The unthinkable became a reality Saturday night in the $603,000 final of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Raceway as the 45-1 long shot Intimidate was able to collar and beat undefeated Sebastian K by a head. It was a rainy night and the track condition was sloppy at Mohawk Raceway when the ninth race feature got underway with both Sebastian K (Ake Svanstedt) and Modern Family (Ron Pierce) both vying for control of the early lead. It was Modern Family who won the early battle to the opening quarter mile in :26.4 as Svanstedt quarter moved and took command in the backstretch, leading the field to the half mile marker in :57.3. It was then that Flanagan Memory (Chris Christoforou) starting up first-over and immediately grabbing the second-over cover was Intimidate and driver Sylvain Filion. They went by the three-quarters in 1:26.4 as Sebastian K and Svanstedt held control of the field. Then as they came down the stretch, Filion tipped out with Intimidate and slowly they began to gain ground on Sebastian K with Market Share (Tim Tetrick) also on the move after being trapped along the rail in fourth place. To the finish they flew with Intimidate collaring Sebastian K at the wire to win in the final strides by a narrow head in 1:54.2. Market Share was third. Intimidate litup the tote board paying $96.50 to win. It was the first Maple Leaf Trot victory for Filion. “I had a lot of confidence in my horse,” Filion said. “He has not been exactly 100% this year. Luc (Blais) his trainer had him ready for tonight. This is just amazing. We had a perfect trip. I just wanted to keep my cover and keep focused. “I knew he would kick home for me,” Filion added, “I didn’t know if we could get by Sebastian K.” A five-year-old gelded son of Justice Hall, Intimidate is trained by Luc Blais and is owned by the Determination Stable of Woodmount and Judith Farrow of Hemmingford, Quebec. It was his third win in seven starts this year and raised his career earnings to $945,000. For Sebastian K, it was his first defeat after six starts since coming to the USA this season. Despite the inclement weather and sloppy track, Sebastian K did race barefoot in the Maple Leaf Trot. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
When harness racing trainer Ake Svanstedt announced he was leaving Sweden to compete in North America, the initial reaction of Michael Knutsson and Tristan Sjoberg, who had their star trotter Sebastian K in Svanstedt's care, was disappointment. As time passed, the brothers decided it was an opportunity. Rather than find a new trainer, they decided to send Sebastian K to the U.S. with Svanstedt. After watching Sebastian K win the first five starts of his North American campaign and trot the fastest mile in harness racing history, a 1:49 triumph in the Sun Invitational on June 28, they are happy they did. Sebastian K puts his perfect 5-for-5 record on the line in Saturday's C$603,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack. The 8-year-old horse will start from post No. 1 with Svanstedt driving and is the 2-5 favorite on the morning line. Michael, 53, and Tristan, 43, race under the Knutsson Trotting Inc. stable banner. Their father, Bertil, who passed away in 2012, got the family started in harness racing some 50 years ago. Knutsson Trotting has 44 horses, counting racehorses, broodmares and foals. They have six horses in the U.S., including Sebastian K and the rare 2-year-old white pacing colt White Bliss. Four of the horses in the States are co-owned by Courant AB, including Peter Haughton Memorial hopeful Centurion ATM. The brothers operate gaming company TCS John Huxley and Knutsson Holdings AB, with Michael living in Sweden and Tristan in Singapore. They recently took time to speak and correspond with Harness Racing Communications' Ken Weingartner about their passion for racing and Sebastian K. KW: What has the experience with Sebastian K been like so far? MK: It's been absolutely amazing. I'm not surprised with the speed, to be honest, but I'm surprised that he got into it so quickly; that he's been acclimatized so quickly. We knew about his capacity. Of course, 1:49 was absolutely a blast. But we knew he would have a good shot at the old record. It was a bit of a gamble for us to move him from a good environment in Sweden where there is good money and good races, but we're adventurous. We did the right thing and we're enjoying the moment. KW: Why did you decide to send Sebastian K to the States? TS: For the adventure! And to break the world record. 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. 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. KW: Was it a tough decision? MK: That was a tough decision. It took us months. Automatically, when Ake Svanstedt declared he would move to the U.S., we thought 'Oh no, oh no,' who will train [Sebastian K]. We did not have any thoughts whatsoever to move him outside the Nordic countries because he was doing so well. But then he did a very good race during the summer and we started to speculate: How fast is he? That's what triggered the question whether to move him to the U.S. or not. Not to even try would have been cowardly. So we decided to go for it and we sure did make the right decision. We're very happy about it. KW: Was it an emotional decision? MK: It was very tough emotionally. Firstly, he's done very well in the North European races. And also not to be able to go to him anytime we want, not to see him as often and go to every race, that was emotionally very tough. KW: Did you expect to see Sebastian K do so well so quickly? TS: Yes and no. I did expect him to win races early on, but not in the effortless way he has done. He has really taken well to the U.S. climate and harness racing in general. He was always at his best in Sweden racing at sprint distance (one mile) and on fast tracks in the summer. So the racing conditions in the U.S. and Canada really suits him. KW: What do you think about the Maple Leaf Trot? TS: Apart from the Hambletonian, it is the most recognized North American harness race in Europe. We often see it as the "over there" equivalent of Sweden's Elitloppet. It is steeped in tradition, and after breaking the world record this is the race we really want to win. The younger horses do not have the same cachet here as they do [in North America]. We are drawn to the older horses, the personalities. We like personalities, even with our horses. MK: We have big, big hopes for him. So far everything looks good. He has a good history with five straight wins, so we truly hope he can pull it off. KW: How did you get started in harness racing? TS: It was the passion of our late father, Bertil, and we are carrying on his legacy. The success we are experiencing with Sebastian K is down to our father's hard work and investment over 30 years in harness racing. He started with trotters and he had immediate success with a stakes-equivalent winner in Sweden called Private Property, sired by The Prophet. From there, the barn grew every year as our father was a buyer of horses and not a seller. KW: Michael, you were with your father when Sebastian K won his first classic race [the Group I King's Trophy in Sweden] at the age of 4. What was that like? MK: That was