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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The night before the 93rd Hambletonian it was bombs away at the Meadowlands Friday, as a track that had seen 29 favorites score in its previous 60 races (48 percent) became the land of long shots. Five times on the 12-race harness racing card the winner's odds were 16-1 or higher, and even though the 50-Cent Pick-5 saw a 2-5 shot win leg four, the payout was still a hefty $12,016.25. The non-chalk parade began in the opening race when amateur driver Roberto Michelotto guided Cheeky Little Minx ($48.60) to victory in an event for Hambletonian Amateur Drivers. The second amateur drivers race saw Jennifer Lappe guide Fox Valley Steffen ($69.80) to victory lane in race five. Ake Svanstedt, who has a big chance to win both the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks Saturday, took race seven with Can't Afford It ($35.80) before Sprinter N ($69.80) rocked the clock to the tune of 1:48.3 in the eighth. The ninth race saw Steve Smith score with Atlas Alliance N ($49.60) to complete a Pick-3 that returned a whopping $6,797.00, while the 50-Cent Pick-4 (races eight through 11) came back $6,128.50 - despite being anchored by 3-1 and 3-5 winners - given the big prices that started the sequence in the eighth and ninth. A LITTLE MORE: Brett Miller, Andy Miller and Andy McCarthy all recorded driving doubles. ... All-source handle totaled $2,332,354. HAMBO DAY! The 93rd edition of the Hambletonian is the centerpiece for Saturday's 16-race, stakes-laden card at the Big M. Doors open at 10 a.m. Post time for the first race is noon. Post time for the Hambletonian is 5:14 p.m. If you can't make it to the track, the Hambo can be seen live on the CBS Sports Network. The 90-minute broadcast begins at 4 p.m. by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

Six Pack has a tendency to keep Ake Svanstedt guessing. The colt, who is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of Saturday's two Hambletonian eliminations at The Meadowlands Racetrack, tends to get lazy when in the lead, waiting for other horses to join him. And that can lead to anxious moments for Svanstedt, who trains and drives the horse. "You never know if he's tired, or if he's lazy," Svanstedt said. "Sometimes he feels tired, but he's not tired. He's just waiting for someone and you get afraid. I always have that feeling in the stretch with him. Then someone comes and he picks it up again. But how should I know that? You don't know until it happens." Six Pack heads to the Hambletonian, the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters, with eight wins in his past nine races dating to last September. His only setback was a second-place finish to Crystal Fashion in the final of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, which was only the third time in his career he was passed in the stretch when holding the lead. For his career, Six Pack has won nine of 14 races and earned $557,840 for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc., Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Tomas Olofsson's Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. The colt enters the Hambletonian off a 1:50 win in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. The time is the fastest ever by a 3-year-old male trotter. He will start his Hambletonian elimination from post No. 9 in a nine-horse field. "He has raced better and better for every race this year," Svanstedt said. "He is going up the whole time. He's an all-around horse. The good horses are all around. He's nice to handle and nice gaited and can leave fast. I think he can go faster (than 1:50). He was not tired the last time. He was just lazy, so I must push him." The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at 12 noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Wolfgang, from the stable of four-time Hambletonian-winning trainer Jimmy Takter, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first Hambletonian elimination, which also includes the lone female in the race, Atlanta. The filly, trained by Rick Zeron, is 3-1. She is attempting to become the first filly to win the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory in 1996. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the $1 million final later Saturday afternoon. Starting from post nine with Six Pack is similar to Svanstedt's situation in 2017 when Perfect Spirit left from post 10 in his elimination. Svanstedt got away fourth after a three-wide push on the first turn. He made a first-over move at the half, took the lead briefly in the stretch and finished third to advance to the final. His drive was inspired by a conversation with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell. "I left fast with (Perfect Spirit)," Svanstedt said. "John Campbell said one thing. He said they don't race the Hambletonian tomorrow, and not next week, the Hambletonian is today. You have to leave and give him a chance. I did that." Six Pack is a son of Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady. He was purchased for $30,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale. Svanstedt's familiarity with Six Pack's family goes back to Merger Blue Chip, who was out of Six Pack's third dam, Caviar Please, and was raced by former Svanstedt assistant Bjorn "Bernie" Noren before being sent to Europe. Svanstedt raced Six Pack's half-brother Limerence. "We have a very good mare in Sweden, Merger Blue Chip," Svanstedt said. "We bought her here and she raced here for Bernie. Then we took her to Sweden and she was one of the best mares when she was a 5-year-old. Then we bought Limerence. I looked at the pedigree and saw it was the same family as Merger Blue Chip. Limerence was an OK horse. "That's how I found Six Pack because he was a half-brother to Limerence. And Six Pack was a good-looking horse. He is a good-looking horse. He has very good conformation." Svanstedt won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit, who was elevated from second to first when What The Hill was disqualified for interference in the stretch. He is not thinking of winning a second trophy. "It's a big thing, of course, but you can never say something before (the race)," Svanstedt said. "You must race and see what happens. But I have a good horse and I'm happy that I have such a good horse. That is the first step. I don't think the heat racing will bother him. He is big and strong so he should be OK." * * * * * * * Alarm Detector, the 2017 O'Brien Award winner for Canada's best 2-year-old male trotter, is in the same elimination as Six Pack, where he will start from post No. 4 with driver Trevor Henry. Trainer Ben Baillargeon, who is making his Hambletonian debut, hoped his colt would have five starts this year heading into the race, but will enter with four because Alarm Detector made an uncharacteristic break in his elimination of the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial and failed to advance to the final. Since then, Alarm Detector finished third in his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial, which was Six Pack's world-record mile, and won a qualifier in 1:54 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Earlier this year, in June, he finished third in the Goodtimes Stakes, but after the race was discovered to be sick. "I thought he raced tremendous (in the Dancer)," Baillargeon said. "It was a very costly first quarter (:26.2) for a trotter at the Meadowlands. He was parked three deep and two deep the first quarter (before getting the lead). They went very big fractions and he raced real good. I have no complaints about the horse. "I just qualified him in (1):54 on Friday. We had a very big headwind down the lane and Trevor just let him roll the third quarter in :26.4. He did it pretty much under wraps. He's going into the race in great shape. He's as best as he's been all year. He's trotting perfect. All we need is a little luck. That day everything has to be perfect. If everything is perfect for us, we'll be right there at the wire. If not, well, some other time." As for the break at Pocono, the trainer said, "For some reason he got on the right line in the second turn and just dove right in, tried to cut the corner too quick. Trevor had to grab him or he was going to knock somebody down. They all have their bad days at one time or another. We have to forget about it and move on." Alarm Detector won all but one of his seven races last year, capping his abbreviated campaign with a victory in the William Wellwood Memorial. He did not race again in 2017 because of a bruise on the right hind cannon bone. He was given four months to recover. The colt is a son of Chapter Seven out of Final Countdown. His family includes Dan Patch and O'Brien awards-winner Ken Warkentin, who was named in honor of the Meadowlands Racetrack announcer and voice of the Hambletonian, as well as stakes-winner Holiday Road. Alarm Detector was purchased for $110,000 and is owned by Thomas Rankin, Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel, and Santo Vena. "I was in Harrisburg (for the Standardbred Horse Sale) with Santo Vena," Baillargeon said. "(Agent) Brian Montgomery said I should take a look at this horse. We took a look at him and we just fell in love. He was strong and built for the hard work. I liked the breeding page, you can't ask for anything better. There is enough pedigree in him. I said I have to bring him home. He's turned out to be a nice horse." * * * * * * * Expect trainer Dewayne Minor to be watching the weather reports leading up to Saturday's Hambletonian. Why? His Shoshie Deo, the New Jersey Sire Stakes champion, is fond of dry conditions. His most recent two races were on a sloppy track and he finished no better than fourth in either. "The last two performances, you really can't tell much because he raced in the rain and he really doesn't like the rain," Minor said. "So that didn't give us a real true indication of going in here, but with his attitude, he's got such a positive attitude, we'll give it a try. We're just hoping for a good track and that it doesn't rain on us and maybe we can do some good here." Shoshie Deo is a son of Wishing Stone out of Fortune Dream. Minor also trained Wishing Stone, who finished third in the 2010 Hambletonian with George Brennan in the sulky. Brennan will drive Shoshie Deo, who has won seven of 17 career races and earned $151,040 for owner Annemette Minor. "He's got a big sweeping gait like a French horse," Minor said. "He's out of a French mare and he's got the gait like them. If he can use his gait the right way and get good live cover in here he'll be close. We're just hoping for the best. "He's paid his way. He's made enough to go in, win, lose or draw." Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations. Hambletonian Elimination One PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Andy Miller-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination Two PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-David Miller-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1  by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA   

