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Monumental Ontario agreement on the table

It was confirmed late Thursday night to Harnesslink.com that perhaps the greatest contract ever between harness racing horsemen and track management is nearly signed with the Central Ontario Standardbred Association (COSA) and the Woodbine Entertainment Group. “All the details have not been finalized,” said COSA president Bill O’Donnell. “And there has not been a signing yet, and so I can’t comment on anything at this point.” While the final “I’s” and “t’s” have not yet been dotted and crossed, the primary ingredients of the agreement have been, and if all continues as planned, a signing could take place by early next week. The agreement calls for the following: Five year contract $40 million per year for purses at Woodbine & Mohawk $180,000 per race card average 223 race days per year Direct split (50/50) on any and all new gaming This could well be the most lucrative Standardbred horsemen/track agreement ever signed. Apparently Woodbine Entertainment Group sees the potential growth and renewed interest in the industry and has stepped up to the table and is working out a blockbuster deal with COSA. More details to come as they develop. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Muscle Hill and Brian Sears

Muscle Hill becoming an International Stallion

When World Champion and Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill retired from racing at the end of the 2009 harness racing season, Southwind Farms  and Muscle Hill Syndicate Manager, Mike Klau, had a plan. That plan was to turn the champion racehorse into an International Stallion.  Shareholders in the Syndicate hail from six different countries in Europe and Frozen Semen was made available to both Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Now, five years after implementation, that plan has come into fruition.  This weekend Muscle Hill progeny will compete in major events all over the world. Glenferrie Burn, a two year Muscle Hill filly, will race in the Australian Breeders Crown Final at Melton on Sunday, after winning her elimination.  Three year old colts Emmett Brown and Sloopy Joe race in the E3 colt final in Sweden on Saturday and Sparkling Kronos, a three year old filly competes in the E3 filly final on the same day. In North America, his numerous stakes winners are headed by Hambletonian winner Trixton and World Champion and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief.  He has sired a leading 14 three year olds with records of 1:55 or faster. Total earnings this year for his crop of two and three year olds have topped the $2 million mark. At the end of the recently concluded breeding season, Muscle Hill, who again bred a full book of 140 mares, and had 127 of those mares declared in foal. “He has always been a fertile horse and that has enabled us to freeze his semen and ship it around the world.” Said Klau. For the upcoming season (2015) his semen will again be available worldwide, with the Southern Hemisphere being handled by Stallions Australasia (Peter O’Rourke – David Shammall) and Europe being handled by Offspring AB (Anders Lindfors).  2014 saw the stallion moved to Marion Farms in New Hope, Pa. to take advantage of the rich Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program. Foals of 2015 will be eligible for that program. Booking Applications for the 2015 season will be available shortly on the Southwind Farms website www.southwindfarms.net  

