State Treasurer

Pacing Derby and Metro eliminations contested

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Harness racings top older pacers and rising stars were on display Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace. A solid group of 18 older pacers were split into a pair of $40,000 eliminations for the Canadian Pacing Derby. The top-five finishers from each nine-horse elimination earned a spot in next week's $685,000 final. In the first elimination, State Treasurer continued his hot streak with a narrow 1:50.1 victory. The six-year-old son of Real Desire was sent off as the heavy 1/5 favourite and got away fourth in the early stages for driver David Miller. Ellis Park made a second-quarter move to the front and took the field by the half in :54.4. Around the final turn, Miller sent State Treasurer first up and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee got on even ground with Ellis Park at the third station in 1:23. State Treasurer grabbed sole position of the lead in the stretch, but had to dig in deep to get the victory, as All Bets Off made a late charge to finish second by a neck. "It was a pretty good pace and I was able to sit in passed the half there and when I moved him I just let him come easy there," said Miller, following the race. "Head of the lane I asked him and he finished it off." Captive Audience shot up the rail to finish third, while Piston Broke and Mcwicked rounded out the top-five. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer now has three consecutive victories and seven from 13 starts in 2015. Saturday's 28th career victory increased his earnings to just under $1.5 million for owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald. State Treasurer paid $2.70 to win. State Treasurer Returning to the site of his 2014 Pepsi North America Cup victory for the first time, JK Endofanera took the second elimination in 1:50.1. Driven by Brett Miller, JK Endofanera left from post seven and was parked around the first turn before clearing to the front as he entered the backstretch. Shamballa, the 6/5 favourite, got away fourth and made a second-quarter move to the lead for trainer/driver Rick Zeron. The public's choice posted a half-mile clocking of :54.1 to take the field into the final turn. Mach It So challenged first up at Shamballa in the third-quarter, as JK Endofanera followed closely in the pocket. The three-quarter time was 1:22, as Shamballa carried the lead into the lane. In the stretch, Shamballa tried to pace away from his rivals, but JK Endofanera moved to the outside and was able to track down the favourite and score a 1¾ length victory. "I wanted to kind of get away up close," said Miller, following the race. "I still feel this horse is better off the pace and off a helmet, but being an elimination race I didn't want to get eliminated, so I wanted to kind of be up close." JK Endofanera now has three wins in four career starts at Mohawk and Miller noted the long stretch favours the Jimmy Takter trainee. "He's a great big horse and the long stretch is definitely to his advantage." Nirvana Seelster shot through late for third, while Foiled Again and Limelight Beach from the Ron Burke barn finished fourth and fifth, respectively. JK Endofanera now has four wins from nine starts this season for owners 3 Brothers Stable. The son of Art Major has three victories to his credit since joining the Takter barn six starts ago. Saturday's victory was the 18th of JK Endofanera's career and increases his earnings to just shy of $1.8 million. He paid $6.70 to win. JK Endofanera will look to become the first Pepsi North America Cup champion since Gallo Blue Chip in 2001 to also win the Canadian Pacing Derby. JK Endofanera The Metro Pace has served as launching ground to stardom for many pacers over the years and 21 two-year-old pacers contested three $40,000 eliminations for the 2015 edition. Tony Alagna trainees finished one-two in the first elimination with Voracity getting up the final strides to defeat American Passport in 1:54.3. Several horses fired out at the start with American Passport getting the front and posting an opening-panel of :26. Cruise Patrol, who was parked around the first turn, cleared to the lead in the second-quarter and reached the half in :54.4. Voracity, the 3/5 favourite, was taken to the back by Waples and picked up cover in the middle-half. American Passport edged out of the pocket nearing the third station, as Voracity was sent three-wide and sat 2½ lengths off the lead turning for home. In the stretch, American Passport took the lead and was quickly confronted by Voracity. The Alagna trainees slugged it out down the lane and American Passport held the narrow advantage late, but Voracity edged by his stablemate in the final steps to win by a nose. Nvestment Bluechip finished third, while Cruise Patrol was fourth. A son of Sportswriter, Voracity now has four wins from five starts to begin his career. Although the rookie has been doing most of the work on the front end, Alagna noted that Waples said taking to the back was by design. "(Randy) said everybody looked like that wanted to go out of there a hundred, so I just took him back and I know he's so good off a helmet as well, so I wasn't concerned about it," said Alagna. "That's a big mile tonight, the track is pretty tiring especially for these young horses and I think you will see them all fire right back next week." Voracity increased his earnings to $172,000 with the victory for owners Brad Grant, Alagna Racing LLC., and John Fodera. The Alagna trainee paid $3.40 to win. Voracity Control The Moment remained undefeated with an eye-catching 1:52.1 victory in the second elimination. Driven by Waples, Control The Moment left from post six and the 1/5 favourite was able to take a seat in third around the first turn. As the field paced by the three-eighths, Waples gave the Brad Maxwell trainee his cue to brush to the front and he posted a half of :55.4. After pacing a third-quarter of :29, Control The Moment left his rivals far behind and paced home comfortably in :27.2 to score a 3 ½ length victory. "He felt the same as he always does, he just feels like he's a really unbelievably nice horse," said Waples, post-race. "There's more in there that I haven't found yet, like he can do things there that make me in awe." Ideal Rocky split rivals late to finish second, while Racing Hill made a charge on the outside to edge by Manhattan Beach for third. A son of Well Said, Control The Moment, who was a $47,000 yearling purchase last fall in Lexington, is owned by Maxwell, Howard Taylor, Edwin Gold and Ben Mudry. The Maxwell trainee is now six for six to start his career and has $98,187 in earnings. Control The Moment paid $2.60 to win. Control The Moment Betting Line bounced back from a break in his most recent start to win the third and final elimination in 1:52.2. The Casie Coleman trainee left from post three with driver Steve Condren and got away in third. In the second-quarter, Condren sent Betting Line, the even-money favourite, to the front to overtake the lead from The Catamount Kid at the half in :56. After pacing by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4, Betting Line kicked clear from his rivals by a pair of lengths in mid-stretch and cruised home in :27.3 to win by 2 ¼ lengths. The Catamount Kid finished second, while Pretty Boy Hill was third. Following the race, Coleman said she was happy to see Betting Line back on track after his break at Rideau Carleton. "I really don't know what that Ottawa start was all about, it's uncharacteristic for him to make a break," said Coleman. "We did a little bit of tinkering. I brought his hopples in a half an inch and we changed his bridle." A son of Bettor's Delight, Betting Line now has four wins from six starts and earnings of $117,000 for owners West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol. Betting Line was purchased for $60,000 as a yearling at Harrisburg. The Coleman trainee paid $4 to win. Cruise Patrol, the fourth-place finisher from the first elimination, drew into the final to complete the field of ten for next week's championship. Betting Line The finals for both the Canadian Pacing Derby and Metro Pace were drawn Saturday night. Elimination winners earned the right to select their posts for the final. The $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby - Presented by HPIBET and the $685,000 Metro Pace will take place next Saturday (September 5). Post time is 7:05 p.m. $685,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Final PP/Horse 1. Mcwicked 2. State Treasurer 3. JK Endofanera 4. All Bets Off 5. Shamballa 6. Nirvana Seelster 7. LimelightBeach 8. Captive Audience 9. Foiled Again 10. Piston Broke AE: Clear Vision $685,000 Metro Pace Final PP/Horse 1. The Catamount Kid 2. Betting Line 3. Voracity 4. Control The Moment 5. Racing Hill 6. Nvestment Bluechip 7. Pretty Boy Hill 8. Ideal Rocky 9. Cruise Patrol 10. American Passport AE: Manhattan Beach Mark McKelvie

