Winston Sisa connections

Winston Sisa wins Danish Trotting Derby

August 30, 2015 - The featured Dansk Trotting Derby 2015 (525,000DKK, US$79,267, to winner, 3000 meters autostart) went to the 1.12.8kr clocked winner Winston Sisa (4m ENS Snapshot-Keenness Sisa) driven by harness racing trainer Jan Dahlgaard. Wizard Simoni (4m Juliano Star-Kom Sa Simoni-Earthquake) was second driven  by Peter Untersteiner ahead of United KK (4m Carmondy Lobell-Erycina-Speed Merchant) driven by Gordon Dahl. The undercard today at Charlottenlund was a good one with performers of all ages. Winners of interest were Tycoon Conway Hall, Dark Xray and Stand And Deliver among others. Two year-olds contested an Open event on the Charlottenlund card with 50,000DKK (US$7,550) to the winner on the 2000 meters autostart course. The 1.15.9kr winner was Big Mac PD (2m Reinsman Hanover-Hot Dice-Dancer’s Victory) driven by Steen Juul for trainer Gordon Dahl. Second was Bali (2m The Liquidator-Omega Sund-Sugarcane Hanover) driven by Pauli Andersen with third to Breaking Point (2g Tritun Sund-Jeans Frokjer-Little Devil) for driver Birger Jorgensen. Tycoon Conway Hall (5m Conway Hall-Golden Sunday-Supergill) took a fast class event for five year-olds clocked in 1.11.6kr over 1600 meters autostart. Steen Juul reined the winner, also one that he trains. He earned 50,000DKK with this victory over Caprino BR (5g Rotation-Desdemona Dei-Muscles Yankee) with Kim Pedersen aboard. This winner has performed consistently well against those of his age throughout Europe. The Subaru Summer Meeting Final (80,000DKK to winner, 2000 meters autostart) went to the Hakkan K. Persson reined Dark Xray (4m Crazed-Mascara-Spotlite Lobell) clocked in 1.13.1kr for owner/breeder Ann Kristen Johnsrud. US Dollars (4f Love You-Dallas Avenue-Neza Wenbo) was second for Birger Jorgensen ahead of Twin Peaks (5g Daguet Rapide-Liss Coktail-Coktail Jet) with Ken Ecce at the lines. US Dollars, undefeated in 2014, is now 8-2-1 in 13 career starts. The Rex The Great (100,000DKK to winner, 2000 meters autostart) for older fast-class trotters went to Stand And Deliver (6m Kadabra-Ghana Roland-Speedy Herve) clocked in 1.12.2kr for teamster Birger Jorgensen. Magiccarpetride US (9m Angus Hall-Meadowbranch Magic-Valley Victory) was second for Johan Untersteiner with veteran O’Grady (9m SJ’s Photo-Dawn Garbo-Smasher) home third for driver Flemming Jensen. Thomas H. Hicks

