Day At The Track
Clegs Des Champs, harness racing

Monte Prix de L’lle d’Oleron to Clegs des Champs

The Gr. III Prix de L’lle d’Oleron (monte, purse 110,000€, 2850 meters, nine starters) was the day’s featured event and 1.4/1 Clegs des Champs (6g Legs du Clos-Proserpine) scored for jockey David Thomain, trainer Thierry Raffegeau and owner J-Y Roze. The winner scored for the tenth time in 21 career starts, now for 343,830€ earned. 17/1 Amour Fou (8g Meaulnes du Corta) took second with Franck Nivard in the irons for trainer Raffegeau and owner Roze. The 3/2 favorite Bugsy Malone (7g Ready Cash-Night Captain) took third after a valiant effort, with Yoann Lebourgeois up for owner/trainer Philippe Allaire. The Prix de Belfort (purse 64,000€, 2700 meters, 14 starters) went to 1.13.5kr timed and 1.3/1 odds Dexter Chatho (5g Un Amour d’Haufor-Naoyama) with owner/trainer Christian Bigeon up. The winner scored for the seventh time in 19 career starts. 5/1 Dollar Soyer (5g Phlegyas) was second for Anthony Barrier, ahead of 77/1 Doum Jenilou (5g Rancho Gede). The Prix d’Aix les Bairs (purse 37,000€, 2700 meters. 15 starters, three year old males) saw 9/10 favorite Freeport (3m Texas Charm-Nouvelle d’Atout) score timed in 1.16.3kr for trainer/driver J-M Bazire and owner Mme. Ottavia Roffi-Urano. This colt recorded his fourth career win in six starts. 32/1 Filou des Tyll (3g Rancho Gede) was second for Matthieu Mottier and 38/1 Fynio du Pollereux (3g Timoko) was third for Franck Ouvrie. The Prix des Castres (purse 50,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 18 starters, four year old females) went to 1.13.9kr timed and 5.5/1 odds Evita de Reux (4f Goetmals Wood-Tensita Love) with owner/trainer Matthieu Abrivard driving. She scored for the seventh time in 18 career outings. The 5/10 favorite Ella de Mai (4f Neutron du Cebe) was second for owner/trainer/driver J-M Bazire and 18/1 Electra du Vivier (4f Password) took third with Sebastian Ernault up for breeder/owner/trainer J-Y Lecuyer. The 1.9/1 odds favorite Emiliano (4m Love You-Quarda du Rib) took the Prix d’Annecy (purse 50,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 15 starters) timed in 1.12.6kr. Trainer J-M Bazire piloted the now eight time winner in 19 career starts for breeder/owner Ecurie des Charmes. The 2.1/1 Eadshot Josselyn (4g The Best Madrik) was second with Gabriele Gelormini up for trainer Paul Hagoort and Stable Why Not. 24/1 Ekoango de Nile (4g Olimede) took third for David Thomain. Saturday's Quinte+ event was the Prix Mizar (purse 52,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 16 European starters) that went to the 29/1 outsider Costa Haufor (6f Saphir d’Haufor-Santa Haufor) with Charles J. Bigeon driving. Christian Bigeon bred, owns and trains this winner that now shows six career victories in 30 starts. The 2.1/1 favorite Bryssel (6m Ready Cash-Spacelane) held second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop and third was 26/1 Chtiot de Bellande (6m Defi d’Aunou) with Anthony Barrier up. 4.2/1 Sahara One (6g Raja Mirchi) and 68/1 Caresse (6f Ready Cash) completed the exact order top five that paid 86,429.40€ to the 2€ winning ticketholders. The same Saturday harness racing card produced victory for the undefeated (now three starts) and 2/5 favorite Foxtrot Nobless (3g Quinoa du Gers-Matthiole) reined by J-M Bazire for owner J-M Rancoule in the Prix Vulpecule (purse 35,000€, 2100 meters autostart, ten starters). The 32/1 Flash de Lune (3g Redlight Jet) was second for David Thomain and 25/1 Full Aux Rois (3g Tucson) was third for Thierry Duvaldestin. Race time was 1.15.3kr. Two year olds battled in the Prix Siwa A (purse 28,000€, 2200 meters, 12 starters) with a 1.17kr timed victory earned by the 5/10 favorite Golden Bridge (2m Ready Cash-Usenza) with Yoann Lebourgeois up for trainer Philippe Allaire and breeder/owner Michel Tessier. Golden Bridge earned his second victory in three career starts by defeating 25/1 Gassman d’Essa (2m Quido du Goutier) with Francois Lagadeuc up. 46/1 Grand Cru Lorrain (2m Coktail Jet) was third. The B division of the Prix Siwa (purse 28,000€, 2200 meters, 12 starters, two year olds) went to 1.17.6kr timed and 60/1 Gelati Cut (2m Coktail Jet-Variety Cut) with Gabriele Gelormini up for trainer Romain Charles Larue and breeder/owner Ecurie de Windcut. The 2.1/1 Granaggiolo (2m Timoko) was second and 41/1 Gold de la Cote (2m Ready Cash-Uranie des Elfes) was third, this one owned and trained by Sebastien Guarato and reined by Eric Raffin. Sunday at Vincennes is the first “B” leading to the 2019 Prix d’Amerique. The lineup follows headed by Bold Eagle. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Robyns Playboy,Harness racing