Mark Purdon and Our Waikiki Beach

Our Waikiki Beach - A champion two-year-old

Leading harness racing trainer Mark Purdon is always fairly reserved in his judgements when asked to rate his horses so when he labels one of his charges a "champion" it pays to take notice. That horse was Our Waikiki Beach who showed tremendous courage today in the $288,000 Woodlands Stud two year old colts and geldings Breeders Crown final at Tabcorp Park Melton.   Wide early from the outside of the gate, Mark Purdon continued to press forward in search of the lead.   But Born To Rocknroll with Luke McCarthy in the bike had already found the front and wasn't in the mood to hand up.   The two star juveniles went toe to toe for three hundred metres before Luke took a trail with Born To Rocknroll.   Shadow Sax found the chair soon after and then Zee Dana worked around and gave him one by one cover.   Off the back Mark Purdon upped the tempo again and as they straightened for home he put a break on his pursuers.   Mark gave him a couple to keep his mind on the job as he cruised home for an emphatic win.   After the early duel, Born To Rocknroll showed real gameness to stick on for second in front of Shadow Sax.   Our Waikiki Beach paced the 2240 metres in a real smart 2:42, a mile arte of 1:56.4 with closing sectionals of 58.3 and 28.7.   It was the son of Somebeachsomewhere's twelfth consecutive win from twelve starts and took his stake earnings to $510,427   Mark Purdon was all smiles post-race.   "He was really tested today but he came through it in great style..   "I thought he might be a bit vulnerable late after all the work he had done early but when I asked him he really lifted.   "I think he deserves to be called a champion after the season he has had and that run today, Mark said     Harnesslink Media

The Orange Agent

A superstar - The Orange Agent

Harness racing trainer Brian Hughes and driver Maurice McKendry have continued an extraordinary domination by the Kiwis at Tabcorp Park Melton. The Orange Agent became New Zealand’s fifth Group 1 winner from five top-level  events today, winning the three-year-old fillies’ final by 2.6m over fellow Kiwi Start Dreaming and another Kiwi Linda Lovegrace in third. In fact former Kiwi – and the Breeders Crown champion from last year – Katy Perry finished fourth, with Michael Stanley’s pair Soho Tokyo and Soho Berlin finishing fifth and sixth respectively. “She just gets better and better,” McKendry said of The Orange Agent, who has now won 16 races from 22 lifetime starts. “She was a bit  unruly as a two-year-old early on but she’s developed into a really lovely racehorse now.” Dashing semi-final winner Ameretto led from the pole for Ashlee Siejka but was looking for a hole to jump into at about the 300m when Start Dreaming, who had worked to the chair around The Orange Agent, hit the lead. Once in the home straight The Orange Agent finished strongest however, her class carrying her home in a slick 1:54.4. Ameretto posted a lead time of 44.8secs and followed up with a 30-second first quarter. However, a 27.7 second split took the zing out of Ameretto’s legs. Katy Perry’s driver Amanda Turnbull did a stellar job to overcome  a barrier nine draw, finding the back of the leader early. But when Ameretto lost ground approaching the corner Katy Perry was held up before eventually getting into the clear and finishing off well for fourth. The last half was covered in 56.8secs. The Orange Agent is by American Ideal out of Lady Fingers. by Cody Winnell

Meadow Skipper, the untold story book cover.jpg

Joe FitzGerald reviews the Meadow Skipper book

Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story" by Victoria M. Howard and Bob Marks is presented as an unofficial autobiography--as told to the two authors. That's right: Skipper himself gives us his first person perspective on the highs and lows of being an excellent pacer and the most influential sire in the modern era. The authors have steered clear of the traditional narrative style employed by Don Evans in Big Bum, Nevele Pride Speed N Spirit and Super Bird; and Marie Hill in her biography of Adios and Ron Bisman in his chronicle of the life and exploits of Cardigan Bay. All of these books were published forty or more years ago: Marks and Howard chose to add an anthropomorphic twist. The breadth of information imparted on Skipper's racing and breeding career, as well as the contributions, or lack thereof, of all of his prominent heirs is leaps and bounds ahead of what has been given in other equine biographies, yet, the literary devices employed throughout the book make all that data very easy to digest. There's all the inside baseball the seasoned fan would want, but the sport's arcane lexicon that might leave general readers flummoxed is either avoided entirely or explained away. Skipper is presented throughout as a kind of Rocky Balboa figure. He was an awkward, lazy colt who came very close to being gelded. A confirmed mama's boy, he didn't take kindly to being separated from Countess Vivian. Nor was he pleased about being rigged and asked for speed. He spends a good part of the book trying to rationalize away his reputation as a sulker. The iconic stallion played second fiddle to the great Overtrick on the racetrack, and it took breeders several years to realize Skipper was a sire worthy of quality mares, or, any mares at all, for that matter. It was a long, arduous journey to the top of the heap. Meadow Skipper dedicates the book to three men: Joe Lighthill, who first used his whip to wake him out of his race day lethargy; Norman Woolworth, who showed $150,000 worth of faith in the unproven colt; and Earle Avery, who never saw a ground saving rail trip he liked. The first thirteen chapters detail Skipper's racing career; the next five examine his sixteen year stint at stud, as well as the contributions of his offspring; and the final chapter is a flashback on his life, delivered as he crosses over to the other side after suffering a heart attack in his paddock at Stoner Creek Stud. The authors state at the outset that the book is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Magic realism marries harness racing. The first thing that came to mind was Marks' Race of the Decade series that was published in Hub Rail during the 1970's. Skipper's primary rival throughout the racing chapters is Overtrick, who fell to our hero in the Cane, but beat Skipper more often than not, including in the Messenger and Jug. Marks was present for many of these races and is able to provide an informed firsthand account, buttressed by the omnipresent wry commentary of Meadow Skipper himself. Walter R Brooks, who created Mister Ed and other talking animals in a series of short stories he penned seventy-five years ago, has nothing on Howard and Marks: That Skipper is a funny fella. Skipper's "love interest" throughout is Laughing Girl, the dam of his near clone and premier siring son, Most Happy Fella. She passed after a pasture accident at age nine, and our boy is devastated when he gets the word. Marks knows the sons and daughters of Meadow Skipper better than anyone; he knows which ones were producers, and to what level, and which ones failed to live up to their lineage and race records. These chapters are crack for pedigree junkies, as sons, grandsons and great grandsons are examined and graded one at a time, in detail. From modern day progenitors, like No Nukes and Cam Fella, to the wildly successful Albatross, who failed to extend, to abject failures like Ralph Hanover, Computer, Genghis Khan and Jade Prince; it's all there. The same sort of care goes into examining Meadow Skipper's impact on the breed from a bottom line perspective. Marks views Matt's Scooter and Call For Rain as Skipper's finest credits as a broodmare sire. The former is characterized as a successful, though not great, sire, while the double Breeders Crown winner by Storm Damage is labeled an abject failure at stud. Detailed accounts of the influence of Meadow Skipper on the pedigrees of present day stars the likes of McWicked, Artspeak, Colors A Virgin, JK She'saldy, Sweet Lou, Anndrovette and Foiled Again follows. We learn that Meadow Skipper is the only Standardbred ever embalmed in Kentucky, and that Skipper rests between Count Fleet, Crown Champ and the headstone of Rodney. The physical Skipper, that is. His spirit is frolicking on the other side with Laughing Girl. Howard knows plenty about harness racing and Marks is a skilled writer, who has always lived outside the box with his annual yearling prognostications and the like. It's impossible to figure out just who is responsible for what in Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story," but it's the best book about the sport I've ever read. The book is currently only available from the publisher in paperback or ereader form by clicking here.  Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  

