Guaranteed kil cup win.jpg

Gutsy Guaranteed grabs glory

Guaranteed, Australasia’s most exciting harness racing prospect, is on target to make his Grand Circuit debut next month. Fresh from his Kilmore Cup victory this afternoon, Guaranteed has been aimed at the Southern Hemipshere’s premier sprint – Miracle Mile. Co-trainer Emma Stewart confirmed the Tabcorp Park Menangle-based feature tops the five-year-old’s agenda. The Miracle Mile is scheduled to be conducted on November 29. In the build up to the Group One, Guaranteed will tackle the Smoken Up Sprint at Melton on November 7, followed by one of the Miracle Mile qualifying events. “Now we will set him for the Miracle Mile,” said Stewart, who prepares her team with Clayton Tonkin. “He will have a few easy days now as he’s had three starts in three weeks, then we’ll get him ready for the various sprints in the lead up to the Miracle Mile. “He has come back in sensational form and we’ve got no doubt he can take the step to the next level.” Based on the strength of Guaranteed’s latest effort, few can argue with Stewart’s assessment. Missing early trouble after Broadways Best galloped from the tapes, Guaranteed was given time to settle into his stride by master reinsman, Gavin Lang, as Maximan worked to the lead. Angled three-wide during the middle stages, the son of Artsplace was sent forward as Lang controlled the tempo from the ‘death seat’. Forging his way to the front halfway along the home straight, Guaranteed then staved off late challenges from Im Corzin Terror and Flaming Flutter to complete a gutsy triumph. “What a run,” Stewart declared. “He went huge. “He was in peak condition for this and Gavin got everything out of him up the straight. “It got close on the line, but after doing all the work, he just kept finding and was holding them off.” Covering the last half in 56.3 seconds, the stallion rated 2:00.3 for the 3150-metre stand, slicing eight-tenths of a second off Sting Lika Bee’s track record established in the 2007 Cup. Guaranteed’s win also makes him just the second pacer to complete the Nyah/Kilmore Cup double. Former South Australian great Nevada Smoke set the benchmark with his brilliant victories in 1974. Only two other pacers have won both provincial features, albeit different years, with Game Oro successful in the 1984 Nyah Cup before completing consecutive Kilmore Cup wins in ’85 and ’86. Bold Cruiser repeated the dose with a Nyah win in 2007 and a Kilmore victory the following season. PAUL COURTS

70-1 longshot Smexi and driver Corey Callahan

Finest "Rookies" in harness racing on display

TORONTO, October 25 - The finest two-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes. Consisting of the Governors Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport. A costly miscue and a giant upset got the action underway in the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies. Mission Brief, the 3/5 heavy favourite, made a break leaving the gate throwing the fate of the rich final up into the air. Capitalizing on the public's choice break was 70-1 longshot Smexi and driver Corey Callahan. A daughter of Explosive Matter, Smexi got a two-hole trip behind Stubborn Belle and driver Paul Macdonell and was able to come off the leaders back in the stretch and trot on to a length and a half victory. Stubborn Belle held on for second, while Juanitas Fury finished third. "Leaving out of there I looked over and saw that she (Mission Brief) had made a break," said Callahan following the race. "We got really lucky Paul and I, we just kind of got things on our own up there, nobody really moved and it worked perfect for me." Trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, Smexi had only one victory in eleven starts heading into the Goldsmith Maid. Takter, who drove Smexi in her elimination last week, handed the lines over to Callahan and told the driver his filly was ready and to put her in the race. "Tonight before the race he (Takter) pulled me aside and told me listen she was a little rough on me last week," said Callahan. "But I warmed her up tonight and she was really sharp and on her toes." The Goldsmith Maid victory pushes Smexi's career bankroll to over $364,000. Smexi paid $159.30 to win, while a $2 exactor paid just under $1,200. Smexi Fall Four night quickly became the Takter show in the $521,000 Valley Victory for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings. Takter trainees finished first, second, fourth and fifth to almost take the entire purse home in the rich final Pinkman and driver Sylvain Filion were able to convert off a second over trip to narrowly defeat stablemate Uncle Lasse by a head in 1:55.4. The heavy 3/5 favourite, Habitat, finished third wedge between Takter starters, as The Bank and Walter White finished fourth and fifth respectively. A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman was making only his sixth career start in the Valley Victory final, but has now won four of those starts for earnings of over $330,000. Following the race, Takter explained why Pinkman was a little late getting to the races. "We castrated him after his baby races, he kind of didn't pay attention where he was suppose to," said Takter. "He had a very complicated castration, so it took a little bit of a long time for him to get where he (is), but he has surprised me a lot." Takter also said the son of Explosive Matter wasn't on his radar as a superstar training down. "Average, he did everything right, but I had quite a few horses that I thought were a lot better, but these horses that have the good willing to want to do it, especially at this time of year, can get it all." Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. He returned $16.60 to win. Pinkman Artspeak, this year's Metro Pace winner, bounced back in impressive fashion to win the $565,000 Governors Cup for the two-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Leaving from post position six, Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron got away sixth and were able to get into the outer flow on the backstretch, as Lost For Words hung up a big half of :54.3. As the field rounded the final turn, Pierce Hanover cleared to the front leaving Artspeak second over on the back of Lyons Again, as the field ripped by the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4. In the stretch, Artspeak came off his cover and powered by his rivals to take the lead and score a solid length and a half victory in 1:50.4. Go Daddy Go got up to finish second, while Pierce Hanover held on for third. A son of Western Ideal, Artspeak is trained by Tony Alagna for owners Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and In The GYM Partners. Heading into the Governors Cup final, Artspeak had made a break in two consecutive starts for the first two losses of his career. Following the race, Alagna spoke about the recent miscues from the two-year-old and getting him ready for the final. "I came up Tuesday, trained him up Wednesday and he trained fantastic at the farm, so I thought we had the kinks worked out," said Alagna. "Most people know that if I didn't have confidence the horse was ok, with the connections that own the horse he would've never been here to race, so I was very happy that he showed us the redemption that everybody thought he should." After training Artspeak earlier in the week, Alagna said he told the connections at dinner that he had full confidence in the horse. "I told them that night at dinner, he's back on his game, we've got our horse back." By adding the Governors Cup to his resume that already includes the Metro Pace, Artspeak has now won the two richest events of the season for two-year-old pacers. His record now stands at eight wins from ten starts for career earnings of just over $805,000. Artspeak paid $3.50 to win. Jk Shesalady improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $424,000 Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies Saturday night at Woodbine. Sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite, Jk Shesalady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race. Around the final turn, Gingras sent Jk Shealady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. Jk Shesalady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking length and a half victory in 1:52.1. Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third. The Three Diamonds victory was the tenth win in a row for the undefeated Jk Shealady. Following the race, Gingras talked about racing her first up once again Saturday night. "It seems to be working for her, so no sense in changing anything," said Gingras. "She likes to relax in the first half and she's got a huge brush for the second half." A daughter of Art Major, Jk Shesalady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable. Jk Shesalady has now banked over $669,000 in her rookie season and has earned herself consideration in Horse of the Year talk. She returned $2.50 to win. Mark McKelvie