Celebrity Eventsy was fastest of 19 fillies on the program

Campbell, Takter score Kindergarten doubles

Hall of Fame driver John Campbell prevailed in two of five $10,000 preliminary Kindergarten Classic events on Sunday (August 30) afternoon's harness racing program at Tioga Downs, while Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter scored a double-double--driving a pair of his own trainees to victory.   Campbell kicked off the card in style, brushing aggressively to the fore with Waitlifter K ($3.50) in the opener, edging clear on the backstretch and ultimately holding off a late challenge from pocket rival Macy's Big Boy (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:55.3 win. Chuck Sylvester trains the 2-year-old Muscles Yankee colt for Robert Key.   While Waitlifter K was the fastest of all 10 colts and geldings to take to the track, filly Celebrity Eventsy ($5.50) matched that 1:55.3 mark in the seventh race to be fastest of 19 fillies on the program. Campbell was also aboard the daughter of Manofmanymissions, sprinting through with her at the pegs to force Coco Truffles (David Miller) into the pocket, ultimately turning her aside off the far turn to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Staffan Lind trains Celebrity Eventsy for Celebrity Farms.   Trainer Jimmy Takter accounted for two of the five Kindergarten Classic winners at Tioga, and he drove them both to victory. He took the lead with Haughty ($2.40) through a :28.4 opening quarter in the day's fifth race, ultimately ceding control to Lookin Sharp (Mike Simons) through the middle stages before angling from the pocket on the far turn. After a brief duel, Haughty edged away to a three-quarters length win, prevailing in 1:56. Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz, and Sam Goldband own the 2-year-old Donato Hanover filly.   Takter's other winner, Gifted Lady ($8.80) wasted no time assuming command in the ninth race, turning aside a mid first-over challenge from Dream Child (Mark MacDonald) before edging clear of pocket rival Sweet Ashley T (Homer Hochstetler) for a two-length triumph in 1:56. Silver Linden Farms owns the daughter of Muscle Hill.   David Miller and Nik Drennan teamed up for the other Kindergarten winner on the day, as Labatt Hanover ($14.80) crossed and cleared for an easy lead before holding off a mild late challenge from pocket rival Hillman (Jimmy Takter) for a 1:57.3 victory. Joseph Davino, Brad Shackman, and the T L P Stable co-own the Muscle Hill gelding.   Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (September 4) evening, with post time at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Tioga Downs

Shane Taggart

Shane Taggart scores 1500th driving win

Scarborough, Maine (August 30, 2015)  Harness racing driver Shane Taggart recorded his 1500th career driving win on Sunday (8/30) at Scarborough Downs, reining Pan Taylor home from off the pace to secure the milestone victory. Taggart who calls Maine home, has maintained a roster of horses on the Scarborough backstretch for years while dividing his time driving primarily at the Downs and at Plainridge Racecourse in Massachusetts. The 37-year-old teamster is a career purse winner of over $3.8-million. Live racing is proudly featured next weekend at Scarborough Downs on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (EDT). The Sunday matinee gets underway at 1:30. For more information, visit www.ScarboroughDowns.com or our Facebook page. By Michael Sweeney for Scarborough Downs

Harness Racing

Three straight wins for Mr Mach Jimmy

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Mr Mach Jimmy did not disappoint any of his harness racing fans Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R as the two-year-old gelding scored his third straight victory in the $200,000 Quebec-Bred Series. It was the third and final preliminary round of the series and now Mr Mach Jimmy will return next Sunday for his $65,000 divisional final and he will be the betting favorite, despite what post position he draws. Competing in one of three divisions Sunday, Mr Mach Jimmy started from the rail for driver Pascal Berube and trainer Dany Fontaine and led from start to finish, winning by three and one-half lengths in 1:59. Co-favorite, YS Artistic Fella (Stephane Brosseau) made a break right at the start of the race. That was the fastest of the three divisions Sunday. Sagawi (Francis Picard) was second after leaving hard to the lead early and then by the opening quarter mile, had the two-hold trip behind Mr Mach Jimmy. Shanghai Warrior (Clarke Steacy) was third. Owned by Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, it was a lifetime mark for Mr Mach Jimmy, a son of Mach Three. He paid $4.00 to win. The second colt division saw 1/5 wagering favorite Pudong Phil and driver Clarke Steacy get a scare at the three-quarters before scoring an eight and three-quarter length romp in 1:59.2. Going right to the lead from post two, Pudong Phil had only Power Fun (Stephane Brosseau) sitting on his back and no pressure on the outside until after the half mile marker in a mild 1:01. It was then that Chummy Park and Denis St Pierre made it a race by coming first-over. Chummy Park kept grinding it out and by the three-quarters in 1:30.1, had collared pacesetter Pudong Phil and looked him right in the eye. But all Steacy had to do was lift the lines and Pudong Phil shot away from the field to win in a romp. EY Cowboy (Stephane Gendron) was second with HO Patriote (Louis Phillipe Roy) third. It was the maiden victory in three lifetime starts for Pudong Phil. The son of Sportswriter is trained by Mark Steacy for owner/breeder Hudson Standardbred Stable, Inc. of Hudson, QC. He paid $2.40 to win. The lone filly division saw a mild upset as the ¼ favorite, Miss Babe Delight (Mario Ballargeon), was nipped at the wire by Art De Gagnee (Mario Charron) by a nose in 2:00.2. It was all Miss Babe Delight leading most of the entire race with Art De Gagnee sitting on their back until the stretch drive where Charron sent Art De Gagnee into the passing lane and the daughter of Shadow Play used the live cover the entire mile to her advantage. HP Mercedes (Louis Phillipe Roy) was third. It was the second win in six starts for Art De Gagnee. She paid $11.60 to win for trainer Maxime Velaye and owner/breeder Guy Corbell of Mirabel, QC. Track Notes: Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R on Wednesday, post time 7:00 pm. Next Sunday, September 6, will be the richest day of racing at 3R this year with the $500,000 finals of the Quebec-Bred Series for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. Each of the eight divisional races will compete for a purse of $65,000. For more information, free race programs and live video/replays visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