Robyns Playboy smashes record

There were plenty of surprises related to Robyns Playboy’s win at Wyndham today. With a winning margin of an impressive nine and a half lengths, and a time of 2-53.0 - a new track and Southland record for both three year olds and all-comers, Robyn’s Playboy was the standout performer of the day. “We were hoping for cover and to drive him for just one run. He hadn’t had a workout and had a fair spell,” said Gore trainer Ross Wilson after the win. Driver Craig Ferguson sat the Shadow Play gelding parked for the first 800 metres before he took the lead. With 400 metres to run he had his eight other rivals struggling. On straightening Ferguson pulled the ear plugs and Robyns Playboy instantly extended his lead, going down to the finish line nine and a half lengths ahead of I’m Trouble. “He’s just got a great cruising speed and doesn’t stop. He’s got a real big motor in him we know that. It was very pleasing.” The time 2-53.0 bettered Return To Senders 2014 Three Year Old and All-comers track record of 2-55.1, broke the long standing 2007 Three Year Old Southland record held by Rider On The Storm (2-54.5) and equalled Nex Time’s Southland’s All-comers record of 2-53.0. The time was only 0.5 of a second outside of the National Three Year Old record of 2-52.5 held by The Dorchester. This season Wilson has seen Robyns Playboy become the real deal and live up to the high opinion he had of the horse when he started his career last season. “Initially he could run but didn’t know what to do. You’d pull him out and he’d just muck around beside the other horse. He’s cottoned on now. When you pull him out he’s got to get going. He’s been working with Bridey (Bridesdale Robyn) the last couple of weeks and she went well at Addington. There’s not much between them. He’s the all-round horse. He’s got gate speed and he can stay.” So now the main worry for Wilson is where to place the quality three year old. “I don’t know what to do with him now because if you start again you’re racing horses that are near cup class.” One race for three year olds that Wilson is considering is at Gore on 27th December. It’s worth fifteen thousand dollar and is sponsored by Cadrona Distillery. The Gore Club hopes to make this race an annual feature. “I won’t go north with him, I’ll just muck around with him down here. We’ve had a few inquiries for him but he’s not for sale. He gets you out of bed in the mornings.” So impressed with Robyn’s Playboy is he, that Wilson plans to send his dam Robyn Maree back to Shadow Play.   Bruce Stewart

McWicked, harness racing

McWicked dominates at the Big M in 1:47.3

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's safe to say that McWicked is ready for next week's TVG Free For All Pace. The current leader in the race for Horse of the Year, McWicked lived up to his name in a big way Saturday night at the Meadowlands, scorching the mile oval in 1:47.3 in taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers. "I wasn't expecting that," said trainer Casie Coleman of the blazing-fast effort in cold 42-degree conditions. "I was kind of worried about a slow half, but they went (the half) :53.4. He looked like he did it pretty easy." That he did. McWicked was in no hurry early, racing fifth and last as he swung to the outside at the half-mile marker. He grinded his way toward the leaders down the backside and was just a length behind the horse in the top spot, Dealt A Winner, as three-quarters was timed in 1:20.4. From there, McWicked put on a show, sprinting the final quarter in :26.3 to hit the wire 2¼ lengths in front of 7-2 second choice Filibuster Hanover. Western Fame was third. As the 1-5 favorite, McWicked, who was driven by Brian Sears, paid $2.40 to win in scoring for the 33rd time in 92 lifetime starts. He lifted his bank account to a gaudy $3.725 million. "He always gives everything he's got," said Coleman. "Tonight, he looked as strong as he's been in any of his races this year. That mile tonight was crazy." Coleman confirmed the good news that had previously been shared several weeks ago. "The TVG will be his last race of the year," said the conditioner. "But he is 100 percent coming back next year. We've had a lot of offers to go to stud, but his owner, Ed James, is loving this and he said McWicked is racing next year." Next Saturday's huge Meadowlands program includes eight stakes events: The Fall Final Four has two pair of $400,000 events for 2-year-olds - the Three Diamonds, Goldsmith Maid, Valley Victory and Governor's Cup - while the TVGs for 3-year-olds and up have a pair of $350,000 events (the Free For All Pace and Trot) as well as two $175,000 races (the Free For All Mare Pace and Trot). A LITTLE MORE: Trix And Stones (1:55.1, $14.20 to win) and Chin Chin Hall (1:54.4, $22.20) were victorious in the two Valley Victory elims for colt and gelding trotters, while the single Governor's Cup elim for pacing colts and geldings went to Mangogh (1:51.3, $16.40). ... All Bets Off showed his class in a high-end conditioned event, stopping the clock in 1:48.4 as the 3-5 favorite. ... Geez Joe (2-1 favorite), racing in a non-winners of $8,500 pace, lowered his previous lifetime best by two full seconds, stopping the clock in 1:48.1. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,449,013. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    

Dave Palone, harness racing

Dave Palone wins six at the Meadows

WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 17, 2018 -- Windsong Leo sprinted to the early lead, then withstood two challenges late to collect his 17th harness racing victory this year -- and help Dave Palone to a six-bagger -- in Saturday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Always A Prince and Southwind Amazon are the "winningest" horses in 2018 at the Meadows with 19 victories apiece. Windsong Leo endured a 27 opening quarter, but when Palone gave him a 29.2 second-panel breather, he had enough to hold off the bids of Anythingforlove A in the Lightning Lane and Phoenix Warrior N outside. The 6-year-old Jereme's Jet-Windsong Goldie gelding prevailed in 1:51.2, 1/2 length better than Anythingforlove A, with Phoenix Warrior N third. Ron Burke trains Windsong Leo, who now boasts $378,650 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Aaron Merriman and Burke each enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features a $1,668.32 Pick 5 carryover and a Super Hi-5 jackpot of $260.50. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