Randy Waples, harness racing

Waples set for Metro elims with stakes duo

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 22 - Randy Waples is heading into this weekend's Metro Pace eliminations in an enviable position. The 49-year-old reinsman is not just in both eliminations, he is sitting behind Nassagaweya Stakes winners. Last Saturday night, Waples guided Traceur Hanover and Sports Bettor to victory lane in their respective Nassagaweya splits, setting him up with two contenders for this Saturday's Metro eliminations. The victory with Traceur Hanover did not come as a surprise to many as the son of Western Ideal - Transference had shown a lot of promise and had won two of his first three starts heading into last Saturday's race. However, Sports Bettor's maiden-breaking victory in the Nassagaweya came as a surprise to the public, as he was 69-1, and a mild surprise to his driver "I didn't really know what to expect," said Waples. "I liked him right from the very beginning, but then it seemed like he didn't really seem to get a whole lot better from when he was baby racing." Sports Bettor is trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile and had shown a ton of promise in his two baby races by winning both of them with good final quarter speed. A son of Sportswriter - Shellys Delight, Sports Bettor finished second in his first three races before finishing a disappointing eighth in the Battle of Waterloo final on August 4. In his last start before the Nassagaweya at Georgian Downs in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg he finished off the board, but Waples said he was filled with pace. "At Georgian he got locked in and finished fourth, but he had all kinds of go, so I thought if he got a good trip he could definitely get there." Sports Bettor got a two-hole trip in the Nassagaweya and was able to nail a tiring Lyons Levi Lewis at the wire for the upset victory in a career best 1:53.2. Sports Bettor will start from post seven in the first $40,000 elimination Saturday night. In the second elimination, Waples will sit behind arguably the most consistent two-year-old on the local scene, Traceur Hanover. Trained by Normand Bardier Jr. for owner Richard Berthiaume, Traceur Hanover has shown high end talent since his first baby race on July 8. After baby racing twice, Traceur Hanover won his first two starts at Mohawk July 22 and 29. "He's been great since the time he baby raced," said Waples. "Smart colt, you can do anything you want with him." After suffering his first defeat, a second place effort with a :27 last quarter on August 7 at Mohawk, Traceur Hanover turned in another brilliant effort in the Nassagaweya Stakes. The $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase got a perfect two-hole trip and grinded by Go Daddy Go in the stretch to win in career best 1:53.3. In just four career starts, Traceur Hanover has shown Waples he can be a grinder, but that he does have quick speed. "He's just a perfect all-around nice horse." Traceur Hanover's toughest challenge to date will come this Saturday in his elimination for the Metro Pace and Waples believes he will be up to the task. "He's one of those horses that just does what he has to do, so he's never going to do it flashy or anything like that," said Waples. "He's got a big motor and his desires good, so if he gets the right kind of trip he should be good." Traceur Hanover will start from post seven in a field of eight for his Metro Pace elimination. The duo of Sports Bettor and Traceur Hanover offer Waples a great one-two punch to get to the $667,000 final on Saturday, August 22. If Waples' pair can get through this Saturday, he will be set up for a great shot at capturing his first Metro Pace. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

Harper Blue Chip, harness racing

Triumphant return for Harper Blue Chip in OSS

