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Bets of the week ringaround - 23rd October 2014

Last week we got a good old fashioned kick up the butt with just three of our tipsters selecting a winner and only six overall were in the money. Blair Orange, Terry Chmiel and Nathan Williamson furthered their good record as selectors whilst there were plenty of hard luck stories from others all over the country. They start with a clean slate this week and have come up with plenty of value for readers with plenty of runners whose form is not the best but who our selectors give a real chance to. Manawatu - Thursday night Scott Phelan - Even though he has drawn the second row thinks Art Magic should win race 3   Auckland - Friday night Todd Mitchell - Thought Elliesjet even from barrier 12 would be hard to beat in race1 Steven Reid - Very bullish about Unforgiving from barrier one in race 4 Steve Richardson (TAB) - Likes The Orange Agent to upset Unforgiving in race 4 John Curtin (Harnesslink) - Thinks Boizel even off 40 metres can win race 5 Tony Herlihy - Rates Downunder Stride from barrier one as hard to beat in race 6 Sean McCaffrey - Rates Le Lua Invasion a good chance against the fillies and mares in race 7 Maurice McKendry - Confident that Hughie Green will atone for last week and win race 8 Zac Butcher - Likes Saffron Castleton to turn her form around in race 9   Addington - Friday night Blair Orange - Rates Quaint Glen a big chance even from barrier 12 in race 2 Tim Williams - Confident that Adore Me's little brother Have Faith In Me can win race 6 John Dunn - Feedback from stable suggests Light The Fuse will win race 7 if driver at his best Brad Williamson - Thinks The Silver Fox just needs a change of luck to win race 8 Sam Ottley - Quite keen on Bird Of Paradise to turn her form around in race 10     Manawatu - Sunday afternoon Todd Macfarlane - Rates Hudy Haxwell a royal show on the second day at Manawatu Peter Scaife - Gives Johnny Vegas a big chance on the second day at Manawatu   Tuapeka - Sunday afternoon Dexter Dunn - Reckons Margarita can make it four wins from her last five in race 6 Matthew Williamson - Thinks Alley Way can go one better than last week and win race 7 Nathan Williamson - Likes stablerunner Onedin Mach to make it four in a row in race 8 Craig Thornley - Thought Drover's Eyre would be tough to roll in race 11   Ashburton - Monday afternoon Gerard O'Reilly - Confident that Never Fear can turn her form around in race 1 Jim Curtin - Thinks Star Of Dionysis is overdue and can win race 2 Ricky May - Keen on Brilliant Strike who has a decent draw for once to win race 4 Terry Chmiel -Thought That Guy Finn even in that super hot field can win race 6   Harnesslink Media

Harness Racing

Embryo transplants are just wrong! Insider Access

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

Artspeak, harness racing

What is wrong with Artspeak? Alagna says nothing!

Over the past few weeks one of harness racing’s top young performers, Artspeak, has seemed to have fallen apart to a degree. The two-year-old son of Western Ideal had been enjoying a perfect season, was unbeaten in seven starts and everyone in the industry was talking about him becoming the second “Captaintreacherous” for trainer Tony Alagna. Then came the second week in Lexington. Artspeak made his big move in the backstretch, cleared to the lead after the half mile marker and as they started down the stretch he did something he never did before. He made a break. He went off-stride for driver Scott Zeron, was able to regroup but it was too late as In The Arsenal won the race and Cartoon Daddy was second and Artspeak had to settle for third place. OK, Artspeak is not a machine, he is flesh and blood and he is still a somewhat green young horse that can have a “bad day” so you don’t look back and move forward to the next race. Remember this is the colt that romped in the Metro Final. That next race was the following week, the eliminations at Woodbine Racecourse for the prestigious Governors Cup. Drawing the outside post eight, Zeron gets away in fourth place with Artspeak, can’t seem to follow any cover, then gets rough gaited and makes a break before the three-quarter pole. But once again he regroups for Zeron and finishes third to make this Saturday’s $565,000 final. But what is going on with Artspeak? Why is he breaking? What happened to this unbeaten colt that was all the talk of harness racing? Since Artspeak isn’t speaking to anyone about what happened we went to the next best source, trainer Tony Alagna. “The day he raced at Lexington,” Alagna said, “We chalked that up to the way the track was that day. A few horses made breaks that normally don’t make breaks. We took him home and he was fine. Trained great and then we race him again and he breaks again. “We were really taken by surprise when he broke again,” Alagna said. “I was just happy that he was able to come back and finish third and make the final. We are not really sure why he did it again. I came up early to Canada and trained him today and all systems are good for the weekend.” Artspeak drew post six in the 7th race Governors Cup final. He will be facing nine rivals, most of whom he had handily beaten in the past. “He is still green in many ways,” Alagna explained. “Even when we baby raced him he showed some tendencies to want to make a break on the final turn, but once he started racing that was a thing of the past. He has matured over the summer and he was a good this morning as he has been all season and we are going into the race this weekend in top form. “When you look at his lines,” Alagna said,” in both races where he made the breaks, he still was able to come back and pace his last quarters in :27 and change to finish third. Horses usually don’t come back from breaks and do that. Even with his bobble last week he still paced as fast as the other elimination winner.” Provided that Tony Alagna is correct and Artspeak is back to form, then the rest of the field had better watch out. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Nuncio, harness racing

Nuncio looks to add Yonkers Trot to his resume

A half-length loss in the Hambletonian Stakes prevents Nuncio from a chance at history, but the 3-year-old male trotter can add to his credentials with a win in Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot at Yonkers Raceway. The Yonkers Trot is the third jewel in harness racing's Trotting Triple Crown. Nuncio finished second to stablemate Trixton in the first leg, the Hambletonian, and defeated stablemate Father Patrick by 1-1/4 lengths in the second leg, the Kentucky Futurity. Nuncio, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by John Campbell, will start the eight-horse Yonkers Trot from post No. 2. The colt has won nine of 14 races this year, including his Yonkers Trot elimination last week, and earned $1.04 million for owner Stefan Melander's Stall TZ Inc. The most recent horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown was Glidemaster in 2006. The last horse to capture two jewels and finish second in the remaining leg was Mack Lobell in 1987. Takter has won the Yonkers Trot three times; Campbell has won twice. "John was very pleased with him (last week)," Takter said about Nuncio, who brings a three-race win streak to Yonkers. "He was very strong in the stretch. He's in great form. The horse is sharp." Nuncio has never finished worse than second in any of his 24 career starts, posting 14 victories while earning $1.50 million. Eight of Nuncio's 10 lifetime second-place finishes have come behind Father Patrick, who leads all harness racing horses in purses this season with $1.38 million. Takter did not enter Father Patrick in the Yonkers Trot. "That's very difficult, especially racing in all the major stakes," Takter said, referring to Nuncio finishing first or second in all his starts. "He's got a fantastic resume. He's a really hard worker. "Father Patrick, he's (Wayne) Gretzky or Michael Jordan. There's no effort. Nuncio really has to work at it to be what he is. The other one, he's just got it. But Nuncio has got a hell of an attitude; a great attitude." New York Sire Stakes champion Gural Hanover, who won the other Yonkers Trot elimination, starts from post No. 1 with Jim Morrill Jr. driving for trainer Ron Burke. Saturday's card at Yonkers also includes the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers and the $250,000 International Trot Preview Invitational, along with the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old female pacers and $124,590 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old female trotters. The Messenger is the third leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Takter's Lyonssomewhere won the first jewel, the Cane Pace, and starts the Messenger from post No. 3. Limelight Beach, who won the second leg of the Crown, the Little Brown Jug, did not enter the Messenger. Lyonssomewhere went off stride while leading his elimination in the Little Brown Jug and failed to advance to the second heat. "He could have won the Jug if he didn't do whatever he did in the last turn," Takter said. "It was like the biggest shock of the year. If he won his elimination, he would have had a hell of a shot at it. It's the small details. You've got to click. That's why it's tough to win it." Luck Be Withyou, who won the Messenger elimination last week, starts from post five with Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer Chris Oakes. The field also includes multiple-stakes-winners McWicked and All Bets Off. The last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003. Sebastian K, history's fastest trotter with a mark of 1:49, headlines the International Trot Preview, which also features European star Commander Crowe and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who is the only female trotter in the eight-horse event. Commander Crowe is making his first start in North America since the 2012 Breeders Crown. He will stay in the U.S. to compete in this year's Breeders Crown in November at the Meadowlands. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

