Christian Cullen

Christian Cullen's son shines in WA

Exciting Western Australian pacer Elegant Christian gave notice of bigger harness racing wins to come with his success at Gloucester Park tonight. Having his third run back from a spell for trainer Gary Hall, the four-year-old remains unbeaten this campaign as he works towards the local age-based features in November and December. “He has come back well,” Hall declared. “I’m really happy with his progress and still think there is a bit of improvement in him yet. “All going well he will be racing in the Golden Nugget and McInerney in a couple of months.” Driven by Hall’s reinsman-son Clint, Elegant Christian led throughout from barrier two to account for Bettor Off and Sign In. Rating 1:58.1 for the 2130 metres, the son of Christian Cullen covered the last half in 56.1 seconds. “Once he got to the front he was never going to be run down,” Hall said. “It was a nice easy win for him. “He’ll keep getting better as he goes along and should be able to make his way through the grades without too much fuss.” Since crossing the Tasman, Elegant Christian has registered nine wins from 11 starts, including the Western Gateway Pace and Caduceus Classic. PAUL COURTS

Maximan.png

Impressive first-up win

Rising harness racing star Maximan maintained his unbeaten Australian record with a ‘Smoken Up style' victory at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight. First-up for seven weeks, Maximan registered his third win for trainer Andy Gath, who is thrilled with the gelding’s performance. Driven by Gath’s reinswoman-wife, Kate, Maximan began brilliantly to lead from barrier six but was given no peace in front as in-form gelding, Exciteusinthecity, applied pressure from the ‘death seat’. Fending off the initial challenge turning for home, the son of Armbro Operative was passed by Cut For An Ace along the sprint lane during the latter stages before fighting back to score by a head. “That was a super run,” Gath said. “He is first-up from a spell and is in need of the hit out. “To be headed like he was and fight back the way he did is pretty impressive. “It was a Smoken Up type performance and if he can be a quarter as good as Smoken Up I’ll be rapt.” Covering the last half in 57 seconds, Maximan rated a slick 1:55.5 for the 2240 metres, taking his record to 12 wins and 12 placings from 34 starts. Citing next month’s Kilmore Cup as the six-year-old’s first major target, Gath believes Maximan can make his way to some of the major races during summer. “I will aim him at the Kilmore Cup via the Nyah Cup,” Gath said. “I’m not sure if he will have a run before then. “I’ll just wait and see how he pulls up.” PAUL COURTS

Todd Warren

Todd Warren gets 4000th driving victory

Veteran harness racing horseman Todd Warren joined another rank of elite reinsmen to reach the 4,000 mark in career driving victories on Thursday, September 18th at Maywood Park when the Beecher, IL resident guided the three-year-old pacing filly Stage Star to a decisive 5 ¼ length victory in Maywood Park's 10th race. The milestone victory was part of a big five win night for the 49-year-old veteran of the Illinois circuit.   Born in Mattoon, IL on New Year's Day, 1965 Warren was introduced to the sport at an early age by his father and embarked on his driving career on the county fair circuit in 1981.   Like a fine wine, Warren has been getting better with age, notching more than 200 driving victories in five of the past seven years in the bike. The career winner of $17.7 in purse earnings while in the bike has also been doing "double duty" as a trainer, posting an amazing U.T.R.S. of more than .300 in all but one year dating back to 2000 with 875 career training victories.   "It makes for some very long days like today (Sept.18)," said Warren. "I started training horses before 8 a.m. this morning, caught a quick break and some lunch before shipping to Maywood with my horses. Now after getting these horses put away and back home it will be at least 1 a.m. so it makes for a pretty quick turnaround. But I'm not complaining. If I don't have that kind of workload I get a little bored really."   When asked if he knew that he was getting close to reaching another milestone the superstious Warren was quick to "tune-out" to his impending mark.   "I had heard from a trainer or two that I was getting close to the mark," he said. "But after winning the first two on Thursday night and not hearing anything else it just sort of left my mind. The next thing I know I won with Stage Star and here comes everybody down to the winner's circle and the sign comes out. It was really a great feeling I have to say."   Tom Kelley

Whataworkout

Huge upset in Kindergarten Classic Series

LEXINGTON, KY-- A trio of divisions for round four of the Kindergarten Classic Series were held at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18, with 24 freshmen colts entered on the late stages of the weekday harness racing card. First-time starter Whataworkout defeated 1/5 favorite Airman Batten in a 1:56.4 gate-to-wire effort.   Keystone Bodacious made a bid for the front, as well as Suit And Tie to the inside and Whataworkout taking the outer route towards the top. Keystone Bodacious broke as they began to turn, taking Suit And Tie out of contention, as well as impeding Airman Batten, causing him to run for a moment. Whataworkout trotted to the quarter in :30.1.   Strolling to a 1:00 (:29.4) half-mile, Whataworkout soon had Airman Batten challenging for command. True Blue Stride sat In The Pocket third and Whom Shall I Fear tracked the favorite's move from fourth. Stalled first over, Airman Batten remained 1 ½ lengths off leader Whataworkout through three-quarters in 1:28.4 (:28.4).   Whataworkout began to extend his stride into the final eighth. Airman Batten backed into the pocket, admitting defeat to 48-1 Whataworkout in 1:56.4. Whom Shall I Fear finished third and True Blue Stride, galloping into the stretch, recovered his stride to finish fourth.   A $99.60 winner, Whataworkout is owned by Lindy Farms, trained by Frank Antonacci and was driven by Domenico Cecere. Sired by Muscle Hill, out of the Chocolatier mare Southwind Sofia, the 1:56.4 effort is a lifetime and season best.   French Laundry, sent off the 1-2 favorite, won by lengths in 1:54.4.   Special Action left from the center, with Image Of Luck sliding into the pocket, and French Laundry opted for the overland route as they rolled into the turn. Special Action had a slight advantage over French Laundry through a :29.3 quarter.   Clearing the lead in the backstretch, French Laundry coasted his way to the half, with Special Action now second, Image Of Luck third and P Mac Attack trotting fourth, nearly 5 lengths off the lead. French Laundry traveled past the half in :57.2 (:27.4) and three-quarters in 1:26.1 (:28.4).   P Mac Attack took to the outside after French Laundry, while Special Action and Image Of Luck continued to chase. Under minimal urging, French Laundry drew clear of his foes and won by 5 lengths in 1:54.4 (:28.3) over Special Action, Lucky Ten K and P Mac Attack.   Owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, and trained and driven by Jimmy Takter, the son of Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi-Conway Hall paid $3.00 to win.   Wicker Hanover, victorious in the third leg of the Kindergarten, returned to Lexington and claimed victory in the final division of the Kindergarten in 1:57.   Bighandsbiggloves got the lead, while Divisionist sat the pocket, Dapper Don trotted third and Boots N Chains stalked from fourth. The front quartet remained in that line-up through fractions of :29.1 and :59.2 (:30.1).   Boots N Chains pulled first over and engaged with Bighandsbiggloves for command. Wicker Hanover traveled second over while Divisionist sat the pocket.   After three-quarters in 1:29.3 (:30.1), Boots N Chains had a slight lead. Wicker Hanover fanned three wide, while Divisionist attempted to split horses. Wicker Hanover, in the final sixteenth, swept by Boots N Chains and won by a half-length in 1:57 (:27.2) over Boots N Chains, Divisionist and Bighandsbiggloves.   Owned by Christer Haggstrom Racing Stable, the son of Explosive Matter-Won An Done-Conway Hall is trained by Noel Daley and was driven by Kyle Bolon. He returned $6.40 to win.   French Laundry remains on top of the leader with 162 points. Wicker Hanover moved into second with 100 points and Airman Batten is third with 75 points.   Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  