fantastic. Deep inside, we knew there was something going with him, but he had never proven himself in a big race. That was the first big race he won and it was in our hometown of Gothenburg. It was an amazing feeling. It also was [validation] that he was a good horse. Only a few months later he was second in the European Derby for 4-year-olds. That in itself was amazing, too, to be the second best in Europe at that time. KW: What was it like to see Sebastian K win in 1:49? TS: One of the highlights of my life, save for the birth of my daughter. It was 9 a.m. in Singapore and my hand was trembling. When I calmed down I went to my wine fridge to pull out a bottle of champagne, but I realized that it was not going to be strong enough so I grabbed a bottle of 24-year old rum from Guyana instead. It was a good breakfast! My brother Michael was in Sweden and it was 3 a.m. there and we spoke for over half an hour on the phone. He told me later that he was so jacked up that he could not go to bed until 6 a.m.! It was a wonderful day for our family and our thoughts were with our father. It was very emotional. KW: What is Sebastian K's schedule for the rest of the year? TS: If he feels good after the Maple Leaf Trot we will enter him for the Cashman Memorial. After that he gets a well-earned break. The next race would tentatively be the Crawford Farms Trot at Vernon Downs, followed by Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park and Allerage at The Red Mile. He is also staked to the American-National and Dayton Derby Trot, but we have to make a decision closer to the dates. Of course, the season finale is the TVG Championship at the end of November at the Meadowlands. KW: What do you plan to do with Sebastian K after this year? TS: That is the million-dollar question. Our preference would be to combine stud duties with racing, which is the norm in Europe. I know Wishing Stone is doing just that this year in the States so it can be done. We are investigating that possibility and I am already talking to one farm about that option. But no decision has been taken yet. Sebastian K acted as a stud for some of our broodmares and he has sired six yearlings. One of them, a filly, will go under the hammer at Sweden's most prestigious yearling auction, Kolgjini Sales, in September. The dam won close to U.S.$200,000. It will be very interesting to see what price she fetches. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
At this point many two-year-olds have a couple of starts in them, so it’s time to marry personal observations with wild speculation and project which ones will be stepping up to win the Cup, Jug and Hambletonion next year. This is by no means a definitive list of the best of the best; as a matter of fact I’m going out of my way to include some by off-brand stallions. That being said, here are a few early standouts. Artspeak is a Western ideal colt out of the Artsplace mare, The Art Museum. The Western Ideals have fallen on hard times at the sales of late, relatively speaking, but Brittany threw $100,000 at this guy, which matched the top price for any of his paternal brothers in North America. He has won both of his NJSS starts for Scott Zeron and trainer Tony Alagna, in dominant fashion. On Pace Day he came first over to win in 1:52.3 at odds of 3/5 at the Meadowlands. Western Ideal has given us the outstanding performers and game changing sires Rocknroll Hanover and American Ideal, as well as Always A Virgin and Big Jim. His 2013 crop moves on to the slugfest that is the PASS next year. Stacia Hanover, the winner of the $100,000 NJSS final for freshman pacing fillies, is also by Western Ideal. The $35,000 Harness Breeders purchase is trained by veteran Steve Elliott and, like Artspeak, driven by Scott Zeron. She has two other wins in the restricted class, aside from the high-dollar final which she won in 1:53.4 at odds of 3/5. Yankee Bounty is a two-year-old gelding by the enigmatic Artiscape stallion, Yankee Cruiser. His dam is the Allamerican Native mare Yankee Bootleg. This isn’t a combination that screams early speed. Yes, Yankee Cruiser did give is the current king of the pacing ranks, Sweet Lou, who held world records at two and three, as well as the rejuvenated speed demon Dancin Yankee, but for the most part this stallion was up against it in Pennsylvania. Yankee Bounty, a $21,000 Harness Breeders purchase, has won both of his starts in impressive fashion. He won splits of the Pennsylvania All Stars and the Albatross for Corey Callahan and trainer Kevin Lane. Yankee Cruiser stands his first year in Ohio in 2014. Bob Ben And John is one of the wave of impressive colts from the first crop of 2009 two-year-old division champ Sportswriter. Casie Coleman, who trained the son of Artsplace, and has been the leading cheerleader for his initial offering, plucked him from the Lexington sale for a modest $17,000. His dam is the Cambest mare, My Best Girl. This colt made his first pari-mutuel start last week in a $70,000 OSS-Gold leg at Mohawk. He was an easy winner by three in 1:53 at odds of 2/1 for Chris Christoforou. Sportswriter is absolutely killing it in the freshman pacing division of the Ontario Sire Stakes; he’s taking all the air; none of the others are on the same planet. SBSW shook the Pennsylvania program to its foundation with his first crop, but what’s happening with Sportswriter in his restricted program may be more dramatic. Shadow Play impressed us last year with his first crop, but he hasn’t gone on to be a factor in the open realm with his sophomores. We’ll wait and see if Sporty, a key player from the stressed Adios line, makes his presence felt outside of Ontario. Sassa Hanover is a filly from the first crop of Rock N Roll Heaven. Ron Burke bought her at Lexington for $50,000. Sassa’s dam, Sayo Hanover, is half to the very fast Shadyshark Hanover. Jim Morrill drover her to an easy two length win in a NYSS race at Monticello on the July 4. She won in 1:56.3 with plenty to spare. And two of her paternal sisters—She’s Heavenly and Band Of Angels—also won top dollar splits of the sire stakes that day. Heaven was held in high esteem at the sales, and thus far he is fulfilling his promise. Dragon Eddy is a two-year-old gelding—aren’t they all—by Dragon Again, a stallion known more for throwing rugged long lasting types like Foiled Again, Atochia and Aracache Hanover than he is as a sire of early speed. My Little Dragon won her division at two, but she was an exception. Well, Eddy is something of an outlier himself. He brought $42,000 at Lexington, which is on the pricey side for Dragon Again, who now stands in Ohio. John Buttenschoen trains and Mike Simons drives. At the end of June Eddy won a split of the Pennsylvania All Starts in 1:54.3 at Pocono, and he went on to win a division of the Albatross in an eye opening 1:52.4 at odds of 2/5 at the Meadows on July 8. Mission Brief is a brown Muscle Hill filly who opened a lot of eyes when she took her $100,000 final of the NJSS by 13 lengths in 1:53.3 for Yanick Gingras and Ron Burke. This was an improvement on her previous start, where she only won by ten. Her dam Southwind Serena is by the great trotter Varenne. Mission Brief was a $150,000 Lexington purchase. Look out! The Bank is a Donato Hanover colt out of 2008 three-year-old division winner, Lantern Kronos. He won a split of the Pennsylvania All Stars for Jimmy Takter on July 4th and broke stride while leading on the last turn as the 1/9 favorite in a division of the Hickory Pride at The Meadows this week. Again, Takter drove. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry and Solvato, is another very promising Donato colt in the Takter Barn. He also won on July 4. Yesterday he was beaten in a quick 1:56.3 split of the Hickory Pride by the Cantab Hall colt Billy Flynn, driven to perfection by Brett Miller. Possess The Will and Your So Vain notwithstanding, Donato has pretty much been all filly no colt to this point. If this pair is turned over to Gingras or Pierce they could change that in a hurry. Honor And Serve, a Donato colt out of 2008 freshman division winner and world record holder Honorable Daughter, is another who might turn the tide. He just took a split of the Hickory Pride for Dave Palone and Jim Campbell. Royal Deceptor is one of numerous offspring of the New York stallion RC Royalty that sold at the Morrisville sale. The success of last year’s Hambletonion winner, Royalty For Life, inspired many to look favorably upon the eleven-year-old siring son of Credit Winner. Cheryl and Michael McGivern took this brown colt home for $11,000. Royal Deceptor won all three of his qualifiers, then went out and won a split of the NYSS in a track record 1:59.3 at Buffalo Raceway for Michael McGivern. Gatka is a big, rugged filly from the first crop of seven-year-old Hambletonion winner Muscle Massive, whose big brother Muscle Mass met with success in Ontario and has since been relocated to New York. Gatka is a sister to Ake Svanstedt’s Muscle Hill filly Heaven’s Door, who won the $100,000 NJSS sophomore final and finished second behind Shake It Cerry in the Del Miller. She won a division of the PA All Stars at The Meadows in 1:56 at 2/5 and last week she took a split of the Meadow Gladys with ease in 1:57.1 at 1/5. Billy Flynn, a $120,000 Lexington purchase by Steffan Lind, is by Cantab Hall, arguably the best trotting stallion in North America. Another brown colt—there seems to be a run on them—he is out of the Enjoy Lavec mare Zeta Jones and was bred by Brittany farms. Billy took a split of the PA All Stars by six lengths in 1:57.2 at Pocono earlier this month and he beat the highly regarded Centurion ATM and Uncle Lasse in a division of the Hickory Pride. Brett Miller drives. Wild Honey is proving to be a $35,000 bargain for Jimmy Takter. The daughter of Cantab Hall was a close second to Gatka Hanover in that one’s first start and, like Gatka, won a split of the Meadow Gladys at The Meadows, for Yanick Gingras. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/
WASHINGTON, PA, July 15, 2014 -- Billy Flynn powered through the Lightning Lane to remain undefeated and score in 1:56.4, fastest winner in Tuesday's $236,210 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. Driver Dave Palone won seven of the races on the program including three PASS divisions. The event for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters, known as the Hickory Pride, was contested over five divisions, with Special Action, Honor And Serve, Lima Pride and Piercewave Hanover taking the other splits. Dave Palone enjoyed a stake triple (Special Action, Honor and Serve, Piercewave Hanover), among his seven wins on the 16-race card. Billy Flynn was named for the fictional lawyer Billy Flynn from the play and film Chicago, a smoothie portrayed by such actors as Richard Gere and Jerry Ohrbach who croons, "All I care about is love." All the equine Billy Flynn cares about is winning, beginning his career with victories in the PA All Stars and the PASS. Trainer Staffan Lind and owner Bender Sweden Inc. need the son of Cantab Hall-Zeta Jones (she also a hit in the Chicago movie) to be a superstar; they gave $120,000 for him as a yearling. "From Day 1, when I've trained him, he just waited for me to ask him to go a little faster," Lind said. "I know he will do everything he can. He's a big, strong horse with a very nice gait." In the PASS, Billy Flynn squeezed through inside for Brett Miller to down Centurion ATM by 3/4 lengths, with Uncle Lasse third. Lind said Billy Flynn may race next week in the Arden Downs stake during Adios Week at The Meadows. Special Action launched his career inauspiciously, breaking stride in the PA All Stars. On Tuesday, he followed cover beautifully, prevailing in 1:57.3. Hurrikane Jonny K was second, 1-3/4 lengths back, with Ralph R third. "He's a nice horse -- I like him," said Jimmy Takter, who trains the homebred son of Yankee Glide-Special Appeal for Brittany Farms. "His potential? Your guess is as good as mine. But that was a good mile today; he came a good last half." Lima Pride, a 20-1 bomber, found fortune around the final turn when both the leader, The Bank, and the looming challenger, Soboro Hanover, broke stride. Lima Pride took full advantage, breaking his maiden in 1:58.1. On The Sly was second, 1/2 length in arrears, while Vintage Hall completed the ticket. "I think he had a good chance even if they don't break," said winning driver Ake Svanstedt, who trains the son of Muscle Massive-Pacific Legacy for Top Ten Racing Stable. "He's a strong horse. The other horses were slipping, but he handled it." In the $18,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot, Trustworthy Kid moved second over to victory in 1:54.1, 1-1/4 lengths better than Tall Cotton, with Kirty Dream third. Brian Zendt drove for trainer Walter "Boots" Dunn and owner Dunn Stable. The 5-year-old SJ's Caviar-Penn Worthy Lane gelding now boasts career earnings of $237,036. Wednesday's card at The Meadows features a $120,000 PA Stallion Series stake for freshman filly pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
In case you have not already signed up for Harnesslink’s great new newsletter called Insider Access, then here is your chance. Just click here and within seconds you will be on track for the latest news in harness racing that you will not see or read about anywhere else, even on our own website. This past week’s newsletter contains the following feature stories: Will Pompano Park be sold any time soon? – All the talk in the financial sections of world-wide news sites last week was that the Isle of Capri Casinos, Inc. was on the market to be sold. Modern Art Pedigree/Review – Continuing on with our stallion review series today we have produced an in depth review for the very good racehorse and stallion Modern Art p,3,1:50.2m ($1,055,233). Please don’t try and interview Ake Svanstedt - We really hope for the future that interviewers at the racetrack will not try and get Ake Svanstedt to do interviews unless you have his assistant trainer Bjorn “Bernie” Noren to assist. We need to support more Monte racing! - Last year was a breakout season for Monte racing in North America. More and more tracks held exhibition events and Monte racing has really grown. Don’t miss out on the next edition of Insider Access. The newsletter currently comes out every other Tuesday morning (North America), Tuesday afternoon (Europe) and Wednesday morning (Australasia).