Harness Racing

Natural Herbie sets world record in YK International

Natural Herbie, at odds of 9-1, posted his fourth straight win with a world record performance at Yonkers Raceway Saturday, beating many of the best trotters in the world in the $250,000 International Preview. Despite being parked-out first-over on the outside from after the opening quarter half mile in the one and one-quarter mile extra distance race, owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder properly rated his Indiana-bred four-year-old gelded son of Here Comes, inching his way towards race leader Arch Madness (George Brennan) and Commander Crowe (Orjan Kihlstrom). Then on the final turn, Natural Herbie had not only collared the leaders, but took the lead and then held off Commander Crowe to win by three-quarters of a length with Bee A Magician (David Miller) third. His time for the race, 2:24.4, according to the United States Trotting Association, set the world record for the extra distance on a half mile track, surpassing the 19-year-old record of 2:26.2, that was set in 1995 by His Majesty S (Stefan Melander) in the International Trot at Yonkers, besting it by nearly two full seconds. From the start of the race the Iwas furious as 6/5 race favorite, Sebastian K and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt tried to get to the lead but was hung three-wide by Arch Madness and Commander Crowe and for the first time in the USA, make a break and had to be taken back to last place. Arch Madness took command with Commander Crowe on his back to the opening quarter mile in :27.4 as Yoder moved Natural Herbie to the outside first-over, then Arch Madness led to the half mile in 1:26.2 with Yoder biding his time on the outside. They pasted the mile marker in 1:55.1 and that was when Natural Herbie kicked in another gear and took command. For Yoder, it was his first time ever to New York City and to have competed at Yonkers Raceway. “It was a little bit earlier then I wanted to, but I had to move,” said Verlin Yoder when asked about sending Natural Herbie first-over. “He stood up to it. He is a nice horse and I have put him in bad spots before and he always comes through. But he had his work cut out for him tonight. “It’s an honor to have beaten a field like this,” Yoder said. “It keeps me speechless. I don’t know what to say. He’s done way above whatever I expected him to do. He’s got a lot of talent and he is a very smart horse. And he knows how to win races. “I was hoping in the backstretch not to have to pull the blinds,” Yoder explained. “When you pull the blinds he gives you another effort. And he waits on it. I had made to the turn when I had to drop them. And he stepped up to the plate and did what he’s supposed to. “I knew he was trotting good (down the stretch),” Yoder said, “and he was trying hard. Whenever he is trying hard he is usually going forward.” A former factory worker who used to build RVs, Yoder has been involved in harness racing since 2004. It started as a hobby, but turned into a fulltime pursuit. He enjoyed his best year in 2013, when he conditioned not only Natural Herbie but Indiana Sire Stakes 3-year-old female trotting champion Lady Blitz. "He's taken me to places I've never been to before," Yoder said about Natural Herbie. "Just being a trainer-driver, it just does not happen nowadays, especially when you own them yourself. It's very special. He took us places that we never expected to go. Yoder, 41, from Indiana, now resides in Bell, Florida and he owns Natural Herbie. It was his 12th win in 23 starts this year. Natural Herbie paid $21.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Harness Racing