LEXINGTON, KY-- Freshmen filly trotters gathered for four divisions of the Kindergarten Classic Series at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18. The fourth preliminary of the harness racing series attracted 38 contestants for purses totaling to $40,000. Allerage Star, despite galloping at the start, recovered nearly 13 lengths to weave past rivals and get a nose in front of Saturday Mornings and Cocoacabana in 1:56.2.   Cocoacabana was the pacesetter with Sweet Thing and Fly Angel Fly sitting behind. She set fractions of :29.1 and :57.4 (:28.3). Challenged around the far turn by Sweet Thing, Cocoacabana remained in control as the backfield approached. Fanning three wide came Fly Angel Fly, with Lady Winona four wide and Saturday Mornings five wide.   After a 1:27.3 (:29.4) third-quarter, Saturday Mornings rallied down the center of the course, while Allerage Star strolled onto the scene from in-between horses. Cocoacabana battled Allerage Star and Saturday Mornings up to the finish, where Allerage Star got a nose in front, going a mile in 1:56.2 (:28.4).   Returning $3.20 to win, the daughter of Angus Hall-Starry Eyed-Muscles Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, A. Geiger and D. Stolz, trained by Jessica Okusko and Corey Callahan was aboard.   Lilu Hanover rebounded after failing as the favorite in last week's prelim with a 1:55.3 victory over 24-1 Annaliina.   Scott Zeron piloted Lilu Hanover to the front, while Aarena Hanover gunned for the pocket from post 10. Lilu Hanover set a opening quarter of :27.4. She remained uncontested through a :57.3 (:29.4) half.   Rules Of The Road was flushed first over entering the far turn, with Annaliina drafting 2 ¾ lengths off the lead. Rules Of The Road remained at Lilu Hanover's throat through a 1:27 (:28.2) third-quarter.   Kicking to a 2-length lead into the stretch, Lilu Hanover kept to her task as Annaliina gradually progressed towards the leader. Starting her bid a few yards too late, Lilu Hanover had a neck advantage at the wire over Annaliina, with Waiting Room and Lady Clarabella rounding out the top four respectively.   Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover-Donerail paid $5.00 to win.   Sarcy, upon brushing to the top after the first quarter, led the field to the finish in 1:55.3.   Bright Baby Blues swept across the track to claim command around the first turn, while Josie's Joy sat the pocket and Sarcy trotted third. After a :28.2 quarter, Jimmy Takter pulled Sarcy two wide to claim command before three-eighths. She was uncontested at the half, timed in :57.1 (:28.4).   Sarcy remained unchallenged around the far turn. Bright Baby Blues, stalking from the pocket, tipped first over at three-quarters, with Josie's Joy and Armatrading tracking her move. Timed in 1:26.1 (:29), Sarcy remained in control. Despite bids from Bright Baby Blues, Josie's Joy, Armatrading and Fashion Lover in the late stages of the mile, Sarcy held command and sailed to a 1:55.3 (:29.2) victory; Fashion Lover finished second, Armatrading was third and Josie's Joy was fourth. Sarcy, sent off the second choice, is owned by Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding and trained by Jimmy Takter. The Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire-Valley Victory daughter paid $7.20 to win. Bee The Queen, entering off a 30-1 upset in the Kindergarten last week, was victorious at odds of 1/5 in 1:56.1. Catherine's Melody showed early speed, while Bee The Queen floated towards the front, and Bright Eyes sat behind in third. The opening quarter was timed in :29.3. Bee The Queen made her move before the half, trying to sweep around Catherine's Melody as Bright Eyes, Flirting Filly and Shafina Hanover began their bids. Bee The Queen had a head in front through a :58.3 (:29) half. Although Flirting Filly broke traveling first over, Shafina Hanover made her way to Bee The Queen's wheel through a 1:26.1 (:27.3) third-quarter. Corey Callahan pulled the plugs on Bee The Queen and she kicked 3 lengths clear of Shafina Hanover, Bright Eyes and Catherine's Melody, and eventually winning by 3 ½ lengths in 1:56.1 (:30). A daughter of Donato Hanover-Bee Line-Self Possessed, Bee The Queen is owned by Alfred Ross and is trained by George Ducharme. She returned $2.60 to win. Bee The Queen extended her lead on the Kindergarten leaderboard with 158 points, with Allerage Star second with 125 points and Lady Clarabella in third with 111 points. Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

A lot of harness racing traditionalists will have been smiling with the announcement earlier this week that the Inter Dominion to be held in Perth in late 2015 will be staged under the old style format of three heats and a final over a two week period. The series will run over three heats in the first week  and then a gap of a week to the final which is  scheluded for December 11th 2015 for the huge stake of A$1,300,000. It is an optimum time of year for harness racing in Perth with just about all their major races for the better class horses held in the December/January window. The change in timing of the series fits in with the other changes to major races in Australia such as the Miracle Mile which has been moved to February. The historic dates have been discarded as the major Australian players have restructured the timing of the major races as we knew them to better suit their needs in 2015. You can't fault the bodies involved trying to find date structures that work better for the industry but there are some potential pitfalls. One thing they havn't taken into account  in all the changes is the dates structure of harness racing in New Zealand. New Zealands premier race every year is the New Zealand Cup meeting in November which is staged  on the second Tuesday of November every year. There is a whole week of elite level thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing based around that week and it is the biggest annual carnival in New Zealand by far. There is absolutely no chance of the date being changed so a clash with the Inter Dominion seems inevitable. The $600,000 difference in prize money would seem to be a pretty significant carrot  for Kiwis on the surface but as any Kiwi trainer who has taken horses to Perth knows its not quite as simple as that. Perth in December can be extremely hot and then some and a lot of Kiwis arriving in Perth take time to acclimatise to the local conditions. Some horses just don't cop it and it can affect a horses performance for the rest of that campaign  With the gap between New Zealand Cup week and the first round of heats being so small, the potential for problems is obvious. Last year Fly Like An Eagle had several runs leading into the New Zealand Cup week, two hard runs during Cup week and then tried to line up straight afterwards in the preludes to the Miracle Mile. The runs so close together flattened Fly Like An Eagle and he was very disappointing the rest of the season. And that is without considering the affect of the heat. Gold Ace went frrom Auckland to Perth and the heat didn't affect him one bit and he won the Golden Nugget. A Bit Of A Legend went for the Golden Nugget as well and raced poorly the whole time he was there due in the words of his caretaker trainer Brent Mangos,to the heat. So some Kiwi horses can handle the heat and some can't.  It is going to be hard enough for a lot of the Kiwis with the heat but the close proximity of the series to New Zealand Cup week makes it just about mission impossible. The West Australians are to be conglatulated for returning the Inter Dominion to its original format and for the huge stake money to be offered. It would be a shame if due to the timing issues involved it becomes light on New Zealand repersentation. Harnesslink Media