Takter’s Shake It Cerry wins $213,500 Del Miller Memorial
Neither Jimmy Takter or Ake Svanstedt, the two “hot topic” trotting trainer/drivers in North America could hit the tote board in the first two $100,000 New Jersey Sire Stakes finals for trotters Saturday at the Meadowlands. Those honors went to trainers Ron Burke and Calgary Canada’s Nicholas Drennan. Mission Brief romped in 1:53.3 in her final while Guess Who’s Back came from sixth place at the top of the stretch to mow down the race leaders and score a 1:56.1 triumph in the colt division. It was all over after the start in the filly division as Mission Brief and driver Yannick Gingras pushed away the starting gate and sped right to the lead. By the opening quarter mile in :27.2 they already had a four length lead and kept widening the margin at each post. Past the half in :55.4 and the three-quarters in 1:25, no one was even within ten lengths of the race leader. Mission Brief then pulled away some more to win 13 and one-quarter lengths. Dynamite Dame (Brian Sears) was second with Rules Of The Road (Brian Connor) third. Her time of 1:53.3 set the New Jersey Sire Stakes record she had set last week. Mission Brief is a daughter of Muscle Hill and is owned by the Burke Racing Stable, J & T Silva and Weaver Bruscemi and paid $2.60 to win. Stonebridge Force (Ake Svenstedt) had left from post ten, took the early lead away from 99-1 long shot Mountain Top (Francisco Del Cid) in the colt division and led to the first quarter in :29.3. Jimmy Takter came first-over with the race favorite French Laundry and worked their way to the lead at the half in :58.3 and the three-quarters in 1:28.4. Mountain Top made a second-over first-over in the backstretch, giving Canepa Hanover (Yannick Gingras) perfect second-over cover and following on the outside third-over was Guess Who’s Back with Brian Sears. n fanning out three-wide, Sears urged Guess Who’s Back four out and they closed with a burst of speed to win by one length. Canepa Hanover was second and Mountain Top held game for third place. Sired by Muscle Hill and trained by Nicholas Drennan, it was the second straight win for Guess Who’s Back. He is owned by Joseph Davino of Clarksburg, NJ and Brad Shackman of Calgary, CA. and paid $6.40 to win. Mission Brief Guess Who’s Back By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslinkcom
Meadowlands Pace day provided another perfect morning for Breakfast With The Babies with comfortable temperatures and little to no wind. The two-year-old trotting star of the morning was 1:57.2 winner Lock Down Lindy, a filly from the first crop of Lucky Chucky from Love Lockdown. She led through a comfortable 1:01.2 half before Scott Zeron gave her the green light resulting in a 56 flat final half with a 27.2 closing quarter. Tony Alagna conditions the $40,000 Lexington buy for the partnership of Mystical Marker Farms, Crawford Farms, Joe Sbrocco and In The Gym Partners. Alagna and Zeron came right back to win the very next race with Michelle Crawford's homebred Conway Hall x Classic Yankee colt Titanium. He left for position from his outside post then cruised through an open rail into a 28.3 final quarter to take the 2:01 record. On the pacing side, Tony also sent out the sharp looking Somebeachsomewhere colt Dreams Beachboy for his second outing, this one an effortless 1:54.4 / 27 win with Zeron aboard. Dreams Beachboy was a $150,000 Harrisburg purchase by Myron Bell for Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Stillwater Partners. Ake Svanstedt continued to expose his freshmen, sending out three more colt winners this morning starting in the opener with Curfew, a Muscle Hill x After Midnight $75,000 Lexington yearling making his debut. He moved to the front past the quarter and ended the 1:59.2 mile with a 29.2 final quarter. He is owned by the Top Ten Racing Stable. Canappealformore was the next Svanstedt winner. This one is a Brittany bred by Cantab Hall from Appeal To Reason, haltered at Harrisburg for $60,000 by LGJ Invest. Ake held him in a loose pocket then wore down the leader with a 29.4 end to a 2:00.2 mile. A bit later, One Direction was a 1:59.2 front end winner for Svanstedt and owner / breeder Ernst Gerbaulet of Germany. He's a Deweycheatumnhowe from Angelina Chip. Tangerine Bi looked strong for Jimmy Takter, closing considerable ground into a 27.3 last quarter for a 2:00.1 win. She's a Yankee Glide that cost Takter, Katz, Fielding & Fielding $70,000 last fall in Lexington. John Campbell directed a pair of winners. On the trot it was the Donato Hanover filly Love Her Madly he steered though a quick 27.4 end to a successful 2:00.1 mile for Ross Croghan. She belongs to Let It Ride Stables, RBH Ventures and Joseph Myers who spent $65,000 on her at Harrisburg. Campbell later scored with the pacing filly Game Theory, a $75,000 Rock N Roll Heaven first cropper from Best Laid Plans for the Cancelliere brothers with a sharp 27.2 end to a 1:55.3 mile while holding off the good looking Sportswriter filly Capela. Owner / trainer Troyce Thomas drove his own Village Jolt filly Fie Fy Fo to a 1:56 flat win. She cost just $9,000 at Harrrisburg. The pacing colts sprinted some fast halves in their trials. Asap Hanover was a winner in his very first try for Toscano and Tetrick with a 56.1 back half, 26.2 quarter on the end of a 1:56.4 mile. He's a $150,000 Lexington Somebeachsomewhere colt owned by John Mehlenbacher of Ontario. Two fast and expensive Somebeach colts hooked up through a vicious 54.4 last half of a 1:57.1 mile with the $100,000 buy Southwind Torque holding off the $215,000 bonus baby Mohegan Blue Chip. Dave Miller handled the winner for Chris Ryder and owners Bob Mondillo and Craig Handerson. Qualifiers closed out the day with the speedy but erratic Master Of Law making his debut for the Takter barn. He wowed the crowd of veteran onlookers with a wicked close from well back into a :55.3 on the board final half of a 1:52.3 mile to get by Spider Blue Chip in the last few strides. Master Of Law was well back at the 57 half, he must've trotted his last half in the :53 range for Takter. Frank Antonacci of Lindy Farms declared post-race that, "Nobody has a faster horse than Master Of Law. He needed a change of scenery, a fresh approach so we took him to Jimmy. Look out Sebastian K, we're comin' for ya!" Tonight's races begin at 6:30 and will be one of the best offerings of the season. Watch the WR Haughton FFA final and Meadowlands Pace on CBS Sports Network from 9:00 to 10:00pm. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands
I love to take credit when I do something right. Those of you that read my column last week or saw me at the Meadowlands knew how much I thought that Your So Vain could win the Hambo Matturity and he did at 7-1 and that Bee A Magician was the play in exacta’s and that came back a very nice $71.00. Now the action is almost all at the Meadowlands on Saturday headed by the Meadowlands Pace and other top stakes event, but Friday there are eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot and thus we must see what magic Ake and Sebastian K can wow the crowd with. Good Luck! $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – No place or show wagering and rightly so as Sebastian K is the premier trotting star in the world of harness racing this year. After his amazing 1:49 world record victory in his last start everyone will be wondering if he can surpass that at Mohawk. Maybe not this week but perhaps next week. Use Flanagan Memory and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Without Sebastian K in this field it becomes very competitive. Only Modern Family has been able to stay somewhat close to him so look for this good trotter to get out early to the lead and not look back. He usually can win when Sebastian K is not in the race. Use Market Share and Intimidate in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – Tough to go against a trotting colt from the Jimmy Takter Stable that has yet to face defeat and drops a few seconds every time he races. That’s the case in here with French Laundry who has been perfect early on and should reap some big rewards in here. Use Stonebridge Force and Canepa Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – Surprised at such a short field going for $100,000. Going with Mission Brief over Saturday Mornings as last week Mission Brief put on a trotting clinic for Ron Burke Stable in posting a ten length romp in 1:55.1. What a mile in only her second lifetime start! Use Saturday Mornings and Demons N Diamonds in exotic plays. $317,000 Trot Stanley Dancer Memorial Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Let’s see if this will be an early prep for the finish of the Hambletonian as Jimmy Takter has all three of his top colts in the race. I nearly selected Trixton as he is not a great leaver but once he gets going he is too tough to beat. But after Father Patrick’s world record mile I think he may be in a class by himself. Going to be a great race. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $213,500 Trot Del Miller Memorial Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Going to take a shot in here that trainer Ake Svanstedt has Heaven’s Door primed and ready to take on Shake It Cerry. Last two starts this filly has been awesome with a lifetime mark of 1:52. A repeat of that mile will make her a winner again. Use Shake It Cerry and Designed To Be in exotic plays. $212,150 Pace Mistletoe Shalee Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Last week Sandbetweenurtoes showed true grit in grinding out a very impressive elimination division victory in 1:49.3. She is unbeaten in her five starts this year and same effort will get her back in the winner’s circle. Use Table Talk and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $178,450 Pace Golden Girls FFA Mares Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – Another classic match-up of the best open mares in racing. I am going with Shebestingin as she has seemed to return to her winning ways and last week popped a 1:50.3 score against lesser competition but sometimes a win like that will wake a horse up. Use Anndrovette and Somwherorainbow in exotic plays. $463,300 Pace William Haughton Memorial Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY – Here comes the best open pacers in all the land and heading the lineup is none other than Sweet Lou. He has been unbeaten in his last five starts against the very best and once he gets rolling I don’t think anyone will be able to catch him once again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $776,000 Meadowlands Pace Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 9th race SATURDAY – Gentlemen, start your engines! This will be a classic race as it always is. JK Endofanera is the favorite and rightly so after his impressive win last week but He’s Watching impressed me the most. He showed that with any live cover he can beat the best and I think that is what is going to happen tonight. Either way it will be a great race. Use JK Endofanera and Lyonssomewhere in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Older Mares Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – What a great group of world class trotting mares in this race. I have to go with Bee A Magician after she wove her way around the best older trotters in the world last week and came away with a strong second place finish showed me she is back to winning form. Use Perfect Alliance and Maven in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – If Artspeaks continues to improve over his last two starts he will mop up this field once again. His late moves have been pretty sharp, especially last week when he scored in 1:53.3 for Scott Zeron. Use Dealt A Winner and Weapons Dealer in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – When you show last quarters in :27.4 and :25.4 in just your first two pari-mutuel starts, then you are a force to be reckoned with. That’s what Stacia Hanover has done and she is undefeated in her early career and looks to stay that way for a while. Use Cashaway and Ideal Nuggets in exotic plays.
The Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old trotters are currently underway at Mohawk Racetrack. Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched. After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth. To view the rest of the story click here.
MARKET SHARE WINS HIS ELIM IN 1:53
East Rutherford, NJ - No fewer than seven major Grand Circuit stakes will populate the Saturday night card at The Meadowlands, led by the track's signature race, The Meadowlands Pace. The all-star lineup begins with a pair of high-stakes preps for trotting's top prizes, the August 2 Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks. Race four is the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial three-year-old colt trot which will be the stage for last year's top freshman Father Patrick to battle Trixton who has emerged as a worthy adversary this season. It is the first time these two have met, the occasion made even more intriguing by the fact that both are trained in the Jimmy Takter stable. Oddsmaker Darin Zoccali has Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) listed as a strong morning line favorite at 4/5 from post nine, while Trixton is at 3/1 from post twelve in the second tier with trainer Takter aboard. The $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for sophomore trotting fillies also pits last year's finest against emerging talent. Shake It Cerry was clearly the best of a very talented crop last season, easily winning year end awards for the Takter stable and regular driver Ron Pierce. She has transitioned successfully to sophomore status winning four of five starts this season and is the 9/5 choice from post seven. Her only loss required the world record 1:51.3 effort by Designed To Be at Pocono last month. It was the second time Designed To Be has assaulted the record books, having taken the two-year-old title with her 1:52.2 mile last fall in Lexington. She will have Brian Sears aboard for trainer Julie Miller on Saturday. The remarkably fast Cooler Schooner is the fastest freshman trotter ever, regardless of sex by virtue of her amazing 1:51.3 win last summer at Pocono. She is sometimes guilty of self-sabotage but can never be dismissed. The Campbell brothers, John and Jim will conspire to manage that wicked speed toward its best use. The new shooter in this division is Heaven's Door another who demonstrated great talent at two for Ross Croghan but it took until this year for her mind to catch up to her speed. She was sold over the winter and moved into the Ake Svanstedt barn where she has flourished. She won last month's NJSS final in a stakes record 1:52 with great ease and is facing the division's best now for her new connections and adds another element of suspense. Next up (race six) will be the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee for sophomore pacing fillies, another contentious contest. Sandbetweenurtoes raced but once at two for Tony Alagna but showed such promise in her first few starts at three that the brothers Remmen, Ray and Larry, bought her for John Grant and she hasn't lost since. She was the winner of last week's elimination in 1:49.1 with Brett Miller aboard and will likely be the post time fave off a 5/2 morning line. Precocious Beauty was the divisional leader last year for the McNair barn and has yet to find that form thus far at three, though last week's race was encouraging. Takter's Uffizi Hanover won the 2013 Breeders Crown and the Fan Hanover this year for her regular pilot, newly minted Hall of Famer David Miller. The older dames race on the pace for $178,450 in the cleverly named Golden Girls stake in the seventh race. Joe Holloway has always had a way with the ladies, training several distaff champions over the years and has a formidable pair in this one. Somwherovarainbow has well over a million in career earnings and has been in deadly form for Joe since early spring with six wins from ten starts, among those the Bluechip Matchmaker final. Brian Sears drives. Her stable mate Shebestingin is the fastest female Standardbred ever, having seared The Red Mile clay in an eye-popping 1:47 flat last fall. She has yet to beat the best of this division since graduating into the open ranks but her speed make her a danger for David Miller. The race favorite at 2/1 is the iron-tough race mare Androvette. Her story has been told many times but never gets old, particularly for her connections. She vaults over $3million lifetime with a win in this stake for trainer PJ Fraley and her constant racing companion Tim Tetrick. Just when you think, "Well, this just can't get any better," you come to the meat of the card. Race 8 contains the finest Free For All pacers in the land racing for $463,300 in the WR Haughton Memorial, one of the biggest events of their season. The lifetime earnings for these ten horses are just north of the $20 million mark. Captaintreacherous is the two time defending Pacer of the Year and a winner of over $3million in his racing career for trainer Tony Alagna. He's developed into a fan favorite with his