The IRT $174,000 Breeders Crown final for three year old colts and geldings looked a two horse war on paper. In one corner was Menin Gate for Australia who has been in devastating form all season. In the other corner was Follow The Stars for New Zealand who had being going great all season as well but couldn't get the better of his arch foe when they have met. Mark Purdon worked Follow The Stars around the field early from barrier four before finding the lead after 600 metres. He was quickly joined in front by Menin Gate and Chris Alford who went to the front without any of the expected battle. My Kiwi Mate who was over racing badly back in the field worked to the chair with just over a lap to go and from there the speed was true. These three pulled clear at the 400 metres mark and turning for home a winner was hard to pick. My Kiwi Mate looked to have headed Menin Gate but like the true champion he is, he lifted and surged clear. Follow The Stars seemed to be full of running turning in but once in the passing lane he took an age to wind up. By the time he did Menin Gate had flown for a well- deserved victory. Follow The Stars was slightly disappointing in second while My Kiwi Mate was huge in running third. Menin Gate paced the 2240 metres in 2:40.6, a mile rate of 1:55.4 with closing sectionals of 55.9 and 27.3 It was the son of Somebeachsomewhere's 13th win from just 19 starts and took his stake earnings to $501,335 Chris Alford was fulsome in his praise of Menin Gate post- race. "We did plenty of work early but then so did Mark Purdon on Follow The Stars so I thought he would let me go when I went for the front." "Once in front he was really strong in the run and I was confident he would be hard to beat off the back. "My Kiwi Mate may have levelled with us as we straightened. But once I asked him he responded like the champion he is." "He is just a brute of a horse and I honestly think he will be better after a good break," Chris said. Harnesslink Media

The $50,500 Mountain View Stud Breeders Crown final for four year old colts and geldings at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton today looked like a two horse race on paper but like any race it never quite works out as you think it will. Hectorjayjay and Simone Walker led as expected from barrier 4 and immediately tried to box in Messini who started from barrier 1 but Chris Alford on Messsini was having none of it and worked his way out into the running line. My General Lee and David Morris worked forward in front of Messini and grabbed the lead soon after leaving Messini parked and Hectorjayjay in the trail. From that point it was just a matter of weather Messini or Hectorjayjay would prevail. Approaching the turn, Messini looked to under a fair bit of pressure with Chris Alford becoming very active in the bike. As soon as Hectorjayjay found the passing lane, he quickly put the issue to bed, scooting away for a narrow but convincing win. My General Lee showed real gameness in fighting on for second while Messini was slightly disappointing in third Hectorjayjay paced the 2240 metres in 2:40.5, a mile rate of 1:55.5 with closing sectionals of 55.1 and 27.2 it was the 22nd win for the son of Dream Away at his 45th start and he took his earnings with today’s win to $228,359. Simone was rapt to have finally taken a Group 1 with Hectorjayjay. "I lead really easily but I tried to box Messini in soon after the start but Chris was having none of it" "Off the back I could see that Messini was battling a bit so I was hoping this was his chance. "He didn't want to go into the passing lane initially but once balanced he was fine." "This horse deserved a Group 1 and now he has got it," Simone said.  Harnesslink Media

Harness racing is always in need of pin up starts and in the outstanding filly Our Dream About Me they have one of the highest class. A warm favourite in the $288,000 Betterthacheddar@Alabar Breeders Crown final for two year old fillies at Tabcorp Park Melton, Dream about Me still had some hurdles to overcome to justify that favouritism. Drawn out in the carpark on the second line, Our Dream About Me pushed through her way through early and got onto the three wide- line for driver Mark Purdon. Finding the chair outside the talented Hot Shot Woman and Robbie Morris after 700 metres, Mark Purdon was content to sit parked and applied no pressure to the leader. Going past the 800 metres, Robbie Morris pressed the go button on Hot Shot Woman and she burned down the back straight in 27.9. Momentarilary Our Dream About Me looked in a spot of trouble but when Mark asked her for the big effort, she lifted like the star she is and went to the line an easy winner. Hot Shot Woman went super but just found one better on the day while Zibibbo after trailing the whole way ran third. A minor highlight of the race was the run of Get In The Groove who after being three wide for the last round finished on gamely for fourth. Our Dream About Me paced the 2240 metres in 2:43.6, a mile rate of 1:57.5 with closing sectionals of 55 and 27. It was the eighth win from eight starts for the daughter of Bettor’s Delight and took her stake earnings to $403,877 Mark's smile is getting wider and wider as the day goes on here at Tabcorp Park. "That was a great run today after all the work she did." "I thought Hot Shot Woman was the filly to be wary of so I was keen to get handy to her as I could early. "She really found when I asked her and won like the great filly she is. "She has that X factor that separated the good horses from the great ones," Mark said. Harnesslink Media