The leading New Zealand jockey David Walker was today found guilty on the charges brought by the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) They claimed that Mr Walker placed bets on another horse to beat the horse he was riding in a head to head contest and then rode to ensure his horse was beaten. The charges were heard by the Judicial Control Authority (JCA), an independent statutory body established under the Racing Act. The JCA panel hearing the case were, Mr M McKechnie (Chairman) and Mr N McCutcheon. The JCA’s in its verdict disqualified Mr Walker for 7 years, and also charged him costs of  $ 3,000 ($1,500 to the JCA and $1,500 to the RIU). RIU General Manager Mike Godber said the RIU was very pleased with the result. “Mr Walker’s actions threatened the very fabric of NZ racing and the strong penalty applied by the JCA  panel sends a signal that the industry holds the integrity of racing at the highest priority.” “The message is clear, serious breaches such as this case will have severe consequences for those  involved.” “The Walker case serves to illustrate the effectiveness of the RIU’s systems of surveillance of racing and  betting and its investigation processes. These processes and the penalty imposed will act as a deterrent to anyone contemplating similar action Racing Inegrity Unit

With smart and calculated drives by Yannick Gingras, Limelight Beach won the prestigious Little Brown Jug at Delaware, Ohio Thursday in straight heats. In order to win the Little Brown Jug a horse must win two heats on one day to be declared the winner. Both Let’s Drink On It and Limelight Beach won their elimination divisions and earned posts two and one respectively in the final and they both made the most of their post positions. Gingras left quickly with Limelight Beach with Let’s Drink On It (Tyler Smith) dropping right in behind him in second place. They went to the half mile marker in an easy :57 and then the action started to begin. Somewhere In L A and driver Brett Miller came first-over and gave outside cover to Beat The Drum but it was McWicked and driver David Miller in sixth place on the outside who had the crowd on their feet as they tried to loop the field three-wide at the three-quarters in 1:23. Then on the final turn for home, Gingras looked behind him, saw Let’s Drink On It right on his helmet and backed his horse up so that when they started down the stretch, Tyler Smith would have no room to get loose with Let’s Drink on it and the tactic worked perfectly. Once starting down the stretch, Gingras urged his horse home and they won by one and one-half lengths in 1:50.4. Let’s Drink On It could find no room and was a strong second with Somewhere In L A third. Oddly, today was the first time this year after 12 starts that Limelight Beach had won a race and then to cap it off winning the Little Brown Jug in straight heats. Sired by Somebeachsomewhere, Limelight Beach is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the M1 Stable and Wingfield Brothers. He paid $4.00 to win. They had purchased Limelight Beach earlier this season and prior owners, Charles Wingfield and his brother, stayed on as co-owners. “We just had too much fun with his last year,” said Charles Wingfield, “And we stayed through this race right here. It’s amazing. I can’t believe it.” “I had two great horses to drive in the Jug today,” Yannick Gingras said. “People asked me who I liked better and I said Lyonssomewhere over Limelight Beach, but this horse came up huge today. He went two big heats today.” “We kinda got lucky in the first heat,” Gingras said, “but in the second heat he was tremendous, he was scary. I was looking at the program and I know there was not a lot of speed in the race and my horse the people had to respect his speed. Tyler’s (Smith) horse got out of the gate better than I thought. I kept my horse moving along. I did not want to go slow and he put in an awesome performance. Let’s Drink On It takes first heat of Jug Harness racing driver and 21-year-old local native, Tyler Smith, took Let’s Drink On It three-wide in the backstretch and was able to grind it out to win the $103,600 first heat of the Little Brown Jug. The race began with Lyonssomewhere (Yannick Gingras) shooting right to the lead from the start of the race with At Press Time (Matt Kakaley) grabbing the pocket seat. They raced that way past the opening quarter in :26.4. Then going to the half mile marker in an easy :54.4, Beat The Drum (Ron Pierce) came first-over to challenge and following his cover on the outside was Let’s Drink On It and Tyler Smith. Once they hit the backstretch, Smith moved three-wide with Let’s Drink On It and after the three-quarters in 1:23, had cleared past Beat The Drum and was coming after pacesetter Lyonssomewhere. Then half way around the final turn, Let’s Drink On It had collared Lyonssomewhere when Gingras’s horse went off-stride and had to be pulled off to the inside as Let’s Drink On It shied to the outside and Matt Kakaley with At Press Time just avoided Lyonssomewhere. Let’s Drink On It was able to regroup right away and Tyler Smith urged him on home to win by one and one-half lengths over At Press Time with Beat The Drum third and also making the final was On Golden Ponder (John Campbell) in fourth place. Let’s Drink On It covered the one mile race in 1:51 and at odds of 3-1 paid $8.80 to win. “He was good today,” Smith said, this horse ain’t got a real lot of gate speed. The way it lined up I figured I would be third or fourth and have to come first-over. But luckily Ron (Pierce) came out first and we were able to get a little cover until the backside. I was able to crossover by the last turn, but Yannick’s (Gringras) horse, I don’t know if I could have beaten him but we were gonna take a good crack at him. “I am happy to win,” Smith said, “and to be in the big race. It would mean the world to me to win this race. I would give back all the races I have won just to win the Jug.” Sired by Art Official, Let’s Drink On It is trained by Joe Seekman and is owned by Tina Seekman, L. Bond, H. Hewitt and V. Boido, Jr. Limelight Beach takes second Jug elimination Limelight Beach picked the perfect spot to win his first race of the 2014 season in 13 tries, capturing the $103,600 second heat of the Little Brown Jug. Given a masterful drive by Yannick Gingras, Limelight Beach was able to sit and draft in second place behind pacesetter and 3/5 favorite McWicked and driver David Miller. They went in Indian-style to the opening quarter in :27 and then easy half mile in :55.2 before the action began to heat up. Somewhere In L A and driver Brett Miller came first-over with He’s Watching (Tim Tetrick) following the outside flow to the three-quarters in 1:22.4. Then Somewhere In L A and McWicked were ready to lock horses down the stretch but it was Gingras with Limelight Beach, pulling off the rail, sweeping three-wide and looping both horse to win by a half length in 1:51. Somewhere In L A was second with McWicked third and Sometimes Said (John Campbell) fourth and making it to the Jug second heat. Trained by Ron Burke, Limelight Beach is sired by Somebeachsomewhere and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the M1 Stable and Wingfield Brothers. He paid $12.00 to win. “Everyone is supporting trainer Brian Brown this week,” trainer Ron Burke said, “and we are just reaping the rewards from his work as we got this colt from him. Horse was good today. We knew he was better than the other colt we have in. Having the other horse (At Press Time) in the final too is great. Yannick (Gingras) thinks we can get to the lead easy. We have won two Jugette’s and hopefully we can finally win the Jug.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick faced four other world champions and went right to the lead and never looked back en route to a 1:54.1 triumph in the $121,000 final of the Ms Versatility for older trotting mares. Tetrick made the best use of the rail starting point on a half mile track and shot out to the early lead with Maven (Yannick Gingras) getting the two-hole trip to the opening quarter mile in :27.3. Then to the half mile marker in an easy :57 saw Classic Martine face her first challenge as Ma Chere Hall (David Miller) started up first-over and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) was able to grab the second-over live cover. They raced down the backstretch and after the three-quarters in 1:25.1, Sears sent Bee A Magician three-wide and make it a three horse fight to the finish down the stretch. Classic Martine would have no part of that as she dug in and held on to win by a half length in 1:54.1. A late closing Charmed Life (Brett Miller) was second with Maven third. It was the ninth win this year for Classic Martine. The four-year-old mare by Classic Photo is trained by Chris Oakes and is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, C. Zurich and Edwin Gold. She paid $5.60 to win. “She raced really well,” said trainer Chris Oaks, “She is a very good mare and has a great season. Last week at Chester she had the 8-hole blues, but she bounced back quick. Everyone know my mare can leave like a runner. She real good on her feet and that it would take someone special to beat her out of the gate.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

