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Sebastian K is ready to begin his final season of harness racing and is returning to where he made history. The award-winning 9-year-old trotter will make his 2015 debut in Saturday's $75,000 Sun Invitational at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, the same track where he won in 1:49 last season to establish the record for harness racing's fastest-ever trotting mile. Sebastian K and trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt will start from post No. 3 in the seven-horse Sun Invitational field and are 3-1 on the morning line. JL Cruze, who has won 13 of 15 races this year, is the 5-2 favorite. He will start from post five with John Campbell driving for trainer Eric Ell. The remainder of the field is My Love Bi, Hot Shot Blue Chip, Daylon Miracle, Gural Hanover, and Classic Martine. Sebastian K, owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., won eight of 13 races last year and received the Dan Patch Award as the sport's best older male trotter. He arrived in the U.S. last year after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his world-record 1:49 triumph at Pocono. "It was a wonderful year and it was so pleasing to see how well Sebastian K adapted to the North American tracks and conditions," said Tristan Sjoberg, who with his brother Michael Knutsson makes up Knutsson Trotting Inc. "It was fantastic. We always thought it would suit him, but to see him come flying out of the blocks in (his 2014 debut) and win so convincingly was just great." Sebastian K had eight wins and one second-place finish (by a nose) in his first nine races last year. But prior to competing in North America, the horse never raced on consecutive weekends, which he did through last July and into August. Following that stretch, he had only one win and a total of two on-the-board finishes in five starts. "He is like a Thoroughbred and does not like to race too often, so I wished we would have closed out the season earlier than we did as he was showing signs of fatigue towards October and November," Sjoberg said. "For us and Ake it will be very beneficial to have that freshman year under our belts. We have learned a lot and have adapted to how things are done in the U.S. in comparison to over in Europe. "We will shorten the season for Sebastian and only really race him (July) to October as opposed to May to November last year." Sebastian K handled stud duty during his offseason, which he had done previously in 2012 but not in 2013 or 2014. "We decided to breed him this year for the European market as breeders had contacted us since he broke the world record last year," Sjoberg said. "We are delighted by the demand from Europe and we hope that North American breeders will be as enthusiastic when he retires at the end of this season." Sebastian K, who saw his 2015 campaign delayed because of ulcers, prepped for Saturday's debut with a 1:53.4 win in a qualifier on June 20 at the Meadowlands. "My expectations are modest as this is very much seen as a 'bonus' year for us," Sjoberg said. "This will be his last year of racing and while he is training very well and actually feels smoother and stronger in training, he is 9 years old and should not be at his peak. But he is in great condition and just look what (Breeders Crown champion) Commander Crowe did last year when he was 11 years old. "I am sure Sebastian K will be as competitive this year as last year. The competition has totally changed with many of last year's aged trotters retiring or shipped to Europe so he will face a new group of horses and that will be exciting for fans." One of the new faces Sebastian K will see is JL Cruze, who enters the Sun Invitational off two victories over Dan Patch Award-winner Father Patrick in the Graduate Series at the Meadowlands. His most recent triumph, on June 19, came in a career-best 1:50.4. Daylon Miracle, one of three female trotters in the field, along with Dan Patch Award-winner Classic Martine and My Love Bi, heads to the Sun Invitational with three wins in her most recent four starts while Gural Hanover arrives fresh off a 1:53 victory at Harrah's Philadelphia. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

There were five stallion series races for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday (June 24), each going for a purse of $20,000. The fastest of which went to Albert and Michelle Crawford's Sistas (Geo. Napolitano Jr.). The Daughter of Andover Hall was able to repel the bid of six-time winner Speak To Me (Scott Zeron) to secure back to back wins in a time of 1:54.3. The Chris Oakes trainee now has six wins of fourteen career starts, with earnings close to $40,000. Trainer/Driver Ake Svanstedt had two stallion series wins on the day. Joe Lozito's Setubal closed sharply to pick up her second win in just four lifetime starts. The daughter of Yankee Glide was six lengths off the lead at three-quarters, before closing in :29.1 to narrowly defeat Seduce A Stranger (Geo. Napolitano Jr.) by a neck in 1:57.1. Svanstedt's second stallion series win came when Top Ten Racing Stable's Scented Roses took advantage of the pocket trip. The daughter of Cantab Hall edged off the pylons to out close long shot Vanity Blast (Dave Miller) to win by two lengths, stopping the clock in 1:56.4. Other stallion series winners included Hauser Brothers and Conrad Zurich's Day Lily (Tim Tetrick). The daughter of Andover Hall was a gate-to-wire winner in 1:55. Another daughter of Andover Hall Lilu Hanover (Jimmy Taker) was successful in her division. She was able to quarter-brush to the top and hold off Murderers Row (Tim Tetrick) in the late stages to win by a head in 1:55.2. Michael Bozich