East Rutherford, NJ --- Eighteen 3-year-old trotters entered Saturday's 93rd Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, requiring two eliminations to trim the field to 10 for the $1 million final later that afternoon. Wolfgang is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first elimination and Six Pack is the 2-1 favorite in the second. Atlanta, the lone filly taking on the boys, is the 3-1 second choice in the first elimination. The draws for the Hambletonian and companion Hambletonian Oaks, which is restricted to 3-year-old female trotters, were held Tuesday at the Meadowlands. Wolfgang drew post No. 5 in his elimination and Six Pack drew post No. 9. Atlanta will start from post No. 7. The top-five finishers from each $100,000 elimination return for the final. Manchego, who won one of last Saturday's two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks, is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 final. Phaetosive, the other elimination winner, is the 3-1 second choice. As elimination winners, Manchego and Phaetosive drew for spots in posts one through five, with Manchego getting post four and Phaetosive getting post five. The stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card begins at noon. The Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks will be featured on a live 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT). Atlanta is attempting to become the first filly to win the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory in 1996. In the previous 92 years, 161 fillies entered the race, with 13 winning the sport's most prestigious event for 3-year-old trotters. Atlanta is the 22nd filly to enter the race since the start of the Hambletonian Oaks in 1971. The two most recent fillies to enter the Hambletonian, Pampered Princess in 2007 and Mission Brief in 2015, both won eliminations. Pampered Princess was seventh-placed-sixth in her final, won by Donato Hanover, and Mission Brief finished second to Pinkman in her final. Atlanta is undefeated in five races this year. She trotted the fastest mile in the history of Vernon Downs, 1:50.3, in winning the Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old filly trotters on May 28 and heads to the Hambletonian off a 1:53.4 victory at Vernon Downs in a July 19 division of the New York Sire Stakes. For her career, Atlanta has won nine of 15 races and $301,645. "I have a horse that I think can win the Hambletonian, that's exciting in itself, just having a player," said Scott Zeron, who will drive Atlanta for his father, trainer Rick Zeron. "(The draw) was fine by me. My dad wanted to be in the first heat, so we got lucky with that. We drew the seven; it's not the rail, but it's not too bad. I don't mind it. We'll make it work. It will give me the option to kind of look over and see what everyone is doing. We'll play it by ear." Rick Zeron co-owns Atlanta, by Chapter Seven out of Hemi Blue Chip, with Michelle and Al Crawford's Crawford Farms, William Holland's Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor, and Brad Grant. Scott Zeron captured the 2016 Hambletonian with eventual Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder. "For me, this is a different scenario, having the family horse," Zeron said. "I was in Florida all winter long with all the horses, so this one feels a little different having my father involved and being more involved with the barn. (Atlanta) is a super horse and I really hope she can deliver. I have no regrets about the decision." Zeron's win with Marion Marauder was for trainer Paula Wellwood, who will send out Southwind Chrome in Saturday's second Hambletonian elimination. Zeron is listed to drive that horse as well. "I have two competitive horses," Zeron said. "One is 3-1 and the other is 5-1. That's nice." Wolfgang is undefeated in three races this year, with his victories including the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He has won six of 13 lifetime starts and $516,690 for Charles Goodwin's Brixton Medical Inc., Goran Falk, Bud Hatfield's Hatfield Stables, and Art Zubrod's and Leah Cheverie's Fair Island Farm. Four-time Hambletonian winner Jimmy Takter trains Wolfgang, who is one of four horses Takter is sending into the race. The others are You Know You Do, Tactical Landing, and Zephyr Kronos. With a win, Takter would tie Billy Haughton, Stanley Dancer, and Ben White for the most victories in Hambletonian history. Yannick Gingras drives Wolfgang. "He's very good," Takter said. "I trained him a (1):56 mile here last Friday with a good last half and he felt awesome. You try to peak them as best you can. He's been very good every start. He's so professional. He's most likely the most reliable horse I have in the Hambletonian this year." Six Pack is the fastest 3-year-old male trotter in history thanks to his 1:50 win in a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on July 14 at the Meadowlands. He has won five of six races this year, with his lone setback a second-place finish to Crystal Fashion in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. For his career, Six Pack has won nine of 14 races and $557,840. Ake Svanstedt trains and drives Six Pack. Svanstedt won the 2017 Hambletonian with Perfect Spirit, who was elevated from second to first when What The Hill was disqualified for interference in the stretch. Six Pack, by Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady, is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Tomas Olofsson's Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. "He has raced better and better for every race this year," Svanstedt said. "He is going up the whole time. He's an all-around horse. He's nice to handle and nice gaited and can leave fast. I think he can go faster (than 1:50). He was not tired the last time. He was just lazy, so I must push him." Another highly regarded contender is Crystal Fashion, who is 7-2 in the first elimination. He has won five of eight races this year and finished second in the remaining three. For his career, the son of Cantab Hall out of Window Willow has won nine of 20 races and $523,252. He is trained by Jim Campbell, who won the 1995 Hambletonian with Tagliabue, for owner Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms. Siegel was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame on July 1, the day after Crystal Fashion's win in the Beal. In the Hambletonian Oaks, Takter and Gingras team up with favorite Manchego as they attempt to win the race for the fifth consecutive year. Takter holds the record for Oaks wins with seven. Manchego has won 16 of 18 career races and $986,170 for owners Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Phaetosive, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, has won seven of 11 career races and $377,358. Smedshammer trained 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and was the trainer and driver of 2004 Hambletonian winner Windsong's Legacy. Phaetosive is owned by Wanda Polisseni's Purple Haze Stables. Following are the fields for the Hambletonian eliminations and the Hambletonian Oaks final. Hambletonian Elimination 1 PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Shoshie Deo-George Brennan-Dewayne Minor-10/1 2-Evaluate-Orjan Kihlstrom-Marcus Melander-15/1 3-Met's Hall-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-10/1 4-Lawmaker-David Miller-Andrew Harris-8/1 5-Wolfgang-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 6-Crystal Fashion-Tim Tetrick-Jim Campbell-7/2 7-Atlanta-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-3/1 8-Hat Trick Habit-Andy Miller-Scott DiDomenico-12/1 9-Zephyr Kronos-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-10/1 Hambletonian Elimination 2 PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Fashionwoodchopper-David Miller-Jim Campbell-10/1 2-Patent Leather-David Miller-Jim Campbell-15/1 3-Classichap-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-6/1 4-Alarm Detector-Trevor Henry-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1 5-Fourth Dimension-Brian Sears-Marcus Melander-10/1 6-Southwind Chrome-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 7-Tactical Landing-Jimmy Takter-Jimmy Takter-4/1 8-You Know You Do-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-8/1 9-Six Pack-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 Hambletonian Oaks Final PP-Driver -Trainer-Morning Line 1-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-4/1 2-What A Knockout-David Miller-Marcus Melander-20/1 3-Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 4-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 5-Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-3/1 6-Hey Blondie-Andy McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester-6/1 7-Live Laugh Love-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-8/1 8-Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-10/1 9-Blonde Magic-Tom Durand-Tom Durand-20/1 10-Nixie Volo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-20/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