FOLLOWING on from last week’s column launch, Harnesslink presents another ‘Flashback Friday’, written by multiple award-winning journalist PAUL COURTS. If you have any past champions or magical moments you’d like to relive, contact Paul who will be glad to hear from you…enjoy! Memories of one of the most gifted performers to pull a sulky will come to the fore again at Tabcorp Park Melton tonight with the running of the Maori’s Idol Free-For-All. Named in honour of the 1970s superstar, the feature has assembled a solid field headed by American-bred trotter My High Expectations. Racing in sensation form to premier trainer David Aiken, My High Expectations was a first-up winner at the track a fortnight ago in an event named after another former topliner, True Roman. Successful at three of his last four starts, My High Expectations should have no trouble adding to his tally of 31 wins. As stylish and talented as My High Expectations is, even Aiken has to admit the son of Ken Warkentin has a long way to go before he can be compared to the great Maori’s Idol. By Ike Frost from sensational matron Maori Miss, Maori’s Idol was bred, owned and trained by Ric Healy. Making his debut against older horses at Globe Derby in October 1975, the three-year-old lost a conservative 250 metres at the start before racing five-wide during the final stages to win by 15 metres. The youngster ran the last half in a remarkable 59 seconds despite covering more ground than ‘early settlers.’ Maori’s Idol’s exhibition was so impressive it attracted an unheralded $100,000 offer from international interests, which was quickly turned down by Healy. Triumphant at his only other start that season, Maori’s Idol returned at four to win 11 of his 13 starts, including his last four outings. The boom trotter sealed his greatness the following term by winning his next 20 starts to equal Lucky Creed’s national winning sequence record of 24. Included in those victories is his 1:59.3 effort in the Kaiser Stuhl Summer Wine Free-For-All at Moonee Valley to become the first trotter to break two minutes. “Breaking two minutes was his greatest moment,” regular driver, Bryan Healy declared. “It was his first time from the mobile, he missed the start and lost about a second, got a slight check, losing another second, and still broke two minutes after starting out in gate six.” After dominating the season, Maori’s Idol was expected to score a hollow victory in the 1978 Inter Dominion at the Valley, but suffered a shock loss when finishing third to Derby Royale in the Final. Sent for a spell, Maori’s Idol returned later in the year for an ambitious campaign against the nation’s best Grand Circuit pacers in the Sir Clive Uhr Championship – known these days as the Queensland Pacing Championship – at Albion Park. The stallion made a clean sweep of the heats, defeating the likes of Paleface Adios, Roma Hanover and Sammy Karamea. Maori’s Idol’s time in the opening round was 1.2 seconds quicker than fellow winner, Rip Van Winkle. In the second round, the squaregaiter’s rate was again the fastest of the night, an amazing nine-and-a-half seconds quicker than Koala King in the other heat. Finding the lead in the Final, Maori’s Idol was given little peace during the middle stages, but still led the field into the straight before being overpowered Rip Van Winkle to finish second. “His efforts during the Clive Uhr heats were unbelievable,” Healy said. “It was disappointing he didn’t win the Final, but it was no disgrace.” Maori’s Idol then created history when he was declared the 1978 Australian Horse of the Year – the first trotter to win the coveted award. He remains the only trotter on the prestigious award’s honour role! Sent for a spell after his Queensland campaign, Maori’s Idol missed a placing for the first time upon his return when 11th in the Kilmore Cup. After failing to finish in a Free-For-All at the Valley on December 9, 1979, Maori’s Idol was retired. Disheartened the champion wasn’t receiving the patronage he deserved at stud, a problem still facing colonial stallions, Healy decided to put Maori’s Idol back in work. Despite a 32-month absence, Maori’s Idol made light of his 40-metre handicap to score an effortless first-up win at the Valley in a class record 2:07.7. Much to Healy’s dismay, Maori’s Idol became sore in his fetlock - the injury which led to his original retirement - with the horseman sending the champion back to stud. The majestic looking star was retired with 40 wins and four placings from 46 starts for earnings of $98,820. Eight of his victories were against the pacers. Receiving greater respect at stud the second time, Maori’s Idol carried his prowess from the racetrack to the breeding barn to be Australia’s leading trotting sire seven times. Maori’s Idol’s progeny have won numerous features, with his 183 winners earning more than $3.9million, making the ‘Marnoo Marvel’ the most successful trotting sire from this side of the equator. His leading performers include Alabamas Idol, Kimbo, Diggers Idol and Lauries Legacy, Kwik Kiwi, Mighty Maori, Dashing Chief, Sparkling Eyes, Kwik Kiss and Rainbows Idol. While the Maori Dynasty has produced several outstanding trotters, including Inter Dominion winner, Sumthingaboutmaori, Healy said Maori’s Idol will always be at the top of the mantle. “There will never be another one like him,” Healy said. “Even Sumthingaboutmaori isn’t half the horse he was.” In 2000 Maori’s Idol was fittingly voted the Trotter of the Century by a panel of experts. Sadly in October 2006, Maori’s Idol had to be put down at a ripe age of 34 after struggling with illness.