Long hours of work, long hours of planning and organisation and long hours out on the training and racing tracks paid off big time for Mark and Natalie this week-but after a short celebration and relaxation it will soon be all systems go for the next big assignments -the Auckland Cup carnival and Inter Dominions. That is the key to their success-moving forward to the next target. Natalie had an unforgettable meeting training and driving the winners of three of the Group Ones at the meeting, the only ones in which they had a runner. “Well its been wonderful. You plan for that but its got to happen. We are lucky we have the horses and the staff to be able to do these things “ Natalie’s biggest moment was the NZ Cup with her special favourite Thefixer and while she keeps working he will have some R and R “We’ve sent him to the water walker for a couple of weeks. He had that foot problem through the spring and we don’t want to risk any aggravation of that so he can have an easy time” Natalie said. “It was a marvellous Cup run really. He got a nice trip but he hadn’t had the seasoning of most of the others but he was just as determined as I was !’ It is doubtful if any Cup winner, and especially in modern times, has won a NZ Cup at his 16th start. Even the great Lazarus had 21 starts before his first Cup. In fact, in a number of respects, Thefixer is a “throwback” to the old time Cup winners often sparingly raced because of lack of opportunity. Once Natalie took the drive on Cruz Bromac it was ominous news for his rivals “He has high speed and I will be looking to lead” Natalie said pre-race. She made no secret to any likely challenger like Todd McCarthy that she was going to stay there and when Tiger Tara faded at the 300m she went for broke and it was the winning of the race. “A lot of our horses were to be standing up to be counted this week and they nearly all did it” The balance Natalie has in her thinking that eases the pressure in big races is typified by the fact she left the course late in the afternoon to go shopping for groceries ! Returning to win the Free for All. Mark came to the fore again on Friday with three wins of the four. TURN IT UP and KINGS LANDING were probably the most interesting in the longer term and both produced positive results. Kings Landing and Winterfell were often compared as younger horses. Originally Kings Landing was rated tops but gradually Winterfell overhauled him and went clear in the comparison stakes. Not so much now. “The gap is narrowing” Mark said. “He’s really pleased me this week. He is stepping up each time and you love to see that in a trotter especially. So there is not a lot between them now” Turn it Up is a talent of almost frightening potential and the Free for All confirmed that. “You couldn’t fault him on that after so few starts. The nomination for the Inter Dominion was really only a wild card but he has shown he can compete at the best level and we will be bearing that in mind “ Mark and Natalie will be following their traditional plan of taking it easy in the next week and and finalising plans for the “A” team. It is never easy but this year it looks an overwhelming task.   Courtesy of All Stars Racing Stables http://www.allstarsracingstables.com/

Mighty Conqueror has emerged as the horse to beat for the Group 1 Golden Nugget on December 14, following his dominant win in the Group 2 Four-Year-Old Championship at Gloucester Park last night. Despite WA Derby winner King Of Swing and last week’s Pinjarra Four-Year-Old Classic winner Jack Mac both missing last night’s event, Mighty Conqueror produced a performance that put his Nugget rivals on notice. The Gary Hall Snr-trained Think About Me was sent out a $2.35 TABtouch favourite from barrier one, but Ryan Warwick drove aggressively on Mighty Conqueror to find the front in the early stages. Think About Me was forced to settle on the back of Mighty Conqueror, while Golden State settled in the breeze. Bechers Brook enjoyed a perfect run throughout and was left as the final challenger to Mighty Conqueror on the home turn, but the Greg and Skye Bond-trained gelding fought off Bechers Brook to win by 7m. A winner at six of his seven starts now, Mighty Conqueror ran home in 57.1 and maintained his unbeaten record in Australia. Bechers Brook and Think About Me filled the minor placings, while the other Bond runner Bright Diamond was fourth. As impressive as the performance was from Mighty Conqueror, Greg Bond suggested post-race his most exciting four-year-old, and potentially his best, was yet to run in Australia. Ana Malak lines up at Pinjarra on Monday over 2185m, where he will be looking to enhance his Golden Nugget credentials, as will Bettor Aim, the only pacer to beat Jack Mac in Perth. Mighty Conqueror was the second leg of a feature double on the night for the Bond team, after Galactic Star took out the Pat Cranley Memorial (1730m). The Bond stable have expressed their interest in getting the six-year-old to Melbourne for next month’s Inter Dominion Series and he showed last night he would be more than competitive against some of Australasia’s best pacers. The race panned out perfectly for Galactic Star, who was second-up from a spell, with Warwick able to find the one out one back position from barrier six, while Tricky Styx held the front from barrier one. Galactic Star was well poised coming into the home straight and went on to win by 3m to Devendra and Our Jimmy Johnstone. Arguably the most impressive winner of the night was Our Angel Of Harlem in the Glenroy Chaff Pace (2130m). The mare was first-up without a trial last night and subsequently drifted to $2.05 second favourite with TABtouch, while Infinite Symbol was $1.70. Infinite Symbol led throughout, while Our Angel Of Harlem sat in the breeze, but when reinsman Mark Reed called upon the mare to make her run she responded brilliantly to win by 3m. Reed said there was still plenty of improvement left in the four-year-old. “She’s still very big in condition,” he said. “I knew she’d benefit from whatever she does tonight but she just got a little bit keen in the run.” Trainer Mike Reed said he would consider running Our Angel Of Harlem in the Golden Nugget as well as the Mares Classic a week earlier. It was also a landmark night trainer-reinsman Kaiden Hayter, who recorded his first Gloucester Park Friday night winning double in the sulky.   Tim Walker