Sebastian K does not make his 2015 harness racing debut for another 11 days, but trainer Ake Svanstedt has another Swedish-born stakes-winner ready to go Friday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Mr Picolit, an 8-year-old male trotter who won the 2013 Copenhagen Cup, gets his first start in North America on Friday when he faces five rivals in the third round of the TVG Free For All Series for older trotters at the Big M. He will start from post six with Svanstedt at the lines. The remainder of the field, in post order, is DW's NY Yank, Melady's Monet, Master Of Law, Obrigado, and Flanagan Memory. Mr Picolit, who is owned by Hans Gunnar Heed's Stall Musse Inc. and has earned $533,949 (U.S.) in his career, prepped for his debut with a third-place finish in a qualifier on June 6 at the Meadowlands. He was timed in 1:55. He is a son of 2001 Hambletonian winner Scarlet Knight, out of the mare Good Enough. Mr Picolit will become only the second Scarlet Knight-sired horse to ever race in North America, joining mare Oblige As, who won two of five starts in Canada in 2010. "He feels good," Svanstedt said on Tuesday about Mr Picolit. "I think he can do a good race. I think he can race fast." In Europe, Svanstedt said, Mr Picolit was best at distances greater than one mile, particularly 1-1/4 miles, which was the distance of the Copenhagen Cup. Svanstedt drove and trained Mr Picolit prior to moving his family and stable to the U.S. in the winter of 2013. "In Sweden he did the best races at one mile and a quarter," Svanstedt said. "But he's fast too. If they go fast the whole race, it's good for him because he's a strong horse. In Sweden they go fast the first quarter, then (ease) up, and then go fast the last quarter. So at a mile, it was sometimes too fast for him in the last quarter." Svanstedt hopes Mr Picolit has the ability to compete with the top trotters in North America, including his stablemate Sebastian K. "We'll see on Friday," Svanstedt said. "He feels good when I train him so I hope he's going to do a good race. I'm excited." Last year, Sebastian K won eight of 13 races and earned $663,853 on his way to receiving the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. He trotted the fastest mile in history when he won in 1:49 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, which is where he will make his seasonal debut on July 4. "He feels good; he feels even better than last year," Svanstedt said. "It is so nice to drive him. Everything he does is so easy." For more about Svanstedt and his second year of racing in the U.S., check out Hoof Beats magazine's July issue feature here. Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ --- World champion Sebastian K, the fastest trotter in harness racing history, made his 2015 debut in Saturday's qualifiers at the Meadowlands Racetrack and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt said the 9-year-old trotter felt good after having the start of his campaign delayed because of ulcers. In fact, the returning Dan Patch Award-winning divisional champion might have felt a little too good. "He was too good; I drove too fast," Svanstedt said after Sebastian K won his qualifier in 1:53.4 with a final quarter-mile in :26.4 in a light rain. "I was hoping to go in (1):55 or (1):56, but he feels so good. It was tough to feel the tempo. I had the (stop)watch, but I missed it. "Now he is healthy again and he feels good. Better than last year. He will start in two weeks at Pocono, on the Fourth of July." Sebastian K, owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., won eight of 13 races last year and was named the sport's best older male trotter. He arrived in the U.S. last year after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands (off a qualifier in 1:56.2) and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his world-record 1:49 triumph at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Overcast skies, moderate temperatures and little to no breeze greeted the harness racing enthusiasts that attended the Breakfast with the Babies card to watch 15 races of 2-year-olds in addition to the son of Korean, Sebastian K. Jimmy Takter and Yannick Gingras started right off with a winner in the first with $102,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale (LSYS) graduate I'm Outstanding. The Donato Hanover filly was sent up for the lead as the field neared the 1:01.2 half then coasted in for the 2:00.1 score over pocket-sitter Margarita M with Posterity lasting for third after a long uncovered bid. Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman share ownership. Another well-regarded trotting duo hooked up to win the second race. Dave Miller drove Ready Any Time ($62,000 Standardbred Horse Sales) to an impressive 1:58.4 win for trainer "Nifty" Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Dave McDuffee, Little E, LLC and breeder Herb Liverman. Miller settled the Kadabra lass in behind eventual third place finisher Lindy's On Fire through the 1:30.2 three quarters then tipped off that one while closing in 28.2 for the comfortable win. Silent Blessings impressed with good late trot to be second for the Johanssons. Takter took the lines, but no prisoners with the Marvin Katz / Al Libfeld homebred Muscle Hill filly All The Time, leading all the way from post nine to win in 1:58.1 with a 27.3 final quarter under her own power. Encore Gold tracked the winner throughout and held well to be second for Charlie Norris. "All The Time was very good," Takter said. "She was just babied last week; I sat back with her. Today, she flew out of the gate like a rocket. She was strong." Miller and Norman again combined to win race four with Levitator, coming first over in 1:58.4 / 28.1. Nifty has had a remarkable run of success with fillies by Kadabra and by the looks of today's winning pair that run is going to continue. The winner was a $120,000 SHS buy for the same partnership as the above mentioned Ready Any Time. Gifted Lady made a late gain to be second in this one for Takter. "Nifty has got some nice fillies there," Miller said. "They went well last week and they came back and were stronger this week. It looks good for him. Right now their manners and gait is a big thing. So far, both of them have got that; real good manners, real good gait. It's good." More Katz & Libfeld home cookin' in the fifth race with the grand looking Donato Hanover filly Womans Will winning easily after leading all the way for Andy Miller in 1:58 / :28. Trained in the Julie Miller barn, Womans Will had a Gaitway 1:59 romp on her resume and bears watching. Colts came up after the break and Stayin Strong parlayed a pocket trip into a 2:00.1 win for Andy and Julie Miller, holding off the late charge of Boyz N Guitars and Sliding Home through the 28.4 final panel. He is a Muscles Yankee bought by Jason and Doug Allen at SHS last fall for the bargain price of $15,000. "Andy and I have been pretty high on them all winter long training down, but when you finally get to the baby races that kind of separates the men from the boys," Julie Miller said about Womans Will and Stayin Strong. "Andy was real pleased with Womans Will. She's two fingers to drive and a pleasure to be around. That was a nice last quarter and Andy said he didn't even ask her. I think she was well within herself. "If things keep going in the right direction I think she'll be a top filly. Coming up her and being at the Meadowlands, it was a new venue for her and she handled it well. She wasn't stressed out, she remained a professional, and I was real pleased with her." Just For Today took over before the half for Mark MacDonald and led the rest of the way to win the seventh in 1:59.3 with a 28.2 