Eight of the top four-year-old harness racing pacers in North America will do battle this Sunday in the $200,000 revival of the Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R and their connections learned today what post-positions they have. The Prix D’Ete is the richest race in North America this year for four-year-old pacers and many of the nation’s top harness racing drivers will be coming to Quebec province to compete on the race card. “What a great field that has entered our revival of the Prix D’Ete,” said Vincent Trudel, the general manager of the Hippodrome 3R. “We could not have asked for a more competitive field. I am sure that Duc D’Orleans track record of 1:52.4 will be in jeopardy this Sunday and that our racing fans and horsemen are going to see a superb world-class race.” Headlining the field of eight starters will be Apprentice Hanover from the Ben Wallace Stable. The son of Somebeachsomewhere enters the race off of a lifetime mark performance last week at Mohawk Raceway in 1:49.2. Jody Jamieson will do the driving and they drew post 5. World renowned trainer Jimmy Takter has entered his top pacer, Sunfire Blue Chip, who is on a four-race winning streak including a 1:49.2 triumph in the $50,000 Open at Pocono Downs in his last start. Yannick Gingras returns to his home track to drive Sunfire Blue Chip. They did not fare well in the draw and will start from the outside in post 8. The local favorite and all-age track record holder at the Hippodrome 3R is Duc D’Orleans, who starts from post 4. Back in 2013 he became the only horse ever to break the 1:53 mark at 3R, going in 1:52.4. He will be driven by native son Daniel Dube. Captive Audience leaves from post 7  for driver James MacDonald. The son of Art Major was an early season sensation and has recently being going against the best pacers at Mohawk. Lucan Hanover hails from the talented Casie Coleman Stable and starts from post 3. This son of Western Ideal has but one win this year but has been super game all season. Last week he was second by a nose on Yonkers half mile oval in 1:58 going extra distance at 1 1/16th mile and the prior week he won at Yonkers in 1:51.1. He will be driven by David Miller. Mach It So starts from post 6 for trainer P J Fraley and ships to 3R having won three of his last four starts, the fastest a 1:48.2 lifetime mark at Pocono Downs. The Mac Three gelding will be handled by Scott Zeron. Sunshine Beach drew the rail and is the highest money earner in the field at $913,702, so a victory would in the Prix D’Ete would make him a millionaire. He is locally co-owned by the Hudson Standardbred Stable of Montreal and has a record this year of 1:49 at Mohawk Raceway. He will be driven by Doug McNair. Si Semalu comes into the race after two sharp efforts at Mohawk Raceway, finishing second last week and the prior week posting his fifth win on the season for trainer Isaac Waxman in 1:52. He drew well with post two and will be driven by local star Denis St Pierre. Here is the field in post-position order with driver and trainer: Sunshine Beach (Doug McNair) Mark Steacy Si Semalu (Denis St Pierre) Isaac Waxman Lucan Hanover (David Miller) Casie Coleman Duc D’Orleans (Daniel Dube) Jacques Dupont Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) Ben Wallace Mach It So (Scott Zeron) P J Fraley Captive Audience (James MacDonald) Corey Johnson Sunfire Blue Chip (Yannick Gingras) Jimmy Takter There will be no consolation race. Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into the Prix D’Ete race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matts Scooter and Beach Towel. The Prix D’Ete weekend gets underway Saturday evening with a special live race program beginning at 7:30 pm. Sunday’s Prix D’Ete race card first race post time is 1:00 pm. For additional information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Last weeks harness racing selections were a case of so near yet so far. Maurice McKendry, Terry Chmiel, Ricky May, Gerald O'Reilly and Nathan Williamson all nabbed winners while six others were placed, some at good odds. This week we have four meetings around the country and our selections are spread over those meetings and Maurice McKendry is shooting for three in a row at Auckland. Addington - Thursday Night Ricky May - Thinks Idolise is ready to win in race 4 Gerald O'Reilly - Likes King Of Strathfield to upset Stent in race 6 Sam Ottley - Rates Lovemetwotimes a big chance from barrier one in race 7 Terry Chmiel - Gives Betabcool a big tick in race 8    Invercargill - Friday Afternoon Clark Barron - Reckons Run Fatboy Run is overdue a winning turn in race 5 Brendon McLellan - Thinks Vera's Delight is due a change of luck in race 6 Nathan Williamson - Thinks Costa Del Magnifico will make a winning debut in race 8 Shane Walkinshaw - Very keen on first starter Jetsdream to win race 8 as well   Alexandra Park - Friday Night  Tony Herlihy - Likes Red Sky Night even from the second row in race 2 Steven Reid - Really rates Sirius Star to win race 3 Todd Macfarlane - Thinks Concorde can go one better than his debut second, also in race 3 Maurice McKendry - Rates The Royal Charger a big chance with the aid of the mobile in race 4 Josh Dickie - Very very bullish about the chances of Voluntad in race 5 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Rates Irish Whisper a big chance to win fresh up in race 6 Scott Phelan - Thinks Le Lua Invasion is overdue a win in race 9   Methven - Sunday Afternoon John Dunn - Thinks Highview Freddy can use barrier one to win race 1 Blair Orange - Rates McArdle Star from the on fire Ken Barron barn as also hard to beat in race 1 Matt Williamson - Reckons Davey's Gift is well overdue and should win race 2 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Rates the locally owned and trained Golden Desire a big chance in race 4 Brad Williamson - Thinks his fathers trained horse Kylie Castleton can win race 5   Harnesslink Media  