As we really started to get into the Group 1 races today at the harness racing meeting at Tabcorp Park Melton, the Kiwis were off to a great start, winning the first two with a bit in reserve. Speeding Spur was a warm favourite in the $56,000 Woodlands Stud Colts/Geldings final on the back of his outstanding Victoria Derby win, even though he had drawn out in the carpark at barrier 13.   Driver Josh Dickie was lucky to duck a couple of early breakers in front of him with Speeding Spur but as soon as the speed buttoned off near the mile, Josh was off on Speeding Spur, circling the field to lead with just under 1400 metres to run.   Josh held Speeding Spur back to the field down the back straight until Illawong Armstrong who had broke badly early looped the field and took the race to the Kiwi star going past the 500 metres mark.   These two star three year olds drew clear on the corner and settled down to fight it out but Speeding Spur held Illawong Armstrong by a length.   Cold Crusher ran on well for third ahead of Kyvalley Boomerang but the first two were a class above their rivals.   Speeding Spur trotted the 2240 metres in a smart 2:48.4, a mile rate of 2:1 with closing sectionals of 58.8 and 30.   It was the son of Pegasus Spur's 14 win at start 22 and took his earnings to $331,031.   Josh Dickie was relieved more than anything post race.   " He was a bit off today and I think he is feeling the effects of a long season."   " But he is great trier and thats what got him home today.   " Dad said to me that he was looking for the paddock and that is where he is heading now."   " It is great to come over here and win a Group 1 on their big day so I am rapt, Josh said.   Speeding Spur     Harnesslink Media

The first of the Group 1 races today at Tabcorp Park Melton was the $84,000 Aldebaran Park Two Year old trotting fillies final and the All Star juggernaut started the day as expected with a smart win.   The outstanding filly High Gait has had a great juvenile season with just one nose defeat blotting an otherwise perfect season.   Today from barrier one she looked to have a mortgage on the race if she held the front for driver Mark Purdon and although briefly challenged by Smile Smile Smile, High Gait comfortably held the front early.   Mark Purdon was able to set a sedate lead time but slowly wound up the tempo from the 1600 metres and from the half upped it even more.   Parisian Chic settled back early from her wide draw for Blake Fitzpatrick before circling the field to sit outside High Gait from the 1200 metres mark.   Mark continued to up the tempo off the back and skipped clear by a length as they straightened.   Everybody at this point thought Missandei and Anthony Butt who had trailed High Gait the whole way would put real pressure on the leader up the passing lane but she only battled the last bit and High gait went to the line a comfortable winner yet again.   Parisian Chic was very brave in defeat with Missandei held on for third.   High Gait trotted the 2240 metres in 2:50.9, a mile rate of 2:01.6 with the last 800 metres in 57.9 and 28.3   it was High Gait's eighth win from just nine starts and it took the daughter of Muscles Yankee stake earnings to $151,450.   Mark Purdon was full of praise for the filly's win.   " She is such a natural two year old and that is what you need to be competitive in these sorts of races."   " She does everything right and is such a wee professional and that is a big plus," Mark said.   High Gait     Harnesslink Media

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Thatsoveryverynice and L A Delight continued their respective hot streaks with harness racing victories in the She's A Great Lady eliminations Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 12 two-year-old pacing fillies were split into a pair of six-horse $35,000 eliminations. The top-five finishers from each elimination punched their ticket to the final, while the winners also earned the right to select their post. In the first split, Thatsoveryverynice went gate-to-wire with ease to score her fourth win of the season. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Thatsoveryverynice, the 1/5 faovurite, stepped out to the front without any challengers and posted an opening-panel of :28.4. The daughter of Vintage Master went unchallenged through the middle-half panels of :58.1 and 1:26.3 before pacing home under no urging in :27.4 for a 2½ length 1:54.2 victory. Upside Surprise finished second, while JK Fannie rounded out the Triactor. Albany Girl and Highland Rocksolid also secured spots in next week's final. A Tony Alagna trainee, Thatsoveryverynice entered her elimination off a comfortable victory in the Eternal Camnation Stakes. Following the race, Jamieson noted that his filly got the job done easily once again. "Didn't even have to pull the plugs tonight and she was very strong," said Jamieson. "Each time I drive her she gets more impressive and tonight was no exception. Slow fractions, but to have no one around her and to be able to pull away under minimal urging and then shut her down halfway down the stretch, I mean I don't think she could be coming into the final in much better form." Thatsoveryverynice increased her earnings to over $142,000 for owners Alagna Racing LLC. and Marvin Katz with the victory. A $2 win ticket on the Alagna rookie paid $2.50. Thatsoveryverynice L A Delight extended her win streak to seven with a 1:54.2 victory in the second elimination. The Bob McIntosh trainee got away third with driver Randy Waples, while Blue Moon Stride posted fractions of :28.2 and :57.4. Around the final turn, Waples sent the 1/5 favourite first up, as the field paced by three-quarters in 1:26.1. In the stretch, L A Delight quickly paced by Blue Moon Stride and cruised home under minimal urging to win by a length and a half over a hard-closing Darlinonthebeach. Three Dreams finished third, while Blue Moon Stride and Ivy League rounded out the top-five to advance to the final. Following the race, Waples noted that McIntosh made an equipment change heading into this week's start. "Bob added them (earplugs) this week...I said to him last week after I raced her that she was just maybe getting a little bit warm compared to what she had been and he said okay no problem. He goes out changes her equipment, takes a filly that hasn't been beat (in five-starts) and makes her better. That's Bob McIntosh." A daughter of Bettor's Delight, L A Delight is owned and bred by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings. The rookie pacer now has seven wins in eight starts and earnings of over $178,000. L A Delight paid $2.50 to win. L A Delight The post positions for next Saturday's (September 5) $455,000 final were drawn following the eliminations. $455,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes Final PP/Horse 1. Three Dreams 2. Albany Girl 3. Thatsoveryverynice 4. L A Delight 5. Upside Surprise 6. Darlinonthebeach 7. Highland Rocksolid 8. Ivy League 9. JK Fannie 10.Blue Moon Stride AE: Show Time Hill Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015--"I told (driver) Jason (Bartlett), 'Just get the same trip as last week.' " Bartlett obliged as harness racing trainer Chuck Sylvester asked Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $149,240 final of the Hudson Filly Trot with a pocket-sitting Murderer's Row ($8.50) in a season's-best 1:56.3. A week after skimming the cones to win her elimination (at 11-1), the 3-year-old daughter of Donato Hanover and Housethatruthbuilt offered an encore in the sport's richest race of the evening. With tepid, 2-1 choice (and other elim winner) Bright Baby Blues (Brian Sears) making a break while looking for an eight-hole seat, Lady Winona (Andy Miller) made the lead. Murderer's Row, starting in one notch from "Winona" at the pylons, settled in behind. Only five lasses remained in contention after Katniss (George Brennan) and Marion Millionair (Yannick Gingras) also misbehaved. Lady Winona led through substations of :28.2, :58.1, 1:27.4, getting heat from a three-hole vacating Scented Roses (Ake Svanstedt). That one couldn't sustain her bid, but "Winona" couldn't stall Murderer's Row. The latter angled in and won a protracted stretch battle by a nose. Third went to Scented Roses, barely holding off a closing Wouldn't Itbesweet (Larry Stalbaum), while Oh My Darlin' (Dan Dube)--stablemate to the third-place finisher--earned the last pay envelope. For fourth choice "Murderer's," co-owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey and Ted Gewertz, it was her second (consecutive) win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.40, with the triple returning $62.50. "Quite frankly, she's been a disappointment," Sylvester said of the pre-Hudson seasonal maiden. "I wasn't sure she could step up, but she did." Murderer's Row's dam, Housethatruthbuilt, won this race in 2004 when it was contest at Hawthorne. The lone big-track edition of the Hudson resulted in the stakes record of 1:53.4. Frank Drucker