close. He's a Credit Winner trained by Paul Kelley for Patricia Stable, Joe Sbrocco and Bud Hatfield who paid $85,000 for him at Harrisburg. Dave McDuffee's homebred Donato colt Granite State from his good race mare Bella Dolce closed will into the fast last quarter here. Gingras drove Takter's Muscle Massive colt Dominus Hanover to a 1:59 / 28.3 win, taking over before the half and opening a long lead before coasting in over the late closing Brooklyn Hill and Dominion Beach. He is a SHS graduate at a cost of $60,000 to Christina Takter, Black Horse Racing and RAW Equine. Goin To The Limit left quickly from the outside and set all the numbers, winning in 1:58.3 / 28.1 for Tim Tetrick. This Donato Hanover colt from Azalea Gal was another $15,000 bargain, this time selected from the Lexington sale by trainer Tony Alagna for his interests along with partners Jodi Siamis, John Fodera and Tangie Massey. Jack Vernon showed grit in holding off the determined bid of Brownie Hanover in the stretch for John Campbell in 1:59.3 with a 28 second close. Randy Beeckman selected the Muscle Hill colt from Vernon Blue Chip at the SHS for $50,000 for owners the Miller's Stable of Kentucky. Pacing fillies came up in the eleventh and the Diamond Creek homebred Somebeachsomewhere filly Pure Country dazzled the crowd with a 1:54.4 win, setting all the pace and sprinting home in 26.4 for Brett Miller and Takter. Blue Moon Stride stayed on well for second in this one. "So far she's very special, really good," Takter said. "She's powerful." The $5,500 SHS chestnut Shadow Play filly Miss Read won her third baby race for Tyler and Leigh Raymer with Corey Callahan steering her to a front running 1:56 win with a 27.1 final quarter. She came in with a pair of Pocono scores and answered affirmatively when faced with this royally bred field of competitors in her Meadowlands debut. Bank Shot Hanover made it a consecutive double for chestnuts, winning in 1:55.2 for Scott Zeron. The Panderosa colt set all the fractions and used a 27.2 final quarter to hold Headforthebeach a length. It was the second start for Bob Di Nozzi's freshman who flashed some talent with the owner driving last week. He is trained by Daniel Renaud. Trainer Steve Elliott is on some roll this year and he sent out Boston Red Socks by Rocknroll Hanover, a winner in 1:54.2 this morning for Peter Blood and Rick Berks, the same connections as last night's Graduate leg winner Doo Wop Hanover. John Campbell was the driver in both instances, putting Boston Red Socks into the race from post ten going right to the top, releasing Fast And Victorious for the middle half then powering by in the 27.4 last panel. He was a $50,000 Harrisburg buy. Capital Builder was a good second for Alagna and Zeron. Another winner came from post ten in the very next race in the Rocknroll Hanover colt Ideal Rocky for Callahan. He got a tuck in third early, moved up a spot when Highlandbeachycove broke on the lead by the half then closed inside JJ Flynn through the 27.1 final quarter for the 1:54.4 win. John Butenschoen trains the $47,000 SHS buy for mid-west owners W. Wiswell, J. Goehlen & E. Schick. Other older horses to post qualifier wins Saturday were 3-year-old male trotter Guess Whos Back, who won in 1:54.2 for trainer Nik Drennan and driver Brian Sears, as well as 3-year-old male pacer Lyons Levi Lewis, who won in 1:50.4 for trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras. Race 1 - I'm Outstanding by Donato Hanover Race 2 - Ready Any Time by Kadabra Race 3 - All The Time by Muscle Hill Race 4 - Levitator by Kadabra Race 5 - Womans Will by Donato Hanover  Race 6 - Stayin Strong by Muscles Yankee Race 7 - Just For Today by Credit Winner Race 8 - Dominus Hanover by Muscle Massive Race 9 - Goin To The Limit by Donato Hanover Race 10 - Jack Vernon by Muscle Hill Race 11 - Pure Country by Somebeachsomewhere Race 12 - Miss Read by Shadow Play Race 13 - Bank Shot Hanover by The Panderosa Race 14 - Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover Race 15 - Ideal Rocky by Rocknroll Hanover Sebastian KS By Nick Salvi and Ken Weingartner

There were just a few (five) qualifiers on a blustery Breeders Crown Saturday morning at The Meadowlands held under sunny skies with temperatures in the mid- 30's and a considerable cross-wind.   Sebastian K came out to get some pre-TVG Final work in and he looked sharp in a 1:55 win for Ake Svanstedt.   Sebastian left the gate alertly with ears pricked, then allowed Svanstedt to rate him through a kind 59.4 half with Lindy's Tru Grit in close pocket attendance. The pair of trotters finished the mile out with a final quarter of 27 flat,   Sebastian K held to be a comfortable three-quarters length winner over a very willing Lindy's Tru Grit who closed it up a bit near the wire for Tetrick.   Race three saw a pair of nice three year old pacers zipped around the oval in 1:53.4 / 26.4 with Ontario-bred Play It Again Sam holding off early season sensation National Debt.   Golden Receiver looked fantastic in a 1:52.1 / 26.2 romp, leading all the way with driver Andy Miller never straightening up on him. The "Golden One" has the TVG Final next week if his connections so choose and he certainly made a case for himself this morning.   To view the qualifying races at the Meadowlands click here.   The Breeders Crown championship races continue at The Meadowlands this evening with first post at 7:15. It's quite a card, the weather looks good and excitement is high. Get any info you may desire on tonight's racing at www.playmeadowlands.com.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A once-in-a-generation harness racing horse will race at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Friday night November 21 at 7:15 p.m. White Bliss, a registered white Standardbred, will make his second career start in Friday's first race. The race kicks off a championship weekend at "The Big M" featuring the $5.5 million Breeders Crown, a 12-race series that annually helps determine harness racing's year-end champions. White Standardbreds make up less than one-percent of the entire breed. In fact, the odds of White Bliss being born completely white was a 1 in 200,000 longshot since his parents were both bay or brown in color. White Bliss is the first white standardbred born to bay-colored parents in North America since 1998. "We are delighted that White Bliss can make his final start of the season at The Meadowlands," said Swedish owner Tristan Sjoberg. "Due to a bout of colic and then illness he has made his debut very late in the season, but he has improved with each qualifier." White Bliss was purchased at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA for an impressive $240,000 by Sjoberg, who bought the horse as a Christmas present for his mother. Trained by fellow Swede Ake Svanstedt, White Bliss finished third in his first career race on November 11 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. "He was boxed in for most of his debut race, but showed an impressive turn of speed in the lightning lane on the home stretch," explained Sjoberg. "We are hoping that he can develop further over the winter months and we have set our sights on most of the major stakes races in 2015. After Friday he heads down to Florida to work on his tan for a few months before training for the 3YO season starts in earnest. In the stable at Legend Farm, he is placed right next to Sebastian K so I hope 'Seabass' has given Bliss some tips how to run fast." The $5.5 million Breeders Crown championships will also be raced at "The Big M" this weekend. From the Meadowlands Press Box