Exciting pacer Beautide has capped off a stellar 2013/14 season by being named Australian Harness Horse of the Year. The gelding was bestowed the top crown by a panel of more than 60 judges, with Harness Racing Australia making the announcement just minutes ago. Trained and driven by James Rattray, Beautide dominated New South Wales-based features, with 12 wins and a second from 14 starts for the term. Beautide’s victories include the Inter Dominion, Miracle, Len Smith and Newcastle Miles for a bankroll of $1,119,844. The son of Bettors Delight also finished fourth behind For A Reason in the Victoria Cup – his only interstate run for the year. Beautide was also a natural choice for Aged Horse/Gelding of the Year. New South Wales performers dominated the various awards, with Frith, Bling It On and Keystone Del taking out their categories. AUSTRALIAN PACER OF THE YEAR BEAUTIDE (brg 2007 by Bettors Delight USA from Gorse Bush) Performances: 14 starts 12 wins 1 placing $1,119,844 1:50.2ms AGED PACING HORSE/GELDING OF THE YEAR BEAUTIDE (brg 2007 by Bettors Delight USA from Gorse Bush) Performances: 14 starts 12 wins 1 placing $1,119,844 1:50.2ms AGED PACING MARE OF THE YEAR FRITH (bm 2009 by Four Starzzz Shark CA from Jackie Kelly) Performances: 10 starts 7 wins 3 placings $175,912 1:53ms 3YO PACING COLT/GELDING OF THE YEAR BLING IT ON (bc 2010 by American Ideal USA from Alldatglittersisgold NZ) Performances: 23 starts 17 starts 4 placings $351,099 1:51.7ms 3YO PACING FILLY OF THE YEAR BARYNYA (bf 2010 by Blissfull Hall USA from Lombo Anastasia) Performances: 15 starts 10 wins 4 placings $210,282 1:55.7ms 2YO PACING COLT/GELDING OF THE YEAR FOLLOW THE STARS (bc 2011 by Art Major USA from Smyrna Duruisseau USA) Aust Performances: 6 starts 6 wins $365,633 1:54.1ms 2YO PACING FILLY OF THE YEAR KATY PERRY NZ (brf 2011 by Bettors Delight USA from Karen Donna (NZ)) Aust Performances: 4 starts 4 wins $230,475 1:57.8ms AUSTRALIAN TROTTER OF THE YEAR KEYSTONE DEL NZ (bg 2007 by Dr Ronerail USA from Flipside (NZ)) Performances: 17 starts 11 wins 4 placings $437,689 TR1:53.9ms AGED TROTTING HORSE/GELDING OF THE YEAR KEYSTONE DEL NZ (bg 2007 by Dr Ronerail USA from Flipside (NZ)) Performances: 17 starts 11 wins 4 placings $437,689 TR1:53.9ms AGED TROTTING MARE OF THE YEAR SPIDERGIRL (bm 2009 by Yankee Spider USA from Lunar Landing) Performances: 12 starts 8 wins 3 placings $153,512 TR1:56.8ms 3YO TROTTING COLT/GELDING OF THE YEAR OUR TWENTYTEN NZ (bc 2010 by Muscles Yankee (US) from Regal Volo USA) Aust Performances: 6 starts 4 wins 1 placing $107,500 TR2:01.1ms 3YO TROTTING FILLY OF THE YEAR CLAUDYS PRINCESS (bkf 2010 by Bacardi Lindy USA from All Finesse) Performances: 13 starts 10 wins 3 placings $146,946 TR1:59.3ms 2YO TROTTING COLT/GELDING OF THE YEAR ELJAYKAY PHOENIX (bg 2011 Sundon USA from Maple Eve Phoenix) Performances: 10 starts 8 wins 2 placings $169,622 TR2:02.6ms 2YO TROTTING FILLY OF THE YEAR MY ARYA NZ (bf 2011 by Angus Hall (US) from Belle Galleon (NZ) Aust Performances: 3 starts 2 wins 1 placing $65,288 TR2:02.7ms - PAUL COURTS

ANDERSON, Ind.-September 17, 2014 - Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter, will make his Hoosier Park Racing & Casino debut as he heads a powerful field of ten in the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic on Saturday, September 20. Offering arguably the best 14-race card of the 2014 live racing season to-date, Hoosier Park will play host to a stakes-filled card that boasts lofty purses as Grand Circuit racing action returns to the seventh-eighths mile oval. As Hoosier Park's signature trotting event, The Centaur Trotting Classic will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m. The 8-year-old Swedish trotter Sebastian K has taken the sport of harness racing by storm since arriving in North America earlier this year, setting records nearly everywhere he goes. Boasting a career bankroll of over $2.9 million, Sebastian K has won 34 of 72 races in his career and has only been defeated one time in eight starts since racing in North America. Sebastian K's stunning 1:49 victory on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the $100,000 Sun Invitational was the fastest mile clocking ever recorded by a trotter. In addition to trotting the fastest mile in history, he is also the first trotter to ever win four times in 1:50.3 or faster. The No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America last appeared on August 29 at Vernon Downs when he won the Crawford Farms Open Trot in 1:53. Sebastian K is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt. Svanstedt and Sebastian K will start from post six in the field of ten and have been enlisted as the 3-5 morning line favorite. Joining the stellar cast of entrants in the Centaur Trotting Classic is Hambletonian winner, Market Share who will start from the coveted rail position with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. Market Share, who has won 24 of 51 races and $3.4 million in his career, was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. The triple millionaire is trained by Linda Toscano and has been enlisted as the morning line second choice. The Centaur Trotting Classic is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday at Hoosier Park, which also includes the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for two-year-old trotting and pacing fillies, the $150,000 Elevation Pace for two-year-old pacing colts and the $50,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Invitational Pace for three-year-old pacing colts. HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will provide exclusive coverage for the 14-race card. Racing fans can also catch exclusive interviews on the HRTV programming from drivers and trainers racing at Hoosier Park. Following is the Centaur Trotting Classic field in post order with trainers: 1. Market Share, Linda Toscano  2. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder 3. Red Hot Herbie, Byron Hooley 4. Creatine, Bob Stewart 5. Master of Law, Jimmy Takter  6.Sebastian K, Ake Svenstadt  7. Uncle Peter, Jimmy Takter 8. Fusion Man, Jeff Smith 9. Arch Angel, Ron Burke 10. Appomattox, Liisa Vatanen For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park    