August 29, 2015 - Delicious (6f Cantab Hall-Ipsara LB-Lemon Dra) circled the field and drew off in the Sundsvall Open after gaining the lead mid-stretch for patient reinsman Orjan Kihlstrom. The Daniel Reden trained, Stall Zet owned import from the US now has a 17-9-7 slate from 41 career starts, with 4,916,572SEK earned. Clocked in 1.10kr (mile rate 1:52.63) the small athletic mare raced with shoes and trailed the field much of the way in this Gr. I International UET Masters Series Sundsvall Open (1SEK million to winner, 2140 meters autostart) during a quick pace set initially by Creatine driven by Johnny Takter. Creatine battled Royal Fighter early and then faded after several others including On Track Piraten (7g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) and teamster Torbjorn Jansson for trainer H-R Stromberg made a decisive move in the final turn and held second timed in 1.10.3kr. Third finishing Ringostarr Treb (5m Classic Photo-Farsolo Egral-Supergill) at 24/1 for Wilhelm Paal and trained Holger Ehlert, first engaged Creatine in the last bend and took over with Oasis Bi in the hunt along with rallying On Track Piraten. None of these could match the quick closing speed of Delicious. Oasis Bi finished fourth for Bjorn Goop about seven lengths behind the winner with Royal Fighter a distant fifth for Jennifer Tillman and Creatine sixth. Traveling Man, El Mago Pellini and Global Money completed the field after the scratching of Rocky Winner. As noted the fast fractions were illustrated by a time of 1.05.2kr for the first 500 meters and 1.07.9kr at the 1000 meter mark. The field was underway after one recall. Bergsaker’s Sundsvall Monte Open (60,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to Figaro Sanna with Jenny Brunzell aboard. Timed in 1.13.4kr this eight year-old gelded son of Spotlite Lobell-Strands Sparkling-Running Sea recorded his 12th career win in 50 starts for owner Happy People Racing AB. Also on the Bergsaker card was the Lars Lindsbergs (175,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters turning start distance handicap) and Ninepoints Lucy (5f Spotlite Lobell-Lucky Kelly-Coktail Jet) was the winner timed in 1.12.5kr for Oskar J. Andersson and trainer Jorgen Westholm. Unique Julia and Bethel Hanover were next to the line. The Silver Division (125,000SEK to winner, 2640 meters autostart) contest today was won by Aristocat Boko (8g From Above-Big Blue Kitten-Pine Chip) and teamster Johnny Takter timed in 1.12.6kr, his 15th lifetime win in 63 starts. Stall HGS owns this winner. Thomas H. Hicks