“He impreses me every time I sit behind him, I can’t ask any more than what he does. He’s very efficient. I love this horse; he’s very easy to drive and that makes my job a lot easier.” That was driver Sylvain Filion praising Harper Blue Chip moments after their victory in the second of three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions for three-year-old trotting colts tonight at Rideau Carleton Raceway Thursday, the home track for Harper’s ownership group and trainer Mark Steacy. In fact it was at Rideau where Harper Blue Chip made his first start in June of last year. The colt earned his victory this night, over a track rated sloppy from heavy rains during the afternoon at the Ottawa oval. He was parked until after the opening quarter, reached in :27.4 by Ole Jack Magic, and took over command before the :58 half. Down the backside Muscle Matters came up to challenge and that pair reached the three-quarters in 1:26.3. Harper Blue Chip repelled that challenger and opened up down the lane to win by more than four lengths in 1:56.1. Muscle Matters took second while Sheer Flex was third. It was the fourth win in nine starts, and second straight Gold victory, for the son of Majestic Son owned by Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The first Gold test also found Filion posing in the winner’s circle. It was Verdi and Steve Byron first off the gate and they hit the opening quarter in :29.3 and the half in a sedate 1:02.2. Entranced passed the leader before the three-quarters in 1:31.1 but he was quickly passed by Mr Lover and Filion who pulled away in the stretch to win in 2:00.1. Lucky Mass closed well to get second while Verdi held for third. Filion’s father, Yves, trains the winner, a son of Deweycheatumnhowe for owner/breeder Ecuries Belanger of Laval, Quebec. It was Mr Lover’s first win in four tries this year. Yves had also trained Mr Lover’s dam, Norway No Day, a winner of $337,000 in her career. The third and final Gold division saw heavy favourite Maximuscle make a break leaving. Meanwhile Jack Litten and Doug McNair hit the quarter in :28.3 and the half in :58.4 where he had company in the form of Warrawee Promesse on the outside. That colt had a slight lead past the 1:27 three-quarters and held off Massive Talent to win in 1:57.1. Jack Litten was right there for third. Trainer Wayne Henry was up behind the winner, a son of Windsong Espoir he co-owns with Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ontario. Warrawee Promesse now has five wins in nine attempts. Tonight’s effort was his fifth consecutive win. The first of three $18,000 Grassroots events for three-year-old trotting colts saw Tyrone Haji control the tempo for Trevor Henry through splits of :28.3, :59.3, 1:29.3 and hold on to win in 1:59.3 over Massacaia and American Superman. Bob McIntosh trains and co-owns the winner with breeder Dave Boyle of Bowmanville, Ontario. A gelded son of Kadabra, Tyrone Haji was recording his third win in a dozen starts this year. “He’s been a lot of first up trips, if I could get to the front earlier he’d be one of the best,” noted Henry afterwards. The second Grassroots test saw favourite Totally Ripped gain control well before the :57.3 half. Jody Jamieson had Justcallmeronald on the move before the 1:26.3 three-quarters and that colt and Totally Ripped raced as a team through the stretch with Justcallmeronald getting up for the win in 1:57.2. Windsun Cobra took third. Tony O’Sullivan trains the winner, a son of Muscle Mass owned by Patrick Ryan of London, Ontario. “He was a little tired at the wire. His former trainer was here telling me how to drive him so that helped,” said Jamieson of the colt’s former conditioner and Rideau regular Robert Robinson. Jamieson also captured the final Grassroots event of the evening, using a three wide move on the final turn with Massive Pockets to win by open lengths in 1:57.3 and defeat Stonebridge Rich and Kremlin. Owned by breeder MT Pockets Stables of Florida and trained by Chantal Mitchell, the son of Muscle Mass was recording his second win in 11 tries. This was Rideau Carleton’s turn to celebrate the OSS’s 40th anniversary and the trotting colts put on a good display of the talent in the Program for the fans. The next Gold event for this group goes postward on September 22 while the Grassroots boys will hook up on September 1. Both events are at Mohawk. To view the full results from tonight, please clickRideau Results - August 21. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