YONKERS, NY, Friday, November 16, 2018--Favored Don't Think Twice A (Jason Bartlett, $3.70) picked up where her Aussie countrywoman left off Friday night (Nov. 16th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace. Two-moving--from post position No. 5--to the lead by a :27.1 opening quarter-mile, Don't Think Twice A took over from Call Me Queen Be (Joe Bongiorno). The people's preference then rated a :56.3 intermission before pole-sitting Delaware interloper Apple Bottom Jeans (Jim Marohn Jr.) moved from third. That lass offered only mild intrusion in and out of a 1:24.2 three-quarters as Don't Think Twice A widened to 2¼ lengths off the final turn. She finished it off, whipped a second-over Lispatty (Matt Kakaley) by a couple of lengths in a life-best 1:53. Call Me Queen Be, Apple Bottom Jeans and Lakeisha Hall (George Brennan) rounded out the payees. Rockstar Angel A, who had won the last four editions of this race, was sixth here from an assigned eight-hole. For Don't Think Twice A, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Armbro Operative owned by (trainer) Andrew Harris and Arrhythmic LLC, it was her fifth win in 15 seasonal starts (2-for-4 stateside). The exacta paid $19.60, the triple returned $127 and superfecta paid $399. "I can't wait to drive her in the Blue Chip (Matchmaker) Series," Bartlett said, looking about four months down the road. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

CHESTER, PA - Mr Houdini needed little magic to win the $16,000 trot at Harrah's Philadelphia on Friday afternoon - he just needed his native ability, which enabled him to come home in 57 over a "sloppy +2" surface to take a new mark of 1:56. Andrew McCarthy quickly had the altered son of Kadabra on the lead, and the winner of three straight rattled off splits of 29.1, 59.1, and 1:27.3 on the engine. Girl Talk had stayed close to the winner throughout and tried to rally from the pocket late, but Mr Houdini saw that one's late bid off by 3/4 for trainer Ron Burke and the ownership of Burke Racing Stable LLC and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. The top pacing event of the day was an event for distaffs worth $14,500, and heading to the wire three of the four involved in the drive were New Zealanders, with the import Nike Franco N (handled by Flora IL's Tim Tetrick, the lone non-Kiwi) withstood a big late charge from Delightfulmemphisn and the "Down Under Wonder," driver Dexter Dunn, to prevail in 1:52.4 in the off going. Tetrick had moved the victorious daughter of McArdle past early leader Oceania past the 27.1 quarter, put up middle fractions of 56.3 and 1:24.2, and looked free and clear at headstretch. But Delightfulmemphisn angled four-wide and cut into the lead with every stride in the lane, only to come up a half-length short on the money. The winner, trainer by Scott Di Domenico, recorded her second straight win, and now has lifetime earnings of $822,029 while raising her career win ratio to 43% (32 for 75). She is owned by William Hartt, Foulk Stables Inc., JFE Enterprise LLC, and Triple D Stables Inc. From the PHHA/Harrah's Chester

MILTON, ON - November 16, 2018 - The inaugural Harvest Series wrapped up Friday with sensational performances from Ontario sired sophomores Phantom Seelster and Johnny Bravo. A pair of series finales for colts and geldings took place on Friday's 10-race card with a full field of 10 clashing on the pacing side and a field of six battling on the trot. Phantom Seelster completed the sweep of the Harvest Series with a strong 2¾ lengths victory in the $47,500 final for pacing colts and geldings. Driven by Louis Philippe Roy, Phantom Seelster got away second and enjoyed a two-hole ride behind Westslucky Terror, who cut out fractions of :27.3, :57.1 and 1:26. Shadow Moon made a first-up bid in the middle-half to apply some pressure, but began to fade nearing three-quarters, which forced a cover-riding Mission Three and Foot Solider three-wide. Phantom Seelster and Roy had room to slide out of the two-hole at the top of the lane, surged by Westslucky Terror to claim the lead and pulled away from his rivals for a 1:54.2 victory. Mission Three finished second, while Foot Solider was third and Westslucky Terror fourth. Trained by Richard Moreau, Phantom Seelster entered the Harvest Series winless in 14 starts this season and now exits with three wins in 17 outings. The gelded son of Mach Three teamed up with a different driver in each of the three Harvest Series legs, partnering with Bob McClure and Trevor Henry in the preliminary legs. Phantom Seelster has now earned $55,270 this season following the series sweep, while his career numbers now sit at six wins and $98,935 earned for owners Gestion Mastel Inc, Conrad Leber and Marcel Barrieau. A $2 win ticket on Phantom Seelster returned $3. Johnny Bravo continued his winning ways with a 1:58.2 victory in the $43,900 final for trotting colts and geldings. Driven by Jean Bernard Renaud, Johnny Bravo was parked around the first turn and had to be pushed to clear Charlie Ona Harley for the top spot. Once in command, Johnny Bravo posted fractions of :57 and 1:27.4. In the stretch, Johnny Bravo was able to seal the deal by holding off a late push from Draft Year, who sat fourth for most of the mile, for a length victory. Charlie Ona Harley finished third, while Master Switch was fourth. A gelded son of Johnny William, Johnny Bravo entered Friday's final off a victory in the second leg and a runner-up finish in the first leg. The Paul Walker trainee has now won three of his last four starts to improve his record to four wins in 12 starts. Unraced as a two-year-old, Johnny Bravo has now earned $59,400 for owner/breeders Paul Walker and Julie Walker. He paid $4.20 to win. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario three-year-olds, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2018 as of September 30. Friday evening's card also saw another edition of the $30,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace. Seven-year-old Exhilarated put an end to Kendall Seeslster's winning streak by muscling by in the final strides for a thrilling victory. Kendall Seelster got things her own way, posting fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:24.2. Exhilarated enjoyed a two-hole ride behind the heavy-favourite and took her shot in the lane along with the other four mares in the field. A six-across finish developed with Exhilarated just getting by in the final stride for a 1:53.3 victory. Kendall Seelster finished second, beat a head, while P L Hurricane was third. Trained by Carmen Auciello, Exhilarated and driver Jonathan Drury went off at odds of 12-1 and were entering Friday's contest off back-to-back fourth-place finishes. The veteran mare now has 11 wins and $198,620 earned in 41 starts this season for owner Auciello Stables. Exhilarated pushed her career numbers to 36 wins and $589,130 earned with the upset victory. She paid $27 to win. Live racing continues Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