Nuncio takes YK Trot; All Bets Off wins Messenger

Nuncio and driver John Campbell ended up being just a half-length off of sweeping the harness racing Trotting Triple Crown as Nuncio captured the third jewel, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot final, at Yonkers Raceway Saturday. It seemed nearly an effortless effort for the three-year-old son of Andover Hall, who got away in second place early as Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick) shot to the early lead from post seven. Once they reached the opening quarter mile in an easy :29 second, Campbell moved Nuncio to the front and it was pretty much a cake-walk from that point on. Nuncio led the field to the half mile in a leisurely :58.4 with no one coming up to challenge. In the backstretch Journey (Daniel Dube) was able to flush Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) to come first-over as they passed the three-quarters in 1:27.3. Then on the final turn the pocket-sitting Don Dorado went off-stride and it became a two-horse race to the wire. Nuncio went wide coming down the stretch but Datsyuk was unable to gain ground as Nuncio went on to win by two and one-quarter open lengths in 1:56. Datsyuk held for second place with Resolve (David Miller) finishing third. “Father Patrick has gotten a lot of accolades,” said John Campbell, “And Trixton deservingly so too. But this horse (Nuncio) is just so consistent. I have so much admiration and think so highly of this horse because he always gives me such a big effort. Horses like him are hard to find. “Any horse at this level has to have consistency,” Campbell added, They have to have speed, they have to have heart, but his consistency over two years has just been remarkable. He has never put in a poor performance for me at all.” “It takes a pretty good horse,” Campbell said, “to have never raced on a half mile before and put in two great miles like he has is unbelievable.” It was the 60th edition of the Yonkers Trot and the third time that Campbell has won the Triple Crown jewel. Trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Stall TZ of Vero Beach, FL, it was the tenth win in 15 starts this year for Nuncio. He now sports $1,297,096 in earnings this year. Nuncio paid just $2.10 to win was the 1/9 overwhelming favorite. Nuncio Last week All Bets Off and driver Matt Kakaley barely made it to the final of the $500,000 Messenger Stakes, the third jewel of the Pacing Triple Crown. He tried to wire the field and ended up finishes fourth, beaten just one length. But with the first four official finishers returning for the final, All Bets Off was back in the hunt and drew post six for the final and this time Matt Kakaley made sure no one was able to catch them. Shooting to the early lead with Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller) fighting off Stevensville (Mark MacDonald) for the two-hole spot, Kakaley made the lead with All Bets Off and cut the mile to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.3 seconds. Kakaley and All Bets Off were then able to back down the speed slightly, going to the half mile in :55.1 as McWicked and driver David Miller, the 1-2 favorite, made their move first-over from fourth place with Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick) following their outside cover. All Bets Off was in full gear and took the field to the three-quarters in 1:23 and was not letting off the pace. By the top of the stretch, Kakaley and All Bets Off were up by four lengths and then breezed to the wire to win by two and three-quarter lengths in 1:51.1. Luck Be Withyou came on for second with McWicked third. “He wasn’t that good last week,” Matt Kakaley said, “He wasn’t himself. But I had all the faith in the world in Ronnie (Burke) that they would have him ready and they showed up tonight. “I was leaving tonight no matter what,” Kakaley said. “We were not doing to duck’em. He (All Bets Off) can leave so quick. I had him jammed on the car pretty good and he just sprinted right out of there. He was rolling along and had a pretty good hold on me. He was in the bits and felt pretty good and I was pretty confident. “This is huge,” Kakaley said. “This is the biggest win of my career. It’s been a great year for me. And Ronnie has been giving me great opportunities. Things have been going really well thanks to him.” The time of the race for the 50th edition of the Messenger, 1:51.1, was the fastest Messenger Stakes ever held at Yonkers. Sired by Bettor’s Delight, it was the 11th win in 15 starts this year for All Bets Off. Trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, All Bets Off paid $11.80 to win. All Bets Off By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great harness racing newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Get your friends to enter “Win The Wheels Contest” - How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? AU: Thin skinned stewards -  Following an exclusive article on Harnesslink earlier this month, Victorian horseman Lance Justice is the subject of stewards' inquiry. Angered by the suspensions he received at Melton on September 29, Justice questioned the lack of definition between light and heavy interference stating: "The stewards are too heavy handed. There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence. Its mandatory sentencing gone mad." AU: Novelty or offensive? - In a world of political correctness, would be it okay to conduct a race limited to third generation Australians? How about a race for men only? Embryo transfers are just wrong! - Embryo transfers in race horses, just like cloning or any other unnatural forms of reproduction in horse racing, is just plain wrong. NZ: Stakes money: How to calculate it - As an industry that covers different hemispheres and numerous countries, you would think that the powers that be would come up with a system regarding stakes money won that is uniformly accepted worldwide. NZ: Shuttle Stallions –  Where is the $$ going? Breeding operations in the southern hemisphere are locked into the use of shuttle stallions if they want to stay relevant in a hugely competitive market. They either buy a chunk of a stallion, purchase the Southern breeding rights or get a fee for service provided to the stallion owners. But where is the actual money going? Stallion Review – ALWAYS A VIRGIN - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Always A Virgin, p,3,1:48.4 ($1,135,559). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).

Harnesslink is proud to release Stallion Sphere, a Facebook and mobile web app containing all 23 of our exclusive Stallion reviews. We hope this will become an invaluable resource to breeders and harness fans around the world, so please check it out and share with your friends using the website's inbuilt share on Facebook functionality. Reviews will be regularly updated and all statistics are current as of the date listed at the top of each review. Stats are from official sources in North America (TrackIT), Australia & New Zealand. We'll update Stallion Sphere with new reviews every 2 weeks, but make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter “Insider Access” to get the stallion reviews two weeks early. To use the Stallion Sphere simply click and drag your mouse (or finger for touch devices) around the sphere to move it around, use your mouse wheel (or pinch on mobile) to zoom. Then click on a Stallion to read the review. For the best experience use a good modern browser like Google Chrome. If you are using Internet Explorer - depending on your version – you will either see a flat grid or nothing at all. You will also need to be logged into your Facebook account to view it, although mobile devices & tablets can access it without a Facebook account. Click here to visit Stallion Sphere www.stallionsphere.com (Once you click the above link - you will need to "like" Harnesslink on Facebook to view.)