gritty, never give up style and he'll need every bit of that heart, a large dose of speed and another clever steer from Tetrick on Saturday. He's drawn a favorable post starting just inside the 8/5 favorite, Sweet Lou. Sweet Lou has flashed brilliance from the start for his connections and still holds the freshman pacing world speed record. Now five year of age, he's in the best form of his career and has been invincible since paired with driver Ron Pierce in May. Together they are five for five, all in 1:48.3 or faster culminating with a world record 1:47 the hard way at Pocono in the Franklin, the fastest mile on a five-eighths track in history. Sweet Lou is one of a formidable four horse armada sent out in the Haughton by Meadowlands and national leading trainer Ron Burke. The four Burke horses alone have amassed a staggering $12million in career earnings led by the richest pacer in history, ageless wonder Foiled Again at $6.3 million. Foiled will have to overcome the extreme outside post for his regular driver Yannick Gingras in this battle. The $776,000 Meadowlands Pace is race nine on the star studded extravaganza and has been well covered in many arenas, so for our purposes let's just say it shapes up to be a very exciting and contentious race, as is usually the case in the absence of a clear division leader. Among the deepest and most contentious divisions this season is the older trotting mares. The returning Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's division leader Maven and pair of four year old mares that have blossomed into trotting divas, Perfect Alliance and Classic Martine will all meet among a field of eight in the $40,000 Miss Versatility in race ten. It's one for the ages this Saturday night at The Meadowlands with over $2.5 million in purses offered over the 13 race card, including four $100,000 finals for state bred freshmen. Post time is 6:30pm and it's going to be well attended, so if you're thinking of coming out make your reservations now. If not, the Haughton and Pace will be carried live on the CBS Sports Network and the TVG Racing network. From the Meadowlands Media Relations Office
Sebastian K has taken the harness racing world by storm. Sebastian K turned in the fastest mile in the history in harness racing with an awe inspiring 1:49 victory in the Mohegan Sun Invitational Trot. Previously, Sebastian K had already amazed the harness racing world by becoming the first horse to trot three consecutive sub 1:51 miles. Sebastian K will look to add to his unblemished North American record when he ventures north of the border to race in Maple Leaf Trot Eliminations on Friday at Mohawk. Ake Svanstedt has established his new training operation by buying a new farm in Wrightstown, New Jersey. He has a stable of 53 horses at his new operation. We recently were able to see his latest star, Your So Vain, winning the first ever Hambletonian Maturity with an uncanny drive to victory over Bee A Magician. His unique training and driving skills has been exposed to the harness racing world Ake Svanstedt dominated harness racing in Sweden for 15 years. His acclaimed record includes four Trainer of the Year and three Driver of the Year Awards in Sweden. One-On-One is done exclusively for Harnesslink.com by Brian McEvoy HLINK: Congratulations on your world record performance at Pocono Downs. How did Sebastian K come out of the race? AS: He came out great. He is eating well, drinking well and feeling real good. HLINK: Did you decide to go for the world record at Pocono? AS: He warmed up really well. He was doing so well in the race, so I decided to go for it. I was pushing him at the end. HLINK: Is this the best that Sebastian K has ever been? AS: These last two races is the best he has ever been. HLINK: Can anybody beat Sebastian K? AS: He can come out of form or something can happen in a race. Every race is a new race. HLINK: Your next race is the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk? When will you ship up for that? AS: Hopefully we get out of the elimination and can go right to the final. We will ship the day before. HLINK: What other races are on Sebastian K's schedule? AS: We have a race at Vernon Downs in August, Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on September 20th and Allerage at Lexington on September 28th. HLINK: Did Sebastian K race without shoes on Saturday at Pocono? AS: Yes he raced without shoes HLINK: What did you think of the track surface at Pocono Downs AS: It is a very nice track. It is one of the fastest we have ever driven on. HLINK: In Sweden you had a stable of over two hundred horses. Your stable now has fifty-three horses. How many horses would you like to have in your stable? AS: We do not want many more. We are very happy with the amount of horses we have now. HLINK: You recently purchased a new horse farm in Wrightstown, New Jersey. Can you tell us about the place? AS: It is a perfect farm. It is a very nice area that is very quiet. It is a 140 acre farm. There is a round and a straight track for conditioning. There is a large paddock with plenty of room. It is a perfect training farm. HLINK: You now have Muscle Network ($324,350 earned last year) in your barn. How is he doing and when will we see him race. AS: He is in a qualifier Saturday. We are looking at the Stanley Dancer at the Meadowlands to race him. He is a really nice horse. He is getting better and better. HLINK: You have a large group of two-year-olds that you will have racing. What can you tell us about them and who is your next star? AS: We have one in Pocono on Friday. We have a couple in the New Jersey Sire Stakes on Friday. We don't go too fast in the qualifiers. We are going to have to see them in the races a few times. It's all about speed these days. You have to see who can keep up with the speed. You don't want to get too high on a horse and then get disappointed. HLINK: Ocean Love Potion was an impressive winner the other day in the Pennsylvania Sire stakes for three-year-old fillies. Please tell us about her progress. AS: She did not do too much as a two-year-old. She was doing very well over the winter. She really surprised us in the race. When she is training she doesn't seem like she is really training. She has a really good head for the races. HLINK: You have some other three-year-olds. AS: Heaven's Door won the Sire Stakes Final. She is a really nice filly that will be in the Hambletonian Oaks. She won her last race and is in next weekend. She is going to the Oaks after that. HLINK: We are all intrigued by your white horse, White Bliss. How is this horse progressing? AS: He is training down. He had some bad colic which put his training back a few weeks. We are in no hurry with him. He will probably start racing in September. HLINK: The other night, Stonebridge Force, and Yannick Gingra's horse Cenapa Hanover, got into a hardball battle on the lead. You parked out Cenapa Hanover and wouldn't let him pass. AS: Yannick horse was bearing out. We had to hold our speed. You don't want to give anything for free. HLINK: Your So Vain Made an impressive move to the top the other night. Tell us about that race? AS: They were going really slow. They were walking. I thought that I better make that move now before someone else does. I wanted to get to the lead and let them catch me. HLINK: Do you train your pacers any different than the trotters? AS: We train them the same as the trotters. HLINK: How is your training methods different than other trainers in America? AS: We train the horses to be really strong. If there are strong they can carry their speed a long way. That is the main thing. HLINK: Tell us about your owners? AS: We have a great bunch of owners. Most of our owners are from Sweden. We encouraged them to come to America and have some success with us. HLINK: You have a horse with Jeff Gural, Blue Muse. How is it to train for him? AS: He is easy to train for. He doesn't ask many questions. He wants to know some info once in a while. He is a great guy to train for. It was an honor to be asked to train horses for Jeff Gural. HLINK: You have been doing some catch driving. How much of that will you be doing? You drove for the Burkes, did they tell you anything? AS: We were driving to get to know the speed of the races and get to know the other drivers. The speed is a little different than Sweden. If we get to drive a good horse, of course we are going to drive him. The Burkes just asked us to drive the horse. HLINK: What do you think of Father Patrick? AS: He is a really nice horse. It is one of the best three-year-olds I have ever seen. HLINK: We