Harness racing driver Natalie Rasmussen capped off an amazing week by reining Cruz Bromac to an easy front running victory in yesterdays $184,000 Woodlands New Zealand Pacing Free For All at Addington Raceway.  After an unlucky run in Tuesday's New Zealand Trotting Cup, Cruz Bromac relished the shorter 1980m distance of yesterday's race and the son of Falcon Seelster blasted to the lead shortly after the mobile barrier arms folded. From there the race turned into a procession. With main rival and TAB favourite Tiger Tara caught three wide early and then parked, Cruz Bromac never really eased the pace and won easing down in a super quick 2-18.5 for the 1980m mobile. That equated to a mile rate of 1-52.5 with the last 800m cut out in 55.6 and the closing 400m run in 27.0 seconds. Stable mate of the winner Turn It Up ran on from three deep on the fence to grab second off the trailing Jack's Legend who battled on well for third. Tiger Tara wilted to last after finding his early efforts out wide too big a hurdle to overcome. Natalie Rasmussen really burned early on Cruz Bromac and thought he might be found wanting at the finish, "I really maxed him out to get across and sometimes they are found wanting when you do that, but he really tried hard down the straight.He was getting tired but he really gave it his all. "Since he joined us he has really impressed us, each run he has been really solid and good. "Mark and I will sit down next week and work out where we go, but I would say more than likely Inter Dominions first and then go from there," she said. The win by Cruz Bromac gave Natalie her third Group one success for the week after also winning the NZ Cup with Thefixer and the Sires Stakes Final with Ultimate Sniper on Tuesday.   Harnesslink Media

Clint Ford's greatest moment in the sulky might also be his last on raceday. Because the Canterbury part-timer suggested he might give up driving after Marcoola's magical win in yesterday's $300,000 Dominion at Addington. The magnificent squaregaiter came from third last with a sustained burst of brilliance to smash our best trotters, clearing out before the top of the straight and winning effortlessly. Marcoola is officially trained by Ford's father Ken, giving him one of the most unlikely doubles in trotting history after he won the Dominion last season with 90-1 chance Amaretto Sun. But it is Clint who does most of the training and all of the driving of the former age group star, even against his better judgment sometimes. Ford rarely drives other horses and has been his own harshest critic at times during Marcoola's career. So after his beautifully-timed surge to victory yesterday he suggested he might give up the driving game. "That might be it for me, I am only a part-timer and I might not drive anymore," he said. Yesterday's win in our biggest trotting race was only the 29th of Ford's driving career and having climbed the mountain it wouldn't surprise to see him keep his word and hand the reins on Marcoola to niece and high-class reinswoman Sheree Tomlinson. But for now the Ford and Tomlinson family can enjoy having back-to-back winners in their version of the New Zealand Cup because to trotting people the Dominion is the ultimate goal. They won't be chasing the other great trotting prize, the Inter Dominion in Melbourne next month, though as Marcoola was not nominated for the series. That would suggest he is likely to come north to contest the rich trots at Alexandra Park and Cambridge and finally live up to his enormous potential. When Marcoola emerged as a 3-year-old and then challenged Monbet as a 4-year-old he looked a superstar in the making but the next 18 months of his career had more lows than highs. But a long spell last season has seen him return bigger and stronger and yesterday's run suggests at his best he is the premier trotter in Australasia. While Marcoola's dominance was so complete there was no point making any excuses for the others, there was plenty to admire about the booming late run from Aussie raider Kyvalley Blur for second while Lemond was vastly improved on his first-day performance to hold third. But favourite Speeding Spur might have been feeling his first-day win in the Free-For-All as he performed slightly below his best in fourth place. Michael Guerin