On Halloween this year while children and the “young at heart” will be out trick and treating in the neighborhood, an unsung hero in the sport of harness racing will be celebrating his 100th birthday. Unknown to many of the younger generation in our industry, Aime Choquette, of Sherbrooke, Quebec, has been a “behind the scenes” great in harness racing and on October 31, Aime will be celebrating his 100th birthday. Born in 1914 in Sherbrooke, Aime returned to his home town four years ago and lives a quiet life in an assisted living center. He is close to his sister, age 94, and has breakfast with her every week. “I don’t get around as much as I use to,” Aime says, “I have to use a walker now but that has only been this past year. But other than that I think I am doing pretty well for almost 100 years old. I smile every day thinking how fortunate I am to have lived this long. I never thought growing up that I would live to see my 100th birthday.” A confirmed bachelor, Choquette, who did not get into the harness racing industry until he was age 38, had spent the next 52 years devoted to the sport. Starting out as a trainer of show jumping horses in Quebec, Canada, it was in 1952 that Choquette first switched over to become a caretaker in the Delvin Miller Stable, a relationship that would last for more than 30 years and see many world and Grand Circuit champion trotters and pacers come from the Miller Stable. “At the time I was maybe one of the best show jumpers in all of Canada,” Aime explained. “One day at a big event in Trois-Rivieres in 1951 at the Warwick Horse Show, I did a jump that no one had ever attempted before. I jumped the great horse Pete Hackley, over four jumps that were set up next to each other. “Delvin Miller happen to be in the area at that time and heard about the jump I had made,” Aime said, “and he was introduced to me and said he was interested in having me work for his stable and learn about harness racing. At the time the show horse business was going downhill and harness racing was moving uphill, so I took up his offer.” Promoted to second trainer in 1959, Choquette would travel throughout North America on the grand circuit with Delvin Miller for most of his life, prepping yearlings at Miller’s famous Meadow Lands Farm in Pennsylvania and wintering at Pompano Park in Florida. One of Choquette’s quotes that has stood the test of time include: “…we educate them, we never break them…” In referring to the early training of young horses. During Choquette’s long career he has shared his horsemanship, wisdom and friendship with many of today’s racing industry leaders, who were grooms under Choquette’s tutelage. They include the late Andy Grant, former president of the Hambletonian Society, and the late Castleton Farms president, John Cashman, Tom Charters, current president of the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown, Jerry Monahan, Red Mile GM, former USTA Registrar Bob Leuhrman, Jim Moran of Vernon Downs, horsemen Walter Bonafice, Don McKirgan, Lenford “Bucky” Waugh, Bob Yohn, Soren Landin, Tomas Nilsson, Fred Kristofiak, David Seitz and many others. Some would say that Choquette could be a tough taskmaster, but tempered that with his natural talent for teaching that was often reinforced with the reminder that…“You young fellas are here to learn.” And the horses that Choquette worked with reads like a “Who’s Who” of harness racing greats including Countess Adios, Dancer Hanover, O’Brien Hanover, Speed In Action, Tarport Hap, Meadow Bright, Songflori, Arndon and Delmonica Hanover, just to name a few. And Amie also traveled around the world with Delvin Miller, racing their great stable and winning nearly every major stakes race in harness racing. Amie alone took Delmonica Hanover to France and prepped her for her victory in the prestigious Prix d’Amerique. “I saw those hills at the Vincennes racetrack,” Aime recalled, “and realized that she (Delmonica) would have to race up and down them and never could miss a step so I would train her in short trips every day, up and down until she knew it made no difference and she would trot up and down at full speed with ease. When she beat the boys it was a great day and such a historic event in harness racing.” Even at age 90, trainers would still call upon Aime to come to Pompano Park and the local training centers to watch their horses train a mile and ask him for his opinion on what they were doing right and wrong. They knew that even if Aime could not sit in a sulky anymore, that his eyesight and knowledge were still so keen. In his later years Aime wanted to help those in the business that were less fortunate them himself and with the Florida Chapter of the United States Harness Writers Association, he would funnel money to their sunshine fund. The Chapter then renamed it the Amie Choquette Sunshine Fund and he has donated thousands of dollars that have been given to horsemen in need. This reporter has been a friend of Amie’s for many years and had the opportunity to visit him in Sherbrooke just one month ago. We had breakfast together with racing photographer Ann MacNeill and fellow journalist Melissa Keith and, of course, Aime was full of himself getting to go out with two young women. Aime is still very spry and his memory sharp as a tack. He took out his scrape book to show the ladies photographs from his early years in both show horse and harness racing. He has a great collection of memorabilia dating back older than he is. And he was so pleased to have company who traveled so far just to visit him. And when we left he say goodbye in what was a trademark response that he and Delvin Miller would say to everyone that came to the stable, “We’re glad you got to see us!” Everyone is being encourage to send Amie a birthday card congratulating him on his milestone birthday. His mailing address is Aime Choquette, 2835 Du Manoir, Apt. 220, Sherbrooke, QC Canada J1L 2E6. We know he would love to hear from his many friends he has made over the last, let’s say, 100 years! By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