It wasn’t a Hollywood ending for White Bliss in his pari-mutuel debut Tuesday evening at Pocono Downs, but the white colt’s connections would have to be pleased with his third-place finish. Trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, White Bliss got away fifth before being shuffled to sixth as the field reached the mid-way point of the $12,000 event for horses that were non-winners of a race. He was fifth at the three-quarter pole before advancing to fourth at the top of the stretch. After chasing fractions of just :27.3, :57.1 and 1:24.4 the youngster, who was sent off at odds of 4-1, fired home in :28.1 to finish third – a mere length behind the eventual winner. The race was won in a tight photo finish by Royal Kee Wee N (Andrew McCarthy) over Allie's Dragon (Marcus Miller) in 1:53.3. The son of Art Major-Coochie Mama, who paced his own mile in 1:53.4, for Knutsson Trotting Inc. (Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg) and Asa Sjoberg. White Bliss sold for $240,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. The colt prepped for his debut with three qualifiers at Pocono Downs. He was timed in 1:56.3 in the most recent, on Oct. 23. Click here to watch the video race replay. From Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- Not often is there an opportunity to bet on a 200,000-to-1 shot, but such will be the case Tuesday at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. At least figuratively. White Bliss, the rare white harness racing horse, makes his career debut in race No. 11 at Pocono Downs. The race is scheduled for 9:30 p.m., approximately. Ake Svanstedt, who trains White Bliss, will drive the 2-year-old colt pacer in the race for maiden 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds. White Bliss will start from post four and is 4-1 on the morning line. White Bliss is a son of the bay colored stallion Art Major and bay mare Coochie Mama. Approximately 200,000 Standardbred foals were born of bay parents since the birth of the previous white horse, a filly named Historicallyunique, in Ontario in 1998. Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. (Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg) and Asa Sjoberg, White Bliss sold for $240,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. The colt prepped for his debut with three qualifiers at Pocono Downs. He was timed in 1:56.3 in the most recent, on Oct. 23. “He was very green in his first start, but he’s gotten better and better in each qualifier,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, who is Svanstedt’s assistant trainer. “If he goes (1):53 or (1):54 that wouldn’t surprise me.” White Bliss suffered a bout of colic in the winter and some growing pains during the summer, which pushed back his debut, but Noren likes the way the colt approaches his work. “He has a great attitude,” Noren said. “He wants to do it. I think the more he races, the better he’ll get.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Harrisburg, PA --- Trond Smedshammer bought only two horses during Monday's opening round of the Standardbred Horse Sale, but came away with more than a handful in the second session. Smedshammer on Tuesday purchased eight yearlings at the sale, with one being tied for eighth highest in price. "The ones that I really wanted yesterday just went too high," Smedshammer said. "There were more horses today, and more opportunities. I'm not a big fan of buying those $200,000 ones. There were a couple yesterday that I wish I would have gotten that went for that kind of money, but you've got to try to keep it down a little bit." Smedshammer was not alone in increasing his productivity Tuesday. Trainer Ake Svanstedt signed for seven horses in the second session, including the day's sales topper, colt trotter Gotalottacredit, who sold for $225,000. He had three in the top 20 after not having any of the top sellers Monday. "We were active yesterday, but we didn't get the horses," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, who is Svanstedt's assistant. "We put a price on them and they went a little higher than we wanted. We got outbid on the expensive one (Brooklyn Hill at $390,000) and a couple other ones." A total of 314 horses sold Tuesday for an average of $36,748, a 7.5 percent decrease from the $39,710 average for 298 yearlings sold in the second session of 2013. The 2014 average is nearly identical to 2012, when 307 horses sold for an average of $36,821. Through two days, a total of 535 horses were sold at an average of $46,748, a drop of 7.3 percent from the average of $50,426 for 516 yearlings in 2013. Compared to 2012, this year's sale is up 5.8 percent. But this year's averages in Harrisburg have been perplexing when put against the recently completed Lexington Selected Sale, which enjoyed a 10.6 percent increase compared to 2013. "(Today) was consistent with yesterday," Standardbred Horse Sale President Pete Spears said. "You'd have to ask the (buyers). There are some folks that normally buy a little heavier that haven't bought as heavily and I can't really explain that. "Trying to explain the difference between here and Lexington, I think we would have to dig down a lot deeper than I'm able to do right now." Two sessions remain for the yearlings, Wednesday and Thursday, at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex. "I just don't have a read on this. I really don't," Spears said. "It looked like people had done an extraordinary amount of homework and it really seemed like there were a lot of people who just simply needed animals. If that analysis still holds true, there are only two more days to do it. That's a very simplistic argument, I think, but we can all hope that's the case." Smedshammer, for one, was surprised by the numbers. "I think (the sale) is strong," he said. "I know it was down a