Harness racing trainer Casie Coleman is a new person in many ways. One exception is Casie is still training top flight winners and going for her unprecedented third win in a row at the 69th Jug. Casie lost 74 pounds and she admits there's still more to lose. Funny, normally the word 'lose' is rarely associated with Casie but in this scenario, losing means she's winning. What caused Casie to do a 180 degree change? "I was running three stables; one in Ontario, one in Florida and one in New Jersey. There were a lot of owners and staff." Casie says. Even though Casie was stacking up the win column, so was the pressure and ultimately the stress. "I used to be tired all the time" admits Casie. "I was known to be a b**** and very hard to get along with. I admit I was always real tense and stressed with the amount of big races I had on the go. There was staff, owners and a lot to handle and I would let stuff pile up on me." Casie acknowledges she wasn't so pleasant to work and given that she's a perfectionist, if the smallest thing wasn't right, it could get rough. "I would snap", says Casie. "I was always on edge." After cutting down to 33 horses, where at one time Casie had as many as 120 horses under her care and having fewer owners to handle, she is happier. Much happier! "I got to the point where I didn't even enjoy training the horses anymore. I even thought about getting out a few times." Casie continues, "I had some great horses and some people would die to have the stable I had, yet I wanted to get out and not (train) anymore." "The bigger my stable got, the bigger I got!" laughs Casie. Now, daily gym visits is what Casie uses to let out her frustration. Instead of lashing out, she burns calories. If it's been a rough day, this means Casie will endure a harder workout, benefiting her health. "I much more professional now, calmer in how I handle situations" Casie says. "I am a very happy person now and my owners have said I am a whole lot easier to deal with now." Casie states, "Even my staff has said that. I can't remember the last time I got mad at someone, whereas before it was happening many times throughout the day." In the past Casie was not a morning person and she admits she had a difficult time waking up. Since changing her life around Casie is up bright and early and ready to go. Now Casie jogs all her horses, no longer is she stuck in the office at a desk solely returning calls and entering horses. "Before I was tired all the time, now I have so much energy, it's unbelievable." Casie continues, "In the past I would be eating steak and pasta after the races, I was too dumb to know that was bad for me. I wasn't eating breakfast and I would have my first meal around 2pm." "I hired a personal trainer who taught me how to eat properly and how to count calories." Casie openly admits that stress caused her to gain a lot of weight. "Now I'm a whole lot happier doing my job." People walk past Casie now not realizing who she is. "Some people have a hard time believing it's me." Casie says with a laugh. "I was 205 pounds last year.... Now I'm at the Jug looking at pictures from last year and I'm like 'holy crap, I can't believe that's me. How did I do that to myself?' I was a size 16 before I started working out and now I am a size 2. It's been a big change that's for sure." Casie will keep working with her personal trainer even though she's in better shape, there's more to lose for her to win. She'll continue to jog all her horses and train opposed to being a manager. For the Jug, Casie has McWicked primed to go from the 1 spot and Casie praises one of her employees, Jeffrey Kemp for doing a standout job with McWicked. "He's been awesome" says Casie about Jeffrey's work with McWicked. Throughout the years and all the changes, Casie is grateful to her parents Phil and Linda Coleman as well as her assistant trainers (Andrew Harris, Mike Stewart and Anthony Beaton) who helped run her barns while she was away and for their hard work in all the success. By: Roderick Balgobin, for Harnesslink.com          