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

The following letter was sent to the membership of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York by its president, Joe Faraldo. The Standardbred Owners Association of New York and Yonkers Raceway have spent a great deal of time, effort and resources in securing new markets to simulcast races from Yonkers. It started with a relationship with Australian harness racing, which has now grown to a market that wagers more than $30 million a year on races from Yonkers. The next new market is Europe. For the last year, no kidding, we have been working on getting races from Yonkers simulcast to the PMU, the French pari-mutuel wagering association that takes bets from much of Europe. Those efforts are coming to fruition with the start of Sunday simulcasting on November 9 and continuing every Sunday through the end of the Yonkers meet December 14. It’s always challenging to enter a new market and this European market is extra special. The PMU hosts the second largest wagering pools in the world. And Yonkers will be the first track, harness or thoroughbred, which will be simulcast there from the United States on a weekly basis. Here are some of the things Yonkers & the SOA of NY have teamed together on to educate bettors overseas and to help make this venture a success: Developed web site in French www.yonkers-france to promote Yonkers and have an easy way to give out racing information to bettors overseas. Created social media pages (facebook, twitter, pinterest) in French for fans to keep up with American racing. Started and funded in cooperation with Yonkers an ad campaign in the daily French racing form, The Paris Turf, and also on the French racing television channel in an effort to insure that we properly promote Yonkers’ signal. Engaged domestic ADWs to offer promotions for members to wager on Yonkers on Sundays. Some ADWs will provide multiple reward benefits for wagering on this special Sunday card. The Yonkers signal will also be distributed to Switzerland, Belgium, Spanish Basque community, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Holland, Estonia and Malta The French PMU marketing branch is offering $5,000 Euros (approx. $6,500) on the first two Sundays to the French bettors that wager on Yonkers. Engaged an expert as an overseas liaison to help us make decisions and coordinate our efforts to put our best foot forward.  We believe this will open the door to more of this simulcasting at more reasonable times on a different day of the week – that would be more convenient to the horsmen . Obtained permission to have advanced wagering on Sunday card from the NYS Gaming Commission. As part of this effort the International Trot will return in 2015 to Yonkers Raceway and its Preview will be raced October 25th, 2015 on a blockbuster card including the Yonkers Trot, The Messenger Stakes, the Lady Maud and the Hudson Filly Trot. The real payoff to the global expansion is commingling because it presents the opportunity for much bigger wagering pools which would be very attractive to our players currently based here in the US. Basically, we have busted our butt to for a long time and with a lot of days, weeks and months of extraordinary cooperation with Yonkers and the NYS Gaming Commission. The Commission has been encouraging us to move forward to promote our sport and has been extremely sensitive to the sacrifices and unique needs of the French initiative. There is no doubt as to its untapped potential.  We realize that this initial Pilot Program will mean sacrifices for everyone and so far everyone has gone out on a limb to make this work, however but this initial sacrifice will lead to the start of a global exposure for Yonkers and our industry. It will insure to a large extent, more than anything else, a future for our game. We are excited about the Pilot Program’s potential expansion which will not be as onerous on all of our resources as this startup is. We are pleased about the participation and cooperation from the NYS Gaming Commission and Yonkers and truly believe that Tim Rooney, Sr. aptly said of these six weeks of the Program, “we have but one chance to get this right, we can’t fail”. The SOA and Yonkers will see to it that those horsemen participating in these French simulcasts will be  rewarded. We know the sacrifices the SOA and Yonkers have made; the numerous meetings, the planning, the expense and we sincerely hope that all horsemen join hands in the effort to insure the vitality of our business. Programs like this are essential for our future. A future which as we have seen can be altered overnight. 

This Week: Messenger Stakes, Yonkers Trot, International Trot Preview, Lady Maud and Hudson Filly Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Fall Four Stakes, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Dayton Pacing Derby and Dayton Trotting Derby, Hollywood Dayton Raceway, Dayton, Ohio; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and John Simpson Stakes, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 24) at Hollywood Dayton Raceway with the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby for older trotters and the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby for older pacers. Also on Friday, Hoosier Park will offer Circle City races for 3-year-old trotters and pacers, There will be three divisions in the $90,000 3-year-old colt pace, three divisions in the $82,200 3-year-old filly trot, two divisions in the $74,300 3-year-old colt trot and two divisions in the $71,000 3-year-old filly pace. On Saturday (Oct. 25), Hoosier will race Madison County events for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Each of the four divisions carries an estimated purse of $75,000. Rounding out the busy Friday of Grand Circuit racing, Vernon Downs will contest the John Simpson Stakes for freshman pacers and trotters. There will be three divisions in the $31,005 2-year-old colt trot, two divisions in the $26,816 2-year-old filly trot and single divisions in the $26,503 2-year-old colt pace and $25,616 2-year-old filly pace. Yonkers Raceway will offer five Grand Circuit stakes on Saturday night led by two Triple Crown events, the $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-old trotters and the $500,000 Messenger for 3-year-old pacers. Also on tap will be the $250,000 International Trot Preview for older trotters, the $150,854 Lady Maud for 3-year-old pacing fillies and the $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot for 3-year-old trotting fillies. Woodbine will offer the Fall Four Stakes on Saturday featuring the C$565,000 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old colt pacers, the C$521,000 Valley Victory for 2-year-old colt trotters, the C$464,000 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, and the C$424,000 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Woodbine entries can be seen at this link. Last time: The Windy City Pace at Maywood Park was the featured event this past weekend on the extensive Grand Circuit schedule. Big Boy Dreams and Tim Tetrick won the Windy City Pace. Big Boy Dreams won the $180,000 Windy City Pace on Oct. 17 in wire-to-wire fashion for driver Tim Tetrick in 1:51. The Ron Burke trainee and New York Sire Stakes competitor notched his fourth win of the year in 10 starts. Big Boy Dreams took the field to a brutal :25.4 first quarter and a :54.1 half, with Let's Drink On It challenging the leader going to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. But Big Boy Dreams just continued to draw away in the stretch to win by 2-1/2 lengths. He now has $168,495 in seasonal earnings for owner Dominic Rosato. It was "Elimination Saturday," on Oct. 18, with Yonkers Raceway hosting elims for three stakes events. Fifteen 3-year-old colts and geldings turned into eight for Yonkers Trot No. 60, as standouts Nuncio (John Campbell) and Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) were comfy winners in the pair of $40,000 eliminations. Nuncio, in play early from post position No. 5, waited his turn before finally making the lead. He parked Skates N Plates, then strode home by 3-1/2 lengths through fractions of :28.4, :58, 1:26.4 and 1:56.2. Don Dorado was second, with Journey and Expressive Action third and fourth, respectively. Gural Hanover, New York Sire Stakes champion and the lone $30,000 supplemental entrant into this season's Trot, won the draw in the second elim. He retook from a breaking-soon-after Flyhawk El Durado before finishing his four turns though panels of :28.4, 58.1, 1:27.2 and 1:56.3, a length faster than Resolve. Third went to King City, with Datsyuk getting the final place at the table. The $40,000 elim for the 59th Messenger -- nine sophomore colts/geldings to end up with eight -- was won by a pocket-sitting Luck Be Withyou (Tim Tetrick). From post No. 2, he whipped a cone-skimming Forty Five Red by a neck in 1:53 with McWicked a belated third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,890; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,002; 3. David Miller - 869.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 625.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 523. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,957.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,519; 3. Erv Miller - 396.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 312. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 431.4; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 386.4; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 277; 4. Brittany Farms - 254.45; 5. Robert Key - 232. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs. Hoosier will feature the Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-olds, the Monument Circle for 3-year-old male pacers, the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers and the Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters. Vernon will offer the Artiscape for older pacing mares, the Muscle Hill for older trotting mares, and a pair of Kindergarten finals for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