little bit (Monday) but it certainly didn't feel that way because it was difficult to buy." Gotalottacredit was the only horse to sell for at least $200,000 during the second session this year, compared to three horses to reach that level in 2013. But a total of 15 horses sold for at least $100,000, an increase of one compared to last year. A son of Credit Winner out of the mare Valotta, Gotalottacredit's family includes 1999 O'Brien Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter Uhadadream. "He was a very good looking colt," said Noren, indicating the horse was purchased for Mellby Gard. "The conformation was perfect. He looked like a real colt." Filly trotter Explosive Lynn was the day's second-highest seller, at $140,000, and went to trainer Jimmy Takter. Explosive Lynn, a daughter of Explosive Matter-U Wanna Lindy, is a three-quarter-sister to Takter-trained Wild Honey, who has won eight of nine races this season at age 2. Wild Honey is the fastest 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile track in history, with a time of 1:55.2. "I was happy to get her," Takter said. "Wild Honey is a very, very good horse. The only drawback is she could have been a little bigger and this filly is a good sized filly. Does she have the same determination as her sister? We'll find out." Autotune Hanover, a colt whose family includes millionaire Aracache Hanover, was the top-priced pacer, selling for $120,000. A son of Art Major out of the mare Anderosa Hanover, he was purchased by Mark Harder. DAY 2 - TOP 20 Hip-Sex-Gait-Name-Sire-Dam-Buyer-Price 455-C-T-Gotalottacredit-Credit Winner-Valotta-Ake Svanstedt-$225,000 454-F-T-Explosive Lynn-Explosive Matter-U Wanna Lindy-Jimmy Takter-$140,000 268-C-T-Cantabs Cash-Cantab Hall-Four Starz Dlh-Courant AB/Knutsson Trotting-$135,000 348-C-T-Colonel Cantab-Cantab Hall-Missys Mission-Staffan Lind-$130,000 484-C-P-Autotune Hanover-Art Major-Anderosa Hanover-Mark Harder-$120,000 353-F-T-Mind Meld-Donato Hanover-Myth-Jack De Jong, agent-$112,000 537-C-P-Twin B George-Roll With Joe-Chatelaine-Jeff Snyder-$110,000 248-C-P-Easy Lover Hanover-Somebeachsomewhere-Easy Go Go-Myron Bell, agent-$100,000 269-C-T-Free Willy Hanover-Credit Winner-Free Spirit-Trond Smedshammer-$100,000 271-C-T-Can We Have Fun-Cantab Hall-Fun For Us-Ake Svanstedt, agent-$100,000 281-C-P-Dash Of Danger-Western Terror-Grand Lady-Marvin Rounick-$100,000 461-C-P-Newsmaker Bluechip-American Ideal-Cantor's Daughter-Ken Jacobs-$100,000 465-C-T-The Royal Harry-RC Royalty-Wilsonator-Harry Pozetsky, agent-$100,000 479-F-T-Candy Lane-Cantab Hall-Almond Joy-Ake Svanstedt/Mellby Gard-$100,000 518-C-P-Western Dynasty-Western Ideal-Caitlin Q-Robert Mondillo-$100,000 340-C-P-Nocturnal Bluechip-Bettor's Delight-Mcarts N Crafts-Mark Steacy-$97,000 505-F-T-Noblesse Blue Chip-Credit Winner-Reven Crown-Eugene Kurzrok-$92,000 277-F-T-Athena's Mission-Manofmanymissions-Goddess Of War-Marvin Chantler-$90,000 311-C-P-Try That Beach-Somebeachsomewhere-Katie My Girl-Jimmy Takter-$90,000 517-F-P-Bluecollar Hanover-Bettor's Delight-But I Like It-Myron Bell, agent-$90,000 by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Highest Peak took advantage of both parts of the 1-5 favored entry of Market Rally and Avalicious going off stride to capture Saturday's $124,590 Hudson Trot for 3-year-old fillies at Yonkers Raceway in a time of 1:58.2. Sent off at odds of 8-1, Highest Peak and driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt saw Market Rally make a break on the first turn and Avalicious go off stride on the second turn. Market Rally fought back to take the lead from Highest Peak at the halfway point, reached in 1:00, but was unable to sustain the effort. Highest Peak reclaimed the lead in the stretch and held off Mistresswithmuscle by 1-1/2 lengths. Bambino Supreme finished third. Highest Peak (Andover Hall-Highland Glider) has won five of 14 races this year and $133,850. Svanstedt owns the filly, which he purchased in August. "She minded her manners," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, Svanstedt's assistant trainer. "We were attracted to her because she's a nice bred filly and she was good on her manners for (former trainer) Noel Daley. "She had been training good and I thought she would have a good chance tonight." Act Now, the 1-5 favorite, took the lead from Tyra in the early moments of the race and cruised to a 1:53 win in Saturday's $150,854 Lady Maud Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Fancy Desire, who was parked for much of the mile, finished second and Beautiful Lady was third. George Brennan drove Act Now (Western Ideal-CPA) for trainer Nik Drennan and owners Joe Davino and Patrick O'Brien. She has won five of 12 races this year and $307,444. "She was really good," Brennan said. "She was a little hotter than I wanted, she was hitting my bike a little, that's why I got down there a little quicker in three-quarters (in 1:24.3) but she was well in hand. She was good." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

In the world of harness racing there is not much that super star trotter Sebastian K has not done. The eight-year-old stallion by Korean has nearly $3 million in career earnings, has won most every major event in Europe, came to the USA this year and scored the fastest one mile race in Standardbred history with his 1:49 mile at Pocono Downs. So what’s left for the world champion to prove? How about making his first start ever on a half mile track! That’s right. Sebastian K has never raced on a half mile oval. He has 74 lifetime starts, 34 wins, 14 seconds and 2 thirds in his championship career. But can he handle the sharper turns on a half mile track? “It will not be a problem,” said Bjorn “Bernie” Noren, second trainer for Ake Svanstedt, “He (Sebastian K) is in good shape and with his quick early speed he will be OK on the smaller track.” This Saturday Sebastian K and Svanstedt will start from post six in the $250,000 International Trot Preview at Yonkers Raceway. The invitational event has drawn eight of the top trotters in racing. Included in the field and making his USA debut of another European champion, Commander Crowe, who has raced against Sebastian K in the past. Also in the field and the only mare against male rivals, is the 2013 Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician. In fact, the total career earnings of the eight horses in the race is an amazing $17 million. Both Commander Crowe and Arch Madness are career earners of more than $4 million each. The Yonkers International Trot also tests the stamina of these champion trotters as the race is not the usual distance of one mile, the mainstay of North American harness racing, but is an extra distance race at