When she is training or warming up, Plunge Blue Chip can be a handful for driver Ake Svanstedt. Once a race begins, she is a handful for her rivals. A dozen days ago Plunge Blue Chip became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history when she won her division of the Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old female trotters by a nose over Manchego in 1:49.4 at The Meadowlands Racetrack. On Saturday, she returns to action in the second of two eliminations for the Hambletonian Oaks at the Big M. Plunge Blue Chip, who is also trained by Svanstedt, has won 12 of 15 career races and earned $562,809. She will start her Oaks elimination from post No. 8 in an eight-horse field of 3-year-old filly trotters. "She has everything," said Svanstedt, who owns Plunge Blue Chip with breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock, Tomas Andersson, and Rick Zeron Stables. "She is a strong horse and nice gaited; everything is good with her. She has a good head. She can be pulling and grabby when you train and when you are warming up, but when you come behind the gate she is relaxed. She has focus for the race and she is never pulling. She knows. She is a real racehorse. She loves to race." In addition to the eliminations of the Oaks, the card includes two divisions of the Reynolds Memorial, which feature a number of 3-year-old trotters eligible to the Aug. 4 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. The $500,000 Oaks final also is Aug. 4. The top-five finishers from each elimination advance to the final. Elimination winners will draw for posts one through five. The remaining finalists will then be put in an open draw. Manchego, who has won 15 of 17 career races and earned $961,170, leads the first Oaks elimination. She received the 2017 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old female trotter after a perfect 12-for-12 campaign. She is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Takter has won the past four editions of the Oaks and a record seven Oaks trophies overall. The $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $1 million Hambletonian will air live during a 90-minute broadcast on CBS Sports Network from 4-5:30 p.m. (EDT) on Aug. 4. Plunge Blue Chip is a daughter of Muscle Mass out of Dunk The Donato. She was purchased for $42,000 at the 2016 Standardbred Horse Sale and her family includes multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Mr Muscleman. Last year she competed primarily on the New York Sire Stakes circuit, where her only loss of the season came in the series championship. She followed the defeat with three consecutive wins, including the finals of the Matron Stakes and Goldsmith Maid.   "I liked what I saw (when buying her) and the pedigree is good," Svanstedt said. "She was a very good looking horse. Her conformation is perfect. "She was very good last year. She had a long season, but she came out good from that long season. She rested for two months and then came back. She grew up a little, but all of them grow up a little." Plunge Blue Chip began this season with back-to-back wins before finishing second twice to Atlanta. She rebounded with her world-record win in the Delvin Miller Memorial. Atlanta, trained and co-owned by Rick Zeron, is undefeated in five races this year and will bypass the Oaks in favor of taking on the boys in the Hambletonian. "She raced good earlier this year, but I had not been satisfied with her," Svanstedt said about Plunge Blue Chip. "Her gait had not been good. We always think it is a joint or something when they are not so good, but then we found it was a muscle on the right side that was the problem. We found that out and after that she's been much better." As for Plunge Blue Chip's world-record performance, Svanstedt said, "I thought she could race (1):50 at the Meadowlands, but then she went (1):49.4. It was a surprise that she could go so fast. But the issue with the muscle is gone now and she feels good always when we train. "It was a tough stretch (drive) but I had a feeling I was going to beat Manchego," he continued about the race, adding with a laugh, "Then when I looked at the replay, it was tougher than it was in the race. Manchego was fighting until the wire. She is a tough horse." Earlier on the July 14 card at the Meadowlands, Svanstedt's Hambletonian-bound male trotter Six Pack temporarily set the world record for a 3-year-old when he won his division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:50. Svanstedt-trained horses now hold the records for history's fastest mile by any trotter (Sebastian K, 1:49 in 2014) and fastest miles for 3-year-old female and male trotters (Plunge Blue Chip and Six Pack). "I am happy to have such good horses," Svanstedt said. Plunge Blue Chip's Oaks elimination includes Phaetosive, who also won a division of the Delvin Miller Memorial, and will start from post five with trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The filly has won six of 10 career races and earned $352,358 for owner Purple Haze Stables. "I think it could be tough to beat Phaetosive from the outside," Svanstedt said. "I hope Plunge is good enough to be first or second. It is important to win it for the final draw. (Phaetosive) is a very good horse. She is as good a horse as Manchego or Plunge. She looks good. She has won easy every time." Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT). Following are the fields for the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations. Elimination One/Race 5 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-What A Knockout-David Miller-Marcus Melander-15/1 2-Bill's Lady-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 3-Lily Stride-Tim Tetrick-Mark Harder-10/1 4-Hey Blondie-Andy McCarthy-Chuck Sylvester-4/1 5-Fly Fly Selena-Brett Miller-Dustin Jones-10/1 6-Courtney Hanover-Scott Zeron-Rick Zeron-8/1 7-Manchego-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-9/5 8-Piranha Fury-Brian Sears-R. Nifty Norman-12/1 9-Seviyorum-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-5/1 Elimination Two/Race 7 PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Blonde Magic-Thomas Durand-Thomas Durand-10/1 2-Lima Novelty-Scott Zeron-Linda Toscano-6/1 3-Winbak Noelle-Andy McCarthy-Lucas Wallin-20/1 4-Perfect Summer K-Louis Roy-Andrew Harris-10/1 5-Phaetosive-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-5/2 6-Live Laugh Love-David Miller-R. Nifty Norman-5/1 7-Nixie Volo-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Plunge Blue Chip-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-2/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

After a world record performance on Saturday, Six Pack vaults to top spot in Ken Warkentin's Road to the Hambletonian Week 9.   Rank Horse Driver, Trainer, Owner Ken Warkentin’s Comments 1 Six Pack Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E, Stall Kalmar FF, Lars Berg Unleashed a stunning world record 1:50 going first over from post eight in his Dancer division, NYSS star set a track record 1:51.2 in the EBC, Ake Svanstedt looks for back-to-back Hambos, “He’s a tough horse.  I had a lot of power coming into the last eight” -AS 2 Wolfgang Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Brixton Medical, Goran Falk, Hatfield Stables, Fair Island Farm, Inc. Goodtimes winner underwent a procedure, missed three weeks & dominated his Dancer division in a career best 1:51.2 to go three-for-three this season, leads the Takter Hambo battalion 3 You Know You Do Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, Howard Taylor, Order By Stable, Bud Hatfield, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband 2017 Peter Haughton Memorial winner finished a solid second to Six Pack [1:50.2] in the Dancer off a second [1:50.2] in a Big M overnight against older horses, strong Takter back up plan 4 Crystal Fashion Tim Tetrick, Jim Campbell, Fashion Farms LLC Cantab Hall colt with three wins & three seconds (two nose losses) in six starts this season, upset the Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial in a career best 1:51.4, did not race last two weeks 5 Alarm Detector Trevor Henry, Benoit Baillargeon, Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin, Claude Hamel & Santo Vena O’Brien Award & Wm. Wellwood Memorial winner, Goodtimes elimination winner in 1:53.1, came up sick & third [1:53.2] in that Final, set a fast pace & finished third [1:50.4] in the Dancer 6 Classichap Trond Smedshammer, Purple Haze Stables Held off Tactical Landing in 1:51.1 on July 6 @ The Big M for his first career win, rallied for second [1:51.4] behind Wolfgang in the Dancer, Smedshammer trainee ramping it up at the right time 7 Evaluate Corey Callahan, Marcus Melander, Stall TZ Inc  PASS winner in 1:51.4 @ Pocono Downs, second to Six Pack in his Beal elimination, a strong fourth [1:52.2] in that Final, attacked first over & finished fourth in his Dancer division, his tenth career start 8 Fourth Dimension Brian Sears, Marcus Melander, Courant, Inc 2017 Dan Patch Award winner was second [1:52.4] in a track record NYSS @ Tioga Downs, had a knee boot issue in his Beal elimination, broke again in the Dancer & goes into regroup mode 9 Southwind Chrome Scott Zeron, Paula Wellwood, Dreamville Stable Sleeper for Marion Marauder connections, second [1:51.2] in a track record EBC, third [1:51.2] to Classichap & Tactical Landing on July 6 in only sixth career start, did not race last two weeks 10 Tactical Landing Jimmy Takter, The Tactical Landing Stable $800,000 brother to Mission Brief has come a long way in a short time in Takter’s “boot camp”, gained confidence with an easy first win in 1:53.3 @ The Big M on July 13, only his fourth career start     .