There appears to be no halting the legend that is harness racing’s very own Wally! Named after the fictional character as a result of an exclusive Harnesslink article earlier this month, astute horseman Graham ‘Wally’ McDermott has been given no choice but to embrace his new cult status. Having visited numerous tracks since the original article, McDermott is being increasingly referred to as “Wally”. So much so, it would appear the astute horseman has an official lifelong nickname. Adding to Wally’s cult status, is the first ‘Wally selfie’ to complement our regular Where’s Wally pictures. Just last week, Wally photobombed a patron’s attempt at a selfie at Swan Hill. Talented young driver Taylah Pratt couldn’t resist the opportunity to grab a happy snapshot with the industry’s popular celebrity. Granddaughter of Australia's longest serving clerk of the course – Keith Pratt – Taylah caught up with Wally at last night’s Bendigo meeting. A third generation horseman, Wally has enjoyed a solid rate of success throughout the years with his own team and as a highly sought-after educator. Citing former feature race winner Romeo Castle as the best he has trained, Wally has broken in the likes of top shelf winners Artificial, Saint Flash, Waikare Patricia and Waikare Aristocrat to name a few. For the original article on McDermott’s ‘Wally’ transformation click the links below http://www.harnesslink.com/News/Aussie-Globe-Trotters?highlight=AUSSIE http://www.harnesslink.com/News/Look-out-for-Graham-Wally-McDermott?highlight=WALLY http://www.harnesslink.com/News/Wally-out-and-about-again?highlight=WALLY http://www.harnesslink.com/News/Wally-is-at-it-again?highlight=WALLY If you happen to run into Wally, or discover him in one of your racetrack photos, please send them to paul@harnesslink.com - we'd love to see them! PAUL COURTS

2014 Prix d'Amerique winner Maharajah is entered to make his comeback October 29 in The Owners Trophy at Solvalla. Contested by 14 entrants over 2140 meters distance handicap for 200,000SEK to the winner, Maharajah will start with a 20 meter handicap along with five other top money winners. It will be his first appearance since winning the 2014 Prix d'Amerique over Up And Quick and Yarah Boko. One of Sweden's greatest trotting horses, Maharajah escaped the pocket when Ready Cash went off-stride and took the toughest race in the world in January 2014 over a sloppy Paris-Vincennes course. Trainer Stefan Hultman's goal is to defend the Prix d'Amerique in 2015, and that effort starts Wednesday in The Owners Trophy. Örjan Kihlström will team the nine year-old that has recorded 31 wins in 58 career starts for superstar for 23.5SEK million earned. Entrants and drivers are shown below: 1. Micciano Lung (Carl-Erik Lindblom) 2. Knifetown Action (Erik Adielsson) 3. Checco Boko (Jorma Kontio) 4. Korok (Bjorn Goop) 5. Diamond Duo (Ville Karhulahti) 6. Twings Voici (Pekka Korpi) 7. The First Time (Jörgen S Eriksson) 8. Poker Kronos (Robert Bergh) 9. Highspeed Call (Per Lannartsson) 10. Friction (Stefan Melander) - meters 2140 11. Prince Tagg (Hannu Torvinen) 12. Maharajah (Orjan Kihlstrom) 13. Conrads Epilog (Fredrik Linder) 14. Traveling Man (Daniel Reden)   Thomas H. Hicks

Success in last night’s opening leg of harness racing’s Grand Circuit has For A Reason on target for a trip across the Tasman. Pleasing connections with his Queensland Pacing Championship victory at Albion Park, For A Reason has been set for a two-start campaign on the Shaky Isles. Beginning with the famed New Zealand Cup, the son of Art Major will also tackle the Free-For-All three days later. Should all go according to plan, For A Reason will then return to trainer Belinda McCarthy’s New South Wales base for the Miracle Mile. “We couldn’t be happier with him,” McCarthy said. “After two solid runs back he was in top order for the main race and went exactly how we expected. “Being a bit older and a stallion it was always going to take a couple of runs to get his fitness up. “As long as he travels home well from this trip, we will make plans for the New Zealand Cup.” Driven by McCarthy’s reinsman-husband, Luke, For A Reason began quickly to lead from barrier three before being eased to take a trail behind in-form local, Avonnova. Angled into the passing lane during the concluding stages, For A Reason sprinted to a two-metre win from Avonnova. Our Hi Jinx, a stablemate of the winner, was a metre-and-a-half away third. “It was a pretty good result for the stable,” McCarthy said. “Both went really well, which was great to see.” Rating 1:56.8 for the 2680-metre journey, the eight-year-old continued the McCarthy dominance of the Group One. The McCarthy family has won eight of the last 10 editions of the feature, beginning with Luke’s success behind Cobbity Classic – trained by his father, John - in 2004. Luke then trained and drove Slipnslide to glory in 2005 and ‘06, with John finishing third on both occasions with Be Good Johnny. Four years later Luke repeated the dose with Mr Feelgood, which was too classy in 2010 and ‘11. John finished second with Washakie in 2010 and fourth with the same pacer the following year. Father and son joined forced to score with Washakie in 2012 before John combined with Belinda to win with Ideal Scott last season. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthys during the past decade. The race was not run in 2007 due to the Equine Influenza breakout. PAUL COURTS

