Everyone did great and I’m very proud of my work,” said Goop. Top 5 in the total standings – qualified for 2014 World Championship in Australia 1. Knud Mönster, Denmark, 75 points 2. Tony Le Beller, France, 69 points 3. Björn Goop, Sweden, 65 pooints 4. Hugo Langeweg Jr, Netherlands, 64 points 5. Vidar Hop, Norway, 60 points Winners of the eight races in the contest were: Solanget Cruisinjo, Androver Guillermo Andreau Belmont As, Branislav Mukic Trolle, Hubert Brandstatter Treess Ribston, Bjorn Goop Umaker Flash Hornline, Tony Le Beller Hulte Nova, Hubert Brandstatter Hook Broline, Hugo Langeweg, Jr. Here To Chill F, Vidar Hop by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com    

Bling It On - Huge chance in Breeders Crown Final

Breeders Crown 3 year old pacers preview

This is another of our previews for harness racings big day this Sunday at Tabcorp Park Melton. Before we start we would like to wish Harvey Kaplan all the best with his two outstanding three year olds. It is a notable achievement to have two huge chances on a day as big as this.  3 Year Old Pacing Fillies Breeders Crown Final Before the semi finals at Ballarat last Saturday night, this division had a ready made favourite in Nike Franco but after an early gallop she only ran fourth in her semi final and gave her opposition renewed confidence that she was beatable. Now with Nike Franco having drawn at four on the second line in the final, the result is not as clear cut as it seemed just a week ago. Nike Franco has been the standout filly all season but she has missed the money in both the New South Wales and the Victorian Oaks and is beatable. So who put their hand up in the semi finals at Ballarat. Just Cala was allowed to drift back from barrier four in the first semi final and ended up last at the 800 meters mark before getting a drag up from Rocknroll Arden and finishing over the top of them for a brilliant win. In the same heat Spicy Stride had a shot at the lead, failed and then badly over raced for most of the race yet still got off the canvas to run second. Ocean Diva was sent forward early from barrier seven when the pace was hot and stuck on well for third after racing parked for most of the race. In the second semi final Nike Franco got her front legs clipped early and galloped and then looped the field to lead mid race before not surprisingly battling the last 150 meters to finish a close up fourth. The winner of the semi final Quick Draft went huge after settling back from her second row draw. Sent forward three wide from from the back at the 700 meters, Quick Draft kept giving in the straight to score a great win. The last 800 meters off the front was run in 55.6 and 400 meters in 27.1 which makes the run of Quick Draft look even better. Barynya followed Quick Draft everywhere she went but couldn't pick her up in the straight and Our Santa Catalina finished nicely for third after working early in the race. SELECTIONS We are not as bullish about Nike Franco as we were before the semi finals with two or three others looming as major challengers. Still at the end of the day class is permanent so Nike Franco is top pick but from four second line it will not be easy. Just Cala and Quick Draft only have to bring their semi final form with them to be serious winning chances. Barynya will need luck from barrier eight but has upset them before and Ocean Diva is in the same boat from outside of the second row. Spicy Stride and Our Santa Catarina for first four takers.   3 Year Old Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final This looked a two horse war before the semi finals and in our view nothing much has changed now heading into the final. In the first semi final, the late scratching of Messini robbed the race of a lot of interest. Major Crocker ambled to the front from barrier four over Will Mach My Word who ended up in the trail from barrier one. Alleluia worked forward and found the death after 500 meters and that was more or less the finishing order. Major Crocker flew the last half in 55.5 and quarter in 26.9 to give those off the pace little hope of being in the first four.  Alleluia grabbed second with the trailer Will Mach My Words ending up in third. The unlucky runner was Lettucerockthem who looked to have plenty to offer with little room. The second semi final was full of quality and was billed as a match race between Sky Major and Bling It On and that is how it panned out. Saloon Passage from barrier one got crossed early by Hectorjayjay who immediately handed up to Sky Major. Half a lap later Zac Butcher on Sky Major handed up rather easily to Bling It On who immediately threw the anchor out. The race turned into a sprint home from the 400 meters with Sky Major getting out 150 meters from home and claiming Bling It On in the shadows of the post with the last 400 meters in 26.4. Hectorjayjay held third and Jilliby Jagger did well for fourth after being three wide for a lap. Saloon Passage after being beaten out of the gate overaced but still finished the race off well to run fifth. SELECTIONS The draw says Bling It On should win but we think Sky Major is still the one to beat even from the outside of the second line. Its a big call but Sky Major is right in the zone at the moment and won the Harness Jewels in New Zealand two months ago from five on the second line. Clearly Bling It On will be favourite and tough to roll from barrier three However there are several horses who are lining up to spoil the party and this is how we see them. The next three horses from the semi finals that impressed us in no particular order were Lettucerockthem, Major Crocker and Saloon Passage who unlike last week are all drawn  to be in the running line this week.  For first four players the next two cabs off the rank for us are Jilliby Jagger and Alleluia. Harnesslink Media  