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Plunge Blue Chip, driven by Ake Svanstedt, nipped 1-2 favorite Manchego in a world-record performance to win the second of two $128,500 divisions of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old harness racing trotting fillies at the Meadowlands Saturday night, and in the process, became the fastest 3-year-old trotter in history, regardless of sex. The 2-1 second choice, who hadn't raced in three weeks and was only making her second start in a month and a half, went after leader Manchego at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:23.1 and after a stirring stretch duel, gunned down Manchego and driver Yannick Gingras by a nose in 1:49.4, equaling the fastest trotting mile in Meadowlands history. On July 11 of 2015, JL Cruze became the first sub-1:50 performer in Big M history, when he went 1:49.4 in the Graduate final. "It's unbelievable, but this is a very good horse. (1):49.4 was a surprise, but she is a good horse. She has not raced on the big tracks so much, that is why she has not raced so fast. In two weeks, she has the Hambletonian (Oaks)," said Svanstedt. Plunge Blue Chip, a daughter of Muscle Mass, paid $6.20 to her backers. Live Laugh Love finished third. In the first division, Phaetosive, driven and trained by Trond Smedshammer, grabbed the lead at the top of the stretch and never looked back, trotting clear at the wire by 2¾ lengths. The daughter of Explosive Matter, who last week scored in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia, took the lead at the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:24.4 and romped home in 1:51.3. Sent off as the 4-5 favorite, Phaetosive paid $3.60, 2.80 and $2.20. "She was very good last year as a 2-year-old and has gotten a bit bigger and stronger this year," said Smedshammer, who won the Del Miller for the first time. "She will be off next week, then it's the Hambletonian Oaks elimination and, hopefully, the Oaks final." Longshot Perfect Summer K, who went off at odds of 137-1, finished second ($59.40, $18.20) and Hey Blondie rounded out the top three, paying $3.60 to show. by Lou Monaco, for Hambletonian Society    

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast WithThe Babies, sponsored by Fashion Farms, Meadowlands Pace Day edition, was conducted at 11 am under perfect conditions with no wind and temperatures of 80 degrees. Pacers opened the card today and another precocious Captaintreacherous colt, this one the cleverly named Captain Crunch, was tremendous. In his second morning effort for Scott Zeron the pair converted a two-hole trip into a 1:52.3 win with the final quarter in 26.1. Rockin Jimmy Brown (Marcus Miller) set easy fractions going the half in 56.3, and led into the stretch but could not resist the close of Captain Crunch. Bred by Walnridge Farms and Sherri Meirs, the winner was and $85,000 Harrisburg purchase by 3 Brothers Stable, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms. Donna Victoria won her trotting filly test in 1:59.4 after a Trond Smedshammer pocket trip behind Unbelindyble (Domenico Cecere) took her into the stretch where she fanned off that rival's back and went by willingly. Unbelindyble held on for second and Brianna Blue Chip (Zeron) was gobbling up ground late for third. The winner is a Michael Andrew homebred by Donato Hanover. Jimmy Takter trains and drove Asiago to a 1:56.4 / 28.4 win from the pocket in race 3. The pair settled behind Miss You Kelly (Brett Miller) through a 59.1 half then wore that rival down through the stretch, drawing clear late on her own. Miss You Kelly stayed for second and Princee Deo (Andy McCarthy) flashed good late trot to be third. The winner is by Muscle Hill and was bred by James Wilhite, Jr who cashed her in at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $200,000 with Katz, Goldband, Libfeld and Black Horse Racing signing the slip. Summit In Sight, a $300,000 Harrisburg purchase by Story Inc and driver Andy Miller, made a very good impression in her debut trotting home strong in 28.1 on the end of a 1:57 mile. Away second early, Summit In Sight inherited a lead when Hatikvah (Tim Tetrick) rolled off stride at the 59.3 half and went along easily winning as the driver pleased. Chiplosive (Smedshammer) was second. Willow Pond, LLC bred the winner who is from the world champion Bluff and is trained by Julie Miller. Union Forces (Zeron) won his third morning trial in as many tries, rallying from well back to collar Something Fine (A. Miller) in the stretch and went by under minimal urging in 1:59.1. Something Fine wound up on a long lead after a few broke behind him but could not resist the relentless close of the winner. Union Forces is trained by Domenico Cecere for Lindy Farms, Bob Rudolph, David Anderson and John Fielding who paid breeder Blue Chip Bloodstock $100,000 at the Lexington sale last fall. Ake Svanstedt had a winner in the sixth when he sailed by the early leaders through a fast final quarter to win in 1:57.1 with Lindy Express. Svanstedt was uncharacteristically patient early as Practical Cat (Takter) set a 59 half and 1:28.1 three panels before unleashing his colt's powerful burst in the stretch to get by that one. The winner is by Trixton, sold as a yearling in Lexington by KR Breeding, LLC to Malby Gard for $140,000. Pacing filly Odds On St Lucie (Zeron) won today in 1:54.4 / 27.1. She took over from Lovely Laura before the 59.2 half then sprinted home in 55.1 for the win. Demi Hill closed up some to be second for Brett Miller. The winner is a royally bred daughter of Sweet Lou from a sister to Captaintreacherous, sold in Lexington by White Birch Farm to Odds On Racing for $110,000. Tony Alagna trains both Odds On St Lucie and Demi Hill. Goose Bay Fiftytwo won the last of the baby races this morning for Erv (trainer) and Marcus (driver) Miller in 1:54.3 with a 27 flat final quarter. Marcus made a few moves with the Art Major colt, who had more to give each time he was asked. Onemilebrige was second. The winner was bred by Fred Hertrich and sold to Golmes, Anderson and Willinger for $43,000 at Harrisburg. The gritty veteran and Meadowlands all time trotting track record holder JL Cruze made his second qualifying appearance of the season and was again a winner, this time in 1:52.3 / 27.4 for Brett Miller. He's overcome a lot for trainer Eric Ell and looks as good as he has for a while in these morning efforts trying to find form enough to go in the August 4 Cashman Memorial. Tonight is the "Greatest Party in Harness Racing", the Meadowlands Pace complete with a BBQ contest and activities for the whole family. Live stream of tonight's full card is available free on The Meadowlands website. Post time is 6:35 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