When or if you ever do a search for a harness racing trainer on-line, you get a slim pickings of people to check out. Mainly people seek out friends in the industry who will recommend people or you can go to a horsemen’s association and ask who they might recommend. But there is one person who has made a big impact with her stable both online and via the social media’s and that is Dee Hotton. Deirdre Hotton founded, owns, and manages the Dee Hotton Stable. She has been involved in harness racing for over 25 years. Dee dreamed of training horses from a very young age after driving harness horses in Ohio matinee races while in her teens. After graduating from college she made that dream a reality by establishing the Dee Hotton Stable. She loves the sport of harness racing and wants to enable horse racing enthusiasts the chance to become a part of this great sport through horse ownership or affordable and economical racehorse partnerships. After getting up early in the morning for training duties or setting out for the races, Dee makes sure to update her website so her owners and those interested in hiring her to train their horses, can see what is taking place. They can see how each horse has been performing via videos of the races and updates. Dee explains that she has worked hard over her career and has learned what she feels is the best way to achieve good results through a variety of services for her owners. “I offer a full range of professional racehorse training services to horse owners,” say Dee. “This includes yearling inspection and consultation, yearling breaking, stakes horses, aged racehorse preparation, claiming racehorses, and horse conditioning. “Horses in my stable get individual attention,” Dee added, “As I am very much a ‘hands-on’ trainer. I keep my stable at a moderate size so that horses and their owners never become just another number in my barn. Each horse is given every opportunity to succeed with individual attention, good feed, and quality care.” Dee explained how she mixes up her training style. “My racehorse conditioning methods are a combination of old-school foundation miles and modern-day interval training, Dee explained, “It is my philosophy on race drivers to hire the best professional catch driver available at each track. However, I may drive a young inexperienced horse the first few times to see if any equipment adjustments need to be made before heading out for the race season.” Over the year’s Dee had done very well in developing her public stable. Her UDRS as a trainer (battling average like in baseball) is on her website but currently she is at a very impressive .382. Over the past five years she has been averaging between a low of .344 and a high in 2010 of .401. “I am really proud this year,” Dee said, “About the six yearlings I had at Pinehurst this winter. Every one of them has made it to the races!” There are no hidden costs in the Dee Hotton Stable as everything is right on her website to check out. From training costs at her training center in Ohio to winter training at Pinehurst Training Center in North Carolina, it is all spelled out. And Dee Hotton takes it one step further for new owners who do not want to jump in hook, line and sinker with their first horse. She has special partnerships that can offer someone the power to share the financial risks associated with racehorse ownership. By pooling your money with other partners you enhance your purchasing power and give yourself the capability of obtaining higher quality racing stock. You can participate as much, or as little, as you want to. The most impressive part is that Dee Hotton has taken the time to spell it all out on her website. Not many other stables have or do that and it is refreshing to see someone who has dedicated their life to harness racing and has made it so easy for someone new to get into the sport as much as they want. For more information just go to www.deehottonstable.com and check it all out. Dee has it all laid out in easy to read and find format plus her phone numbers are available if you want to call and chat with her about getting into the business. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Another one of Harnesslink's previews for the big day of harness racing at Melton on Sunday. First up this time it is the turn of the 4 year old mares. Breeders Crown 4 Year Old Mares Final One mare stands head and shoulders above the rest here and that of course is the outstanding racemare Frith. The winner of 28 races as well as 8 placings from just 37 starts, Frith has a major obstacle in her way to claim win number 29. Frith has drawn one on the second row and is going to need divine intervention at some point in the race if she is to add another trophy to the cabinet. The tactics here are all important but we feel Bruce Harpley may drop Frith back early to try to get away from the inside running line. If Frith can get off the inner in the first lap then she is still the horse to beat but the draw has definitely brought her right back to the field. Just as clearly second pick for us is the super consistent Im Smouldering who has only missed a placing four times in 42 starts. She has the master Gavin Lang in the bike and the draw of five is perfect for her. Im Smouldering will definitely work her way forward and has the all round game to win this race.  After those two mares it becomes a very even contest but we always like to stick with the proven class performers and that's what we have done here. Our Femme Fatale from barrier one is a major player but she will want to take a sit because if she leads she is a sitting duck for Frith. Who she hands up to is the big question but Arma Express looks the logical choice. The Western Australian Arma Express will definitely have a look for the lead from barrier three for her trainer /driver Donald Harper. Arma Express has only had two runs back from a long spell so should have derived further improvement from her gutsy run in the heat last Sunday. The other mare we like is Couageousnquick but her draw of six makes this a difficult ask for the talented mare. Chris Alford in the bike is a big plus and she is a major player here with the run to suit. SELECTIONS Even from the draw we are still drawn back to Frith. She is one hell of a racemare and with any kind of luck Frith will notch win number 29 on Sunday. The danger for us is undoubtedly Im Smouldering who looks back to her best after her tough run for second to Frith last Sunday in the heat. After that we think that Our Femme Fatale, Arma Express and Courageousnquick all have the talent to play a part in the finish. First four players should add The Baggy Green and Cenosilocophobia to the mix as cover. Breeders Crown 4 year Old Colts/Geldings Final The old saying that form is temporary and class is permanent is apt in the case of the outstanding four year old Bit Of A Legend. Sent to Perth in December last year for the Golden Nugget, the trip turned into a nightmare for  Bit Of A Legend and he returned to New Zealand with his tail between his legs. Nursed back to full fitness by Cran Dalgety, Bit Of A Legend had his first start back from the Perth disaster at Melton last Sunday in a Breeders Crown heat. Wide early and then parked there after, Bit Of A Legend just absolutely blew them away when Dexter Dunn asked him to run at the 400 meters mark. He should take a huge amount of improvement out of his first run for over nine months and even from six on the second row Bit Of A Legend is first pick for us.  The obvious danger is Chilli Palmer who has drawn at barrier five on the front line. He likes to launch off a horses back and is not renowned for doing it tough but he does have a lightning sprint if held up for that one run. Chilli Palmer will go back at the start and look for that slingshot run at them late in the piece. The Tasmanian Pachacuti has really been in the zone lately but faces his stiffest test from four on the second line. Still a major player and can rough it but the draw has hurt his winning prospects in our view.. The winner should come from those three runners we have previewed. The next two after the leading trio are Marty Monkhouser and Lettucefib who could both run in three with a run to suit. SELECTIONS  Bit Of A Legend is shooting for his third Breeders Crown title on Sunday and we think he will bag number three. A combination of a great horse, trainer and driver means Bit Of A Legend picks himself in our view. Chilli Palmer is a clear second pick as he has beaten Guaranteed and Smoken Up this season so he has all the ability in the world. The only negative is his racing style but as he has shown in the past he can overcome that. Pachacuti has won ten of his last eleven and winning can become a habit. His trainer Barrie Rattray is top class and Pachacuti will be primed to run the race of his life on Sunday. Marty Monkhouser and Lettucefib are the next two runners we like while first four players should include Flaming Flutter and Lochinver as cover. Harnesslink Media