As the famous saying goes “the older the fiddle the sweeter the tune” and there was never a truer word spoken at Portmarnock Raceway last Sunday when the annual “Legends” drivers race was held at the Dublin, Ireland venue. With an average age of 60, each driver, a harness hero in their respective heydays, paraded before the event in front of hundreds of adoring friends, family and fans all anxious to see these legends of the track all strut their stuff just one more time. As the starting car pulled away, a huge cheer rang out from the packed stands as Seamus Corey from Belfast locked horns with County Meaths Patrick Kane in an early battle for supremacy. With a circuit left to run, Joe Haide aboard Deans Alibi entered the fray and put the geldings devastating turn of foot to good use, quickly striding five lengths clear. Although Tom Richardson with Springhill Jack and Phillip Gilligan with Major Tom tried to launch race-winning challenges in the home stretch it was Deans Alibi who landed the spoils to the delight of the oldest driver in the racem Joe Haide.  The runners up spot fell to Mahogany Montana who performed creditably for Seamus Corey whilst Christy Bennett, a former pro who hasn’t drove competitively in a race in 20 years, finished third aboard favourite Oakwood Outlaw. Coy about his age when quizzed in the winners enclosure winning driver Joe admitted to be north of 70 years old, but to those there on the day he showed he had lost none of his prowess in the bike or indeed the ability to make a vital tack change when things are going wrong. Deans Alibi had ran poorly in his own race earlier on in the afternoon, seeming to hate the sloppy conditions. After having a quick consultation with the owner, a mesh face mask was obtained and produced which had the desired effect and Deans Alibi knuckled down to a gutsy win to the delight of Joes wife Peggy, and dozens of family members that had came along to see a true legend in action. Bragging rights were put to good use in the clubhouse after racing and a big party was held in honour of all participants who regaled patrons with anecdotes and tall tales of their exploits from the 1960s right through to this very day. The “Legends” race remains one of the highlights of the season at Portmarnock and it was great to see so many people turn out on the day to pay homage to those who gave their best years to the sport they love for our enjoyment. The last word must go to Joe Haide for when he was asked if he will be back in 2015 to defend his title he bellowed “Of course I’ll be back, there’s plenty of kicks still left in this mule!” By Thomas Bennett, for Portmarnock Raceway

Already a member of an elite harness racing fraternity, Bitobliss will tackle a new challenge at Kilmore’s Cup meeting on Sunday. At is stands, Bitobliss is one of only three pacers to register consecutive wins in the club’s flagship event since its inauguration in 1964 when captured by You Crovottie. Thanks to his victories in 2011 and ’12, the Scott Stewart-trained stallion sits alongside Popular Alm and Game Oro to form the ‘terrific three’. Popular Alm was the first to achieve the feat in 1981 and ’82, followed by Game Oro in 1985 and ’86. Stewart is hoping Bitobliss’ connection to Popular Alm can continue in the Sprint named after the former superstar. Popular Alm was prepared by the late Bob and Vin Knight, who Stewart worked for during the late 1980s and early ‘90s. As for Bitobliss, he has drawn perfectly in barrier one in the 1690-metre feature. “That is a top barrier, but hopefully we haven’t used up all our luck with the draw,” Stewart declared. “From there I’d like to see him hold the lead, but we’ll have to see what happens when the mobile lets them go.” Although first-up for three months, Bitobliss is in “pretty good shape” after three solid trials, with Stewart confident of forward showing. “He’s had three good trials and his work at home has been great,” Stewart said. “He has certainly come up better than he did when he had a few runs last July. “His work has lifted and he is just generally better within himself. “I would have liked to have another crack at the Cup, but it’s just too much first-up from a spell.” Following his provincial engagement, Bitobliss will return to Tabcorp Park Melton for the Smoken Up Sprint on November 7. Should the son of Blissfull Hall race as expected, Stewart will head to Menangle for the Coca-Cola Sprint a week later in a bid to earn a berth in the Miracle Mile. Australasia’s premier speed test, the Miracle Mile is scheduled to be held at Menangle on November 29. “All that depends on how well he is going,” Stewart said. “For now I’m just concentrating on Kilmore then we will go from there.” PAUL COURTS

Traffic shapes as the main issue standing in the way of boom harness racing performer Guaranteed in his bid for a record-equalling win at Kilmore on Sunday. Engaged in the club’s famed Cup, Guaranteed is aiming to join former South Australian great Nevada Smoke as the only pacers to complete the Nyah/Kilmore Cup double. Nevada Smoke set the benchmark with his brilliant victories in 1974, while Guaranteed was triumphant in last Saturday night’s Nyah feature. Only two other pacers have won both provincial features, albeit different years, with Game Oro successful in the 1984 Nyah Cup before completing consecutive Kilmore Cup wins in ’85 and ’86. Bold Cruiser repeated the dose with a Nyah win in 2007 and a Kilmore victory the following season. As for Guaranteed’s attempt at a slice of history, the five-year-old has drawn awkwardly on the inside of the second row in the 3150-metre handicap. Disappointed with the barrier co-trainer Emma Stewart, who prepares her team with Clayton Tonkin, remains confident Guaranteed can continue his winning form. The son of Artsplace had had two starts this campaign, with his other victory coming in the Melton Plate when first-up from a spell. “The draw isn’t what you would ask for, but that’s part of racing,” Stewart said. “He has come from the second row plenty of times. “The biggest concern is traffic and hoping he can avoid any early trouble if those in front, or next to, him gallop away. “As long as he gets a clean go at them, he will be very hard to beat.” Citing Maximan as the main danger, Stewart believes Im Corzin Terror will be ready to produce his best after three eye-catching runs from a spell. Boasting four wins and a second for trainer Andy Gath, Maximan will come from seven – the outside of the front row. Winner of last season’s standing start Maryborough Cup, Im Corzin Terror has drawn four, but will slot into three with the removal of the emergency for trainer Amanda Grieve. “Although he’s drawn wide, Maximan is the one to beat,” Stewart said. “He’s a very nice type and will be ideally suited to these conditions. “Im Corzin Terror has proven himself on the country cups circuit, and after a few runs this time in, will also be in it for a long way.” PAUL COURTS

YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, October 21, 2014—All together now…”The pills are alive with the sound of stakes draws…” Post positions have been procured for Yonkers Raceway’s stakes-stuffed Saturday night program, which features more than $1.5 million in purses for the five features, a $20,000 guaranteed all-stakes-race Pick 5 pool and a free t-shirt (while supplies last).  First post for the baker’s-dozen buffet is 7:10 PM. Race 5 – $500,000 YONKERS TROT NO. 60 (3-year-old colts/geldings) approximate post time 8:50 PM, with approx. 20-25 minutes between these races 1-Gural Hanover (Jim Morrill Jr.) 2-Nuncio (John Campbell) 3-Expressive Action (Jason Bartlett) 4-Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) 5-Resolve (Tim Tetrick) 6-King City (George Brennan) 7-Journey (Dan Dube) 8-Don Dorado (Tetrick also listed) Race 6 – $500,000 MESSENGER STAKES 1-Stevensville (Mark MacDonald) 2-National Debt (Bartlett) 3-Lyonssomewhere (Brett Miller) 4-McWicked (Dave Miller) 5-Luck Be Withyou (Tetrick) 6-e-All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) 7-Western Conquest (Brent Holland) 8-e-Forty Five Red (Brennan) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 7 – $150,874 HUDSON FILLY TROT  1-Highest Peak (Ake Svanstedt) 2-e-Market Rally (Morrill Jr.) 3-Mistresswithmuscle (Driver TBA) 4-e-Avalacious (MacDonald) 5-Bambino Supreme (Brennan) 6-Yoga (Brett Miller) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 8 – $124,590 LADY MAUD  1-Do Your Job (Eric Carlson) 2-Act Now (Brennan) 3-Scandalicious (Dube) 4-Anagada (Campbell) 5-Fancy Desire (Brennan also listed) 6-Tyra (Tetrick) 7-e-Beautiful Lady (Kakaley) 8-e-A La Notte Hanover (Kakaley also listed) e-Ron Burke owner/trainer entry Race 9 – $250,000 INTERNATIONAL TROT PREVIEW (1¼ miles) 1-Commander Crowe (Orjan Kihlstrom) 2-Bee a Magician (Dave Miller) 3-Archangel (Kakaley) 4-Obrigado (Bartlett) 5-Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) 6-Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) 7-Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) 8-Not Afraid (Brett Miller) Program changes are to be made Wednesday morning. Please be advised that program pages Saturday’s Pick 5 (50-cent base) shall be available for perusal no later than Wednesday afternoon at www.yonkersraceway.com. As always, the guaranteed pool is a joint venture of the Raceway, the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and the US Trotting Association’s Strategic Wagering Program.      Yonkers Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily.  by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

TORONTO, October 21 - The finest two-year-olds in harness racing will take centre stage this Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack, as the Fall Four Stakes highlight a $2.1 million card. The $565,000 Governors Cup, the $521,000 Valley Victory, the $464,000 Goldsmith Maid and the $424,000 Three Diamonds make up the Fall Four Stakes, which star the best youngsters in the sport. The Fall Four Stakes were established during the mid to late 1980's at Garden State Park in New Jersey. This Saturday will be the sixth time that the Woodbine Entertainment Group plays host to the Fall Four. Multiple World Champions and divisional leaders will be on display in the four rich finals this Saturday evening. The Governors Cup for two-year-old pacers was established in 1985 and over the years many of the sport's greats have won the prestigious event, including Artsplace, Western Hanover and Life Sign. This year's edition of the Governors Cup is headlined by Metro Pace winner Artspeak. The son of Western Ideal made a break on the final turn in his elimination, but recovered to make up ground in the stretch and finish third. Artspeak (PP6), who will be driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Tony Alagna, is a seven-time winner from nine starts and has earned $523,227 in his rookie season. Lyons Again (PP3) and Pierce Hanover (PP2) were both upset winners in last Saturday's eliminations. Lyons Again broke his maiden with his 14-1 upset victory, while Pierce Hanover was a 13-1 surprise winner in his split. A son of Dragon Again, Lyons Again will be driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Ron Burke. Despite having only one victory on his resume, Lyons Again has a bankroll of over $174,000 from eight starts this season. Pierce Hanover is a four-time winner from ten starts for career earnings of $62,688. The son of Cams Card Shark will be driven by Jody Jamieson for trainer Ken Sucee, who shares ownership with his brother, Ralph. The Governors Cup will take place as Race 7 Saturday night. The Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies was first contested in 1990. CR Kay Suzie, Peaceful Way and Passionate Glide are just some of the top trotters to have captured the event. Looking to add her name to the impressive list of champions is World Champion Mission Brief (PP4) The Burke trainee captured her elimination last Friday in 1:54.4 and was making her first start since becoming the fastest two-year-old trotter of all-time when she won at The Red Mile in 1:50.3 on October 2. The daughter of Muscle Hill will be driven by Gingras, who was happy with her performance in the elimination. "She was very good, wrapped up and had plenty of trot left," said Gingras. "She had been off a few weeks, so I think next week will be even better and she will be at her best." Mission Brief has won seven of 10 starts for earnings of $327,400. Gingras and Burke also teamed up in the other elimination to win with Gatka Hanover. A daughter of Muscle Massive, Gatka Hanover (PP3) turned in arguably her best performance to date in her elimination and impressed her driver. "She beat a great filly in Jolene Jolene rather easily so I was impressed with her." Gatka Hanover has won five of 11 starts for earnings of $160,068. The Goldsmith Maid has been carded as Race 3 Saturday evening. Established in 1990, the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters has been captured by top trotters Donerail, Lindy Lane and Deweycheatumnhowe. The team of Gingras and Burke will once again team up in the Valley Victory, this time with William Wellwood Memorial winner Habitat. A son of Conway Hall, Habitat (PP4) won his third consecutive race in last Saturday's elimination by almost three lengths. Habitat has won six of nine starts for career earnings of just under $350,000. The other elimination winner, Whataworkout (PP3), is also the most lightly raced trotter in the field. A son of Muscle Hill, Whataworkout will be making only his fifth career start this Saturday. The Frank Antonacci trainee has two wins in four starts for earnings of over $27,000. Scott Zeron will be at the controls of Whataworkout. The Valley Victory will take place as Race 5. The Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies was first held in 1989 and has been won by top fillies such as Miss Easy, Immortality and Worldly Beauty. Arguably the top two-year-old in all of harness racing, Jk Shesalady, headlines the field of ten for the Three Diamonds. A daughter of Art Major, Jk Shesalady won her elimination last Friday to improve her career record to a perfect nine for nine. Trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by Gingras, Jk Shesalady's biggest victory of the season came in the $480,000 Shes A Great Lady final at Mohawk on August 30. The undefeated filly has banked $457,350 this season. Looking to hand Jk Shesalady her first defeat is the other elimination winner, The Show Returns. Trained by Chris Ryder and driven by Zeron, The Show Returns won her elimination last week for her fourth win in nine starts this season. A daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, The Show Returns biggest victory of the season was in a division of the Champlain Stakes at Mohawk on September 6. The Show Returns has earned just over $106,000 this season. The Three Diamonds has been carded as Race 9 Saturday evening. Post time for the 13-race card Saturday evening is 7:25 p.m. Here are the full fields for Saturday night's Fall Four Stakes finals. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Goldsmith Maid - Purse: $464,000 1. Jolene Jolene - Brian Sears 2. Demons N Diamonds - Scott Zeron 3. Gatka Hanover - Yannick Gingras 4. Mission Brief - Yannick Gingras 5. Flirting Filly - Ron Pierce 6. Smexi - Corey Callahan 7. Stubborn Belle - Paul Macdonell 8. Juanitas Fury - Paul Macdonell 9. Tymal Illbthere - Trevor Henry 10. Danielle Hall - Jody Jamieson AE: Lilu Hanover - Scott Zeron Race 5 - Valley Victory - Purse: $521,000 1. Pinkman - Sylvain Filion 2. Uncle Lasse - Ron Pierce 3. Whataworkout - Scott Zeron 4. Habitat - Yannick Gingras 5. Aldebaran Eagle - Corey Callahan 6. Jetpedia - Mike Saftic 7. The Bank - Jimmy Takter 8. Walter White - Brian Sears 9. Big Rich - Randy Waples 10. Iron - Brian Sears AE: Lookslikeachpndale - Sylvain Filion Race 7 - Governors Cup - Purse: $565,000 1. Lancaster Park - James MacDonald 2. Pierce Hanover - Jody Jamieson 3. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 4. Arque Hanover - Steve Condren 5. Lost For Words - Doug McNair 6. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 7. Go Daddy Go - Corey Callahan 8. Migrate Blue Chip - Rick Zeron 9. Blood Brother - Sylvain Filion 10. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples AE: Lyons Levi Lewis - Sylvain Filion Race 9 - Three Diamonds - Purse: $424,000 1. Happy Becky - Chris Christoforou 2. The Show Returns - Scott Zeron 3. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 4. Float On By - James MacDonald 5. Solar Sister - Scott Zeron 6. Ideal Nuggets - Sylvain Filion 7. Rock Her World - James MacDonald 8. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 9. Zip Code Envy - Ron Pierce 10. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson AE: Storm Point - Ron Pierce by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