Batavia, NY---There was no doubt who the best New York bred 3-year-old colt competing at Batavia Downs was on Sunday (Aug. 30) after Betting Exchange (Bettor's Delight-Cheeky Hanover) tied the track record of 1:51.2 for sex and gait in winning his division of the $120,400 New York Sire Stakes (NYSS). After taking an easy lead from post one, Betting Exchange (Jason Bartlett) extended his advantage to two lengths over The Spy (John Cummings Jr.) at the quarter as post time favorite Artistic Major (Jim Morrill Jr.) got away poorly and was gapped a distant third. The leader was cruising along untested until Morrill rushed Artistic Major up by half-time and alongside Betting Exchange into the turn. The challenge continued up the backside and to three-quarters in 1:24 but it was there the race was decided. Bartlett gave Betting Exchange his head and he simply paced away from the field. At the wire he was 10 lengths the best in 1:51.2, pacing the back half in a dazzling :55 flat. The winning time tied the track record for 3-year-old pacing colts set by All Bets Off in 2014 and was also just one-fifth off the all-time track record of 1:51.1 set by Aracache Hanover in 2011. After the race, Jason Bartlett commented "He raced super. I let him roll on the turn and he opened up. He's really a nice one." It was the second win in 14 starts for Betting Exchange ($4.50) and it pushed his 2015 earnings to $318,475 for owners Howard Taylor, Susan Kajfasz and Tom Fanning, who also does the training. In the first division, Rockin In Heaven (Rock N Roll Heaven-Tropic's Beachgirl) overcame a fast battle for the lead and two subsequent challenges to hold on for an impressive victory. Off the wings, no one played nice when Americanprimetime (Jason Bartlett), K-Rock (Matt Kakaley) and Rockin In Heaven (Trevor Henry) went three-abreast to argue for the lead. The trio motored up the backstretch and eventually seated with Rockin In Heaven taking the lead in a speedy :26.3. Positions remained unchanged to the half when Americanprimetime pulled first over from third to go after the leader. With Americanprimetime outside prompting Rockin In Heaven past three-quarters in 1:24.1, K-Rock was sitting the perfect trip behind the pair waiting for his chance. When they hit the head of the lane it was obvious Rockin In Heaven had put away Americanprimetime but then had to fight off K-Rock who made his way into the passing lane. This was accomplished with a strong finishing kick as Rockin In Heaven won in 1:53 by a half-length. "I wanted to get him out of the starting gate and to the lead. He dug in well when I called upon him" said Trevor Henry in the winner's circle. It was the eighth win in 15 starts for Rockin In Heaven ($2.60) and it boosted his earnings to $310,565 for 2015. The colt is owned by Douglas Polley, Francois Lecomte, Gordon McComb and Dr. Ian Moore, who also trains the horse. There were two divisions of the NYSS Excelsior Series "A" also on the card that went for a combined $30,000. The first event was won by the heavily favored Masterson (Bettor's Delight-Tug River Princess) in 1:54 and it was the fourth straight win for the gelding owned by Blue Chip Bloodstock. Masterson ($3.20) was driven by Jim Morrill Jr. for trainer Tracy Brainard. In the second split, Pop Icon (Bettor's Delight-Pop Queen) overcame a slow start and breaking horses to win in 1:56.3. It was the second Excel "A" win this year for Pop Icon ($11.80) who is owned by Ken Weckstein, Richard Rubin and Gary Messenger, who also trains the horse. Jim Morrill Jr. did the driving. Racing resumes at Batavia Downs on Wednesday (Sept. 2) with post time set at 6:35 p.m. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs  