"He is a horse that wants to win," Svanstedt said about Six Pack, who is undefeated in three races this year and brings a six-race win streak to his Earl Beal Jr. Memorial elimination Saturday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. "He is a little bit lazy, but he wants to have his head before the other horses." The Earl Beal Jr. Memorial is one of the stepping stones on the road to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's top race for 3-year-old trotters. Svanstedt has trained seven Hambletonian starters, including last year's winner by disqualification Perfect Spirit, and said Six Pack is "the best" he's had heading to the event. "I like everything about him," Svanstedt said. Six Pack is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the second of three eliminations of the Beal. Six Pack and Svanstedt will start from post six in a seven-horse field. Five of Six Pack's foes are eligible to the Hambletonian: Missle Hill, Moosonee, Evaluate, Rich And Miserable, and Fashionwoodchopper. The third elimination features three award-winners and a Breeders Crown champion. Manchego, unbeaten in 14 career races and the lone filly to enter the Beal, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for trainer Jimmy Takter. She was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter in 2017. The elim also includes Dan Patch Award-winning 2-year-old male Fourth Dimension, O'Brien Award-winner Alarm Detector, and Crown winner Fiftydallarbill. Manchego, Fourth Dimension, and Alarm Detector are eligible to the Hambletonian. The remaining Hambletonian hopefuls in the third elimination are Gemologist (another Svanstedt trainee), Crystal Fashion, and Fashion Forever. Jim Campbell's Patent Leather is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination. The colt is eligible to the Hambletonian, as are division rivals Lawmaker and Tito. Campbell also trains Fashionwoodchopper, Crystal Fashion, and Fashion Forever. The top three finishers from each elimination advance to the $500,000 Beal final on June 30 at Pocono. Saturday's card also features eliminations for the Ben Franklin Pace for older male pacers, Max C. Hempt for 3-year-old pacers and James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Six Pack is a Brittany Farms-bred son of Muscle Mass out of Pleasing Lady. He was purchased for $30,000 at the 2016 Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Ake Svanstedt Inc., Little E LLC, Stall Kalmar FF, and Lars Berg. The horse's family includes 1969 Hambletonian winner Lindy's Pride. Last year, Six Pack had one win and a second in four starts before undergoing throat surgery to correct a breathing issue. The colt returned to action with a second-place finish followed by his six-race win streak, which included the 2017 New York Sire Stakes championship and this year's Empire Breeders Classic. He won the EBC in a career-best 1:51.2, pushing his career earnings to $332,555. "After the surgery he was a different horse," Svanstedt said. "He's raced very good this year. He's raced one second faster every time so his form is coming up. "I hope he can go to the (Beal) final; he should go to the final. His training is good and he had a break for three weeks now after the Empire Breeders. He is feeling good the whole time. He looks good. He is a very big horse, one of the biggest I've ever trained, but he handles the short tracks good and on the big tracks he has picked up the speed good." Svanstedt's other Beal hopeful, Gemologist, has won three of 11 career races and earned $37,478 for owner SRF Stable. He is a Diamond Creek Farm-bred son of Cantab Hall out of Formula Bluestone and was purchased for $130,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. He battled health issues earlier this season, but enters his Beal elim off a win in a conditioned race at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He is a nice trotter," Svanstedt said. "Last year he was too much colt and not easy to handle. We gelded him and he's a better horse as a gelding." Racing at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono begins at 7 p.m. (EDT). For Saturday's complete Pocono entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- For harness racing driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt, things just kept getting better and better for him as the afternoon went along on Sunday (June 17) at Buffalo Raceway as he won three times in the New York Sire Stakes for the 3-year-old filly trotters with the four divisions carrying a purse of approximately $30,000 each   It was a perfect progression as well for Svanstedt as each time one of his charges won, they set a new track in doing so.   In the opener, Ciao Dolce broke the old track standard for the 3-year-old filly trotters of 1:58.2 held by Fad Finance, Straight A Student and High Rise with 3-/4 length decision over Sevenbuyeleven in 1:57.3.   That barrier lasted about 15 minutes as defending 2-year-old NYSS filly trotting champion Lucky Ava posted 1-1/4 length victory over Girl Talk in 1:57.2.   After having to settle for a second place finish in the next NYSS event with Natalie Hanover, Svanstedt saved the best for last as Fury Road took her leg with a 1:57 tour around the lightning fast Buffalo Raceway half mile oval, topping White Cheetah by 3/4 lengths.   When ask about his success at Buffalo Raceway, Svanstedt, who has won six of 10 races in the past two seasons said, "It helps when you have good horses." He went on to explain, "I seem to have horses that can takes the turns here so I am not afraid to go hard into them."   Ciao Bella ($3.80) took the opening bracket with a big move heading to the third-quarter marker. She was able to wear down the fraction-setting Somebuyeleven (Scott Zeron) in the stretch to score the win. Firm To Stay (Jim Morrill Jr.) was third.   "She really picked it up down the backstretch," Svanstedt said of Ciao Bella's effort.   Owned by Kjelle Magne, it was the second win in five starts in 2018 for Ciao Bella (Credit Winner-Pizza Dolce).   The ink hadn't even dried in the record book when Lucky Ava put her name into it.   Setting fractions of :30, 1:00.0 and 1:29.1, Lucky Ava ($2.10) had to work extremely hard to hold back a determined Girl Talk (Drew Monti) in the lane. Haulin Banc (Zeron) took the show spot.   "It was a little surprised at how she had go in the end but she's a good horse," Svanstedt said of Lucky Ava.   Co-owned by Svanstedt, Little E LLC and the Van Camp Trotting Corp., it was the fourth victory in five attempts this year for Lucky Ava (Lucky Chucky-Ava Marion). The score pushed her seasonal bankroll to $65,693 and $269,189 in her brief stellar career.   Fury Road ($6.80) was the fastest of the distaffer sophomore trotters as she was able to wire the field in 1:57.0. White Cheetah (Morrill Jr.) put in a game effort to place second while Tribute To Seven (Zeron) took the show position.   "She did what she had to do," Svanstedt said of Fury Road's record breaking performance.   Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., the victory was the second in five appearances in 2018 for Fury Road (Muscle Mass-Bar Ballad). The win upped her seasonal earnings to $44,932 this season and $189,423 in her career.   When told that was the third track record he had on the afternoon with his trainees and Fury Road, Svanstedt shrugged his shoulders and said, "Wow."   The only race in the NYSS not won by Svanstedt was earned by Lima Novelty (Zeron) in a 1:57.3.   It was a heads up move by Zeron going to the opening marker that paved the way for Lima Novelty's triumph.   When things settled down after the start, Natalie Hanover (Svanstedt) looked like she was going to control the fractions but that wasn't the case a few seconds later.   "We didn't want to be behind Natalie Hanover (Svanstedt). We wanted the top," said Zeron of playing the give-and go with Lima Novelty ($4.00).   The decision worked about great as Lima Novelty held back the challenge of Natalie Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths while Jackie Newlands (Morrill) was third.   Trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Ken Jacobs, Lima Novelty (Chapter Seven-No Pictures Please) found the winner's circle for the first time in four attempts this season. The victory upped her seasonal earnings to $21,847 and $116,635 lifetime.   In the $15,000 Excelsior A races, A Gift For You ($4.10) was the quickest with a 1:58.0 clocking for Zeron. Michando ($7.50) took her bracket for Marcus Miller in 1:58.3 while Kevin Cummings guided Eunice to a stunning $62.00 victory in 1:58.2.   The two $6,500 Excelsior B events went to Financial Impact as Monti steered her home in 2:02.2 while Shawn McDonough notched a popular $2.50 victory with Chasing Stardom in 2:02.0.   Racing will resume on Wednesday night at Buffalo Raceway with an 11-race program scheduled for 5 p.m. with the 2-year-old filly pacers arriving to battle it out in two divisions worth $52,500 each.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