one and one-quarter mile. How will that affect Sebastian K, who now has to maneuver the sharper turns of a half mile oval five times instead of just four times. “It will affect the American horses much more than it will Sebastian K,” said Noren. “They are not use to going an extra quarter mile, but Sebastian K, Commander Crowe and Arch Madness have all raced extra distances and should have an advantage over the other horses.” Commander Crowe has just come over from Europe and may not have had enough time to recover from the stress of trip and according to Noren, “He may not be at 100% for this race. He is a very great horse but the trip overseas is very tough on a horse. He could be in good shape but I would look for him to be at his best for the Breeders Crown next month at the Meadowlands. “It is good that he (Commander Crowe) has come over here to race,” Noren added, “The competition will help make the races more exciting for everyone here.” When asked to size up the competition against Sebastian K on Saturday, Noren summed it up. “Of course Sebastian K is the best in the race,” Noren chuckled, “And Ake Svantsted is so good at measuring a horse in an extra distance race. I think that Archangel and Arch Madness can be good and if Commander Crowe is feeling good he will be tough too.” The big question in the race will be that most of the horses entered have not set foot on a half mile track for most of their careers and they include Commander Crowe, Archangel, Sebastian K, Natural Herbie and Not Afraid. That’s five of the eight starters. And the other three, Bee A Magician, Obrigado and Arch Madness, have all won or were second in their last starts on Yonkers half mile oval. The morning line has Natural Herbie from post seven as the 3-1 race favorite. He is on a three-race winning streak. Arch Madness is the second choice at odds of 7/2 and for the first time since arriving in the USA, Sebastian K is not the race favorite in the morning line, but third choice at 4-1. With such keen competition, the revival of the International Trot will be quite the event to watch this weekend. Here is the field in post position order: $250,000 International Trot Preview 1 ¼ miles Commander Crowe (Orjan Kihlstrom) 8-1 Bee A Magician (David Miller) 8-1 Archangel (Matt Kakaley) 6-1 Obrigado (Jason Bartlett) 5-1 Arch Madness (George Brennan) 7/2 Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) 4-1 Natural Herbie (Verlin Yoder) 3-1 Not Afraid (Brett Miller) 20-1 By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com 

VERNON, NY - On Friday, October 24, world champion colt Centurion ATM travels to Vernon Downs to headline three divisions of the Simpson Stakes for two-year-old trotters. Four other divisions featuring freshman filly trotters and colt and filly pacers make up the thirteen-race card that features purses totaling more than $140,000. Racing begins at 6:45 p.m. This year, Centurion ATM has been carving his path to stardom. In just his fourth career start on Hambletonian Day at the Meadowlands, the two-year-old son of SJ's Caviar set a world record when he won the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial by more than three lengths in a time of 1:53.2. Centurion ATM, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, finished a close second and third most recently in a pair of starts during the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile in Lexington. "He hasn't raced in three weeks and we needed to get a race into him because we didn't want to take him up to Canada," stated assistant trainer Bernie Noren. "He's our best two-year-old and we are pointing him for the Breeders Crown. We think Vernon Downs is a great track, especially for young horses." Owners Knutsson Trotting and Courant A B purchased Centurion ATM at the Harrisburg Sale last fall for $100,000. His siblings include Triumphant Caviar, a winner of nearly $800,000 and former Kentucky Sires Stakes champion Prayer Session. "He has the right look, the right conformation, and we knew we'd have to pay that much for a horse as good looking and with as good of a family as he has," continued Noren. "But his greatest asset is that he has the desire to win and a great set of lungs." While Centurion ATM's stable mate and trotter of the fastest mile in history, Sebastian K, didn't gain notoriety until he was an older horse, Noren said he sees at least one similarity between the two horses: "Centurion ATM broke the world record at the Meadowlands and also raced in Lexington barefoot, just like Sebastian K does." Sebastian K has earned nearly $3 million in purses in his lifetime. Noren said he looks forward to racing Centurion ATM this Friday at Vernon Downs to prepare for the $5.4 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's championship event. After the Breeders Crown on November 21-22 at the Meadowlands, Noren said his young trotter will spend the winter in Florida to prepare for a run at The Hambletonian in August of 2015. Vernon Downs is a 61-year-old harness racing track in beautiful Vernon, New York, 40 minutes east of Syracuse. The racing season continues on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through November 1. For more information please visit vernondowns.com. by Justin Horowitz, for Vernon Downs

It's hard to believe that we are entering the final month of the 2014 racing season at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. In just a few weeks, we'll be handing out yearend awards and trying to sum up what has been another wonderful racing meet. But the action hasn't abated yet, as evidenced by another thrilling week of racing. Let's take a look at the top performances by handing out the Weekly Awards. PACER OF THE WEEK: TALK STRATEGY This 4-year-old stallion had been quite a surprise in his previous two starts, winning in come-from-behind fashion at long odds both times. He scored at 9-1 two starts ago and then rallied from last to first to win last week at 11-1. Since he had been racing in a non-winners of five condition with an optional claiming price in those races, he was scooped up for the claiming price after the last start and joined the barn of Chris Oakes. On Tuesday night, Talk Strategy lined up to attempt a Third Straight victory against the same class, but he was the second choice behind speedy Southwind Terror. Sure enough, Southwind Terror streaked to the front end and tried to bottom out the field by pacing unconscious fractions. Only he didn't count on Talk Strategy staying close enough behind him to apply pressure. As they rounded the final turn, the fractions caught up with Southwind Terror and he went off stride into the infield. Since those top two had separated from the rest, Talk Strategy, with