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

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

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" 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

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The Bluegrass State crowned its champion 2 and 3 year olds of both gaits and sexes on Sunday night at The Red Mile, with the eight $175,000 Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) finals dominated by favorites. Cinnabar Hall won the KYSS final for 3-year-old male trotters, earning the distinction of being the only reigning champion to successfully defend his title. Tom Jackson drove Cinnabar Hall to the wire-to-wire 1:56.2 victory for trainer Pete Foley and owner All Star Racing of Towaco, N.J. Sent off the 1-9 favorite, Cinnabar Hall swept the three-leg KYSS series this year, increasing his career earnings to $222,840. A son of Groton Hall, Cinnabar Hall was bred by Walnut Hall Ltd. of Lexington, Ky., which had three winners to its credit on Sunday night. Tail Gunner Hall, bred and owned by Walnut Hall Ltd., won the KYSS final for 3-year-old male pacers. Starting from the outside post 9 as the 9-5 second favorite, Tail Gunner Hall crossed the wire in 1:52, two lengths better than runner-up and even-money favorite McEnroe Hall. A son of Third Straight, Tail Gunner Hall now has seven wins and four seconds in 11 starts this year after going unraced last year at two. His career earnings now stand at $109,083. The 3-year-old filly pace final went to Twilight Princess, who made just one start at two but has now scored nine wins in 12 starts this year. Aaron Merriman, the leading dash-winning driver in North America in 2014, directed the daughter of Prince Chablis to the 1:54 victory as the 1-5 betting favorite. Kentuckian Robert Mullet bred Twilight Princess, who now has earnings of $113,070 for trainer-owner Donna Gilfson-Eferstein. Jane Eyre led wire to wire to win the 3-year-old filly trot final in 1:55.1 with Tom Jackson driving for trainer Fred Grant, who also shares ownership with Steve Katz and Janice Rubin. A strong second choice on the toteboard, Jane Eyre defeated favorite (and defending champion) Armatrading by one length. Just the second win of the year for the daughter of Groton Hall bred by Mary Katz and Berto Stable, it boosted her earnings to $164,770. Barryscourt rallied from six lengths back at the half to win the 2-year-old male trot final by 7 1/4 lengths in 1:58.4. Josh Sutton drove the Peninsula Farm-bred son of Northern Kid for trainer Bobby Brower, who shares ownership with Mystical Marker Farms, Ben Graber and Victory Hill Farm. A 14-1 winner in the opening KYSS leg on Aug. 9, Barryscourt was the 4-5 betting favorite in the final as he won for the second time in three starts. Lakeisha Hall won the 2-year-old filly pace final in 1:54, with the 1-9 favorite scoring by 3 1/2 lengths. Dave Palone guided the Walnut Hall Ltd.-bred daughter of Third Straight to her fourth win in five starts. Ron Burke trains Lakeisha Hall or owners Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Burke Racing Stable. The complexion of the 2-year-old filly trot final changed dramatically when odds-on favorite Kentucky Hall made a break while on the lead near the half-mile point. That paved the way for second-choice Erica America to rally for a 4 3/4-length win in 1:59.4 for driver Chris Page. Kevin Thomas trains the daughter of Northern Kid and shares ownership with Jim McLaughlin, Fortunate One and Red Mile announcer Gabe Prewitt. Erica America was bred by Dunroven Stud of Kentucky. The lone upset on the night came in the finale in the 2-year-old male pace when the 8-1 Dragallthemoni rushed past favorite Cracker Cam in deep stretch to win by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:53.2. Chris Page drove the Thomas Cave-bred son of Third Straight for trainer Steve Carter and owners Peggy Carter, Sheila Hummel, Ron Reid and Chuck Grubbs. Gordon Waterstone -  Horseman And Fair World