2 Year Old Pacing Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final. There is never any such thing as a certainty in harness racing but Follow The Stars is about as close as you can get when you are assessing the 2 year old colts/geldings division of this years Breeders Crown Final. Trained by Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen, this Victorian bred son of Art Major is nine from ten this season with his only miss coming when he was completely wiped out when mounting a run in the Harness Jewels at Cambridge in New Zealand. Although Follow The Stars has drawn wide at six, (emergency out) it is a draw that gives his driver Mark Purdon plenty of options early. Throughout the season he has won from in front and from off the pace so he doesn't need to lead to win and with such a quality all round game it is hard to see him being rolled. The biggest danger the way the draws have panned out is the stable mate of Follow The Stars in Kept Under Wraps. This New South Wales bred son of Bettor's Delight has won five from eight this season and his run for second in the semi final after being brought to a standstill early and then working overtime for the rest of the race was really top class. Having drawn barrier three, Kept Under Wraps who is to be driven by top reinsman Greg Sugars looks a likely leader from the draw and then has the option to to either park Follow The Stars or take a trail behind him. Either way Kept Under Wraps is a must for multiple players. From there this race becomes a bit of a nightmare with the pick of the rest of the runners all drawing on the second line. If Follow The Stars runs home in 55 and change in the final as he did in the semi final, then those back in the field will struggle to make ground as we saw at Ballarat on Saturday night. Several horses in Follow The Stars semi final looked slightly disappointing but you can't make a lot of ground up when they are going that quick off the front. So we decided to plump for class in our selections but there are so many variables the way the draw has worked out that some of the other runners off the front line may fill a minor placing on Sunday. Burnaholeinmypocket went super in his semi final but the draw negates his gatespeed and he needs a bit of luck from three on the second line. Birdy Mach has the worst possible draw of one on the second line which could see him settle well back but he is a high class juvenile so a big run would not surprise. Selections. Follow The Stars in one. Kept Under Wraps is just as easily second for us from the draw with Burnaholeinmypocket and Birdy Mach next on class not their draws. After that it becomes hard to predict but we thought both Controversial and Artistic Flite went super in the semi finals. 2 Year Old Pacing Fillies Breeders Crown Final Before the draw came out, the Mark Purdon trained Linda Lovegrace looked very hard to beat but since she has drawn one on the second line, the race suddenly looks a lot more even with the filly drawn in front of her in The Final Frontier a certainty to get crossed at the start which will leave Linda Lovegrace needing luck from back on the inner. Her main opponent in the final is fellow Kiwi Kate Perry who has drawn barrier four which is perfect for her and with Dexter Dunn driving in career best form, this combination now looks the one they all have to beat. Another Kiwi in the form of the Mach Three filly Cyclone Kate has drawn barrier five and looms as a big winning chance after her big run for second to Linda Lovegrace from second last at the 800 meters mark on Saturday night in the semi final. Yet another Kiwi in Joannes A Delight came from five on the second line in her semi final to push Kate Perry to half a neck in her first run for over five weeks so she will have derived a lot of benefit from her semi final run. Chris Alford has picked up the plum drive on the New South Wales bred Big Lucy from the Mark Purdon barn but four on the second line has meant she is going to need a touch of luck from out there.  Selections The draw means that Kate Perry has got the easiest road to the winners circle of all of the favoured runners. Dexter Dunn was keen to keep Big Lucy in the pocket last week and that meant that Kate Perry was not completely let down so she looks the one to us. Joanne's A Delight is a clear second pick for us even from the draw while Cyclone Kate and Big Lucy are genuine winning chances. So that brings us to Linda Lovegrace and we are not sure how to rate her. If she can clear the traffic in front of her then she is the horse to beat but from one second row with a horse in front of you that is going to get crossed it is a lot easier said than done.  However her run for second to Follow The Stars two starts back was outstanding with the last 400 meters in 26.3 so don't discard her chances of rolling over the top of this field if she gets the right run. Harnesslink Media

Here at Harnesslink, we thought we would be brave and offer our opinion on the Breeders Crown Finals as we head towards one of the seasons biggest harness racing days at Melton on Sunday. Our first preview is of the 2 year old trotters division.  2 year old Trotting Fillies Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park final for 2 year old fillies looks to be a battle between three fillies that are all sired via frozen semen and are all by stallions that are at the top of the siring charts in North America. The Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen trained daughter of Angus Hall in Arya looks very hard to beat here after an outstanding season in New Zealand which was followed up by a great second to the leading Australian male trotter in Eljaykay Phoenix in the Redwood Classic. Arya has been foolproof all season which in the 2 year old trotting ranks is a major plus and with no Endsino in the field she looks to have a class edge as well. Arya should come into five on the front line which is the perfect draw for here as she can stay out of the early rush and work to the lead without having to burn from the gate. The two main dangers to Arya have both drawn nicely on the front line and are both beautifully bred trotters. Glenferrie Burn who has drawn one is a daughter of the brilliant Muscle Hill from the 16 win Sundon mare in Adellas Dash ($102,626). She has developed as the season has progressed and looks a real chance from the draw to get a soft run. Val Gardena who has drawn three is a daughter of leading North American sire Kadabra from an Andover Hall mare. She has only missed a placing once this season in ten starts and comes into this race a last start winner. From her handy draw Blake Fitzpatrick has plenty of options with Val Gardena and she looks a major player here. Of the others Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty have both shown enough to be serious place chances but its hard to see them as genuine winning chances. Selections Arya clearly on top, followed by a combination of Val Gardena, Glenferrie Burn, Meadow Valley Road and Naked Majesty. 