Bugsy Malone took today's Prix d'Antibes (E52,000 purse, 2700 meters, seven starters) at Paris-Vincennes for Yohan Lebourgeois and owner/trainer Philippe Allaire in 1.16kr. The 3/5 favorite defeated Berry Felin (3m Nahar de Beval-Krisma des Bois) and Franck Ouvrie at 28/1 with Balthazar Maza (3m Prodigious-Paloma) with Mathieu Abrivard at the lines third for trainer Sebastian Guarato, off at 18/1 odds. The featured Gr. II Prix Pierre Gamare (E120,000 purse, 2700 meters monte, 10 starters) went to Bomba (3f Goetmals Wood-Passion d'Amour) with Mathieu Mottier up for trainer Philippe Allaire at 8.9/1 odds. She scored by six lengths in 1.15kr over 26/1 outside Blooma d'Heripre (3f Rolling d'Heripre-Quenta Por Favor) and David Thomain. 19/1 Bikini des Molands (3m Gai Brillant-Quiche des Molands) was third for trainer Anthony Dollion. Today's Quinte+ was at Vincennes and the Prix de Beaune (European, E60,000 purse, 2700 meters, 15 starters) went to Teatro (7m Ganymede-Josette) with Christian Bigeon up as driver/trainer/owner. The 5.6/1 odds winner recorded his eighth career victory in 38 starts for E241,300, scoring in 1.13.1kr. Tommerre Marjea (7g Jeanbat du Vivier-Jharia du Ham) was second for J-M Bazire with Conrads Fredrik (7g Credit Winner-Ahmeida) third for Dominik Locqueneux. Italy's Nefertite del Rio (7f Varenne-Zeudia) was fourth for Alexandre Abrivard. The exact order Q+ payoff was E3,450 for a E2 wager. The jackpot was E3.65 million. Italy's Painting Wise took the Prix du Perigord (E60,000 purse, 2700 meters, European eligibles with 14 starters) in 1.12.9kr. J-M Bazire teamed the winner for trainer Fabrice Souloy and owner Azienda Agricola Biasuzzi. He was off at 2.6/1 and defeated Virgious Maza (6g Prodigious-Pocket Edition) with trainer/driver Sebastian Ernault. Picone (6m Credit Winner-Fabiaz) was third for trainer/driver Santo Mollo and owner Ecurie Don Miguel. Thomas H. Hicks