It's late in the stakes season and now it's time for the Alberta 'showcase showdown' with the rich 'Super Finals' program carded for Saturday, November 17, at Century Downs - just north of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The top two and three-year-olds face off against each other in four $75,000 Finals, while the 'next-best' will be chasing after four $15,000 Consolations. The Super Finals will take place during the final four races, of Saturday afternoon's card, while the Consolations go behind the gate in the first four dashes.   Race 7 2YO Filly Super Final - $75,000 5 ROCKIN MYSTERY - has three straight victories coming in and now trainer Chris Lancaster adds lasix. Looking for driver Brandon Campbell to 'cowboy' this one up early and go unchallenged throughout. She looks much the best on paper here - 'key' her in both the PICK 5 & PICK 4. 6 GIN TWIST - was good enough for second-best to the top choice, here, in her latest. She does show breaking issues in the past - she'll need to behave for any shot in this one. 9 MAXSAMIAN - will have to race from off the pace again, leaving from the trailing spot, but she can grab a share against these. She's a 'must-play' for the TRI and SUPERFECTA. 4 JEDI TRICKS - is the Cinderella story in this race and she's certainly showing great form coming in, but can she keep it going? If she gets any kind of trip at all - she can be heard from.   Race 8 2YO C & G Super Final - $75,000 6 CRACKLE N BURN - for a Super Final upset! He shows great speed on the end of his miles and if there happens to be an early speed battle - it could set up for him late. Beware of this closer! 4 OUTLAWGRABBINGEARS - he's tough to go against, but there's just no value in backing him for the win. He's the richest on paper and he deserves to be the fave, but I'm thinking upset. 2 I AMA ROCKET - was all dressed up with no place to go last time. He has won against the pair I have selected, ahead of him, but he'll need some luck, in this field of nine, to do it again. 1 HF THEGREATPUMPKIN - he's a hunch play for me in here. He gets the rail advantage, here, plus a Mike Hennessy catch-drive. I wouldn't be surprised to see him do well on this day.   Race 9 3YO Filly Super Final - $75,000 3 CUSTARD LITE - has been a real nice filly since adding lasix in mid-July. A 9-time winner this season and I think she can handle this group for her richest win to date. Put her on top! 7 BEARCAT JOSI - tough post for this miss, but she's on great form coming in. It'll be interesting to see where driver Jamie Gray gets her settled early. She's a must play at a juicy 8/1 on the ML. 2 BORN A DRAGON - is an early speed threat and she'll be trying to stick around late with these. If she makes front and gets left alone, on the lead, she could be very tough to take down. 5 CUSDMAGICDRAGON - got stung in the early going, last time, so maybe it'll be a change in tactics here. we're expecting her to take lots of tote board action once again.   Race 10 3YO C & G Super Final - $75,000 5 EXIT SMILING - was much the best in the Maverick Final - winning by almost double-digit lengths and co-owner/trainer/driver Jamie Gray barely even asked him. Top call again! 4 PARADISE HILL - had traffic troubles last time and that shouldn't happen here. He gets a great post to work with and if riding along up close - he'll be heard from at some point. Beware! 1 MORTGAGE MY VILLA - gets the rail and will look to use it to his advantage here. He's definitely worth a look for the TRI and JACKPOT HI5. 2 YANKEE UP - has been a bit of a fringe player, but was the 'next-best' to our top choice, here, in his latest effort over Century Downs. If playing the HI5 - he belongs in it.   Sugar's Key Ticket Plays   Race 3 PICK 5 - 123579 / 27 / 234568 / 139 / 5 - $43.20 (20 CENT ticket)   Race 7 PICK 4 - 5 / 124569 / 2357 / 45 - $48 ($1 ticket)   Best of luck to all of those competing on Saturday at Century Downs. I'll be watching and cheering from London, Ontario...   *FREE Super Finals Program https://www.cnty.com/fileadmin/content/operations/centurydowns/race_day_programs/November17_GUTS.pdf   by Shannon 'Sugar' Doyle      

The Dominion is all about the Ford factory. However, it’s horsepower of a different variety – equine! For the second straight year, West Melton trainer Ken Ford has walked away with the biggest trotting cheque in the southern hemisphere after his brilliant performer Marcoola delivered a stunning performance to win the Gr.1 $300,000 Used To Me @ Haras de Trotteurs Dominion at Addington today (Friday). Twelve months ago, the Ford family was left shell-shocked after Amaretto Sun and young Sheree Tomlinson (Ford's grand-daughter) pulled off a longshot shocker to win the south island feature and again today, they were left a little gob smacked by the sheer arrogance and blinding acceleration of their star trotter as he raced away with the 3200m standing start feature. Handled by Ford's son Clint, it was utter domination from Marcoola. Unlike last year, the performance today didn’t completely shock anyone because most are acutely aware of the rich talent the Sundon six-year-old entire possesses. In lead-up to the event, his form has been true and consistent but the barrier allowed punters to gain a juicy price about the speedy performer. Race favourite Speeding Spur was backing-up following his Gr.1 FFA victory on Tuesday and was attempting to claim the Rowe Cup/Dominion double in the same year while join the other 17 trotters to claim the Cup week double. With Alderbeck, Temporale and Hey Yo all beginning quickly and vying for the early supremacy, Speeding Spur stepped safely and landed in a handy spot just behind the leaders. Classy mare Harriet Of Mot galloped away badly and lost considerable ground. Within the first lap, changes swept over the field with the highly fancied Great Things Happen finding the lead while Lemond was left parked without cover and Speeding Spur sitting right on his back. The tempo was dawdling with Great Things Happen and driver Gavin Smith walking the big field through the opening lap. The lead time was covered in 2:08.1. Speeding Spur made a move around the 1200m point and parked outside Great Things Happen while Ronald J soon followed and raced outside the leader. The first half was covered in 29.2 and 31.7 seconds. Entering the back straight, Great Things Happen led Ronald J while Speeding Spur sat poised ready to strike. Passing the 1000m point, driver Clint Ford made his move with Marcoola and allowed him to stride forward three wide and his run was unimpeded. And he came with a rush as he built massive momentum. The third quarter was covered in 29.7 seconds. With his blinding acceleration, Marcoola surged to the lead and soon opened up the field and raced away to lead by a clear margin entering the home straight. Ford kept his charge focused as Australian trotter Kyvalley Blur started to charge down the outside but the margin was too great. Marcoola scored convincingly and registered a margin of 4 lengths from Kyvalley Blur with a further 2.75 lengths back to Lemond in third while Speeding Spur finished fourth. The winning time was 4:08 – a mile rate of 2:04.6 with a final split of 28.7 seconds. Yet again, it was time for celebration for the Ford family. “He felt really good and there was some cat and mouse tactics from Anthony (Butt – Kyvalley Blur) and Tony (Herlihy – Temporale) and I just went for it. He trotted great and showed great speed but I kept thinking they were coming and I kept checking but he did it well.” Driver Clint Ford said. Marcoola is raced in partnership by Clint and his father Ken. The last time a trainer prepared back to back winners in the Dominion was Tim Butt back in 2003/04 after Take A Moment and Lyell Creek proved triumphant. Interestingly, Marcoola is closely related to Lyell Creek and takes his record to 14 wins from 31 starts while his earnings now exceed $410,000. The next leg of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Trotting Masters is the $150,000 Inter Dominion in Melbourne on December 15. Chris Barsby