George Napolitano Jr. in the bike, suddenly found himself with a huge lead. He coasted from there to the win, his Third Straight, with this one coming in a new career-best 1:50:2. Other top pacers this week include: Regil Elektra (Joe Pavia Jr., Monte Gelrod), who rallied as an 18-1 long shot for a victory in Friday night's $35,000 Open Handicap for mares, scoring in a career-best 1:50:3; Dedi's Dragon (Andrew McCarthy, Ron Burke), whose condition victory on Saturday night came in 1:49:4, a career-best and the fastest time of the week at Pocono; and Trevor Win For Us (George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes), who romped to his second consecutive claiming handicap win on Saturday night in 1:51. TROTTER OF THE WEEK: OVERANDOVERVICTORY A five-year-old gelding from the barn of trainer Douglas Hamilton, Overandovervictory has been a solid performer in the middle of the condition ranks this season at Pocono. As the campaign nears its close, he seems to just be getting warmed up. On October 11, he put together one of his finest performances of the year with a front-end win in 1:54:3. On Saturday night, he had a few things working against him in his quest for a second consecutive victory. First, he was moving up to a higher class, the non-winners of $14,000 in the last five starts, after a few months in against a bit lower. Second, he was stuck in the brutal #9 post position, never an easy task against any foes. Hence the long odds on the gelding of 21-1. Driver Anthony Napolitano was able to coax some early speed out of him, reaching the lead quickly and then sitting in a great spot In The Pocket for much of the mile. The only question was whether or not Overandovervictory would have a second move in him. He did, powering home to hold off closing Tag Up And Go by a nose in 1:55. That makes two in a row for a trotter who likely won't be underestimated again anytime soon. Honorable mention on the trotting side goes to: Miss Wapwallopen (Mike Simons, Gene Daisey Jr.), a mare whose claiming handicap win on Wednesday night in 1:56 was her second straight victory and third in her last four; Home Front (Ake Svanstedt driver and trainer), a colt who ripped off his third consecutive condition victory on Wednesday in 1:57:3; and Hezatrain (George Napolitano Jr., Allan Johnson), who rolled to a condition win on Tuesday night in 1:53:3, a career mark and the fastest trotting time of the week at MSPD. LONG SHOT OF THE WEEK: RAMBLINGAMBLINMAN You would have had to be ramblin' and gamblin' to take a shot on this one on Wednesday night at 33-1, but John Kakaley guided him home to a condition win for a $69 payout on a $2 win ticket. DRIVER OF THE WEEK: GEORGE NAPOLITANO JR. Very few drivers in the history of Pocono have ever achieved 300 wins in a single meet, but George Nap does it year after year, reaching that magic number for 2014 on Saturday night. TRAINER OF THE WEEK: Ake Svanstedt Svanstedt's training percentage at Pocono has been brilliant all season long, and this week was no different as he churned out four more victories. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at jbeviglia@mohegansunpocono.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs      

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, October 19, 2014--Yonkers Raceway has announced the octet of world-class trotters for this Saturday night's (Oct. 25th) International Trot Preview. The race, at one-and-one-quarter miles for a purse of $250,000, is a precursor to next season's return--after a two-decade hiatus--of the International Trot. The eight on the gate for the Preview are (alphabetically) Archangel, Arch Madness, reigning Harness Horse of the Year Bee a Magician, Commander Crowe, Market Share, Natural Herbie, Not Afraid and Sebastian K. the world's fastest trotter. Here's a quick cheat sheet... ARCHANGEL--A 5-year-old statebred son of Credit Winner with more than $1.1 million on account, he's the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner (track-record for 3YO colts [1:54.1]). After a year in the breeding shed, he returned for new trainer Ron Burke and took a life-best 1:50 effort earlier this season. Archangel is co-owned by Legendary Standardbred Farm (Alan Hainsworth) and Clare Semer. ARCH MADNESS--The 10-year-old Balanced Image gelding is a millionaire four times over for co-owners Marc Goldberg & Willow Pond LLC and trainer Trond Smedshammer. Arch Madness served notice that he's back in business this past Friday night, with an 11-length romp in a track-record 2:00.3 for the mile-and-one-sixteenth. BEE A MAGICIAN--2013's Harness Horse of the Year on the strength of a perfect 17-for-17 season, this 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra is defending the honor of the fairer sex here. Thrice a winner (with six seconds) in a dozen starts this season, Bee A Magician's lone local appearance was an effortless track-record (4YO mares) 1:55 in Open event in late August. The lass, a career $2.5 million earner, is trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. COMMANDER CROWE--One of Europe's preeminent trotters, the 11-year-old Juliano Star gelding joins Arch Madness in the $4 million earnings club. His 60 career victories include the Elitlopp in 2012 and, more recently, Sweden's Ã…by Stora Pris invitational. This is his U.S. debut and third North American start, the first two of a pair of thirds in Breeders Crowns (2011 & '12). "Commander" is trained by Fabrice Souloy for owner Snogarps Gard AB (Barbro Wihlborg, Ulf Wihlborg & Joakim Wihlborg). MARKET SHARE--This 5-year-old son of Revenue S is approaching $3.5 million in lifetime loot. His resume includes wins in a pair of seven-figure events, the 2012 Hambletonian and that season's Canadian Trotting Derby. A season ago, it was the Breeders Crown. Maple Leaf Trot and TVG Free-For-All and American-National. In 2014, the Maxie Lee (Harrah's Philly) has been his biggest win to date. Market Share's lone local appearance was a third-place effort (to Archangel) in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. Linda Toscano trains for co-owners Richard Gutnick, Bill Augustine and T L P Stable. NATURAL HERBIE--A 4-year-old Here Comes Herbie gelding has gone from being the scourge of Indiana to one of North America's best trotters. A .500 hitter (11-for-22) this season and a shade better (23-for-45, $624,851) for his career, "Herbie" whipped Invitational class horses in the Vincennes (Meadowlands, life-best 1:51.4) and Noble Memorial (Scioto) for owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder. NOT AFRAID--If there's not a law that says a high-end trotting event can't be held without a representative of Jimmy Takter present, perhaps there ought to be. This 