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

Video of Mack Lobell & John Campbell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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When World Champion and Hambletonian winner Muscle Hill retired from racing at the end of the 2009 harness racing season, Southwind Farms  and Muscle Hill Syndicate Manager, Mike Klau, had a plan. That plan was to turn the champion racehorse into an International Stallion.  Shareholders in the Syndicate hail from six different countries in Europe and Frozen Semen was made available to both Europe and the Southern Hemisphere. Now, five years after implementation, that plan has come into fruition.  This weekend Muscle Hill progeny will compete in major events all over the world. Glenferrie Burn, a two year Muscle Hill filly, will race in the Australian Breeders Crown Final at Melton on Sunday, after winning her elimination.  Three year old colts Emmett Brown and Sloopy Joe race in the E3 colt final in Sweden on Saturday and Sparkling Kronos, a three year old filly competes in the E3 filly final on the same day. In North America, his numerous stakes winners are headed by Hambletonian winner Trixton and World Champion and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief.  He has sired a leading 14 three year olds with records of 1:55 or faster. Total earnings this year for his crop of two and three year olds have topped the $2 million mark. At the end of the recently concluded breeding season, Muscle Hill, who again bred a full book of 140 mares, and had 127 of those mares declared in foal. “He has always been a fertile horse and that has enabled us to freeze his semen and ship it around the world.” Said Klau. For the upcoming season (2015) his semen will again be available worldwide, with the Southern Hemisphere being handled by Stallions Australasia (Peter O’Rourke – David Shammall) and Europe being handled by Offspring AB (Anders Lindfors).  2014 saw the stallion moved to Marion Farms in New Hope, Pa. to take advantage of the rich Pennsylvania Sire Stakes program. Foals of 2015 will be eligible for that program. Booking Applications for the 2015 season will be available shortly on the Southwind Farms website www.southwindfarms.net  
Hanover, PA --- The Standardbred Horse Sales Company is proud to announce that our 76th annual Harrisburg Yearling Sale Preview is now posted on our website, www.theblackbook.com. Individual yearling pedigrees will soon follow, with yearling video links posted closer to the Sale. Yearling Sale dates are Monday (Nov. 3) through Thursday (Nov. 6), featuring 1,123 yearlings, 531 by Pennsylvania sires, 275 by Ontario sires, 230 by New York sires, 78 by New Jersey sires, five by Indiana sires, two by Ohio sires, and two by Delaware sires. First year sires Roll With Joe (37), Manofmanymissions (21), Big Jim (17), Broad Bahn (9), Up The Credit (5), Vintage Master (3), and Big Bad John (2) are well represented. Printed catalogs will be mailed Sept. 12. Standardbred will again offer catalogs formatted for the iPad through the Equineline.com Sales Catalog app. As always, Standardbred provides multiple “Search” functions and downloadable PDF packets on our website to help you find your champion. Our convenient “My Black Book” feature allows customers to store lists of yearling prospects with pedigrees, video links, and personal notes in a confidential format that is accessible from any Internet-capable device. From the Standardbred Horse Sales Company 
I had to wait until the very last race of Saturday night, the Gold Cup & Saucer, to give me my fourth straight winning weekend. The Bigtown Hero/Wazzup Wazzup exacta box saved it in what was a super dramatic race. There is not one race for more than $100,000 this weekend, but it isn’t always the purse that counts as there are some great races in store for fans at Mohawk with their eliminations for the Metro, Canadian Pacing Classic and She’s A Great Lady plus solid action Friday at Yonkers and Sunday at Harrah’s and Tioga. Good Luck! $44,000 Trot Open Yonkers Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – What a great race with world champion’s Bee A Magician and Arch Madness in the lineup. She may be the only mare in the field and shows just one win in seven starts this year, but Bee A Magician should be able to surprise this field having drawn the rail. This is just her third time ever on a half mile track but I see her wiring the field. Use Arch Madness and Somebody AS in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – He shows nothing but 1’s on his race program lines and Sweet Lou is no question the top pacer in the world this year. He is going for his ninth straight win and sixth straight mile in under 1:48. He is simply amazing for the Ron Burke Stable. Use Foiled Again and Sunshine Beach in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – As the lone return winners in this preliminary round, I think Shakai Hanover is also the one who can repeat. She has won two of her last three starts for Jamieson Stable and should be at her best again. Use Bedroomconfessions and Aria Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – After showing everyone he has the gate speed to overcome post eight and get a perfect trip to win off of last week, Sports Bettor should be able to do it again from post seven this week. He gets slim call in very wide open race. Use Go Daddy Go and Lone Survivor in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – When it is your home track it means a lot and that is why I am going with State Treasurer. He has seven wins this year and nearly everyone was either at Mohawk or Woodbine. He never got into the hunt last start in Dan Patch at Hoosier Park and should come back with a vengeance in here. Use Captaintreacherous and Ellis Park