HAMBURG, N.Y. --- It may be Father's Day on Sunday (June 17) but it is the ladies who will be front and center at Buffalo Raceway as the 3-year-old filly trotters prance into town to square off in four divisions of the New York Sire Stakes with each leg carrying a purse of approximately $30,000.   The defending 2-year-old filly champion of the New York Sire Stakes, Lucky Ava, is entered and will compete in the second division which will go off as the second race on the 12-race program. She is the even money morning line favorite.   Lucky Ava (Lucky Chucky-Ava Manon) is off to a great start already in 2018 with three victories in four tries. A pair of her wins have come in New York Sire Stakes competition as she has amassed a bankroll of $50,968 this season and $254,564 in her brief 14-race career.   In her last outing on June 4 at Monticello Raceway, Lucky Ava blasted the field in the Sire Stakes with an 11-length score in 1:58.4 for co-owner/trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt.   The bad news for the other four that drew into her bracket is the fact Lucky Ava rolled to an easy victory last season at Buffalo Raceway so she knows her way around the Hamburg half-mile oval.   The rest of the field hoping to pull off the upset includes Goddess Ofgoodness (Per Henriksen), Haulin Banc (Scott Zeron), Girl Talk (Drew Monti) and Red Reign (Jim Morrill Jr.).   The opener on the program, which begins at 12:30 p.m., has Somedew Somedont (Deweycheatumnhow-Someday) the top contender. Trained by Dale Lawton and with Marcus Miller scheduled to drive, Somedew Somedont has finished second in two straight Sire Stakes events and looks to break out of that runner up habit.   The main threat should come from the Svanstedt trainee Ciao Dolce (Credit Winner-Pizza Dolce) who is fresh off a length victory in the Sire Stakes at Monticello on June 4 in 1:59.4.   The first race also includes Arabella's Cadet (Mark Etsell), Sevenbuyeleven (Zeron), Cherry Peep (Dan Daley) and Firm To Stay (Morrill Jr.).   Lima Novelty, also a winner last season at Buffalo Raceway as a two-year-old, drew the rail in the third division with Zeron in the bike. A winner four times in 2017 and earning a spot in the Sire Stakes finals, Lima Novelty (Chapter Seven-No Pictures Please) has a pair of third place finishes thus far in 2018 in three tries.   The other six participants looking to knock off Lima Novelty include Jackie Newlands (Morrill Jr.), Pleaspleaspleas (Bryan Andersen), Logetta Hanover (Kevin Cummings), Exs And Ohs (Etsell), Natalie Hanover (Svanstedt) and Corrupt (Monti).   Finally, the last leg has Tribute To Seven (Chapter Seven-Southwind Confetti) topping the list of competitors with Zeron scheduled to be in the sulky. Last time out on June 4 in the Sire Stakes at Monticello, she bruised the field by notching a 6-3/4 score in a throttled down 2:01.   The field also includes White Cheetah (Morrill Jr.), Fury Road (Svanstedt), Perfect Summer K (Ray Fisher Jr.), Golden Muscle (Monti) and Supergirl Riley (Miller).   With hot and muggy conditions in the forecast on Sunday, the Buffalo Raceway track record for the 3-year-old filly trotters of 1:58.2 shared by High Rise (2015), Straight A Student (2016) and Fad Finance (2016) could be in serious jeopardy.   There are also three $15,000 divisions of the Excelsior A Series and a pair of $6,500 Excelsior B Series races slated.   The Father's Day program will also feature the "Lucky Exacta Magnet" giveaway along with free sno cones and cotton candy for the kids. The trackside grill will also be open during the card.   For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, simulcast schedule, race replays, results and entries, go to www.buffaloraceway.com   by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway

Nichols, NY - The eyes of the harness racing world shift to Tioga Downs on Sunday afternoon when that New York venue hosts the third and last preliminary leg of the $1 million Graduate series for 4-year-olds and the New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for 3-year-old colt pacers.   The Graduate drew a strong response at the entry box, resulting in three $50,000 divisions of pacers and a pair of trotting races.   Trotters are up first, races 3 and five both sporting user friendly six horse fields.   Yes Mickey has been tabbed as the favorite in the third. The Muscle Hill gelding was third in leg #1, suffered traffic woes in the bulky 12 horse field at Mohawk in the second leg and gets Andy McCarthy to drive for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owner Melby Gard at Tioga.   Top Flight Angel, winner of the Yonkers Trot last season, is a slight morning line choice in division two. He was a good third in last week's leg and has drawn the advantageous rail position for Team Miller, driver Andy and trainer Julie who look after the son of Archangel for Legendary Standardbred Farm.   Ron Burke holds a very strong hand in the Graduate pacing events with a total of five going post ward over the three division of seven horses each.   The current scourge of the open ranks, Filibuster Hanover kicks it off for the "Burke Brigade in race 7. He's won all four of his 2018 starts including the 1st Graduate leg at The Meadowlands. He will begin from post six with Yannick Gingras driving for Ron Burke and partners Joe DiScala, J&T Silva Stable and Weaver Bruscemi.   The second division, race 9 includes a pair of contenders from the Burke barn but the favorite's role interestingly goes to a former Burke horse, Miso Fast, who now races out of the Virgil Morgan, Jr barn. Despite a remarkably poor run at the post position draw thus far in 2018, Miso Fast has weathered that storm and captured his division of leg two in Canada. Tim Tetrick has the assignment from post 5 on Sunday as the 9-5 choice from Winchester Baye Acres of Ohio.   The tenth race, Graduate pace number three, is a very contentious one. Maroma Beach (Gingras) won a Graduate division last week for Burke, Highalator (David Miller) equaled the fastest mile in all of racing with a 1:48.1 score in a Meadowlands overnight for trainer / owner Jenny Bier and her partner Charlie Dombeck and Donttellmeagain (Tetrick) looks for his second score in the series for trainer Jimmy King and Paton Racing Stable.   The NYSS split into four very contentious $40,000 divisions as races 4, 6 & 8.   The beautiful new Tioga Downs hotel offers a resort feel that was not previously available as well as packages for a spa, stay, golf trifecta that has been designed especially for horsemen. Call (607) 699-3900 to make your reservation for a few days of bliss.   Post time for the big Sunday card is 1:00 pm.   by Nick Salvi, for Tioga Downs