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Veteran harness racing horseman Todd Warren joined another rank of elite reinsmen to reach the 4,000 mark in career driving victories on Thursday, September 18th at Maywood Park when the Beecher, IL resident guided the three-year-old pacing filly Stage Star to a decisive 5 ¼ length victory in Maywood Park's 10th race. The milestone victory was part of a big five win night for the 49-year-old veteran of the Illinois circuit.   Born in Mattoon, IL on New Year's Day, 1965 Warren was introduced to the sport at an early age by his father and embarked on his driving career on the county fair circuit in 1981.   Like a fine wine, Warren has been getting better with age, notching more than 200 driving victories in five of the past seven years in the bike. The career winner of $17.7 in purse earnings while in the bike has also been doing "double duty" as a trainer, posting an amazing U.T.R.S. of more than .300 in all but one year dating back to 2000 with 875 career training victories.   "It makes for some very long days like today (Sept.18)," said Warren. "I started training horses before 8 a.m. this morning, caught a quick break and some lunch before shipping to Maywood with my horses. Now after getting these horses put away and back home it will be at least 1 a.m. so it makes for a pretty quick turnaround. But I'm not complaining. If I don't have that kind of workload I get a little bored really."   When asked if he knew that he was getting close to reaching another milestone the superstious Warren was quick to "tune-out" to his impending mark.   "I had heard from a trainer or two that I was getting close to the mark," he said. "But after winning the first two on Thursday night and not hearing anything else it just sort of left my mind. The next thing I know I won with Stage Star and here comes everybody down to the winner's circle and the sign comes out. It was really a great feeling I have to say."   Tom Kelley
LEXINGTON, KY-- A trio of divisions for round four of the Kindergarten Classic Series were held at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18, with 24 freshmen colts entered on the late stages of the weekday harness racing card. First-time starter Whataworkout defeated 1/5 favorite Airman Batten in a 1:56.4 gate-to-wire effort.   Keystone Bodacious made a bid for the front, as well as Suit And Tie to the inside and Whataworkout taking the outer route towards the top. Keystone Bodacious broke as they began to turn, taking Suit And Tie out of contention, as well as impeding Airman Batten, causing him to run for a moment. Whataworkout trotted to the quarter in :30.1.   Strolling to a 1:00 (:29.4) half-mile, Whataworkout soon had Airman Batten challenging for command. True Blue Stride sat In The Pocket third and Whom Shall I Fear tracked the favorite's move from fourth. Stalled first over, Airman Batten remained 1 ½ lengths off leader Whataworkout through three-quarters in 1:28.4 (:28.4).   Whataworkout began to extend his stride into the final eighth. Airman Batten backed into the pocket, admitting defeat to 48-1 Whataworkout in 1:56.4. Whom Shall I Fear finished third and True Blue Stride, galloping into the stretch, recovered his stride to finish fourth.   A $99.60 winner, Whataworkout is owned by Lindy Farms, trained by Frank Antonacci and was driven by Domenico Cecere. Sired by Muscle Hill, out of the Chocolatier mare Southwind Sofia, the 1:56.4 effort is a lifetime and season best.   French Laundry, sent off the 1-2 favorite, won by lengths in 1:54.4.   Special Action left from the center, with Image Of Luck sliding into the pocket, and French Laundry opted for the overland route as they rolled into the turn. Special Action had a slight advantage over French Laundry through a :29.3 quarter.   Clearing the lead in the backstretch, French Laundry coasted his way to the half, with Special Action now second, Image Of Luck third and P Mac Attack trotting fourth, nearly 5 lengths off the lead. French Laundry traveled past the half in :57.2 (:27.4) and three-quarters in 1:26.1 (:28.4).   P Mac Attack took to the outside after French Laundry, while Special Action and Image Of Luck continued to chase. Under minimal urging, French Laundry drew clear of his foes and won by 5 lengths in 1:54.4 (:28.3) over Special Action, Lucky Ten K and P Mac Attack.   Owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld, and trained and driven by Jimmy Takter, the son of Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi-Conway Hall paid $3.00 to win.   Wicker Hanover, victorious in the third leg of the Kindergarten, returned to Lexington and claimed victory in the final division of the Kindergarten in 1:57.   Bighandsbiggloves got the lead, while Divisionist sat the pocket, Dapper Don trotted third and Boots N Chains stalked from fourth. The front quartet remained in that line-up through fractions of :29.1 and :59.2 (:30.1).   Boots N Chains pulled first over and engaged with Bighandsbiggloves for command. Wicker Hanover traveled second over while Divisionist sat the pocket.   After three-quarters in 1:29.3 (:30.1), Boots N Chains had a slight lead. Wicker Hanover fanned three wide, while Divisionist attempted to split horses. Wicker Hanover, in the final sixteenth, swept by Boots N Chains and won by a half-length in 1:57 (:27.2) over Boots N Chains, Divisionist and Bighandsbiggloves.   Owned by Christer Haggstrom Racing Stable, the son of Explosive Matter-Won An Done-Conway Hall is trained by Noel Daley and was driven by Kyle Bolon. He returned $6.40 to win.   French Laundry remains on top of the leader with 162 points. Wicker Hanover moved into second with 100 points and Airman Batten is third with 75 points.   Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile  
LEXINGTON, KY-- Freshmen filly trotters gathered for four divisions of the Kindergarten Classic Series at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 18. The fourth preliminary of the harness racing series attracted 38 contestants for purses totaling to $40,000. Allerage Star, despite galloping at the start, recovered nearly 13 lengths to weave past rivals and get a nose in front of Saturday Mornings and Cocoacabana in 1:56.2.   Cocoacabana was the pacesetter with Sweet Thing and Fly Angel Fly sitting behind. She set fractions of :29.1 and :57.4 (:28.3). Challenged around the far turn by Sweet Thing, Cocoacabana remained in control as the backfield approached. Fanning three wide came Fly Angel Fly, with Lady Winona four wide and Saturday Mornings five wide.   After a 1:27.3 (:29.4) third-quarter, Saturday Mornings rallied down the center of the course, while Allerage Star strolled onto the scene from in-between horses. Cocoacabana battled Allerage Star and Saturday Mornings up to the finish, where Allerage Star got a nose in front, going a mile in 1:56.2 (:28.4).   Returning $3.20 to win, the daughter of Angus Hall-Starry Eyed-Muscles Yankee is owned by Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, A. Geiger and D. Stolz, trained by Jessica Okusko and Corey Callahan was aboard.   Lilu Hanover rebounded after failing as the favorite in last week's prelim with a 1:55.3 victory over 24-1 Annaliina.   Scott Zeron piloted Lilu Hanover to the front, while Aarena Hanover gunned for the pocket from post 10. Lilu Hanover set a opening quarter of :27.4. She remained uncontested through a :57.3 (:29.4) half.   Rules Of The Road was flushed first over entering the far turn, with Annaliina drafting 2 ¾ lengths off the lead. Rules Of The Road remained at Lilu Hanover's throat through a 1:27 (:28.2) third-quarter.   Kicking to a 2-length lead into the stretch, Lilu Hanover kept to her task as Annaliina gradually progressed towards the leader. Starting her bid a few yards too late, Lilu Hanover had a neck advantage at the wire over Annaliina, with Waiting Room and Lady Clarabella rounding out the top four respectively.   Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover-Donerail paid $5.00 to win.   Sarcy, upon brushing to the top after the first quarter, led the field to the finish in 1:55.3.   Bright Baby Blues swept across the track to claim command around the first turn, while Josie's Joy sat the pocket and Sarcy trotted third. After a :28.2 quarter, Jimmy Takter pulled Sarcy two wide to claim command before three-eighths. She was uncontested at the half, timed in :57.1 (:28.4).   Sarcy remained unchallenged around the far turn. Bright Baby Blues, stalking from the pocket, tipped first over at three-quarters, with Josie's Joy and Armatrading tracking her move. Timed in 1:26.1 (:29), Sarcy remained in control. Despite bids from Bright Baby Blues, Josie's Joy, Armatrading and Fashion Lover in the late stages of the mile, Sarcy held command and sailed to a 1:55.3 (:29.2) victory; Fashion Lover finished second, Armatrading was third and Josie's Joy was fourth. Sarcy, sent off the second choice, is owned by Christina Takter and John and Jim Fielding and trained by Jimmy Takter. The Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire-Valley Victory daughter paid $7.20 to win. Bee The Queen, entering off a 30-1 upset in the Kindergarten last week, was victorious at odds of 1/5 in 1:56.1. Catherine's Melody showed early speed, while Bee The Queen floated towards the front, and Bright Eyes sat behind in third. The opening quarter was timed in :29.3. Bee The Queen made her move before the half, trying to sweep around Catherine's Melody as Bright Eyes, Flirting Filly and Shafina Hanover began their bids. Bee The Queen had a head in front through a :58.3 (:29) half. Although Flirting Filly broke traveling first over, Shafina Hanover made her way to Bee The Queen's wheel through a 1:26.1 (:27.3) third-quarter. Corey Callahan pulled the plugs on Bee The Queen and she kicked 3 lengths clear of Shafina Hanover, Bright Eyes and Catherine's Melody, and eventually winning by 3 ½ lengths in 1:56.1 (:30). A daughter of Donato Hanover-Bee Line-Self Possessed, Bee The Queen is owned by Alfred Ross and is trained by George Ducharme. She returned $2.60 to win. Bee The Queen extended her lead on the Kindergarten leaderboard with 158 points, with Allerage Star second with 125 points and Lady Clarabella in third with 111 points. Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Thursday, September 25, with the Grand Circuit meeting, commencing with the $300,000 Bluegrass for two-year-old filly trotters. Declaration time is 9:30 A.M. on Monday, September 22. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile
Luca Derrico's Holy Halibut picked up his third straight win in the featured harness racing event at Harrah's Philadelphia, a winner's over $25,000 lifetime trot. Starting from post two, Holy Halibut (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) took back off of the speed displayed by Ron Burke trainee Whata Donato (Andrew McCarthy). Just past the opening quarter (27.2) driver Geo. Napolitano Jr. brushed to the lead with the favorite, and went on to rate the second quarter in 29.2. After surviving a first-over challenge from Crosbys Clam Bake (George Brennan) the leader kicked clear to win by three lengths, stopping the clock in 1:53.1. Whata Donato finished second, while Opening Night (Eric Carlson) closed mildly for third. The winner returned $4.20 to win, keying a $30.40 exacta, and a $83.60 trifecta. Holy Halibut is also trained by owner Luca Derrico, and was one of five driving wins for Geo. Napolitano Jr. Michael Bozich
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