2 year old Trotting Colts/Geldings Breeders Crown Final The $87,000 Aldebaran Park Final for 2 year old colts/geldings has drawn a cracking field and the draw has only evened out the contest even more.  All the top contenders have drawn the front line with the favourite Eljaykay Phoenix fearing the worst with barrier seven. A son of champion sire Sundon, Eljaykay Phoenix has looked a class above them for most of the season but his recent defeat by Shared Interest has thrown this division wide open. Throw in his draw and the fact that all the real challengers have drawn inside him means if Eljaykay Phoneix and Joshua Aiken are going to win the final, they are going to have to do it the hard way. His main challenger is the son of Angus Hall in Shared Interest who has drawn beautifully at barrier two which gives Nathan Jack plenty of options Weather he tries to park Eljaykay Phoenix or takes a sit on his back, Shared Interest has the all round game to win the final. The chances don't end there with both Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck capable of toppling the favoured duo if things go their way. Illawong Armstrong finally gets a good draw and Jodi Quinlan will be hoping that the favoured pair go to war which then brings her horse right into play. The enigma of the field is The Pres gelding Primz Luck whose ring craft has let him down lately but who has ability to burn as he showed in New Zealand several times. Now in the Kerryn Manning barn and to be driven by her in the final, Primz Luck threw it away on his Australian debut in the Redwood Classic. Kerryn has had five weeks since then to iron out those kinks and if he gets around on Sunday they will all know they have been to the races. Selections. Can't split the two favourites in Shared Interest and Eljaykay Phoenix due to the draws but lean a bit towards Eljaykay Phoneix on his overall record. Illawong Armstrong and Primz Luck are both live chances depending how the race is run. Throw in Kyvalley Boomerang, Fabrication and Hadrians Phoenix for trifectas and first fours.  Harnesslink Media    

Frau Blucher made her first win of the 2014 season a memorable one by matching a world record for her age group on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A huge earner at age two and three for trainer Chris Oakes, Frau Blucher (Broadway Hall-My Angel) was winless in her first five starts as a four-year-old heading into Tuesday night's condition trot for non-winners of $10,001 in the past five races, which carried a purse of $13,000. Leaving from post position #2 in a field of nine as the 4-5 favorite, Frau Blucher, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, took over the lead on the front stretch and opened up from there. The mare ended up 8 ¼ lengths in front of the field in a winning time of 1:51:4, which matched the world record for 4-year-old trotting mares on a 5/8-mile oval, set back in May at Pocono by Classic Martine, another Oakes trainee. Frau Blucher, owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, and Matt Tudisco, won for the 14th time in 34 career races, pushing her lifetime earnings to $924,117 in the process. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 19 - The spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday night as two Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, two Metro Pace eliminations and three She's A Great Lady eliminations will take centre stage. The Canadian Pacing Derby has a rich history as the oldest stakes race in Canada for standardbred racehorses and on Saturday night the sport's top stars will bring their talents north for a pair of six-horse eliminations. 2013 Pepsi North America Winner Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick will start from post five in the second $40,000 elimination. A two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous has had to make the tough transition from age three to four this season, but has still shown his grit and determination facing the big boys. Last Saturday night, 'The Captain' won the $34,000 Preferred in prep for the Canadian Pacing Derby and trainer Tony Alagna was delighted with his performance. "I was happy with his effort, it was a confidence builder he needed going into this week's elimination," said Alagna. "We drew away from Sweet Lou, but we caught Bettors Edge who has been racing really well, so hopefully the short field helps and he gets a fair shot again." 'The Captain' is a big fan of Mohawk Racetrack as he has never lost in six career starts over the Campbellville oval. "He's always been his best up here," said Alagna. "We've had him up here for major races, so he's always been on his game when he came up here. He likes the atmosphere and he seems happy up here." 'The Captain' has two wins in seven starts this season and has never finished out of the money for seasonal earnings topping $176,000 The top horse this season on the WEG circuit, State Treasurer, will line up two spots inside Captaintreacherous. State Treasurer has won the WEG Preferred six times this season and has won seven of his 12 starts for earnings of over $296,000. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer will be driven by WEG's leading driver Chris Christoforou. The hottest horse in harness racing headlines the first elimination. The Ron Burke trainee, Sweet Lou, enters his elimination on a nine-race win streak and having won his last seven starts in 1:47.4 or better Sweet Lou has drawn post two in his elimination and will have his regular pilot Ron Pierce in the sulky. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser, Sweet Lou has made over $3 million in his career, but joining him in his elimination is the richest standardbred in the history of the sport, Foiled Again. Also trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again has earned over $6.3 million and continues to compete at the top level at the age of ten. Foiled Again, who will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras, is also a previous Canadian Pacing Derby winner having won the 2012 edition. The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $650,000 final on Saturday, August 30. Elimination winners may choose their post position for the final. 15 of the sport's brightest freshman pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of eliminations for the chance to race in the $685,000 Metro Pace Final on Saturday August 30. Leading the group of 15 is the Alagna trainee, Artspeak, who is undefeated in four career starts and enters the Metro elim fresh off a victory in the Nassagaweya Stakes last Saturday night. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron will start from post position five in the first $40,000 elimination. Alagna said he was happy with how Artspeak came out of the Nassagaweya Stakes. "Artspeak jogged back super, everything checks out good," said Alagna. "We are really happy with the way he drew and hopefully he has another good shot this week and takes another step towards the Metro final." The son of Western Ideal - The Art Museum was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase and is owned by the Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The GYM Partners. One of the top local rookies, Traceur Hanover, will meet up with Artspeak for the first time. Trained by Normand Bardier Jr., Traceur Hanover enters this weekend's elimination with three wins in four starts and is also coming off a victory in his Nassagaweya split. Randy Waples sits behind the son of Western Ideal - Transference for owner Richard Berthiaume, who bought Traceur Hanover for the same price as Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The other $40,000 elimination appears to be a wide-open affair, with seven rookie pacers looking to be in the top five to secure a spot in the rich final. Sports Bettor, who will start from post position seven, is coming off a 69-1 upset victory in his division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday night. Trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile, Sports Bettor broke his maiden in style with the Nassagaweya upset. Before his breakthrough in the Nassagaweya, Sports Bettor had finished second in three of his five career starts. Randy Waples will drive the son of Sportswriter - Shellys Delight. Also in the field of seven is this year's Battle of Waterloo winner, Go Daddy Go, who will start from post three for the Hall of Fame connections of driver John Campbell and trained Bob McIntosh. The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $685,000 final on August 30, with elimination winners earning the right to select their post position for the final. The She's A Great Lady has attracted 25 rookie pacing fillies that have been split into three eliminations. Shakai Hanover, a division winner of last Saturday' Eternal Camnation Stakes, headlines the first $35,000 elimination. Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover will start from post position three and has won twice in four career starts. The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan set a new career mark with her Eternal Camnation victory of 1:52.4 and has earned just under $83,000. The second elimination features undefeated filly Band Of Angels from the Ron Burke barn. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven - Time N Again, Band Of Angels has won her first five starts of her career, with all five victories coming in New York Sires Stakes events. She will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras and ships north with over $133,000 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.3. The final elimination stars another undefeated filly that will have Yannick Gingras in the bike. JK Shesalady won her division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes last Saturday to improve her record to four for four. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners the 3 Brothers Stable, JK Shesalady has a speed badge of 1:52 and earnings exceeding $68,000. The top three finishers from each elimination and one third place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the $450,000 final on Saturday, August 30. All three rich finals will take place Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack. The party will start at 6 p.m. and first race post time is 7:25 p.m. Here are the fields for Saturday night's stakes eliminations. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell 2. Sweet Lou - Ron Pierce 3. Captive Audience - James MacDonald 4. Domethatagain - Ron Pierce 5. Sunshine Beach - Chris Christoforou 6. Foiled Again - Yannick Gingras Race 8 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. Ellis Park - Steve Condren 2. Bettors Edge - Matt Kakaley 3. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 4. Modern Legend - James MacDonald 5. Captaintreacherous - Tim Tetrick 6. Clear Vision - Brett Miller Race 6 - Metro Pace Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras 2. Trading Up - Scott Zeron 3. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell 4. Lone Survivor - David Miller 5. Dudes The Man - David Miller 6. Asap Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Sports Bettor - Randy Waples Race 11 - Metro Pace Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. The Wayfaring Man - Jack Moiseyev 2. Pierce Hanover - Paul Macdonell 3. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick 4. Some Power - David Miller 5. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 6. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 7. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples 8. Rollin Ring Afire - Matt Kakaley Race 4 - She's A Great Lady Elimination One - Purse: $35,000 1. The Show Returns - Tim Tetrick 2. Bedroomconfessions - Scott Zeron 3. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson 4. Strut My Stuff - John Campbell 5. Palette Tina - Yannick Gingras 6. Aria Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Bettor Be Steppin - Corey Callahan 8. Kays Dragon Lady - Matt Kakaley Race 9 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Two - Purse: $35,000 1. Solar Sister - Doug McNair 2. Divine Caroline - Corey Callahan 3. Missy Tap Tina - Tim Tetrick 4. Cashaway - Tim Tetrick 5. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 6. Well Hello There - Matt Kakaley 7. Southwind Mischief - Chris Christoforou 8. Shesastarreporter - Jonathan Drury 9. Ideal Nuggets - John Campbell Race 10 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Three - Purse: $35,000 1. Float On By - Tim Tetrick 2. Macarena Mama - Chris Christoforou 3. A Plus - Scott Zeron 4. Bin N Heaven - Doug McNair 5. Betty And The Jets - Doug McNair 6. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 7. Happy Becky - David Miller 8. Dancin Caroll - Jack Moiseyev by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications.