The Owners representative took a quick visit to All Stars Stable on Wednesday to see how Chase Auckland was progressing towards his return to harness racing and the news is very positive.  “We are looking at taking him to a trial in 3 or 4 weeks and then aim at a possible race at Cambridge followed by a suitable race in Auckland perhaps on Christmas Eve,” Mark Purdon said. He says "I do not think he would be ready for such a tough and demanding race like the Auckland Cup at this stage instead Id rather race him as much as possible against his own age group". This could involve such races as the $50,000 Futurity Stakes at Cambridge on January 24, and in Australia, the $50,000 Hondo Grattan Stakes on February 2, the $50,000 Paleface Adios Sprint on February 9 with the main one being the $200,000 Chariots of Fire on February 16 – all at Tabcorp Park in NSW. It would then be back to New Zealand for such possible races as the $50,000 Superstars Champs at Addington on March 29, the $100,000 Taylor Mile on April 26, the $100,000 NZ Messenger (both at Auckland) and $150,000 Harness Jewels at Addington. At the time of taking his New Zealand record in The 3YR Sires Stakes Final in 2017, Chase Auckland recorded the fastest ever time for not only three-year-olds but for all-comers rating a 1:52.2 mile rate over the 1950 metres. He also holds a second record at Auckland over 2700 metres in The Great Northern Derby rating 3:16.8 for the distance. This son of Auckland Reactor has had just the nine starts for eight wins and a second to date with $392,329 in the bank. His return to racing will be eagerly watched and waited for by his large numbers of Owners and Fans across the Country. The photos taken and shown here are spectacular to say the least. Chase Auckland - Group 1 New Zealand Sires Stakes Final 2017 Chase Auckland - Woodlands Great Northern Derby 2018 Harnesslink Media

Trois-Rivieres, QC - For the last two days of the live harness racing meet at the Hippodrome 3R, the drivers in all the races both this Sunday and next Sunday, will drive without whips. The Quebec Jockey Club, which oversees the racing at H3R, announced last week that they were going to experiment with "whipless" racing the last two days of the race meet. In North America, whipless racing has taken place at a few tracks including Plainridge Racetrack and the former Indiana Downs years ago. Australia was to go whipless in 2017, but that move has been put on hold while more research is done. Norway is the only country in Europe that has banned whipping in all harness racing and that began some 40 years ago in the 1970's. Whips, crops, willow switches and sticks have been used to guide and train animals since man first domesticated horses, cows, oxen and sheep. "This is an experiment of pari-mutuel racing without whips," said Director of Racing Murielle Thomassin. "There will be absolutely no whips allowed on the track these two special days. "There is no surprise that this year the population is tired of cruelty on animals," Thomassin continued. "The Quebec Jockey Club is ready to change with the society and evolve in a sport where the horse is our pride and joy. We must respect and protect them at all cost." Some of the drivers competing this Sunday at H3R gave their opinions on the upcoming trial of whipless racing. "I agree with strict rules for the use of the whip," said Daniel Laflamme. "We need the whip to control the horse in certain circumstances. It's our only working tool to bring the horse back to order and protect us." "I do not feel good about not having a whip," Jocelyn Gendron explained. "It is our way to be able to stimulate a horse without abusing the whip. To remove it completely may be dangerous." "I am happy that the QJC is taking steps to increase the customer base and the vitality of the races," said Pierre Luc Roy. "I also agree that measures need to be taken to reduce the use of the whip, however I do not believe that removing the whip is a good idea." "It is OK for a test day for two," Pascal Berube said, "but not for all of next year. It's not a solution to make racing more appealing." "If it will help the racetrack then I am happy to drive without a whip," Simon Delisle said. "We will see this Sunday how it goes. "The public does not like the whip." There are 11 races this Sunday for the first day of whipless racing at H3R. "We will see how the racing goes these two days without whips," Thomassin said. "We will study the races themselves and the wagering patterns too and maybe come up with some changes for the 2019 harness racing season in Quebec." First race post time Sunday is 12:50 pm. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club      