Regardless of form, or draw, the safe bet in Saturday night’s Queensland Pacing Championship – which doubles as the beginning of harness racing’s Grand Circuit – is McCarthy. Which McCarthy is harder to select, but given the family’s history with the feature, picking the right one is likely to be the best wager of the night at Albion Park. The McCarthys have won seven of the past eight editions of the Group One, beginning with Cobbity Classic in 2004. Trained by the elder statesman, John, Cobbity Classic was driven by his son, Luke. Luke then trained and drove Slipnslide to glory in 2005 and ‘06, with John finishing third on both occasions with Be Good Johnny. Four years later Luke repeated the dose with Mr Feelgood, which was too classy in 2010 and ‘11. John finished second with Washakie in 2010 and fourth with the same pacer the following year. The father and son joined forced to score with Washakie in 2012 before John combined with Luke’s trainer-wife, Belinda, to win with Ideal Scott last season. Only Natalie Rasmussen’s two wins with Blacks A Fake in 2008 and ’09 have stopped the McCarthys during the past nine years. The race was not run in 2007 due to the Equine Influenza breakout. As for their latest assault on the time-honoured event, the McCarthys boast four runners – two from John’s team and two from Belinda’s stable. John will partner Blazin N Cullen from barrier six, with Bart Cockburn to take the reins behind Machtavish, which has drawn gate nine. Belinda’s brother-in-law, Todd, will drive Our Hi Jinx, which has drawn the pole, while Luke is sticking with For A Reason from three. The leading prospect of the quartet, For A Reason is expected to be at his peak following two eye-catching runs from a spell. Finishing fourth on both occasions, the son of Art Major is no stranger to top shelf glory at the circuit, having captured the Queensland Derby in 2010. Rejuvenated pacer Avonnova shapes as the candidate most likely to halt the McCarthy onslaught for local trainer Ian Gurney. Successful in last week’s Gold Coast Cup, which saw Blazin N Cullen, For A Reason and Machtavish among the beaten brigade, Avonnova faces a tougher task from barrier five. Another son of Art Major, Avonnova was named Queensland Horse of the Year last Sunday, with a victory this weekend the perfect complement to his new title. PAUL COURTS