Monticello, NY - Trackman Anthony Desimone worked hard the prior week and over the weekend to put the best possible racing surface together for the New York Sire Stakes first visit at Monticello Raceway on Monday June 1, but it was not to be. An overnight rain made the track slick for the first 3 races. As the day went on the track got better. The afternoon saw as Scott Zeron drive 3 winners, Ake Svanstedt and Trond Smedshammer each has 2 wins, Linda Toscano had 2 training wins and Ken Jacobs had 2 owner wins. Post time favorite Fury Road made an uncharacteristic break leaving the gate, in the short field of 6 and 2 others made miscues down the back side. Red Reign and Jordan Stratton inherited the lead and took the field thru soft fraction of 31,1:04, all the while Tribute To Seven was lurking in the 2 hole, at the 5/8 marker Scott Zeron had Tribute to Seven in high gear and had the lead at the ¾ in 1:31.0. From that point the son of Chapter 7 continued to open daylight on the field to win by 6 lengths in a pedestrian like 2:01. Tribute To Seven is trained by Linda Toscano for owner Richard Gutnink. Red Reign held on for second. The 2nd division of NYSS saw Lucky Ava destroy a field of her contemporaries as she cruised to an easy 11 length victory in 1:58.4 (LQ28.3) the fastest mile of the afternoon. The daughter of Lucky Chucky picked up her 3rd win of the young season for Co-owner - trainer - driver Ake Svanstedt and owners Little E LLC and Van Camp Trotting Corp, Lucky Ava was bred by co - owner Little E LLC. The win vaulted Lucky Ava over $250,00 in lifetime earnings, Jackie Newlands was second followed by Firm To Stay in the show spot Both Supergirl Riley (PP7) and Natalie Hanover (PP5) left the gate hard in the 3rd division of Sire Stakes, racing for a purse of $30,450, but it was Supergirl Riley who got there first, the duo cut fractions of 29.1, 1:00.2 1:29.2 and still remained 1-2 at the top of the stretch. Trond Smedshammer had Dew To Win in perfect position and overtook the leaders to prevail in 1:59 and returned $15.20. Dew To Win is owned by Purple Haze Stables LLC and picked up her 2 win of the year and is by Dewycheatumnhowe. Natalie Hanover hung on for second and Perfect Summer K was third. As Somedew Somedont cut the fractions of 30.4, 1:01.2, 1:31.1 Ake Svanstedt was content to sit the pocket with $300,00 yearling Ciao Dolce. The daughter of Credit Winner - Pizza Dolce popped out of the 2 hole in mid-stretch to notch the victory in 1:59.4, to score her maiden win, giving Ake Svanstead a driving and training double. Somedew Somedont finished a game second. The Excelsior A Abbie Hall (Conway Hall - Armbro Archer) made a hugh brush down the backside and won by 5 in 1:59.4 - $2.40 Pittstop Emerald tried to wire the field, but Girl Crush (Conway Hall) had other plans and won by a neck in 2:00 for driver Scott Zeron. Girl Crush is trained by the young Swede Lucas Wallin. Sassy Massy and Mark Whitcroft dodged traffic to take their division in 2:02.2 and returned a healthy $35.40 win ticket. The daughter of Muscle mass earned her 3rd consecutive win. Seven Karats went wire to wire in this field of 7 for trainer Linda Toscano in 1:59.1. The daughter of Chapter Seven is owned by Kenneth Jacobs and picked up her first pari mutual win of the year. Seven Karats was bred by Diamond Creek Farms LLC. Jordan Stratton and A Gift For You (Credit Winner) visited the winners circle after holding off White Cheetah in1:59.4, to give owner Ken Jacobs his double for the day Excelsior B Local Reisman Bruce Aldrich wired the field and skipped away by 4 lengths with Executive Decision (Conway Hall) in 2:02.2 for trainer Homer Hochstetler, she was followed by Byway and Coastie in the place and show position. Chasing Stardom (Deweycheatumnhowe) picked up her first lifetime win in 2:03.3, she is trained by Howard Okusko and was driven by Mark MacDonald. The Sire tally was Chapter Seven and Conway Hall both had 3 winners each on the afternoon. The 11-race card was well received as $689,836 was wagered on the afternoon. By Shawn Wiles, for Monticello Raceway

Vernon, NY - A sampling of top Hambletonian prospects will lead the charge to Monday's $500,000 Empire Breeders Classic (EBC) trotting finals at Vernon Downs as part of the Memorial Day matinee card beginning at 1:05 pm. The imposing Muscle Mass colt Six Pack (PP#2) equaled Market Share's track record of 1:52.1 in last week's elimination race and needed every bit of that strong effort to get past Helpisontheway by just a half-length on the wire for the win. He's won both of his seasonal starts at Vernon and heads into the $223,673 final (race 8) in top form for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt who owns the colt in partnership with Jeff Gural's Little E, LLC, Stall Kalmar and Lars Berg. Trainer Linda Toscano sends out a pair of leading contenders, both sired by her 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven. The aforementioned Helpisontheway (PP#3 Tim Tetrick) did much of the work before succumbing very late to Six Pack. He's owned by the trainer (as Camelot Stables) and The Bay's Stable. Local owner Ken Jacobs will watch his colt Seven Iron (PP #4 David Miller) who won the second EBC elimination. He's a rock solid trotter who gives an honest effort every time he puts his nose on the gate, was a Grand Circuit winner at The Red Mile and second in the Kindergarten final last season. The route to the $238,613 EBC filly final (race 9) winners circle appears to go through Atlanta, not the city but Rick Zeron's wicked fast Chapter Seven filly. She absolutely cruised to victory in 1:53.1, fastest of three elimination divisions for driver Scott Zeron and appeared to have plenty left. Atlanta will leave from post 4 as she carries the hopes of HA Taylor, Holland Racing and Brad Grant who own her in partnership with trainer Rick Zeron. Svanstedt manages the other two elim winners in Natalie Hanover and Plunge Blue Chip (Svanstedt) who start from the inside most posts respectively on Monday. Plunge Blue Chip was the state's top freshman filly trotter last season and also won the Grand Circuit stake Goldsmith Maid final, earning more than $400,000 at two for the trainer and his partners Blue Chip Bloodstock and Tomas Andersson. Natalie Hanover (Mark MacDonald) took a lifetime mark with her 1:54.1 score last week and seeks her biggest payday for Van Camp Trotting Corp, Anders Olsson, Lars Berg and Bjorn Nasstrom. The supporting card includes consolations for both EBC finals and a $120,000 New York Sires stake divided into three divisions, it's the first battle of the year for the state bred 3-year-old colt pacers. Vernon and the USTA Strategic Wagering Initiative have joined to offer a $3,000 guaranteed pool on a Pick 4 wager on races 6-9 that includes both EBC finals. Free program pages for the races included in the wager will be available on the web. From the press box at Vernon Downs    