The curtain has finally been lowered on the harness racing career of the champion trotter Sovereignty. Plagued by soundness and foot complaints for a major part of his career, Sovereignty has been a major player on the New Zealand trotting scene since he announced his arrival as a three year old with a stunning performance in the New Zealand Trotting Derby. Sitting three wide for most of the last lap, Sovereignty only went under by a neck but then went on to dominate the three year classics with wins in the Great Northern Trotting Derby and the New Zealand Sires Stakes Final. Sovereignty ended his three year old season with a stunning win by over 5 lengths in the Harness Jewels in 1:56.9 and was duly crowned 3 year old trotter of the year in New Zealand Over the next six seasons, Sovereignty would race and beat the best around but was always under a cloud due to his soundness and feet issues. Australians never got to see Sovereignty at his absolute best as he only made two trips there in his seven seasons on the track and although winless in seven starts in Australia, Sovereignty picked up $94,313 in stakes which gives you an insight into his class. He was a constant in the Group One trotting races in New Zealand over those years with his half head second to Springbank Richard in the Dominion Handicap a highlight. Owned and raced throughout his career by the legendary Hall Of Famer Charlie Hunter and his wife Annette, Sovereignty was purchased on their behalf at the Christchurch yearling sales by noted Cambridge trainer Sean McCaffrey. He was trained throughout his career by Sean McCaffrey apart from a handful of starts for Greg and Nina Hope when a beach training regime was used to see if it helped him with his soundness issues. One always felt that a fully sound Sovereignty would have been something special on the track and to achieve what he did with all his issues stamped him as a trotter of the highest class. In all Sovereignty faced the starter 94 times for 28 wins and 34 placings for stakes of $780,386. Sovereignty went out a winner at his last start in early April and that was an appropiate way to end what has been a stellar career. Harnesslink Media  

“That's about twice as many entries as we expected to be honest”.  Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association chair Noel Kennard is pleasantly surprised by the more than 60 broodmares that make the bulk of the web based catalogue for the organisations horse sale on September 11th. The group took on the spring sale of in foal or ready to be bred pacing and trotting mares after requests and demand from it's 270 strong membership wanting a platform to buy and sell stock at the start of the harness racing breeding season. “While nobody's expecting much above bargain prices many of the mares have the potential to engage a bidding duel before they find a new breeding barn”. A sale co-coordinator Sheldon Murtha, is quietly enthusing over the quality that's surfaced during the final days of accepting entries. “The two mares from Tuapeka Lodge will get plenty of views through the website and the prospect of having a spring foal by Art Major or Mach Three should spin some wheels on several other lots”. Fans of the square gaiter should enjoy researching some of the trotting mares listed. If half sisters to 'Sundon' and 'Sky Valley' don't grab, those in foal to current hot stallion 'Monkey Bones' and french bleu blood 'Repeat Love' should have computer mouses clicking through to pedigree pages. Noel Kennard says the convenience of combining the new sale with the associations popular Stud and Stallion promo night may turn out to be a welcome strategic bonus. “Anyone buying a mare at the sale during the first part of the night will have the stallion service offer right there in front of them during the second half” he suggests. “We're assured the stud farms will be ready to make a deal with any new owners that night”. The CSBA Broodmare and Mixed stock horse sale begins at 5pm on Thursday September 11th in the 'Blossom Lady' lounge at Addington Raceway. The horses for sale are now listed on the highlighted web pages at www.harnessracing.co.nz. Canterbury Standardbred Breeders Association  

Stakes-winner E L Titan has been absent from the Grand Circuit this season, but that is soon to change. The 3-year-old male trotter, who won three of five starts last season, including divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Madison County, made his 2014 debut earlier this month and is getting ready for the Simcoe Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, both at Mohawk Racetrack. Riina Rekila, who trains E L Titan for breeder/owner Erkki Laakkonen, qualified E L Titan on July 4 at Mohawk, where he won in 1:57.4, but didn't see the colt make his first start until Aug. 9, when he was victorious by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 in a conditioned race at Mohawk. "He had little issues, but we decided to start a little bit later with him," Rekila said. "He was staked to the Hambletonian too, but I entered him in a few overnights here and they didn't use the class, so I just came late with him. I can't just go and race (in the Hambletonian) without any normal races. "We hope he's good now until the end of the year." E L Titan is by the stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Courtney Hall, a stakes-winning full sister to millionaire Cameron Hall. E L Titan is Courtney Hall's fourth foal and the previous three -- E L Rock, Appomattox and E L Rocket -- each earned at least $233,000. Appomattox, who finished second in the 2012 Kentucky Futurity, leads the group with $414,548. Last year, E L Titan won his division of the International Stallion Stakes by a neck over Trixton in 1:53.4. The time was fifth fastest among all 2-year-old male trotters last season. He also finished second to Father Patrick in a division of the Champlain Stakes. "I really liked him," Rekila said. "He's lazy training, so you can't tell too much. We were very surprised he raced that well (on Aug. 9) because he had only one qualifier. At home, I just train him under saddle or on my sand track. I don't train him too fast, so I was happy he went (1):54 pretty easy at Mohawk." Rekila drove E L Titan as a 2-year-old, but Chris Christoforou was in the sulky for the colt's first start this season. Rekila hopes By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTAChristoforou will drive E L Titan again in the Simcoe, which is Aug. 30. "If he doesn't take him, I'll take him," Rekila said with a laugh. "I like Chris. He's nice with the horse and he's one of the best drivers up here. "I like to drive 2-year-olds because maybe they are not so handy to drive," she added in explaining why she gave up her seat behind E L Titan this year. "I know them, so it is