After guiding Lyons Again to his first career win in his Governor's Cup elimination at Woodbine last weekend, driver Yannick Gingras believes it is just the start for the 2-year-old male pacer. Gingras arrived at Woodbine last Friday and Saturday with plenty of firepower for the Fall Four Stakes for 2-year-old pacers and trotters, and it all fired. He drove horses in all eight Fall Four eliminations, posting five wins, two second-place finishes and one fourth. In addition to winning with Lyons Again, Gingras picked up victories in both eliminations for the Goldsmith Maid, with female trotters Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover, a win in the Three Diamonds with female pacer JK She'salady, and a triumph in the Valley Victory with male trotter Habitat. He finished second with Three Diamonds contender Band Of Angels and runner-up with Governor's Cup hopeful Blood Brother. His fourth-place finish was with Pinkman in the Valley Victory elims. The Fall Four Stakes finals, worth a total of nearly C$2 million, are Saturday at Woodbine. Lyons Again was the longest shot driven by Gingras, at 14-1, but his Governor's Cup elimination win from post nine by three-quarters of a length over Traceur Hanover in 1:52.4 was not a complete surprise. "He was a longshot for everybody (else) but I've really, really liked this colt," Gingras said. "He's really been a bridesmaid, always finishing second or third, but he ran into a really sharp horse in Artspeak early in the year. There's no shame in finishing second to him, as sharp as he was." A son of Dragon Again-A Filly To Fear owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound, Lyons Again has one win, four seconds and two thirds in eight starts. Three times he hit the board in races won by Artspeak, with two runner-up finishes, and once he finished second to Yankee Bounty. Artspeak and Yankee Bounty are harness racing's two richest 2-year-old male pacers and have combined to win 15 of 18 races. Lyons Again, who finished third in the Metro Pace and has earned $161,687 this year, was not eligible to the Grand Circuit races at The Red Mile in Lexington, so the colt enjoyed a six-week layoff following his second-place finish in a division of the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 6 at Mohawk. "It's not very often that you'll have a horse at that level getting a six-week break in the middle of the summer when they're healthy," Gingras said. "I think it's going to help him. I think this week he should be even tighter; it will be his second start off the layoff." Lyons Again, trained by Ron Burke, will start the C$565,000 Governor's Cup from post three. Pierce Hanover, who won the other elimination, leaves from post two with Jody Jamieson at the lines for trainer Ken Sucee. Artspeak, who finished third after going off stride in his elim, won by Pierce Hanover, is in post six for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna. "After this we move onto the Breeders Crown," Gingras said. "I think (Lyons Again) could have a big fall. He's a big, strong horse and I think he's going to keep getting better." In addition to speaking about Lyons Again, Gingras provided some insights regarding the seven remaining horses he drove in the Fall Four Stakes elims. Blood Brother: Trained by Jimmy Takter, he finished one length behind Pierce Hanover last weekend. He will start the Governor's Cup final from post nine with Sylvain Filion listed to drive. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Blood Diamond, his family includes millionaires If I Can Dream, Western Terror, Delinquent Account and Artiscape. He has one win in eight starts and $68,731 for owners Diamond Creek Racing and J&T Silva Stables. "He's a nice little horse," Gingras said. "He always fusses with his head. The day he decides that he's going to pay attention to racing and forget about all the other stuff he'll be an even better horse. He's got a lot of ability, but his mind is not always on racing. "Last week he raced really good. I used him a little bit early and then had to come out around the last turn because the horse in front of me didn't carry me as far as I'd have liked. He gave (Pierce Hanover) a good run in the stretch; it was a horserace. He'd been off for a few weeks, so I think he'll be even better. But he didn't draw very good, so that's going to be a little harder for him." Mission Brief: Trained by Ron Burke, she won her Goldsmith Maid elimination by 1-1/4 lengths over Danielle Hall in 1:54.4. She starts the C$464,000 final from post four. She is the fastest 2-year-old trotter in harness racing history, with a mark of 1:50.3, and winner of seven of 10 races for $324,440. She went off stride in all three losses. The filly is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. "She was really good last week," Gingras said. "She might have been the most relaxed she's ever been. She was two fingers to drive, maybe a little bit on the lazy side if anything. I think she's getting to understand what we're trying to do with her. Obviously, she had plenty left. I came the last quarter in 28 and change and the earplugs were still in her and I never asked her. She was wrapped up. "She's her own worst enemy. If she's going to get beat, it's because she's going to go back to her bad habits. But knock on wood, she was solid last week and should be good again this week." Gatka Hanover: Trained by Burke, she won her Goldsmith Maid elim by 4-1/2 lengths over Jolene Jolene in 1:55.4. She starts the final from post three. A daughter of Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough, Gatka Hanover has won five of 11 races and $158,693. She is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, Tracy Hendler, and Weaver Bruscemi. "She proved game last week," Gingras said. "She was a little bit too grabby; I went to the half fairly quickly (:56.4) and it was more her than me that was making that happen. But then when Jolene Jolene came at her, she still was strong. "I think she's second best in this race. Mission Brief is going to have to beat her to win, but I don't think they're quite in the same league." Habitat: Trained by Burke, he won his Valley Victory elimination by 2-3/4 lengths over Jetpedia in 1:55.4 and starts the C$521,000 final from post four. Habitat made breaks in his first two starts, but has won six of seven races since then, including the William Wellwood Memorial. He has earned $323,078. The son of Conway Hall-Habit's Best is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents, and Weaver Bruscemi. "Early in the year he had a couple little glitches behind the gate, but ever since he got over that stuff, he's been absolutely perfect," Gingras said. "He does everything you ask of him, and more. He's got perfect manners and is beautiful to drive. He makes my job really easy. "He's been racing on the front quite a bit, but he really doesn't need to. When he baby raced, he did it from the back and just stormed home, going by a lot of horses. He's very handy; you can do whatever you want with him. He showed that he's got a lot of speed and he's game, so he's got all the qualities that you're really looking for in a racehorse. He's very complete." Pinkman: Trained by Takter, he finished fourth in his Valley Victory elimination, which was won by Frank Antonacci's Whataworkout, snapping a three-race win streak. Pinkman, named after a character from the television series "Breaking Bad," starts the final from post one, with Filion listed to drive. A son of Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster, Pinkman has won three of five races and $72,615 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, and Herb Liverman. "He's a very nice horse too," Gingras said. "He got locked in last week, otherwise I think he would have won too. I never had daylight. I tried to go up the inside, but there was no room there. "He's done nothing wrong. He's a little bit of a late-bloomer, but I've raced him his last four starts and he's won three of them, and he beat good horses doing it. He's a little bit on the lazy side, but once you get him to go, he can go a long way and he doesn't seem to get tired. He'll give you a hundred percent. "No doubt, he's one of the horses to beat. This race, there are five or six horses that can win. Whoever can trip out the best will be the winner." JK She'salady: Trained by Nancy Johansson, she won her Three Diamonds elimination by one length over Solar Sister in 1:53.3. She will start the C$424,000 final from post three. Undefeated in nine starts and ranked No. 3 in the current Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll, behind trotters Sebastian K and Father Patrick, JK She'salady has earned $432,150 for owner 3 Brothers Stables. She is a homebred daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady and her mark of 1:50.1 is tied for the fastest in history by a 2-year-old female pacer. "She hasn't done anything wrong," Gingras said. "She's got a crazy brush in her. I don't think she necessarily has to race (from off the pace) but why change something that's working? We'll see how this week plays out. Maybe we'll put her in play a little bit earlier than we have been. In an ideal world, they'll mix it up a little bit up front and I get to race her again first or second over and I think she'll get the job done from there." Band Of Angels: Trained by Burke, she finished second by a neck to The Show Returns in her Three Diamonds elimination. She starts the final from post eight. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Time N Again, and half-sister to millionaire Romantic Moment, Band Of Angels has won six of nine races and $177,487 for owner Bill Donovan. "I think she might have been a little bit short last week," Gingras said. "She felt really good turning for home and got outpaced in the last little bit. Not by much, but a little bit. She hadn't raced in a few weeks; I think she needed the start. I think she'll be even better this week, so there's no doubt in my mind that if I'm going to win (with JK She'salady) she's one of the major contenders I'm going to have to beat." Gingras is North America's leading driver in purses, with $13.42 million, and No. 1 in the Grand Circuit standings. He has won 29 races worth at least $100,000, with 14 coming with horses trained by Burke and 13 by Takter. Burke leads all trainers with a record $22.88 million in purses this year while Takter is second with a career-best $10.19 million. "It's been a great year, no doubt, but I'm only as good as the trainers I'm driving for," Gingras said. "Ronnie and Jimmy getting along and letting me do my thing and pick the best horse definitely helps tremendously. They really have been understanding. "It's definitely the hardest part of my job to tell one of them that I'm not driving their horse. But I've been honest with both of them. If I say to one of them I'm going with theirs, I'm going with theirs. I think they're both appreciative of that, that I'm up front. All three of us, nobody is playing games. They respect each other, and I think that makes it a lot easier. Hopefully there's more success to come for all of us." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