When harness racing's International Trot was last run in 1995 at Yonkers Raceway, it was Sweden's His Majesty who crossed the wire first.   On Saturday night, when the $250,000 International Trot Preview is contested, Sweden's colors will once again be well represented with Commander Crowe and Sebastian K, the top two favorites in the field of eight trotters going a mile-and-a-quarter.   Commander Crowe, an 11-year-old gelding, who has raced most of his career in Sweden, has won 60 of 106 career starts with nearly $5 million in earnings, but never started in the United States. He was made the 7-2 second-choice on the morning line leaving from the rail with driver Orjan Kihlstrom in the bike.   "We are really looking forward to race in the International Trot, or as we call it in Sweden: The World Championship," said Joakim Wihlborg, owner of Commander Crowe. "It is going to be very exciting to meet Sebastian K again. They have had many good duels over the last couple of years in Scandinavia with wins and fantastic performances from both horses including the European record at Jagersro in Sweden that is held by Commander Crowe."   Sebastian K, a winner of 34 races from 74 career starts, has won eight of 11 starts this year in America, including setting a world record for the fastest mile on June 28. The 8-year-old will leave from post six and was made the 3-1 morning line favorite with Ake Svanstedt driving.   Before coming to America, Sebastian K and Commander Crowe, battled each other in Sweden, trading decisions throughout 2012 before Sebastian K was named Sweden's Horse of the Year that year.   "Meeting Commander Crowe is great!," said Tristan Sjoberg, who is part owner of Sebastian K. "We have had so many great battles over the years, especially in the summer of 2012 when Commander Crowe took all the early season honors (Olympiatravet, Elitloppet & Hugo Ã…bergs Memorial) and then Sebastian K won most of the late season battles (Ã…by Stora Pris, Sundsvall Open Trot and UET Masters). It was a great summer of racing. Someone said it is currently 7 - 6 in favor of Sebastian K, but I cannot vouch for that statistic, haha. Either way, it has been a very close fought battle. With Commander Crowe now drawing post one, I think he must be considered the slight favorite. I predict another close battle!"   Both Commander Crowe and Sebastian K enter Saturday's $250,000 Preview off of losses when each was second best, Commander Crowe in the Grade 1 Gran Premio Turilli from Rome on Oct. 5, while Sebastian K was caught on the wire in the $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot at The Red Mile in Lexington also on Oct. 5.   "Sebastian is doing great," Sjoberg said. "He has shown a bit more alertness in training in the last week or so, which we take as a good sign."   Natural Herbie appears the best of the American contingent having won his last three starts and was made the 4-1 third-choice in the wagering and will leave from post seven.   Completing the field is the 2013 Horse of the Year, the filly, Bee a Magician (post two, 8-1), Obrigado (post four, 8-1), Arch Madness (post five, 5-1), the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel (post six, 6-1) and Not Afraid (post eight, 20-1).   "What a race it will be, the fastest horse in Europe, the fastest horse in the world and the best American Trotters," said Wihlborg.   The International Trot Preview will go off as race nine of a 12-race program, sharing the card along with the final for the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot.   The International Trot, with its full pageantry, will return to Yonkers Raceway in 2015, where it will try to attract the top trotters from around the globe.   · Yonkers Raceway will keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will simulcast its races to Paris and throughout Europe, starting with an 11 a.m. first post. The track will offer fans many promotions to come out early and watch the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer.   By Jerry Bossert

The 2013/2014 Harness Racing New South Wales Industry Awards night was held at the Sofitel Hotel Sydney tonight (Saturday) where the achievements of both participants and equines were recognised. Brilliant pacer Beautide was unanimously voted the NSW Horse of The Year following spine tingling victories in the Newcastle Mile, Len Smith Mile, Miracle Mile and 2014 Inter Dominion. The Aged Pacer of The Year was also awarded to Beautide whilst the 2YO of The Year was taken out by Artistic Flite with the exciting Bling It On taking the 3YO honours. The Nicole Molander trained Keystone Del was named the Aged Trotter of The Year for the second year running. A special and moving tribute was paid to the late Ross Gigg with daughter Hayley accepting the Don Clough Appreciation Award in his honour. The Board and staff of HRNSW would like to congratulate the following award winners; Award Winner Cockburn & Co Solicitors Carnival of Cups - Leading Trotting Trainer Brent Lilley Musco Lighting/PMG Media Carnival of Cups - Leading Driver Amanda Turnbull NSW Owners Association Carnival of Cups - Leading Trainer Steve Turnbull Albury HRC Carnival of Cups - Leading Horse Smokin Bopper NZ Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 1 Meeting Dubbo Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 2 Meeting Eugowra Tabcorp Carnival of Cups - Best Level 3 Meeting West Wyalong Tabcorp Centurions Amanda & Steve Turnbull Belinda McCarthy Blake & Gavin Fitzpatrick KerryAnn Turner Lauren Panella Nathan Hurst Robbie Morris Paul Fitzpatrick Shane Tritton Daily Form Service Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Country) Mitch Turnbull Lexus of Parramatta Junior Driver Encouragement Award (Metro) Kylie Barnes OAMPS Champion Junior Driver Lauren Panella OAMPS Champion Driver Amanda Turnbull OAMPS Champion Trainer Steve Turnbull National Trotguide Best Coverage by a Regional Newspaper Newcastle Herald NSWHRC Best Coverage by a Regional Television Station NBN Newcastle Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Volunteer Appreciation Awards Kevin Wheatley, Elaine Sullivan, Margaret Ford Penrith HRC / IntelliTek Don Clough Appreciation Award Ross Gigg House of Brook NSW Broodmare of the Year Full Pleasure Yirribee Stud in conjunction with Alabar NSW Sire of the Year Presidential Ball USA Harness Breeders NSW Outstanding Service to the Breeding Industry Paul Kahlefeldt (Redbank Lodge Standardbreds) Bulli HRC NSW 2YO Trotter of the Year Royal Treat 46% of votes Cockburn & Co Solicitors NSW 2YO Filly Pacer of the Year  Bamako Mali 92% of votes Lincoln Farms NSW 2YO C&G Pacer of the Year  Artistic Flite 100% of votes Sky Racing NSW 2YO of the Year Artistic Flite 76% of votes Bulli HRC NSW 3YO Trotter of the Year My Valerie 69% of votes Lexus of Parramatta NSW 3YO Filly Pacer of the Year Shes A Runa 46% of votes Cordina Farms NSW 3YO C&G Pacer of the Year Bling It On 100% of votes Tabcorp NSW 3YO of the Year Bling It On 100% of votes NSWHRC NSW Aged Trotter of the Year Keystone Del 92% of votes Wagga HRC NSW Aged Mare Pacer of the Year Frith 100% of votes Harness Racing Travelworld NSW Aged E&G Pacer of the Year Beautide 100% of votes Garrards Horse & Hound NSW Aged Horse of the Year Beautide 100% of votes OAMPS NSW Horse of the Year Beautide 100% of votes   Dale Walker