August 29, 2015 - Roxane Griff, albeit finishing third, and Ave Avis were headliners in today’s Paris-Vincennes program that included five groupe events and the Quinte+. Captain Crazy, Nene Degli Ulivi, Un Charme Fou, Villeroi and well-bred Calita Wood were also victorious. Race summaries follow. The Gr. II Prix Victor Regis (€120,000, 2700 meters, 9 starters) for three year-olds went to 5/2 odds Captain Crazy (3m Quaro-Quick Scarlet) driven by Tony Le Beller for trainer Fabrice Souloy and Ecurie Le Tremont. The length winner was clocked in 1.16.1kr to defeat 29/1 Cahal des Rioults (3m Password-Plessie des Rioults) with Jos. Verbeeck up for trainer Philippe Allaire. 43/1 Chant des Sirenes (3m Opus Viervil-Nice Quenny) was third for F-P Bossuet. 1.4/1 favorite Cristal Money finished fifth. The Gr. II monte Prix Camille Lepecq (purse €120,000, 2700 meters, nine starters) went to 1.2/1 favorite Nene Degli Ulivi (8g Uconn Roc-Maureen Lobell-Speedy Somolli) for Alexandre Abrivard. Vincent Lacroix trains this one for owner Joe Cachia. Clocked in 1.14kr (fractions 1.17.2kr at 1500; 1.14.8kr at 1000; 1.14.4kr at 500) the winner vanquished 3.9/1 Tess de Villeneuve (8f Goetmals Wood-Joie de Villeneuve) and David Thomain with 7/1 Roxane Griff (10f Tenor de Baune-Julia Mesloise) and Eric Raffin home third. Torre Crepin (8g Capriccio-Lanaka) was fourth for Adrien Lamy at 21/1. Roxane earned €16,800 today and that placed her career earnings at €3,003,818.  The Quinte+ (jackpot €3.2 million) today was the Prix de Neuilly (purse €65,000, 2850 meters, 17 starters) and the winner was Un Charme Fou (7m Love You-Ma Crown) at 3.3/1 odds and reined by Franck Nivard for trainer Franck Leblanc and owner Cl. Guedy. The winner recorded career victory 14 in 54 starts. Tina Jolie was a close second but was disqualified causing 4.3/1 Urus (7g Liwi-Trojka de Mai) to be placed second with Gabriel Gelormini aboard. Placed third was Rififi Nonantais (10g Kerido du Donjon-Info Nonantaise) with trainer/driver Romain Derieux up. Time for the winner was 1.13.1kroff rated fractions (1.14.2kr at 1500; 1.13.3kr at 1000; 1.13.9kr at 500 to mark). The Gr. III Prix de Beaugency (purse €105,000, 2850 meters, 12 starters) went to pacesetter Villeroi (6m Oiseau de Feux-Pocahontas) for teamster Eric Raffin for trainer Sebastien Guarato and owner Pierre Pilarski. This 3/5 favorite held off 10/1 Tornado Bello (8m Jag de Bellouet-Enfilade) with returning to action Pierre Levesque up for trainer Mike Lenders. Dam Enfilade produced Prix d’Amerique winner Offshore Dream. Third today went to 37/1 Ugor du Beauvoisin (7m Olitro-Klea du Beauvoisin) with Alexandre Abrivard driving and fourth was 26/1 Very Nice Marceaux (6m Jag de Bellouet-Jolie Fortuna) for Pierre Vercruysse. The winner was timed in 1.13.2kr after reaching the 500 to go marker in 1.13.3kr. Today’s feature event was the Gr. I Criterium des 5 Ans (purse €240,000, 3000 meters, 13 starters) and after three recalls and the scratching of Anna Mix that refused to start, the field finally was underway and during the course were four more disqualifications including favorite Amiral Sacha just as he was surging to the lead. Ultimately, J-M Bazire and his barefoot trainee Ave Avis (5m Kasaco Phedo-Magna Avis) prevailed at 13/1 for owner Ottavia Roffi-Urano. 1.8/1 Akim du Cap Vert (5m First de Retiz-Prima du Cap Vert) rallied to be second for owner/trainer/driver Franck Anne, also racing without shoes. 18/1 Africaine (5f Oiseau de Feux-Italienne) was third for Pierre Vercruysse and owner/trainer Jean-Etienne Dubois despite being impeded by the breaking Amiral Sacha. Athena de Vandel (5f Prince Gede-Maelia de Vandel) was fourth at 128/1 for Cedrik Megissier with fifth to the Tony Le Beller reined, Anders Lindqvist trained 102/1 Anette du Mirel. Time of the race was a sharp 1.12.6kr over the extended distance with solid fractions (1.14kr at 1500; 1.13.5kr at 1000;1.12.8kr at 500 to go mark). The Gr. II Prix Uranie (€120,000 purse, 2700 meters, 15 three year-old female starters) went to the Jean-Pierre Dubois owned and reined Calita Wood (3f Goetmals Wood-Qualita Bourbon) at 4/1 and trained by Yves Boireau. This filly raced all of the contest on the outer and midway rallied three wide to the death-seat where she remained before surging to the front off the final turn. Once on the lead she held the front firmly under minimal urging. Calita Wood was timed in 1.15.1kr with steady, rated fractions. 23/1 Caline Elde (3f Laetenter Diem-OK Floride) was second for Mathieu Mottier ahead of 40/1 Cuise La Motte (3f Repeat Love-Onagra du Vivier) and Tony Le Beller. 4.2/1 Cere Josselyn (3f Kaisy Dream-Kate) was fourth for David Thomain and fifth went to 12.3/1 Couleur Citron (3f Coktail Jet-L’Aunou du Fier) for driver Pierre Levesque and owner J-P Barjon. The winner’s dam Qualita Bourbon earned $1,826,528 with victories at ages three and four in the Criterium des Jeunes, Prix de l’Etoie, Prix Roquepine, Prix de Selection, Grand Prix de l’UET and Criterium Continental. At five she was a game third in the Prix d’Amerique. In a stellar career she won 21 times in 31 starts. Qualita Bourbon has also produced Tast of Bourbon 1:55.1 ($263,105) and Quel Bourbon 1:53.2 ($35,392) and her dam Etta Extra (Florestan-Une Crown-Speedy Crown) produced Mara Bourbon 1:53.4 ($1,967,940) and Sam Bourbon 1:55.1 ($443,397). Thomas H. Hicks  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, August 29, 2015 - Trainer Dany Fontaine really likes his two-year-old harness racing pacer, Mr Mach Jimmy....and what's not to like? Since switching from the Ontario Sire Stakes to the Hippodrome 3R, Mr Mach Jimmy in undefeated in two starts, both in the Quebec-Bred Series. The son of Mach Three is the morning line favorite in Sunday's final preliminary round at 3R, starting from the rail in the first race for driver Pascal Berube. "I have had this colt since he was a yearling," Fontaine said. "He was a private purchase by Gaetan Bono from breeder Rejean Lassonde. When did Fontaine know he would have a good racehorse this season? "I first knew he would be good early in the spring," Fontaine said, "He showed me some early speed and had a good attitude and I knew he would be a racehorse. When I would turn him on the training track he was always business. How fast he would go I did not know back then. But towards the summer he was one of the best on the farm." Flashing some good last half's and quarters at Mohawk Raceway early on, Mr Mach Jimmy was facing stiff competition in the Ontario Sire Stakes. The best he could do was a third place finish, race timed in 1:55.4. "In both his first two qualifying races," Fontaine explained, "my horse came home in around :55 flat the last half, one last quarter in :26.3. I knew he was very good, but since he was eligible to the Quebec-Bred Series, I figured to bring him here and let him race, let him get brave and he has really come around. Who does Dany Fontaine see as the best this Sunday in the Quebec-Bred Series? "I don't think we will have a problem with anybody in the race," Fontaine said. "I think he is a little bit better than the other colts in the race. He is in the top three at least. We will see more from him this Sunday and then the following week in the final. "Last week his driver, Pascal Berube," Fontaine said, "came off the bike and told me all he had to do was ask him and he pulled away from the other colt." On Sunday Mr Mach Jimmy will face a tough challenge from both YS Artistic Fella and Sagawi. In his debut last week at the Hippodrome 3R, YS Artistic Fella was an easy winner, wiring the field in 1:59. He starts from post four for driver Stephane Brosseau. Sagawi, who starts from post six, was second last week to YS Artistic Fella and the prior week won in the opening round of the series in 2:00.3. He will be driven by Francis Picard. The third race, second colt division of the series on Sunday, is headed by Pudong Phil from post two for driver Clarke Steacy. Pudong Phil was a game second to Mr Mach Jimmy last week. The lone filly division in the fifth race has nine starters featuring HP Mercedes (post 9), Miss Babe Delight (post 1) and an entry from the Helene Filion Stable of Whysantanna (post 3) and Flysantanna (post 4). Track Notes: Trainer Dany Fontaine is looking to start seven horses on the program at 3R on Sept. 6 for the $500,000 Quebec-Bred Finals Day and is moving his operation from Mohawk to Montreal this weekend to prepare for next week's big day. He also trains Miss Babe Delight, KFB Amigo Cool, Tuscans Memory, Holiday Party, National Trace and Mach On The Beach, all of whom will be in the $500,000 finals. Post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. For more information, free program and live video visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.  From the Quebec Jockey Club