in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – When you are as well-bred as JK Shesalady is and are on a four-race unbeaten streak to start off your career, you can’t go against such success. As long as she does not get into any road trouble she should win once again. Use Cashaway and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – Here is another undefeated young filly who has a passion for racing on the front end and not getting caught from behind. Band Of Angels could be tested well in here but I think she will still emerge as the winner. Use Happy Becky and Dancin Caroll in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Not much to speak of in here EXCEPT for Artspeak. Unbeaten in four career starts this colt has been ranked with Yankee Bounty as the two best colts in the nation and rightly so. He has been hot racing on the front end but shows he can come from behind too. Use Pierce Hanover and Traceur Hanover in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace winners-over $25,000 Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – I really tried to pick against P H Supercam in here. I don’t think he will like being away from Yonkers (as he showed last week) and racing in the daylight too. Just have a feeling but then I could not really put my hand on anyone else in the field that could beat. Thus with the rail for the first time in months I guess P H Supercam is the best. Use Great Vintage and Adventure Bound in exotic plays. $10,000 Trot Kindergarten Series Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – What a great match up between Mission Brief and Allerage Star, two of the top young trotting fillies in racing. But I think that Mission Brief has too much front end speed to anyone to keep close enough to her the entire mile and she should win in here. Use Allerage Star and Josie’s Joy in exotic plays. 
The intermittent rain showers on Thursday afternoon, August 21 didn't deter Market Rally and Avalicious from their main objectives as each won their respective $60,200 divisions of 3-year-old trotting fillies in New York Sire Stakes at Monticello Raceway. Both fillies, from the powerful Ron Burke stable, were driven to victory by Jimmy Morrill, Jr.. The two trotting events were the last of the NYSS preliminary legs prior to the top point earners in the summer-long series convening at Yonkers Raceway on September 13 to compete in their $225,000 Division Final. With her victory in a time of 1:57.3 Market Rally finished with 325 points which will undoubtedly make her the favorite in her rich NYSS finale. Avalicious, on the other hand, was victorious in 1:57.4 and finished with 175 points as second best. There's no argument that Market Rally has been the best NYSS sophomore trotting filly this year and her 9-length victory over Gammy's Girl (Mark MacDonald) and Cutup Hanover (Jeff Gregory) only emphasized it. With her triumph on Thursday the daughter of Cash Hall-Supreme Dish has run her seasonal bankroll to over $262,000 on the strength of six wins and one second in nine starts. Sent off the1-9 favorite from the pole position Morrill hustled Market Rally to the lead as Gates Brunet and Driving Miss Crazy left strong from the six hole. The two fillies were wide open on the first turn but unfortunately for Driving Miss Crazy's connections she went off-stride and Market Rally was alone on the front-end when she tripped the first quarter timer in :28.2 Two lengths in front as she passed the half in :57 Morrill was looking to give his filly a breather. When she passed the third stanza in 1:27 Market Rally had a five length lead which she opened to nine at the wire. "We were getting out of there pretty quickly and I got my filly wound up, and because of that we got to the half faster than I wanted to, "Morrill related. But from there she was on cruise-control the rest of the way." Owned by the Burke Stable, Weaver-Buscemi, Our Cents Stable and the Panhellenic Stable, Market rally paid $2.30 for win. In the other NYSS split Morrill eased Avalicious away from the gate slowly and at the first quarter they were in sixth position, some nine lengths off the leader. Morrill bided his time in the early going and at the half he moved the filly out behind cover and it up the backside and into the final turn before he gave Avalicious her head. And when he did the daughter of RC Royalty-Say Your Prayers rallied to a three length victory, her fifth of the year. Asked why Avalious was four, or so, lengths off the gate at the start of the race Morrill explained; "I wanted to ease her away so she'd stay trotting. She gets a little anxious behind the gate but once she gets away (on the trot) she's usually steady the rest of the mile." Avalicious, owned by M.C. Crawford, A.C. Crawford and P.D. Crawford, was sent off as the 3-10 betting favorite and returned a $2.60 win mutuel. Three Excelsior Series trots bolstered the undercard with the locally owned Dreamsteeler the most impressive. (Local) owner Andy Herzog was on hand to watch his Cash Hall-Dream Street filly maul her competition with Jimmy Morrill, Jr. at the lines. It was Dreamsteeler's seventh win in eight seasonal starts after going 10 for 10 last year. Sent off five cents on a dollar, Dreamsteeler was victorious in a time of 2:01 and paid $2.10 for win. After the photo was taken in the winners circle Herzog was asked why Dreamsteeler doesn't race in the sire stakes. "I bought her in mid-June and she wasn't eligible to them (the NYSS), only to the Excelsior Series. But she's already won my money back and I got a pretty nice filly trotter to boot." Other Excelsior winners were Ski To The Max (Gates Brunet) in 2:02.1 and Slice Slice Baby (Charlei Norris) in 2:00.2. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
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