Usually a trainer seeks out new owners to purchase horses for them to train. But these days harness racing trainer Dee Hotton is taking a different approach. She is seeking other trainers who may want her to train their horses. Hotton, who trains her stable out of the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Wooster, Ohio, does not miss a day of training during the winter months as she moves her stable to Pinehurst Racetrack in Pinehurst, North Carolina from January to April and then comes back for the spring and summer race season. “A lot of trainers turn their horses out for the winter,” Hotton says, “and then put them back on the track come springtime. But these days there are a lot of young horses that maybe didn’t make it to the races, or were injured early and already turned out. With the winter’s the past few years so harsh, why not allow me to take their horses with me to Pinehurst and start their comeback early and then when I return they can have their horses back and already in shape to begin training down for the race season or I can have them ready to qualify. “I am still training horses to race myself,” Dee was quick to reply, “But I am also looking to take in outsiders this winter. “Not every horse is going to be stakes caliber,” She explained, “but there are a lot of early closer series at many tracks that they can be prepped in advance to be ready for. And at Pinehurst it is a lot less expensive to train a horse as compared to south Florida. The weather may not be as ideal, but we rarely have a day we can’t get on the racetrack to work out.” Dee Hotton is also seeking harness racing fans who are ready to take the plunge and become actual racehorse owners. “I have partnerships forming where people who have been racing fans can now be a partial owner at a really affordable price,” Hotton explained, “I can put them into the exciting world of harness racing and offer harness racing enthusiasts the opportunity to make the dream of owning a quality Standardbred become a reality.  We strive to make horse ownership easy, successful, and fun!”         Deirdre “Dee” Hotton founded, owns, and manages the Dee Hotton Stable. She has been involved in harness racing for over 25 years. She dreamed of training horses from a very young age after driving harness horses in Ohio matinee races while in her teens. Graduating from Ohio State with a degree in Horse Production and Management, Hotton made that dream a reality by establishing her own stable. “There is nothing like the experience and delight in watching your horse cross the finish line first,” says Dee Hooton. “The sheer exhilaration of racing is beyond words. At the Dee Hotton Stable we take pride in communicating with our partners and we believe your experience should be very enjoyable and fulfilling. Your life may never be the same after you experience the sensations of being a harness racing owner.” With two brand new tracks opened and racino enriched purses leaping at all four pari-mutuel tracks and at the numerous county fairs throughout the summer, Ohio is the hotbed for harness racing and the Dee Hotton Stable is right in the middle of it all. She also has the best online website at www.deehottonstable.com that has all the details of her operation, rates, past winners and more. If anyone is interested in joining a partnership and getting involved in harness racing as an owner, they are encouraged to contact Dee Hotton anytime and talk about it. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

In one of the classic harness racing stretch drives of the year, Clear Vision and driver Tim Tetrick nosed out Foiled Again and Yannick Gingras in winning the Grand Circuit inaugural $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby. The time of the race was a track record 1:49 mile and it was the first time that Tetrick had ever driven the horse. It was race favorite Dancin Yankee and driver Tyler Buter who was first to show out of the starting gate, brushing by Night Pro (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) to a speedy :25.4 opening quarter mile. Then at the half mile marker in :53.4, Tetrick sent Clear Vision first-over and they flushed out Foiled Again who went right after Dancin Yankee and took command of the race by the three-quarters in 1:21.1 as Dancin Yankee spit out the bit and began to fade. That left Clear Vision first-over with Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) on their backs going around the last turn but Clear Vision was still on the move. Collaring Foiled Again at the top of the stretch, those two went at it neck and neck in a driving finish to the wire with Clear Vision barely getting up in the final stride to win it. Apprentice Hanover was two and one-half lengths back in third. “It was very very tight,” said Tim Tetrick after the race, “It was horse race against Foiled Again. He’s one of the best horses I have ever seen, Foiled Again. He just doesn’t give up. He got a little rougher trip then my guy got up right when he needed to. I was loving the trip we were getting but with Foiled Again it’s so tough to get by him. I was in the right spot and my horse worn him down. “He (Clear Vision) is a nice horse and can tough it out,” Tetrick said. “He knows how to get the job done.” An eight-year-old gelding by Western Hanover, it was the sixth win this year for Clear Vision. He is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable and Jim Koran. He paid $4.60 to win. Tetrick came right back to the winner’s circle in the very next race after he won the $162,000 inaugural Grand Circuit Dayton Trotting Derby for older horses, also in a track record time with Market Share. It was Lindy’s Tru Grit (Scott Zeron) who took full advantage of the rail and sped to the early lead with race favorite Creatine and driver Dan Nobel sitting half in-half out in the two-hole and Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev) stuck first-over and floating on the outside in third. They went that way to the opening quarter mile in :26.3. Daylon Magician finally worked his way to the front and then Noble came first-over with Creatine with Wishing Stone (Yannick Gingras) second over and following third over was Market Share to the half mile in :55.1. Then the backstretch, before the three-quarter mile marker in 1:24.1, Tetrick sent Market Share three-wide and they came marching on and were able to clear to the lead after the bold move before the top of the stretch. From there it was a breeze for Market Share as he pulled away from the field and went on to win going away by three and one-half lengths in 1:52.4. Opening Night (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was able to close for second with Creatine third. “If you look at him (Market Share),” Tetrick said, “he’s not very big but he has a big heart and he tries. It’s been kinda tough on Linda pulling her hair out this season trying to get him right. He’s had some health issues but he now has showed how he has made over $3 million. He’s done it the hard way, he won the Hambletonian, he was a $16,000 yearling and I have a special place (in my heart) for him. “When my horse is on his game,” Tetrick added, “He can race with the best in the country. Maybe by Breeders Crown we can beat Sebastian K.” For Market Share, a five-year-old stallion by Revenue S, it was his fourth win this year for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and Bill Augustine. He paid $7.80 to win. An $11,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace, named in memory of R. J. "Skeeter" Brown, was also featured on the card. Latenite Rendezvous (Chris Page), making her first start at Dayton Raceway, was victorious for the partnership of Jerry Daugherty, Roger Hall and Page. They won in track record time of 1:51.4. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Well known Reporoa harness racing enthusiast Danny McGill has had a lot of smart horses over the years and in last nights Alexandra Park winner Elliesjet  he seems to have another one to keep the bank manager happy. Danny has had a great run over the years breeding such smart types as Magie Lilly Rose 1:54.1 ($202,718), Golden Trowel 1:52.4 ($117,056) and Maximus Meridius 1:52.3 ($109,515). His latest winner though has been a bit of a surprise to the noted stockman. "She is a big filly, I mean really big and I didn't think she would have any speed," he told Harnesslink today. By Jeremes Jet from the speedy Village Jasper mare Elle Mary Rose 2:00.7, Elliesjet has been given plenty of time to grow into her large frame. "The original plan was to get her up and running and try to sell her but after after the way she has gone the last two weeks we have taken the for sale sign down," Danny said today. The 4 year old mare was having just her third lifetime start last night and on the back of a super third last week was warmly supported even though she drew the outside of the second row. Patiently driven in the early stages by driver Todd Mitchell, Elliesjet settled back in the running line before Todd sent her forward after 600 metres to grab the lead. From there it turned into a procession as Elliesjet gradually increased the tempo and then powered away in the home straight for an emphatic win by four lengths. Elliesjet paced the 2200 metres in 2:45.9, a mile rate of 2:01.3 with closing sectionals of 58.1 and 28.9 Today Danny was musing that you should never judge a book by its cover. " Todd said she absolutely jogged it and had plenty left at the finish so thats very encouraging,"  "Gareth Dixon (trainer) has suggested we should look at some of the support races over the Xmas carnival at Auckland so thats where we are heading,"  he said. Its been a big week for Danny as a half sister to Elliesjet in Annie Morva was successful at Menangle last Saturday night. "She ran second in the Ladyship stakes to Adore Me at three at Alexandra Park and then we sent her to Blake Fitzpatrick in Sydney to race. "Its worked out really well as she has topped the $100,000 mark in earnings and took a mark of 1:52.9 when she won last week," Danny said Danny almost made it a trifecta for the week as a breeder when the trotter he bred Al Bundy was an unlucky third at Alexandra Park last night. With Elliesjet and Annie Morva in such fine form, Danny looks in for a very profitable summer over the next few months. Harnesslink Media  