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Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story" by Victoria M. Howard and Bob Marks is presented as an unofficial autobiography--as told to the two authors. That's right: Skipper himself gives us his first person perspective on the highs and lows of being an excellent pacer and the most influential sire in the modern era. The authors have steered clear of the traditional narrative style employed by Don Evans in Big Bum, Nevele Pride Speed N Spirit and Super Bird; and Marie Hill in her biography of Adios and Ron Bisman in his chronicle of the life and exploits of Cardigan Bay. All of these books were published forty or more years ago: Marks and Howard chose to add an anthropomorphic twist. The breadth of information imparted on Skipper's racing and breeding career, as well as the contributions, or lack thereof, of all of his prominent heirs is leaps and bounds ahead of what has been given in other equine biographies, yet, the literary devices employed throughout the book make all that data very easy to digest. There's all the inside baseball the seasoned fan would want, but the sport's arcane lexicon that might leave general readers flummoxed is either avoided entirely or explained away. Skipper is presented throughout as a kind of Rocky Balboa figure. He was an awkward, lazy colt who came very close to being gelded. A confirmed mama's boy, he didn't take kindly to being separated from Countess Vivian. Nor was he pleased about being rigged and asked for speed. He spends a good part of the book trying to rationalize away his reputation as a sulker. The iconic stallion played second fiddle to the great Overtrick on the racetrack, and it took breeders several years to realize Skipper was a sire worthy of quality mares, or, any mares at all, for that matter. It was a long, arduous journey to the top of the heap. Meadow Skipper dedicates the book to three men: Joe Lighthill, who first used his whip to wake him out of his race day lethargy; Norman Woolworth, who showed $150,000 worth of faith in the unproven colt; and Earle Avery, who never saw a ground saving rail trip he liked. The first thirteen chapters detail Skipper's racing career; the next five examine his sixteen year stint at stud, as well as the contributions of his offspring; and the final chapter is a flashback on his life, delivered as he crosses over to the other side after suffering a heart attack in his paddock at Stoner Creek Stud. The authors state at the outset that the book is a mix of fiction and nonfiction. Magic realism marries harness racing. The first thing that came to mind was Marks' Race of the Decade series that was published in Hub Rail during the 1970's. Skipper's primary rival throughout the racing chapters is Overtrick, who fell to our hero in the Cane, but beat Skipper more often than not, including in the Messenger and Jug. Marks was present for many of these races and is able to provide an informed firsthand account, buttressed by the omnipresent wry commentary of Meadow Skipper himself. Walter R Brooks, who created Mister Ed and other talking animals in a series of short stories he penned seventy-five years ago, has nothing on Howard and Marks: That Skipper is a funny fella. Skipper's "love interest" throughout is Laughing Girl, the dam of his near clone and premier siring son, Most Happy Fella. She passed after a pasture accident at age nine, and our boy is devastated when he gets the word. Marks knows the sons and daughters of Meadow Skipper better than anyone; he knows which ones were producers, and to what level, and which ones failed to live up to their lineage and race records. These chapters are crack for pedigree junkies, as sons, grandsons and great grandsons are examined and graded one at a time, in detail. From modern day progenitors, like No Nukes and Cam Fella, to the wildly successful Albatross, who failed to extend, to abject failures like Ralph Hanover, Computer, Genghis Khan and Jade Prince; it's all there. The same sort of care goes into examining Meadow Skipper's impact on the breed from a bottom line perspective. Marks views Matt's Scooter and Call For Rain as Skipper's finest credits as a broodmare sire. The former is characterized as a successful, though not great, sire, while the double Breeders Crown winner by Storm Damage is labeled an abject failure at stud. Detailed accounts of the influence of Meadow Skipper on the pedigrees of present day stars the likes of McWicked, Artspeak, Colors A Virgin, JK She'saldy, Sweet Lou, Anndrovette and Foiled Again follows. We learn that Meadow Skipper is the only Standardbred ever embalmed in Kentucky, and that Skipper rests between Count Fleet, Crown Champ and the headstone of Rodney. The physical Skipper, that is. His spirit is frolicking on the other side with Laughing Girl. Howard knows plenty about harness racing and Marks is a skilled writer, who has always lived outside the box with his annual yearling prognostications and the like. It's impossible to figure out just who is responsible for what in Meadow Skipper "The Untold Story," but it's the best book about the sport I've ever read. The book is currently only available from the publisher in paperback or ereader form by clicking here.  Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - New York did itself proud Saturday night, as harness racing Empire-breds won both $40,000 eliminations for Yonkers Trot No. 61. Yonkers Raceway's premier trotting event drew 11 3-year-olds-eight colts and three geldings-for the second jewel of that gait's Triple Crown. When the stone dust settled, it was a pair of Ron Burke entities, Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick, $5.30) and Habitat (Yannick Gingras, $6.30) who led the lads into next Saturday's (Sept. 5) half-million-dollar final. Saturday's first elim saw another statebred, Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer), win the draw and the early battle. He seated everyone, including Crazy Wow from post position No. 2 and Hambletonian champ Pinkman (Gingras) next door in post No. 3. Buen Camino led through intervals of :28.1, :58.2 and 1:27.2, with 1-2 favorite Pinkman advancing from third. Pinkman then seemed to pull himself up, as Buen Camino owned a length-and-three-quarter lead into the lane. Crazy Wow ducked in-cutting inside at least one pylon--and went by, whipping a resurgent Pinkman by a length in 1:55.4. The winner had to survive an inquiry before the result was certified. Buen Camino held third over a closing Workout Wonder (Dan Dube)-both getting berths in the final--with Wings of Royalty (catch-driver Brian Sears) last at every stations. For second choice Crazy Wow--last season's New York Sire Stakes frosh champ--a son of Crazed co-owned by Deo Volente Farms & Our Horse Cents Stable and J&T Silva Stables, it was his sixth win in 10 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $11.40, with triple wagering not offered to the small field. "He was very good last week (winning Pocono's Colonial) and just as good tonight," Tetrick said. "Things were a bit tight in the last turn, but he needed to trot, he did." As for Pinkman, "He did start to get away from me a bit in the last turn, and I didn't want to lose him," Gingras said. "So I had to steady him, and showed his class by trotting well in the lane." Gingras had such issues with Habitat, who, after a brief seat third from post No. 5, went the distance (:29, :58.4, 1:27.2 1:55.3) in the second elimination. The job of the second choice was made much easier when 3-5 fave Centurion ATM (Ake Svanstedt) couldn't get out of his own way behind the and again past the half. The other Svanstedt-trained (though uncoupled) number, Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube) chased from a loose pocket, beaten a couple of lengths. Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) and French Laundry (Sears) also earned seats at next week's table, while Massive Lightning (Tyler Buter) and a foul-gaited Centurion ATM did not. For Habitat, a son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, he's now 6-for-13 this season. The exacta paid $67, with the triple returning $287. "Once I saw (Centurion ATM) make a break, there was no reason not to cut the mile," Gingras said. "He was very good, no issues." Saturday night's $48,000 Open Handicaps were won by faves... --(Trot), Melady's Monet (Bartlett, $3.90) in 1:54.4; --(Pace), Dynamic Youth (George Brennan, $5.60) in 1:51. Special props to Take My Picture, the 8-year-old Classic Photo gelding whose third-place finish in the Open 'Cap Trot made him a career millionaire ($1,004,146). The open draws for both Yonkers Trot No. 61 and the $500,000 Messenger Stakes No. 60 (only eight entrants, so no elims) take place Tuesday morning. Frank Drucker  