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WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 18, 2018 -- The holidays will be merrier at The Meadows this year, as the track will offer six series for $10,000 and $20,000 claimers, each with two preliminary legs and a final. Purses for preliminary legs range from $8,000 to $16,000 while championships will be worth $15,000 ($10,000 claimers) and $25,000 ($20,000 claimers). All championship legs are set for Monday, Dec. 31, when the track will host a special New Year's Eve twilight card that gets underway at 5: 30 PM. That program also is expected to feature the final race of Foiled Again, the richest Standardbred ever with more than $7.5 million in earnings, who faces mandatory Jan. 1 retirement when he turns 15. A ceremony and festivities to honor Foiled Again are in the works. Nominations and fees -- $100 for $10,000 claiming series, $150 for $20,000 claiming series -- are due by Dec. 1. Nomination forms are available at www.meadowsgaming.com and through the office of the race secretary, 724.225.9897. The six series, along with opening-leg dates, are: $10,000 Claiming Pace, fillies and mares, Dec.11 $10,000 Claiming Pace, colts, horses and geldings, Dec. 15 $10,000 Claiming Trot, open, Dec. 12 $20,000 Claiming Pace, fillies and mares, Dec. 11 $20,000 Claiming Pace, colts, horses and geldings, Dec. 15 $20,000 Claiming Trot, open, Dec. 12 by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's safe to say that McWicked is ready for next week's TVG Free For All Pace. The current leader in the race for Horse of the Year, McWicked lived up to his name in a big way Saturday night at the Meadowlands, scorching the mile oval in 1:47.3 in taking the $20,000 Preferred Handicap for pacers. "I wasn't expecting that," said trainer Casie Coleman of the blazing-fast effort in cold 42-degree conditions. "I was kind of worried about a slow half, but they went (the half) :53.4. He looked like he did it pretty easy." That he did. McWicked was in no hurry early, racing fifth and last as he swung to the outside at the half-mile marker. He grinded his way toward the leaders down the backside and was just a length behind the horse in the top spot, Dealt A Winner, as three-quarters was timed in 1:20.4. From there, McWicked put on a show, sprinting the final quarter in :26.3 to hit the wire 2¼ lengths in front of 7-2 second choice Filibuster Hanover. Western Fame was third. As the 1-5 favorite, McWicked, who was driven by Brian Sears, paid $2.40 to win in scoring for the 33rd time in 92 lifetime starts. He lifted his bank account to a gaudy $3.725 million. "He always gives everything he's got," said Coleman. "Tonight, he looked as strong as he's been in any of his races this year. That mile tonight was crazy." Coleman confirmed the good news that had previously been shared several weeks ago. "The TVG will be his last race of the year," said the conditioner. "But he is 100 percent coming back next year. We've had a lot of offers to go to stud, but his owner, Ed James, is loving this and he said McWicked is racing next year." Next Saturday's huge Meadowlands program includes eight stakes events: The Fall Final Four has two pair of $400,000 events for 2-year-olds - the Three Diamonds, Goldsmith Maid, Valley Victory and Governor's Cup - while the TVGs for 3-year-olds and up have a pair of $350,000 events (the Free For All Pace and Trot) as well as two $175,000 races (the Free For All Mare Pace and Trot). A LITTLE MORE: Trix And Stones (1:55.1, $14.20 to win) and Chin Chin Hall (1:54.4, $22.20) were victorious in the two Valley Victory elims for colt and gelding trotters, while the single Governor's Cup elim for pacing colts and geldings went to Mangogh (1:51.3, $16.40). ... All Bets Off showed his class in a high-end conditioned event, stopping the clock in 1:48.4 as the 3-5 favorite. ... Geez Joe (2-1 favorite), racing in a non-winners of $8,500 pace, lowered his previous lifetime best by two full seconds, stopping the clock in 1:48.1. ... All-source wagering on the 13-race card totaled $2,449,013. ... Racing resumes Friday at 7:15 p.m. By Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations    
WASHINGTON, PA, Nov. 17, 2018 -- Windsong Leo sprinted to the early lead, then withstood two challenges late to collect his 17th harness racing victory this year -- and help Dave Palone to a six-bagger -- in Saturday's $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at The Meadows. Always A Prince and Southwind Amazon are the "winningest" horses in 2018 at the Meadows with 19 victories apiece. Windsong Leo endured a 27 opening quarter, but when Palone gave him a 29.2 second-panel breather, he had enough to hold off the bids of Anythingforlove A in the Lightning Lane and Phoenix Warrior N outside. The 6-year-old Jereme's Jet-Windsong Goldie gelding prevailed in 1:51.2, 1/2 length better than Anythingforlove A, with Phoenix Warrior N third. Ron Burke trains Windsong Leo, who now boasts $378,650 in career earnings, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. Aaron Merriman and Burke each enjoyed a triple on the 13-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features a $1,668.32 Pick 5 carryover and a Super Hi-5 jackpot of $260.50. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, November 17, 2018 - His driver made the correct choices before and during the race, as Gokudo Hanover (Dan Dube, $13.80) rolled Saturday night (Nov. 17th), winning Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Handicap Pace. In play from assigned post position No. 5, Gokudo Hanover eschewed any earl three-hole, He moved to the lead around Techtor Hanover (Jordan Stratton), paying a :26.2, opening-quarter-mile privilege. After a snappy :55.1 intermission, Mach it So (Joe Bongiorno) made his second move, first-up from third. However, Gokudo Hanover was more than up to it, passing a 1:23 three-quarters and owning a length-and-a-half lead into the lane, He then finished it off, whipping Techtor Hanover by a length in a season's-best-matching 1:52. Theartofconfusion A (Brent Holland) was a rallying third, with I'm Some Graduate (George Brennan) and Mach it So settling for the minor moolah. For third choice Gokudo Hanover, a 6-year-old Cam's Card Shark gelding co-owned (as Triple D Stables) by (trainer) Scott DiDomenico, James Craparotta and Par Berry Racing, it was his seventh win in 19 seasonal starts (sixth in last nine tries). The exacta paid $94, the triple returned $418.50 and the superfecta paid $2,207. For his part, Dube selected the winner after being triple-listed on the early overnight sheet. The Raceway offers a Sunday (Nov. 18th) matinee, with a first post of High Noon. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  
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