Sometime (8f Blue Dream-Isaline Fortiniere) won tonight’s €100,000 featured Gr. II Prix du Premier Quinte+ International Belgique at Hippodrome Mons Ghlin. Christophe Martens teamed the pacesetting winner for his brother and trainer Vincent Martens, timed in 1.12.7kr over the 2300 meter autostart course. The 9/2 odds classy mare outlasted a death-seat challenge from Roi du Lupin (9g Fleuron Perrine-Itelia de Saint Pol) handled by Pierre Vercruysse for owner/trainer J-P Marmion. Solea Rivelliere and Roxana de Barbray were next across the line in the 14 horse International field with two entries, thereby producing 16 betting interests. The race was the first time a Quinte+ event has been conducted outside of France and fitting that the Martens brothers, from Belgium, produced the victory. Jackpot was €6,850,000. The Hippodrome Mons Ghlin card also showcased three other rich events. The €40,000 Grand Prix Paris-Turf Belgique over 2850 meters went to Sweden’s Vendi (9f Armbro Trick-Wixy Fly) and Didier Brohier. The 1.2/1 favorite scored in 1.13.7kr over Trou Normand and Saint James. 16 horses contested this 2850 meter autostart International contest. The €32,000 Prix d’Avenches Belgique, over 2300 meters autostart, went to Laurier Dag (7g Love You-Jingle Sund-Sugarcane Hanover) with Rik Dupuydt aboard. The 3/2 favorite scored in a sharp 1.11.6kr over Uppercut Ducal and Under Street in another 16 horse field.  The €35,000 Prix des Geniteurs (Finale 3 year-olds) Belgique drew 12 starters over the 2300 meter autostart distance. Highness Worthy (3m SJ’s Photo-Oqui Worthy II-Super Darby) scored for Marc Huygens in 1.16.2kr over Happy Canthis and Honey Walker N. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com      