5-year-old S J's Caviar gelding is co-owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg. He's a six-time winner each of the last two seasons with career earnings in excess of $400,000. Not Afraid defeated Arch Madness in a Pocono Preferred event earlier this month. However, this is certainly a step up the social circle from the crowd Not Afraid saw the last time he was here, going winless in five tries against overnighters in the first half of 2013. SEBASTIAN K--When your business card reads "World's Fastest Trotter," do you need any other references? The 8-year-old son of Korean, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt for owner Knutsson Trotting (Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg), has taken the continent by storm in 2014. Eight wins and two seconds in 11 starts ($663,853), with his stunning 1:49 effort in a late June Pocono Invitational rewriting all the record books. A pair of stakes wins at the Meadowlands and one a Vernon are also included. His European prowess unquestioned (nearly $2.3 million in earnings), Sebastian K, as well as Commander Crowe, add to the tremendous list of overseas horses who have, ahem, "taken their talents to Westchester." This Saturday night's (Oct. 25) five stakes finals...$500,000 Yonkers Trot, $500,000 Messenger Stakes, $250,000 International Trot Preview, $150,854 Lady Maud and $124,590 Hudson Filly Trot shall be "open drawn" Tuesday afternoon. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway  

Freehold, NJ --- White Bliss, the rare all-white Standardbred in the stable of trainer Ake Svanstedt, made his first trip to the track Thursday (Oct. 9), finishing fourth in a qualifier at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The 2-year-old colt pacer was timed in 1:58.1 with Svanstedt driving. White Bliss is a son of stallion Art Major out of the mare Coochie Mama, both bays. The last time two bays produced a white Standardbred in North America was in 1998. The colt was purchased for $240,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., which is brothers Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg of trotter Sebastian K fame, along with Asa Sjoberg. Following the qualifier, Tristan Sjoberg said via his Twitter account that it was “a good experience” for White Bliss. He said the horse will qualify again next week at Pocono Downs and “hopefully start one or two weeks later.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- The fastest trotter in harness racing history, Sebastian K, visits The Red Mile on Sunday, but co-owner Tristan Sjoberg doesn’t need to see fast times to have a good time. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old male trotter from Sweden in his first season of competing in the U.S., set the world record of 1:49 in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The previous mark was 1:49.3, set by Enough Talk in 2008, and no other trotter had gone faster than 1:50.1 before Sebastian K’s performance at Pocono. On Sunday in Lexington, Sebastian K is the 6-5 morning line favorite in the $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot. Sebastian K will start from post No. 2 in the nine-horse field with trainer Ake Svanstedt doing the driving. “We’re very much looking forward to the race,” said Sjoberg, who owns Sebastian K with his brother, Michael Knutsson. “It might not be the biggest purse of the season, but it is such a classic track and race, the money is secondary. Along with the Maple Leaf Trot and Cashman (Memorial) this is the élan of racing for aged trotters.” Sebastian K has won eight of 10 races this year and is the No. 1-ranked horse in harness racing’s weekly Top 10 poll. His victories include the John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Crawford Farms Open Trot and Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. He finished second by a nose in the Maple Leaf Trot. In his most recent start, Sebastian K finished seventh in the Centaur Trotting Classic. The track was labeled “good” for the Centaur Trotting Classic and “sloppy” for the Maple Leaf. All of Sebastian K’s remaining races were on fast tracks. The forecast for Sunday in Lexington is mostly sunny and 64 degrees. Two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share is the 9-2 second choice in the Allerage Open Trot. The field also includes past Kentucky Futurity winners Creatine (2013) and Wishing Stone (2010) and Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. “Ake took Sebastian out for a training session on the track Monday and everything felt great,” Sjoberg said. “The (Red Mile) track surface is very much Sebastian’s kind of surface and the weather forecast, touch wood, is looking pretty good. “It might be difficult to go under 1:50 if the temperature stays below 70 degrees, but the primary goal is to get back to winning ways.” Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012, has won 34 of 73 races in his career and earned $2.91 million. Svanstedt, Sweden’s five-time Trainer of the Year and three-time Driver of the Year award winner, moved his stable to the U.S. late in 2013 and Sebastian K’s owners decided to send the horse with him. “We knew he was fast enough to compete against the best in North America and win races, but the real carrot was breaking the world record,” Sjoberg said. “His best time in Sweden was 1:51 flat and that was on a five-eighths-mile track that is medium fast. We believed he could go sub-1:50 on a fast mile track so after a lot of soul searching we decided to ship him to the States with Ake with the singular aim to break the world record.” Following the Allerage Open Trot, Sebastian K’s schedule includes theInternational Trot Preview on Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. The Breeders Crown in November also is a possibility, but Sebastian K would have to be supplemented to the race. “After Lexington, we turn our attention to Yonkers and a long-awaited reunion with Commander Crowe,” Sjoberg said, referring to another standout from Sweden, who earlier this week accepted an invitation to race in the Breeders Crown Trot for the third time in his career and is expected to prep with the International Trot Preview. “It is four victories apiece between them and their rivalry during the summer of 2012 was fantastic for the sport in Sweden. After that race, we’ll make a decision whether to supplement for the Breeders Crown or not.” Sunday’s card at The Red Mile also features the $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters and the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity for 3-year-old female trotters. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

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