easier." Following the Simcoe and Canadian Trotting Classic, E L Titan's stakes schedule includes the American-National, Galt, Yonkers Trot, and Breeders Crown. "I'm racing him lightly because we would like him to race as a 4-year-old as well, maybe when he's a little older," Rekila said. "The owner is the nicest person ever, so we can do whatever we want. He doesn't want me to push the horse. If there are issues we can wait and race the horse whenever he's ready. We just want to have a nice horse. "I like him," she added about E L Titan. "They're all horses, so you never know, but I think he's a very nice horse." By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Harness racing driver Scott Young aka 'The Answer' was kind enough to take a few moments to chat between races at Georgian Downs, (Innisfil, ON). Driving horses at Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs, Scott acknowledges that a lot of strategy comes in to play when racing at the two tracks. Georgian Downs is a 5/8 mile track while Grand River Raceway is a ½ mile track. "This track, Georgian Downs, is known as a speed track" says Scott. "If you lead with your horse from the start off the gate, you're better for it. It's really hard to make up ground on this track if they don't go any fractions up front. You really try to get yourself well positioned here." Scott confirms the same type of strategy works well at Grand River Raceway. One thing Scott enjoys about driving at Georgian Downs is getting the opportunity to drive better horses. "I find there are better horses and the trainers you drive for are a lot of Mohawk Raceway trainers and they're bringing young horses here.... You get a chance to drive for some class stables and some decent horses." Scott has driven some horses for his dad, Bob Young. Scott admits his dad's horses make him look good! "He gives me a shot to win every time." Scott says. "My dad has a really nice filly named Wicked Speed and she's 3 for 3 this year with 2 Grass Roots (Ontario Sire Stakes)." Scott continues, "I drive a horse for my dad named Mitt Jagger and he's a pretty nice horse." When he isn't racing, Scott works for trainer Tony O'Sullivan. Well, why not his dad 'Bob Knowledge'? "We are the same person" Scott confirms, "I can work for him for about three weeks. We are too much alike. We always want to change stuff all the time... so I drive for him at night and this way when I see him, I am just driving." With that being said, Scott knows his dad is his biggest fan and Bob always does his best to watch all of Scott's drives. So what does Scott and his fellow horsemen do when they are in between races and have a few minutes? Play practical jokes of course. Scott speaks about times where he has found his gloves stuffed with candy wrappers or even stones. It seems to always take place when he's trying to rush onto the track. "There I am looking for my gloves with one minute before the post parade" says Scott. "And I am trying to empty them out. Or I will find my gloves pulled inside out." "Sometimes someone will switch whips with you. They'll leave you with a broken whip and they go and take your good one." Scott says with a laugh. "There's always something going on." Pranksters being called out are J Harris, Bob McClure and James MacDonald! It's safe to say Scott doesn't play any pranks as he admits the favor will be returned twice as harsh. "I try and stay clear of that" Scott says. Coming to the track is a delight for Scott, "I am friends with everybody and there's nothing like doing what you love with your friends." As mentioned before, 'The Answer' is a big Bruins fans and he's ready for the NHL season to kick off. In the mean time, Scotty is enjoying cheering on the Blue Jays as they fight for a wild card ticket to the post season. "The last five games I've been to the Blue Jays won each time" says Scott. If that's the case, I say we make sure Scott goes to every remaining home game! Third baseman Brett Lawrie of the Blue Jays is Scott's favorite player. "My dad says we are a lot alike. When something goes bad for Brett, he has a little freak out." Scott explains. "When I was younger and I got beat with a favorite, I would throw a fit and my dad would say 'Easy Brett, easy'..."   by Roderick Balgobin, www.supernovasportsclub.com    

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 18 - On Monday evening, harness racing driver Doug McNair recorded his 2,000 career driving victory at Mohawk Racetrack with the three-year-old pacer Eastender. McNair, a resident of Guelph, Ontario, entered the evening two wins away from reaching the 2,000 win plateau. In the evening's third race, McNair picked up his 1,999th victory with Youre Majestic in a $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old trotting fillies. McNair would then reach the milestone in the final race of the night with the three-year-old gelding, Eastender, who is trained by his father Gregg. Over the last few years, McNair has been consistently among the top drivers on the WEG circuit and has quickly become one of the top young reinsman in the entire sport. At the age of 18, Doug became the youngest driver in the history of harness racing to reach $1 million in career earnings In December of 2010, McNair became the youngest driver to reach 1,000 wins, reaching the milestone at Western Fair Raceway just weeks before his 21st birthday. This season, Doug is sixth in the WEG driver's standings with 90 wins and over $1.6 million in earnings. In total this season, McNair has made 129 trips to the winner's circle and has earnings exceeding $2.4 million. In his young career, Doug has competed in and won many of the sport's top events. Races such as the Battle of Waterloo, Confederation Cup and She's A Great Lady are just some of the major stakes victories on McNair's resume. Just this past Saturday night, McNair recorded a Grand Circuit driving victory at Mohawk by steering Solar Sister to victory in the $77,745 Eternal Camnation Stakes. McNair is currently in his seventh full season of driving and in that time period has career earnings of just less than $27 million. Doug reaches the 2,000 win mark at the age of 24. The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Doug on the accomplishment and wish him continued success on his journey to 3,000 wins. Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 18, 2014 -- Statebred sophomore fillies took another turn downstate Monday night, with Yonkers Raceway hosting the $219,700 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace. The harness racing event annually honors the memory of the former Executive Secretary of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York, whose contributions to the success of the Empire program cannot be measured. Many of Bruce's family and friends were on hand, enjoying the evening and making winner's circle presentation. Three divisions -- at $72,800, $72,800 and $74,100 -- comprised the coterie. Odds-on Major Dancer (George Brennan, $3.50) just lasted in the opening event, holding off a cone-skimming It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) by a "shrunken head" in 1:53.2. Away alertly from post position No. 2, Major Dancer-who looks anything but a professional racehorse warming up-threw down intervals of :27.4, :56.4 and 1:25.1. Longshot Ken Doll J (Jimmy Whittemore) tried it first-up from sixth, but could not close. Major Dancer opened 2½ lengths in and out of the final turn, but needed some urging to close the sale. Southwind Illusions (Eric Carlson) was a best-of-the-rest third. For Major Dancer, a daughter of Art Major trained by Casie Coleman for Ontario tri-owners West Wins Stable, Mac Nichol and Adriano Sorella, it was her seventh win in a dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $10,40, with the triple returning $65.50. "Casie (Coleman) said she's gonna hop and skip warming up," Brennan said of Major Dancer. "She said I had to get her attention, so I scored her down hard, but even that didn't seem to work. "But has the talent and that was enough tonight." (Major Dancer was a late lame scratch from her last scheduled NYSS start here. She worked out the next day to become eligible for the Empire Breeders, where she won her elim and was second in the final). Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke won the other two Hamilton groupings, both from the pole. Jaded Dream ($5.10) blew past a non-resistant Up Front Elizabeth (Mark MacDonald), then held off Supplemental Income (Jason Bartlett) by a nose in 1:54.4. Sweetnsinful (Whittemore) was a rallying third, while even-money fave Medusa (Tim Tim Tetrick) was shuffled out from the pocket when the leader caved. For second choice Jaded Dream, a daughter of If I Can Dream co-owned (as Burke Racing) by her trainer, Weaver Bruscemi and Panhellenic Stable, she's now 3-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $22.40, with the triple returning $129.50. A La Notte Hanover ($12) reinforced the "short distance between two points" theory in the final sire stakes sojourn, taking it to the house (:29.1, :58.1, 1:26.4, 1:55). Blush Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.), as the 4-5 choice, tried the winner from the inside but missed a head. Spreester (Dan Dube) was third, with Delightful Dragon (Dave Miller) fourth. The first four finishers were separated by a neck at the wire. For fourth choice "A La Notte," an Art Major miss co-owned (as Burke Racing) by here trainer, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Larry Karr, it was her second win in 13 '14 tries. The exacta paid $22, with the triple returning $62.50. "The first filly (Jaded Dream) went by so easily," Gingras said. "I felt Jason (Bartlett's) horse (Supplemental Income) right on my back, but mine du in. The other filly (A La Notte Hanover), I would have been content sitting second, but no one really left against her and she was able to get some cheap fractions." New York Sire Stakes continue Tuesday night, with the $202,599 Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old fillies. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. Frank Drucker

A Scandinavian quartet have teamed up and bought Broadway Hall. Hans Nelén (Global Farm), John Bootsman (Boko Stables), Mats Gabrielsson (Oxalis) and the couple Siv and Nils Otto Bergslien (The breeders of ”Thai”-horses) are the quartet behind the deal. Broadway Hall will stay in Pennsylvania and will service American breeding during 2015. In the fall, he will be collecting semen for freezing to the European market. Broadway Hall debuted as 2-year-old with making nine starts and he remained undefeated. Among his victories excels elimination and final of the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Sire Stakes and Lexington Breeders Championship. He received the Dan Patch Award as the "2-year-old-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States. Broadway Hall is the father of five world record holders, including the filly Cooler Schooner who last year won at 1: 51.3 at Pocono Downs 5/8-mile-track, which is still the fastest time for a two year old in the world - any track length. He has left two millionaires, Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn and the mare Action-Broadway. He has nearly 700 offspring in North America, which together have earned over 30 million dollars. In Sweden, he has 50 registered offspring where the mare Mermaid Ås (E3-winner and 2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET) is most winning with nearly four million SEK in her bank roll. In Norway Broadway Hall has left Thai Broadway (2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET and Breeders Crown), which earned almost 3.5 million NOK. Facts Age: 14 years (foaled 2000) Pedigree: Conway Hall - B Cor Tamgo Record: 1:56.4 Purse: $436,790 - Won the Dan Patch Award as the ”2YO-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States in 2002. - Undefeated after nine starts as a 2-year old. - Breeders Crown winner. World Champion foals Frau Blucher, 1:53.1 • 3YO fillies at half-mile-track Cooler Schooner, 1:51.3 • 2YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Pilgrims Chuckie, 1:53 • 3YO colts and geldings at 5/8-mile-track Stage Show, 1:53.1 • 4YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Sherman Mountain, 1:53.3 • 3YO geldings at 5/8-mile-track To earning foals USA: Broad Bahn (1.53 • $ 1,547,988), Action-Broadway (1:52.3 • $ 1,071,122), Pilgrims Taj (1:53.3 • $ 996,748), Frau Blucher (1:52.3 • $ 914,367), Broadway Scooner (1:53.3 • $ 885,933) and Opening Night (1:52.2 • $ 749,374). Sweden: Mermaid Ås (1:53.2 • 3,944,747 SEK) and the US-imports - Production (1:54.3 • 1,447,870 SEK), Cool Keeper (1:56 • 1,426,500 SEK) and Dicey Spicey (1:56.4 • 848,494 SEK). Norway: Thai Broadway (1:52.4 • 3,489,856 NOK). Finland: Vincent Van Kemp (1:56.2 • € 78,953). For more information contact either Truls Heslien, Global Farm, +47,328,767 97 +47906596 31 or John Bootsman, Boko Stables, +46 70-582 07 19. by Håkan Persson, for Global Farm