Silence Son made his swansong at the harness racing meeting at Running Aces  a memorable one by winning the $9600 Open Trot for the third consecutive week on Sunday night (August 30). According to owner-trainer George Reider, the six-year-old gelded son of Majestic Son is now headed to the Delaware, Ohio Blooded Horse Sale where he'll sell as part of the supplemental catalog at the end of the Monday (September 1) session. Driver Nick Roland left alertly from the assigned outside post position and coasted through front-stepping fractions of :28.1, :58.1 and 1:26.4 before trotting home in :28.4 for the 1:55.3 victory. El Azteca (Gerry Longo) raced gamely to finish a head behind in second with Thekeptman (Luke Plano) three lengths back to garner the show dough. It was the 11th 2015 triumph in 28 tries for Silence Son, who now sports 27 career victories in 88 lifetime starts and has banked $110,829. Gregg Keidel Director of Racing      
 How do you follow-up on a month when you win 100 races as a harness racing driver?   Well, if you're George Napolitano Jr., you go out the next month and win 105.   Having won 100 races in the month of July while racing exclusively at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono and Harrah's Philadelphia, the leading driver at both tracks went out and even topped his previous month by winning 105 races in August, capped by seven winners on the month's "closing day" (both tracks are closed Monday.)   The actual "consecutive double century" milestone came at Harrah's on Sunday afternoon when "George Nap" won the sixth race with Reggiano.   Appropriately, the winner came from the barn of Gil Garcia-Herrera, Philly's leading trainer and a regular customer for Napolitano's services. (#99, Lispatty, also came from under Gil's shedrow.)   The Reggiano victory was the middle of three on the afternoon for George; he then went to Pocono and added four more, including another for Garcia-Herrera.   For the month, Napolitano won 50 times at Chester and 55 at Pocono.   Napolitano, 49, didn't start driving until the relatively-advanced age of 26, but he has certainly made up for lost time, with 7167 career victories.   His victory with the sophomore trotting filly Sistas, against males and older horses, on Saturday assured him of his sixth straight year with 500 or more wins, starting in 2010 when he won the North American title with 748 visits to Victory Lane.   He has risen to third in the 2015 North American standings behind Aaron Merriman and Ron Wrenn Jr.   Napolitano has a huge lead in the current Pocono stands, and should he remain atop the Pocono pack until season's end, he will earn his ninth dashwinning title at the northeast Pennsylvania mountain oval -- breaking his current share of the record of eight titles that he co-holds with Bill Lambertus.   George's brother Anthony is the third-leading driver at Pocono, and fans frequently see a "Nap-Nap" photo finish. In fact, on Sunday evening George won the fourth race with True Hero by a nose over Anthony and Scootchie; Anthony "returned the favor" in race 10 by teaming with Magic Tricks to hang a head loss on George and the horse Vengeance.   Jerry Connors
This year, for the first time, the Ohio Selected Jug Yearling Sale catalog is available on the Equineline sales catalog app for the iPad. And, according to sale manager Randy Manges, thats a move that was necessitated by the growing number of buyers who are looking to participate in the Ohio program. The catalog has always been available on the website (www.lexingtonselected.com) and of course in print, but we've had a lot of requests from buyers both in Ohio and out of state who use the iPad app, and we wanted to accommodate them, Manges said. We've had a record number of requests for print catalogs this year, and the app is yet another way to increase the visibility of the sale and its horses to potential buyers, he added. The Equineline sales catalog app may be downloaded from the App Store on one iPad. This year's Ohio Jug sale will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Eden Park Equestrian Complex in Sunbury. The sale is restricted to Ohio-eligible yearlings and there are more than 260 head cataloged. Manges said that with the tremendous growth of the Ohio program, several new consignors have come on board to a sale that has always been bedrocked by high-profile consignments from Midland Acres, Hickory Lane Farm, Spring Haven Farm, Winterwood Farm, and others. This year you'll see several new faces at the sale, including Walnut Hall Ltd., Saga Farm and Pond-A-Acres, Manges said. And Steiner Stock Farm has returned as well. I think across the board it's the best sale we've ever put together in terms of quality. Greg Schuler
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