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HARRINGTON, Del. - A pair of Delaware Standardbred Breeders Fund $100,000 finals for 2-year-old harness racing trotters were contested on the penultimate Harrington Raceway program of 2014 Wednesday over a sloppy racetrack. Stephanie and Brian Cassell's Political Foe ($19.40, Eddie Dennis) was an upset winner in 2:01.2 in the colt and gelding final, passing the 1-to-9 favorite Political Cash, who led throughout, in the stretch for a decisive win. Win Power finished third. It was the second career win for the son of Political Briefing. Trained by his driver Dennis, Political Foe had a win and second place finish in his two eliminations prior to the final. Meanwhile, Bib Roberts, Graham Grace Stables and M&W Stables' Callmemza ($9.40, Jon Roberts), who won both of her elimination races, prevailed in the filly trotting final in 2:04.2 over Sign N Drive and Penny Paratrooper. It was an eventful race in which seven of the eight fillies went off stride at some point in the race. Callmemza was not unscathed after making an early miscue shortly after the start, but she recovered and reeled in Sign N Drive late for her Third Straight win for trainer Bib Roberts. Callmemza is a daughter of Great George Two, an accomplished trotter whom Roberts campaigned in the early 2000's. "To have a horse like Great George Two, and to be able to race his offspring for our family is just a great ride," said driver Jon Roberts, son of trainer Bib Roberts. "It was an eventful night with the weather and these young fillies didn't want to cooperate and we got the best of it. We made our mistake before everyone else did and fortunately it didn't hurt us as bad as it could have if it happened later on in the race." Leigh Raymer's I Got Spunk ($4.80, Callahan) won the $20,000 DSBF filly consolation in 2:03, while Jason Skinner's Vangoghpaintsred ($36, Vince Copeland) was triumphant in 2:05 in the $20,000 DSBF colt and gelding consolation. Corey Callahan drove four winners on the card, while Jon Roberts had three. The final night of racing for the 2014 Harrington meet is Thursday October 23. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great harness racing newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance.  Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This week’s Insider Access newsletter contains the following feature stories: Embryo transplants are just wrong! - Embryo transplants in race horses, just like cloning or any other unnatural forms of reproduction in horse racing, is just plain wrong. Get your friends to enter “Win The Wheels Contest” - How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? AU: Thin skinned stewards -  Following an exclusive article on Harnesslink earlier this month, Victorian horseman Lance Justice is the subject of stewards' inquiry. Angered by the suspensions he received at Melton on September 29, Justice questioned the lack of definition between light and heavy interference stating: "The stewards are too heavy handed. There is no defining difference between light, medium or heavy interference, and as such, it’s just bang...this is the sentence. Its mandatory sentencing gone mad." AU: Novelty or offensive? - In a world of political correctness, would be it okay to conduct a race limited to third generation Australians? How about a race for men only? Embryo transplants are just wrong! - Embryo transplants in race horses, just like cloning or any other unnatural forms of reproduction in horse racing, is just plain wrong. Get your friends to enter “Win The Wheels Contest” - How would you like to win a set of $1,400US custom race bike wheels from Forward Motion Technologies, perhaps a full set of RazorHorse shoes, maybe a five gallon bucket of Lifeline Horse Supplement or a $100 Amazon gift card? NZ: Stakes money: How to calculate it - As an industry that covers different hemispheres and numerous countries, you would think that the powers that be would come up with a system regarding stakes money won that is uniformly accepted worldwide. NZ: Shuttle Stallions –  Where is the $$ going? Breeding operations in the southern hemisphere are locked into the use of shuttle stallions if they want to stay relevant in a hugely competitive market. They either buy a chunk of a stallion, purchase the Southern breeding rights or get a fee for service provided to the stallion owners. But where is the actual money going? Stallion Review – ALWAYS A VIRGIN - Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the excellent racehorse and stallion Always A Virgin, p,3,1:48.4 ($1,135,559). Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).
As one fan put it, "They cudda just put up the replay from last week!" Once again, Barbara Jensen's Winbak Heavenly took top honors in Pompano Park's Open Pace for the fillies and mares on Wednesday night. Driven by Tom Sells for trainer Mike Deters, this four year-old daughter of American Ideal picked up her third win in a row in scoring a very handy four length decision over Mach Me Not, handled by Dan Clements, in 1:52, a new lifetime mark. That also was the official order of finish in last week's event. Scirocco Miley Kay and Mike Micallef teamed up for show honors while Keystone Christa and Bombilla Hanover were next in the quintet. Indeed, the performance of Winbak Heavenly was almost identical to her victory of a week ago as she pulled entering the backstretch some four lengths off the lead and used a :27.3 blitz to take command around the final turn. From there, it was a cakewalk as the mare opened up her insurmountable lead in the lane. After the event, driver Tom Sells said, "She's sharp as a tack right now. She can grind a long way, I mean a LONG way, and she was at her best tonight. When you write the story, don't give the credit to me, give it to the mare." For Winbak Heavenly, it was her fifth win of the year in only 17 starts and she has 13 wins lifetime and she's now banked $168,067 during her career. One to five on the tote-board, Winbak Heavenly paid $2.60 to win. Gale Warning, the 11 year-old veteran warrior owned by Ciro Gentile along with trainer Rod Lorenzo, won for the 64th time during his illustrious career, this time coming from off the pace to score in 1:56.1 for Mike Micallef. The gelded son of Strong Gale was fourth in the early going as Its Payday Friday, driven by Dan Clements, and Adenium, handled by Aaron Byron, jostled for the early lead with the latter taking over at the :27.3 opener and taking the field through a half in :56 with Majestic Won, with Mickey McNichol in the bike, third and Gale Warning fourth. Heading into the final turn, Majestic Won brushed up to take command with Its Payday Friday in hot pursuit and Gale Warning following the live cover flow. In the lane, Gale Warning brushed to the front and went on to score the victory measuring 1 ½ lengths with “Friday” second, Majestic Won third and Tug River Dylan fourth. The 6 to 5 favorite Trot Fudge Sundae, who seems to like the being close up early, was thwarted in that strategy when several others left from inside posts and finished fifth in the octet. After the race, driver Micallef said, "What can I say? This is just a grand warrior that gives his all every start. We got a dream trip tonight and he knows how to reach the winner's circle. He's just great!" Gale Warning now has five wins for the year. This one pushing his lifetime bounty to $651,727 in 242 lifetime starts. Second choice in the wagering, Gale Warning paid $5.80 to win. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park
WASHINGTON, PA, Oct. 22, 2014 -- Red Maple Lane zipped to the lead and jogged off to an easy victory -- his second straight in the series -- In Wednesday's late-closing event for freshman colt and gelding trotters at The Meadows. Guy Fox took the other $12,500 second-leg split. The series final is set for Saturday, Nov. 1. Once on the lead, Red Maple Lane easily thwarted the tepid first-over challenge of Grana Padanno and scored for Doug Snyder in 1:58.4, 2-1/4 lengths better than the pocket-sitting Massive Storm. Grana Padanno saved show. Lisa Martin trains the SJ's Caviar-Lane Bryant gelding, who was ahead at every call in his two series wins, for Mary Martin, Roger Dirlam and Maple Ridge Stable. Guy Fox pulled the pocket before the three-quarters, put away Bambam Lauxmont and triumphed in 2:00.2 for Ray Paver and trainer Steve Bush, who owns the Glidemaster-Classical Mary gelding with Dennis Fassett and Alvira Fassett. Massive Winner was a ground-saving second, 3/4 lengths back, while Orchids And Ale rallied for show. Dave Palone drove six winners on the 15-race card. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
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