New York, NY --- Defending champion Resolve on Tuesday drew post No. 6 and was made the 3-1 morning-line harness racing favorite for Saturday's $1 million Yonkers International Trot at Empire City Casino's Yonkers Raceway. The 6-year-old stallion will be driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt in the 1-1/4 mile invitational for older trotters. The 39th International Trot features a field of 10, with horses representing the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, and Sweden. The event's press conference and draw was held at Manhattan's 21 Club. Resolve, owned by Hans Enggren and one of two U.S. representatives, has won four of 10 races this year and earned $485,149. Two of his wins this season have come at distances greater than one mile; the Cutler Memorial and Cashman Memorial, both at 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. He faced international competition in Sweden's Elitloppet, where he finished third. For his career, Resolve has won 18 of 62 races and earned $2.61 million. "I would rather have seen him draw from (post) one through four, but you could have four other bad numbers too," said Sarah Svanstedt, the wife of Ake Svanstedt, who missed the draw because of driving commitments elsewhere. "He's in the middle. He's a versatile horse, so it's not too big of a problem." The International Trot was contested from 1959 through 1995 before being resurrected three years ago by Yonkers President and CEO Tim Rooney. Resolve will attempt to join Roquepine (1967-68), Delmonica Hanover (1973-74), Ideal Du Gazeau (1981-83) and Lutin D'Isigny (1984-85) as horses to win the event in consecutive years. Resolve enters the International Trot off a seventh-place finish in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot on Sept. 8 at Mohawk Racetrack. He was found to be sick, possibly from a tick bite. "We trained him and everything looks normal," Svanstedt said. "He looks happy and fresh. He will do his best to defend it. He's a fighter. I'm looking forward to Saturday." In Secret, the remaining U.S. representative, drew post eight and is 6-1 on the morning line. George Brennan will drive the Ron Burke trainee, who has won six of his past seven starts, all at Yonkers. The 5-year-old gelding has won 21 of 75 career races and earned $358,385. He is owned by Burke Racing, the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, J&T Silva Stables, and Larry Karr. "He gets around (Yonkers) really good," Brennan said. "It's unfortunate he's got the eight hole. That puts us up against it. I think he fits in real good, if he drew good. "But it's still a horserace. It doesn't matter where you draw, it matters where you finish." Canada's Marion Marauder, the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner and Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, drew post No. 1 and is 5-1 for driver Scott Zeron and the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. "I looked over at Scott and he said anything but the one (post) was going to be a disappointment, so he's happy," Keeling said. "We're pleased. Our nose is on the gate and that's the most important part." Marion Marauder, owned by Devin Keeling and Jean Wellwood, won this year's Hambletonian Maturity at the distance of 1-1/8 miles at the Meadowlands. The 4-year-old stallion has won 14 of 35 lifetime races and earned $2.22 million. Last year he won his elimination and final of the Yonkers Trot in his only career starts at Yonkers Raceway. He heads to the International Trot off a 1:53.4 win in a qualifier Oct. 3 at Mohawk Racetrack. His most recent race was Sept. 8, when he was eighth in his elimination for the Maple Leaf Trot. "He's healthy now," Keeling said. "He's trained great and he qualified great. We're just hoping for some good weather and a good day." Italy's Twister Bi, who won this year's Oslo Grand Prix and is trained by New England native Jerry Riordan, drew post four and is 4-1. France's Dreammoko, a son of 2015 International Trot runner-up and 2017 Elitloppet winner Timoko, will start from post three and is 6-1. Oasis Bi, another representative of Italy, drew post No. 2 and is 5-1. Oasis Bi finished second in last year's International Trot and is joined by Sweden's On Track Piraten as a three-time participant in the event. On Track Piraten, who finished fourth last year, starts this year from post 10 and is 8-1. Midnight Hour, a Diesel Don-sired 6-year-old gelding with two Group 1 wins under his belt this year, drew post seven and is 10-1. He is one of two horses representing Finland in the race. The other, Shadow Woodland, will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky and starts from post five at 12-1 on the morning line. Denmark's Tripolini VP drew post nine and is 15-1. The International Trot is part of a New York harness-record $3.3 million card at Yonkers on Saturday. Racing begins at 1 p.m. and includes eight New York Sire Stakes championships plus two $250,000 invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot. Following is the field in post-position order for the International Trot with drivers, trainers and morning line odds. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1. Marion Marauder-Scott Zeron-Paula Wellwood-5/1 2. Oasis Bi-Kim Eriksson-Stefan Pettersson-5/1 3. Dreammoko-Gabriele Gelormini-Richard Westerink-6/1 4. Twister Bi-Christoffer Eriksson-Jerry Riordan-4/1 5. Shadow Woodland-Tim Tetrick-Reijo Liljendahl-12/1 6. Resolve-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-3/1 7. Midnight Hour-Iikka Nurmonen-Ossi Nurmonen-10/1 8. In Secret-George Brennan-Ron Burke-6/1 9. Tripolini VP-Jeppe Juel-Jeppe Juel-15/1 10. On Track Piraten-Johnny Takter-Hans Stromberg-8/1 Note: Tripolini VP and On Track Piraten start from the second tier. For more information, visit www.internationaltrot.com. Ken Weingartner

YONKERS, NY, Monday, September 11, 2017-- Plunge Blue Chip and harness racing trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, returned to town Monday night (Sept. 11th), having missed 29 days with a scratch-sick in between. She was quite healthy, which in turn made her rivals very ill. Perfect 'Plunge' expunged Barn Bella from Yonkers Raceway's track records, highlighting the $157,000 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Three divisions--at $52,000, $52,000 and $53,00, respectively--comprised the event, with the starlet also serving as the opening act. Away third from post position No. 2, Plunge Blue Chip watched as Perfect Summer K (Brian Sears) gave her backers an early (:29, :59) thrill. Moving toward the 1:28.1 three-quarters, 'Plunge' engaged the leader, who offered no resistance. Plunge Blue Chip slapped a six-pack of lengths entering the lane, gearing down to win by 9¾ lengths in that new Westchester standard of 1:56.2…a full second faster than ‘Bella’ from a season ago. A Thing Goin' On (Brett Miller) was second, with Sevenbuyeleven (Jordan Stratton) third. For Plunge Blue Chip, a Muscle Mass miss co-owned by her driver/trainer and (breeder) Blue Chip Bloodstock, she's now 5-for-5 to begin her career. The exacta paid $4.70, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $25.80. "She had a cough (reason for Monticello NYSS scratch) and the time off before this race helped her," Svanstedt said. Driver/trainer doubled-up in the second statebred soiree, but at least this was a fair fight. Lucky Ava, from post No. 5, went the distance (:30.1, 1:00.3, 1:29.4, life-best 1:59.2) She held off pocket-sitting Setntheworldonfire (Andy McCarthy) by three-quarters of a length. White Cheetah (Mark MacDonald) was a first-up third. For 'Ava,' a Lucky Chucky lass co-owned by Svanstedt, Little E LLC and Van Camp Trotting, it was her fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The exacta paid $12.80, with the triple returning $32 (the six starters finished in ascending wagering order). The final Quaglietta contest saw odds-on Supergirl Riley (Marcus Miller, $3.90) dispose of her six inside foes in a down-the-road (:28, :58.1, 1:28.4, 1:58), win-by-2¾-lengths efforts Fury Road (McCarthy) chased the winner around the oval, with Lucky Rainbow (Brian Sears) third. For 'Riley,' a daughter of Muscle Mass trained by Erv Miller for co-owners Paymaq Racing, Harvey Eisman and George Golemes, it was her fourth win in seven '17 tries. The exacta paid $17.60, with the triple returning $59.50. This race completed a very popular all-odds-on Pick 5, which returned a season-low $22.12 for every correct 50-cent wager. Frank Drucker

Resolve will defend his title in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday afternoon, October 14, at Empire City Casino. Harness racing trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt, who steered the American flag-carrier to last year’s world record victory over Yonkers Raceway’s historic strip, has accepted the invitation to the 1-¼ mile global classic on behalf of owner Hans Enggren, according to Yonkers’ racing secretary Steve Starr.   France’s Dreamoko, the fastest from the first crop of standout Timoko, and Italy’s Twister Bi have also accepted invitations to participate in the 39th edition of the worldwide trotting affair. Resolve will attempt to become the first U.S.A. representative to win back to back Internationals since Delmonica Hanover in 1973-74.  Roquepine (1967-68), Ideal du Gazeau, the only three-time champion (1982-83-84) and Lutin d’Isigny – all of France – are the only other three to win consecutive Internationals. Starr also reported that he and his team have had discussions with representatives of Sweden’s Nuncio, the 2014 Yonkers Trot champion and last year’s Elitlopp winner; another popular Swedish trotter Spitcam Jubb; the French-bred Aubrion Du Gers; last year’s Hambletonian and Yonkers Trot champ, Canada’s Marion Marauder; and Tripolini VP of Denmark about entering the lineup. The winner of this Saturday’s $500,000 Yonkers Trot (September 2), the second jewel in trotting’s Triple Crown, will also be extended an invitation, and that a pair of two-time Yonkers International participants – Italy’s Oasis Bi and Sweden’s On Track Piraten– are under consideration. Starr added that major trotting stakes in September and October that will help to determine the Yonkers International Trot field also include: The European Trotting Masters Finale (Hippodrome Vincennes/Paris, September 9), the Maple Leaf Trot (Mohawk Raceway, September 16), the Centaur Trotting Classic (Hoosier, September 22), the Dayton Trotting Derby (Dayton, OH, September 29), and the Allerage Farms Open Trot (Lexington, October 8). By John Cirillo

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