Columbus, OH - Four divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes 3-year-olds battled Saturday night at Scioto Downs, each vying for a purse of $40,000 in the fourth leg of this series for Buckeye-bred colt and gelding trotters and pacers. Indian Spirit prevailed in the first pacing division over rival Gray Camo in 1:52.4. The Tyler's Big Mark gelding was guided by Kyle Ater for his father, trainer Dan Ater and owner Greg Forcum of Chillicothe, OH. "This is the best horse I've ever had," an excited Forcum said in the Scioto Downs winner's circle. "This horse has a ton of heart and just never gives up. He loves chasing horses." Bred by Bruce Lane, Indian Spirit pushed his seasonal earnings to $86,810 with the win, his sixth of the season in ten starts. Lifetime, he has $121,219 in his bank account. "I turned him over to Dan (trainer Ater) late last season," Forcum explained modestly. "I thought he was a little bit better horse than I needed to be fooling with and that it might be better to give him to Dan, who has a lot more experience with top horses than I do." After eventual third-place finisher Gray Camo (Chris Page) led the field through fractions of :27, :55.2 and 1:23.3, the younger Ater pulled his charge first over and the pacer responded with a solid burst of speed that put him two lengths in front at the wire. Rock N Randall (Ronnie Wrenn, Jr.) was third. Indian Spirit has now won the second, third and fourth leg of his OSS contests. The second OSS pacing division saw 4-5 favorite Imtoofastforyou and Josh Sutton emerge victorious with a 1:54 clocking. The son of Mantacular-Lady Camette-Artsplace hails from the powerful Virgil Morgan, Jr. Stable and notched career win two in his ninth try. Unraced at two, Imtoofastforyou--who was bred by Midland Acres--pushed his career earnings to $54,150. "He had some knees that were open and he just wasn't ready to race last season," noted Morgan, Jr. "And he was an orangutan to deal with as a youngster, so we gelded him, and that's helped his attitude tremendously. Unlike some of these colts, he didn't have a lot of time to prepare for this season either mentally or physically, and so he's really come a long way." Owned by Carl Howard, Powell, OH; Gerrie Tucker, Montreal, QC, CA; and Brian Kohen, Dayton; Imtoofastforyou maintained his cool despite a recall caused by Nobles Finesse. Once the wings sprang, the bay colt took the lead and never looked back, snapping off fractions of :28, :57.2, and 1:28.3 before posting a three-quarter victory over Nobles Finesse (Kurt Sugg) and Chief Talkalot (Aaron Merriman). I Know My Chip and Chris Page captured the first of two $40,000 OSS trotting divisions handily in 1:55. The gelded son of Deep Chip-Madeline's Crown-Pegasus Spur was bred by Ohio's Kim Dailey and is trained by Ronnie Burke. "This horse has just gotten better and better as the season goes on," Burke stressed. "He's turned out to be a much better horse than I originally thought." This was I Know My Chip's second win in OSS competition in 2015 and pushed his seasonal earnings to $132,875 and his career totals to $238,278 for owners Burke Racing Stable of Frerickestown, PA; Weaver Bruscemi, Cannonsburg, PA; and Paul Collura of Mountain Top, PA. He now has nine checks in all ten starts this season. The brown gelding, a 1-5 shot, took the lead away from the hard-trying Neely's Messenger (Mike Wilder) at the :58 half, and never looked back, posting a 3½ length triumph. The aforementioned rival held on for second, while Reel Deep Chip (Kayne Kauffman) was third, followed by Kick A Lot (Kurt Sugg) and Chips Starr (Hugh Beatty). It was an emotional, tear-feared winner's circle that welcomed No Whip Chip for a well-deserved photo after a gate to wire triumph in 1:57.1. The son of Victory Sam-Merediths Hope-Master Lavec notched his third win in eight starts for trainer-driver Dan Noble and his mother, owner Debbie Noble. "These are happy tears," Debbie Noble explained. "This horse belongs to a group of youngsters that Chip (the late Sam Noble III) bred and raised. He raced this horse's parents and to win with this colt is just even more emotional than it would be normally because I know he wanted so much to be here, to see what this colt has become. We feel so blessed to have this horse and we feel sure that Chip is watching over us." The victory pushed No Whip Chip's lifetime earnings to $60,440 as he nailed down his third lifetime win in eight starts. Unraced as a freshman, the bay gelding has missed only one check in his career. My Friend Jim (Jeremy Smith) was second, followed by Cooter Dunn (Louis Bauslaugh). Ohio Sires Stakes for freshmen colts and filly of both gaits continue next weekend (Sept. 4 & 5) at Scioto Downs, while the $225,000 Championships for all 2- and 3-year-old divisions will be contested on Saturday, Sept. 12 during Super Night festivities at the five-eighth's mile oval. By Kimberly Rinker, for the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund
YONKERS, NY, Saturday, August 29, 2015 - Odds-on choice Purrfect Bags (Victor Kirby, $2.40) completed her Yonkers Raceway Lismore/Lady Maud personal stakes double Saturday night, winning the latter harness racing event in 1:53. The $116,430 Maud, which attracted just a half-dozen 3-year-old pacing fillies, saw Purrfect Bags in play early from post position No. 2. She retook from first leader Strut My Stuff (Jordan Stratton) just at the :27.3 opening quarter-mile, then found a rated :56.3 intermission. Bettor N Better (George Brennan) dropped the gloves, offering a hard challenge from fourth. Bettor N Better engaged the people's preference toward a 1:24.4 three-quarters, with Purrfect Bags ownING a stubborn, half-length lead into the lane. She then closed the sale, winning by a length in 1:53. Bettor N Better fought the good fight for second, with Strut My Stuff, Repeat Please (Yannick Gingras) and Cheyenne Robin (Dan Dube) coming away with the small change. Heaven on Earth (Tim Tetrick) lost the fifth-place photo and was left with only lovely parting gifts. For Purrfect Bags, a daughter of Roddy's Bags Again brought to town from Delmarva by the Kings-owner JoAnn and trainer Jim Jr.-it was her eighth win (fifth consecutive) in 10 seasonal starts (15-for-18 lifetime). The exacta paid $10.80, with the triple returning $21.80. "When she won the Lismore (in May at 11-1), no one knew a lot about her," Kirby said of Purrfect Bags. "When she came back here, she had their respect." Frank Drucker
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