have in America rivalries that develop. It is like in hockey when the Flyers play the Rangers. They don't like each other. Do you see a rivalry developing between Jimmy Takter and yourself? AS: No!!! no! no! It's not like that, of course we are competing on the track. It is friendly competition. HLINK: What can we do to make racing in America better and more popular? AS: (Laughter) I don't know. (Laughter). I think we need to get the people more connected with the great horses. We have to promote the sport. We should get the people more connected with the people behind the scene, the trainers and the drivers. HLINK: People are pronouncing your first name many different ways. Some say “Akee” and some say “Okee”…Can you please tell us the correct way? AS: The correct way to say it is “Okee,” but if someone wants to say it different I do not mind. It is difficult to get the proper translation from Swedish to American. We have already seen Ake Svanstedt dominate two divisions of the trotters with Sebastian K and Your So Vain. In the coming months, Ake will be unveiling his stable of acclaimed two-year-old trotters. It will not be a surprise to see Ake produce some more stars for the harness world. Nothing he does the rest of the year will come as a shock. He has already made harness racing history and will be adding to that resume. By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com
Father Patrick is no stranger to overcoming difficult starting spots, and no stranger to providing fantastic finishes. He did both in his most recent performance, starting from post eight at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and winning the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial in a world-record 1:50.2. Post eight produces only 6.7 percent winners at Pocono Downs, the worst figure at the five-eighths-mile oval. On Saturday night, Father Patrick will leave from post nine in the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Post nine produces 8.4 percent winners at the Big M, the second-worst percentage of the 10 starting spots on the gate. Undefeated in five races this year, and the owner of a 14-race win streak dating back to last July, Father Patrick is the 4-5 favorite on the morning line in the 12-horse field. Regular driver Yannick Gingras will be at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter, who also sends out the only other horses at less than 15-1 on the morning line: Trixton, 3-1 from the second tier's post 12, and Nuncio, 4-1 from post seven. "It will be an interesting race," Takter said. "They didn't draw good, but they're good horses so we'll see what happens. Patrick got the toughest [draw] with the nine and two horses trailing, but he can do anything you want; he's so handy." The Stanley Dancer, the final major tune-up for the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands, is part of a stakes-filled Saturday at the Big M. The card also includes the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace, $463,300 William R. Haughton Memorial, $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial, $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee, $178,450 Golden Girls, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility Series. First race post time is 6:30 p.m. Saturday and the Haughton and Meadowlands Pace will air live beginning at 9 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Father Patrick was last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. He has won 15 of 16 career starts and earned $1.09 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories last season included the Breeders Crown, William Wellwood Memorial, and Peter Haughton Memorial, which he won by 10 lengths at the Meadowlands. He captured his Breeders Crown elimination in 1:52.1, a world-record for a 2-year-old male trotter on a five-eighths-mile track, starting from outside post No. 9 at Pocono Downs. This season, Father Patrick won a division of the Historic-Dickerson Cup and two divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes before sweeping his elimination and the final of the Beal. "His win [in the Beal final] was very impressive," Takter said. "He went in (1):50.2 and Yannick didn't even ask him at all. I was a little worried going into the race that he wasn't stretched out enough. They need that. Now he's got it. It's good to have that. "Patrick is, to me, the perfect horse." Nuncio, driven by John Campbell, finished second to Father Patrick in the Beal, beaten by 2-3/4 lengths. Nuncio, who is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, has won nine of 15 career races and finished second on six occasions - with five of those runner-up efforts coming to Father Patrick. Interestingly, Nuncio's win over Father Patrick came last July 12, exactly one year to the day as the Dancer. "Don't count Nuncio out," said Takter, who trains the colt for owner Stefan Melander's Stall TZ. "He's very good. John has basically nursed him, not to get him fired up, and mentally he's 10 times better than I dreamed I was going to get him. I'm sure from the seven post John is going to test him a little bit out of the gate. He's a hell of a horse. I like his chances too." Trixton, who will be driven by Takter, has won five of six races this year and is making his first start in a race with Father Patrick and/or Nuncio. He won the Goodtimes Stakes in a Canadian-record 1:51.3 on June 14, his most recent outing, and won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in 1:52.1 on May 31 at the Meadowlands. He brings a five-race win streak to the Dancer, with none of those victories coming by fewer than 4-1/2 lengths. Trixton is a son of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill out of the mare Emilie Cas El, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994. His family also includes past stars Andover Hall, Conway Hall and Angus Hall. "Trixton, when he has his 'A' game, we know what he can do," said Takter, who trains the colt for Brixton Medical AB and Christina Takter. "At this point, I'm sitting on three really, really good horses. I would be extremely disappointed if I don't end up winning the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian." Following is the field in post order for the Stanley Dancer Memorial with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds: 1. Muscle Network, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 15-1; 2. Martiniwithmuscle, Ron Pierce, Joseph King, 30-1; 3. Revrac Harbour, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 30-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 20-1; 5. Skates N Plates, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 30-1; 6. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 30-1; 7. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 8. Speak The Truth, David Miller, Linda Toscano, 30-1; 9. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 4-5; 10. Well Built, Chris Ryder, Chris Ryder, 50-1; 11. Kapow Hanover, Corey Callahan, Staffan Lind, 50-1; 12. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter, 3-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
WASHINGTON, PA, July 10, 2014 -- A total of 52 freshman filly trotters will make their Pennsylvania Sires Stakes debut Friday evening at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Add to that the 37 two-year-old filly trotters who competed in Wednesday's PA Stallions Series at The Meadows and you have one of the most robust, promising classes of youngsters ever seen in the Commonwealth -- or anywhere else in harness racing. Quality likely will be on display as well, as top trainers are sending well-bred babies after a total of $247,481 in purses. Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter and Jim Campbell will be represented by six fillies each while Julie Miller sends out four. Ake Svanstedt, conditioner of leading Horse of the Year candidate Sebastian K, has a pair in Friday's PASS. First post Friday is 6:55 PM, with the stake contested over seven divisions. Campbell was reluctant to over-praise his sextet -- five of them owned by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms -- but conceded that he and Siegel are excited about their prospects. "Some of them are coming off one baby race," Campbell noted, "but we're coming out there, so we decided to bring them all. They're just getting started. We put too much pressure on these horses right from the word go. They need a little time to find their way and develop. Once you get into August, they'll separate themselves." Among the most noteworthy from Fashion Farms is Fashion Voyager, a full sister to world champion Pilgrims Taj (Broadway Hall-BWT Maija), who opened her career in hopples with a handy PA All Stars win. She goes in Race 2 from post 7 with John Campbell piloting. "She did it very easily," Jim Campbell said. "She's done everything that we've asked of her so far." Also of interest from the Campbell group is Onda Di Mare, a daughter of Yankee Glide-Upfront OB's Janet who captured her PA All Stars split in 1:56.3 while taking air down the backside. Tim Tetrick will guide her from post 3 in Race 10. Takter, whose ownership groups have the resources to patronize any stallions they choose, will send out fillies from six different stallions -- Andover Hall, Broadway Hall, Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Explosive Matter, Muscle Massive -- an indication of the strength of Pennsylvania's ranks and Takter's emphases in selecting yearlings. "I try to buy the horses we like," Takter said. "The sire is not the number one priority; the maternal line is number one. And you have to find out which are the best crosses." Among his six-pack, Takter cited Sarcy, who was beaten a neck in her PA All Stars split after being roughed up the first quarter. "I really like her, but she's in a very tough division," he said. "She's a nice, quick little thing. At Pocono, it was a sprint, and she couldn't get to the horse in front of her." Yannick Gingras drives Sarcy (Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire) from post 2 in Race 2 for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding and Jim Fielding. During Friday's card, The Meadows and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association will present "Back to the Track," an industry-wide celebration of the joys of harness racing. Activities include: Family Fun Night, featuring a bounce house/inflatable side, airbrush and balloon artists and a petting zoo; A celebrity match race; A "Meet and Greet" session with horsemen; Harness racing bingo; Backside tours; A "Spin to Win" lottery; T-shirt giveaway; A handicapping contest. July 15 is draw date for Adios Pace The Meadows Racetrack & Casino wishes to remind owners and trainers that entries for the $600,000 (est.) Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light are due by Tuesday, July 15, 9 AM. Eliminations for the Adios are set for Saturday, July 19, when the card kicks off at 6:55 PM. The final will go on Saturday, July 26, headlining a power-packed Grand Circuit program expected to offer an estimated $1 million in purses. First post Adios Day is 12:20 PM. For more information, please contact the race secretary’s office, 724.225.9897. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
This Week: Meadowlands Pace, W.R. Haughton Memorial, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Golden Girls and Miss Versatility, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Hanover events for 3-year-old colt pacers and 3-year-old filly pacers, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill; and Sheppard eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit schedule continues to be a busy one and this week the spotlight shines on several racetracks, beginning with the Meadowlands. The stakes heavy Saturday card features the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-olds, the $463,300 W.R. Haughton Memorial for free for all pacers, the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters, the $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $212,150 Mistletoe Shalee for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $178,450 Golden Girls for older pacing mares, and a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. Saturday Grand Circuit action also includes the $40,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers and the $40,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers, both at Balmoral Park, and two $25,000 eliminations at Yonkers in the Lawrence B. Sheppard for 2-year-old colt pacers. Grand Circuit racing for the week begins on Friday (July 11) at Mohawk Racetrack with two C$40,000 eliminations in the Maple Leaf Trot for free for all trotters. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link. Mohawk entries can be found at this link. Last time: Ray Schnittker had an incredible performance during last weekend's Grand Circuit action. He posted 145 training points, 125 driving points and 55.1 owner points, thanks to his success in Landmark Stakes events at Historic Track. Schnittker trained, drove and shared ownership in six of the nine Landmark winners from the Friday (July 4) card in Goshen. Among the winners was 3-year-old male pacer Stevensville, who could be heading to the $450,000 Delvin Miller Adios at the end of the month. Stevensville (Somebeachsomewhere-Wild West Show), who was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Max C. Hempt Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, won the $19,340 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old pacers in 1:58.1 over a sloppy track. Owned by Schnittker, Paul Bordogna, and Ryan Miller, Stevensville has won seven of 21 career races and $185,079. He finished second in last year's Matron Stakes. Other winners for Schnittker, who is based at Historic Track, were 2-year-old male trotter Gabe The Bear Dean, 2-year-old female pacer Shes Ready To Rock, 3-year-old female trotter Suegrabbitnrun, 3-year-old male trotter Derby, and 2-year-old female trotter Kaliska. The Saturday (July 5) Grand Circuit feature at Meadowlands Racetrack was the inaugural $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters, going 1-1/8 miles with no Lasix permitted. It drew an overflow field of 14, including defending Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, who had the misfortune to draw unlucky post 13. Your So Vain pulled a 7-1 upset, benefitting from a bold drive by trainer Ake Svanstedt who gunned to the front with a three-wide move on the backstretch and prevailed by 2-3/4 lengths. It was a terrific display by a horse that had not raced since November, and was debuting for the Svanstedt barn. The time was 2:05.3 as Your So Vain paid $16.60 to win. Bee A Magician, jammed up in traffic and shuffled far back in the early stages, kicked in strongly to get second over Flanagan Memory. JK Endofanera will be the 2-1 favorite for the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace final with He's Watching a close 5-2 second choice. The two standout colts won their $50,000 Pace eliminations on July 5, setting the stage for a classic showdown on July 12. JK Endofanera won the first elimination in a career-best 1:48.2 at the end of a surprisingly tight finish for the 2-5 favorite. Having fended off Doo Wop Hanover rounding the final turn, JK Endofanera found stretch challengers to his left as Lyonssomewhere tried to squeeze up the pylons while to his right, Always B Miki came charging down the center of the track. JK Endofanera dug in to hold off Always B Miki by a neck with Lyonssomewhere getting third. Brian Sears handled the 3 Brothers homebred trained by Ron Burke. He's Watching won the faster elimination in 1:48.1, also a lifetime best. Last year's Dan Patch Award champion following an eight for eight campaign, He's Watching has come back strong this season with two wins in five starts for Menary Racing, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero and the Muscara Racing Trust. Despite starting from post nine, driver Tim Tetrick maneuvered He's Watching into a perfect second-over trip. They roared through the lane to reel in 17-1 longshot Sometimes Said by 2-3/4 lengths. Luck Be Withyou was third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 392; 2. Tim Tetrick - 389; 3. Ron Pierce - 252; 4. Brian Sears - 190; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 638.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 287; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 182; 5. Joe Holloway - 142. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 145.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 134.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Ray Schnittker - 68.65. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Mohawk Racetrack, Yonkers Raceway, Northfield Park, The Meadowlands and The Meadows. Mohawk will race the Maple Leaf Trot; Yonkers Raceway will offer the Sheppard final; Northfield will contest the Battle of Lake Erie; The Meadowlands will have W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters; and The Meadows will have eliminations for the Adios. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand CIrcuit