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HARRINGTON, Del. - William Cantrell's Skyway Priss ($15.40, Ross Wolfenden) notched her fifth win in the year in Wednesday's featured trotting event, beating a conditioned group of male rivals at Harrington Raceway in 1:56. The Cincinnati Kid mare held pocket sitting favorite Cash On Delivery at bay throughout the mile and withstood one last charge from the latter late for a narrow win. Cadillac Cruiser was third. Trained by John Cabot, all but one of Skyway Priss' wins this year have come at Harrington. Allan Davis and Victor Kirby each had driving triples. Ross Wolfenden had a double. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2014 -- A five-race maiden entering the race, Lilu Hanover overpowered her field in Wednesday's $160,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows, winning by 9-3/4 lengths in the stake-record time of 1:55.2. The event for 2-year-old filly trotters was contested over eight divisions, with Bright Baby Blues, Sarcy, Aarena Hanover, Fly Angel Fly, Focus On Me, Global Ice and Flirting Filly also taking $20,000 splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed to win four divisions (Lilu Hanover, Sarcy, Fly Angel Fly, Flirting Filly) while trainer Nifty Norman fashioned a stake double (Bright Baby Blues, Aarena Hanover). Lilu Hanover, who had been taking on top youngsters in such stakes as the Merrie Annabelle, devoured her stallion series competition, moving first over easily to gobble up the leader, Devoted, and draw off. Devoted held place, with Cantabulous Julie third. The time erased Nitro Nittany's stake mark of 1:56.1. "She shows that she made a couple mistakes, so we just wanted to keep her clear of trouble," Palone said of the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover. "She's definitely a Grand Circuit filly. It will be interesting when she goes to Lexington and faces the top ones. I don't think she'll take a back seat to too many." Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld campaign Lilu Hanover. Bright Baby Blues also dropped down a bit from PA Sires Stakes and enjoyed much the same result -- a maiden-breaking score in 1:57 when the track still was rated "good" before its upgrade later in the card. Wouldn't Itbesweet was 3 lengths back in second, with Party Right Now third. Bright Baby Blues finished with a tire that leaked most of its air during the race. "She had to come first up and do the dirty work, but I never pulled the plugs," said winning driver Mike Wilder. "What a nice filly -- straight as a string and perfect." Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee own Bright Baby Blues, a daughter of Andover Hall-Bar Slide. Aarena Hanover hadn't been on the lead at any point in the four previous starts of her career, but Scott Zeron quickly changed that when he gunned her to the front. She prevailed without a challenge in 1:57.4, 2-3/4 lengths better than Donato Babe. Red's Winner earned show. "Nifty's style is, for a main portion of the beginning of the year, to make sure they don't get rowdy and warm, so he likes to race them off the pace," Zeron said. "His assistant trainer today told me: 'This horse is smart now; do whatever you want out there.' I pulled her plugs just to get her attention down the lane, but she was real strong going across the wire." J&T Silva Stables and John Fielding own the daughter of Donato Hanover-Angel Pie. Elsewhere on the card, Ma Chere Hall moved first over in a $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot to score in 1:53.1, fastest ever by a 4-year-old mare at The Meadows. Prismatica was second, 4-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Dizzy Rizzy third. Zeron, who drove three winners on the 16-race card, piloted for trainer Jonas Czernyson and owners Walnut Hall Limited, Aldebaran Park Inc. and Joe Sbrocco, It was the first victory in nine tries this year for the 4-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Margarita Hall, who banked $506,869 at 3. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday, when the card features the Delmonica Hanover, a $234,584 PA Sires Stake for freshman filly trotters. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
NICHOLS, NY - When nine of North America's top harness racing drivers compete at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs later this month in the 8th Annual All-Star Drivers Championship, they'll be racing for more than just prize money and bragging rights. They'll also be raising money for the charity of their choice. All nine drivers will donate their 5% driving commission to charity. The amount will be matched by Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs plus the tracks' owner, Jeffrey Gural. Last year, more than $9,000 was donated. "This event is the premier driving tournament in the country with a first place prize of $25,000," said Jason Settlemoir, Vice President of Racing and Simulcast at Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs. "Anytime we can use this big stage to raise awareness and money for some great organizations, we're happy to do it." Defending champion Jimmy Marohn, Jr. will be donating his earnings to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Two-time champion Yannick Gingras and first-time participant Matt Kakaley will also support the SRF. Tim Tetrick and Scott Zeron will be competing on behalf of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. Corey Callahan has selected the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Canadian representative Jody Jamieson will be donating to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Vernon Downs representative Chris Lems will be competing for locally based Sunshine Horses and David Miller has chosen to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Round 1 of the All-Star Drivers Championship takes place on August 29 at Vernon Downs and the final round moves to Tioga Downs on September 1. Both days will also feature a Jimmy Marohn, Jr. bobblehead giveaway, commemorative t-shirt giveaway and other fan-friendly promotions and contests. by Justin Horowitz, for Tioga & Vernon Downs  
The catalog for the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale is now available on the company’s website, www.lexingtonselected.com. It will also be available early next week on the Equineline Sales Catalog App for iPad users. Printed catalogs should be received by those on the company’s mailing list around Labor Day. The sale begins its annual run on Tuesday, Sept. 30, and continues through Saturday, Oct. 4. Each of the five sessions will get underway at 7:00 p.m. The sale coincides with the historic Red Mile Grand Circuit meet. During sale week, racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday, with an afternoon post time of 1:00 p.m. Those accessing the catalog on the Lexington Selected website may download the catalog in its entirety, or use the sortable roster to arrange pedigrees in any fashion desired. Yearling videos will be added as they become available. Lexington Selected bills itself as “The Sale of Champions” and on Hambletonian Day added to its honor roll of sale graduates. Lexington grad Trixton won the $1,006,125 Hambletonian and Mission Brief won the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle in world record time. From the Lexington Selected Sales Co.  
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