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Natural Herbie, at odds of 9-1, posted his fourth straight win with a world record performance at Yonkers Raceway Saturday, beating many of the best trotters in the world in the $250,000 International Preview. Despite being parked-out first-over on the outside from after the opening quarter half mile in the one and one-quarter mile extra distance race, owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder properly rated his Indiana-bred four-year-old gelded son of Here Comes, inching his way towards race leader Arch Madness (George Brennan) and Commander Crowe (Orjan Kihlstrom). Then on the final turn, Natural Herbie had not only collared the leaders, but took the lead and then held off Commander Crowe to win by three-quarters of a length with Bee A Magician (David Miller) third. His time for the race, 2:24.4, according to the United States Trotting Association, set the world record for the extra distance on a half mile track, surpassing the 19-year-old record of 2:26.2, that was set in 1995 by His Majesty S (Stefan Melander) in the International Trot at Yonkers, besting it by nearly two full seconds. From the start of the race the Iwas furious as 6/5 race favorite, Sebastian K and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt tried to get to the lead but was hung three-wide by Arch Madness and Commander Crowe and for the first time in the USA, make a break and had to be taken back to last place. Arch Madness took command with Commander Crowe on his back to the opening quarter mile in :27.4 as Yoder moved Natural Herbie to the outside first-over, then Arch Madness led to the half mile in 1:26.2 with Yoder biding his time on the outside. They pasted the mile marker in 1:55.1 and that was when Natural Herbie kicked in another gear and took command. For Yoder, it was his first time ever to New York City and to have competed at Yonkers Raceway. “It was a little bit earlier then I wanted to, but I had to move,” said Verlin Yoder when asked about sending Natural Herbie first-over. “He stood up to it. He is a nice horse and I have put him in bad spots before and he always comes through. But he had his work cut out for him tonight. “It’s an honor to have beaten a field like this,” Yoder said. “It keeps me speechless. I don’t know what to say. He’s done way above whatever I expected him to do. He’s got a lot of talent and he is a very smart horse. And he knows how to win races. “I was hoping in the backstretch not to have to pull the blinds,” Yoder explained. “When you pull the blinds he gives you another effort. And he waits on it. I had made to the turn when I had to drop them. And he stepped up to the plate and did what he’s supposed to. “I knew he was trotting good (down the stretch),” Yoder said, “and he was trying hard. Whenever he is trying hard he is usually going forward.” A former factory worker who used to build RVs, Yoder has been involved in harness racing since 2004. It started as a hobby, but turned into a fulltime pursuit. He enjoyed his best year in 2013, when he conditioned not only Natural Herbie but Indiana Sire Stakes 3-year-old female trotting champion Lady Blitz. "He's taken me to places I've never been to before," Yoder said about Natural Herbie. "Just being a trainer-driver, it just does not happen nowadays, especially when you own them yourself. It's very special. He took us places that we never expected to go. Yoder, 41, from Indiana, now resides in Bell, Florida and he owns Natural Herbie. It was his 12th win in 23 starts this year. Natural Herbie paid $21.60 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Highest Peak took advantage of both parts of the 1-5 favored entry of Market Rally and Avalicious going off stride to capture Saturday's $124,590 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old fillies at Yonkers Raceway in a time of 1:58.2. Sent off at odds of 8-1, Highest Peak and driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt saw Market Rally make a break on the first turn and Avalicious go off stride on the second turn. Market Rally fought back to take the lead from Highest Peak at the halfway point, reached in 1:00, but was unable to sustain the effort. Highest Peak reclaimed the lead in the stretch and held off Mistresswithmuscle by 1-1/2 lengths. Bambino Supreme finished third. Highest Peak (Andover Hall-Highland Glider) has won five of 14 races this year and $133,850. Svanstedt owns the filly, which he purchased in August. "She minded her manners," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, Svanstedt's assistant trainer. "We were attracted to her because she's a nice bred filly and she was good on her manners for (former trainer) Noel Daley. "She had been training good and I thought she would have a good chance tonight." Act Now, the 1-5 favorite, took the lead from Tyra in the early moments of the race and cruised to a 1:53 win in Saturday's $150,854 Lady Maud Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Fancy Desire, who was parked for much of the mile, finished second and Beautiful Lady was third. George Brennan drove Act Now (Western Ideal-CPA) for trainer Nik Drennan and owners Joe Davino and Patrick O'Brien. She has won five of 12 races this year and $307,444. "She was really good," Brennan said. "She was a little hotter than I wanted, she was hitting my bike a little, that's why I got down there a little quicker in three-quarters (in 1:24.3) but she was well in hand. She was good." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  
The $11,000 Open Pace at Hollywood Dayton Raceway on Saturday night produced a harness racing  three-horse blanket finish.   Lucky Lime (No. 2 with driver Chris Page) nosed favored Meirs Hanover (Dan Noble) and last week's winner Torrington (Kayne Kauffman) in 1:51.1.   It was the fifth win on the season for the son of Rocknroll Hanover trained by K. Dean Glispie.   Gregg Keidel
Pompano Beach, FL...October 25, 2014...The New York harness racing invader Panocchio upset the highly vaunted Prairie Jaguar on Saturday night in Pompano Park's $10,000 Open pace. The winner, no stranger to South Florida's five-eighths mile oval, got the picture perfect handling from Bruce Ranger to pin a defeat measuring 1 1/4 lengths on Prairie Jaguar, driven by Aaron Byron. Fancyfreeshark and Mike Micallef teamed up for show honors while Cartoonist finished fourth with Northern Companion picking up the nickel. Owned by Emile Johnson, Jr. along with trainer Jim Mattison, Panocchio won for the 21st time in just 48 lifetime starts, sending his career bounty to $157,445--$108,570 this year on the strength of 13 wins in 24 starts. Though starting from the outside eight post, Panocchio actually blasted out of the gate ahead of Prairie Jaguar, vaulting to the lead in the first couple of strides and taking the field to the opening panel in :27. Prairie Jaguar, usually on the bit from the get-go, was a bit tardy this time around and only took command after the opener and rocketed over to the half in :54.3 and continued on the engine through three-quarters in 1:22.3. Just short of that third station, Panocchio left the cozy pocket and began his attack, puting his head in front turning for home and sealing the seal with a :28 finale. In a post race interview, driver Bruce Ranger had high praise for this four year-old son of No Pan Intended, as well as both Jim and Vicki Mattison. "You can drive this horse with two fingers...he's that handy. It wasn't always that way, though, At first, he could be very headstrong and up tight and tough to handle. Jim (trainer Mattison) has done just a remarkable job with him and Vicki's--that's Jim's wife--tender loving care has paid off in spades." The large crowd on hand at Pompano Park actually made Panocchio the slight favorite--6 to 5 on the board--and he returned $4.60 to his faithful. John Berry
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