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Vernon, N.Y. -- Following wins in the Hambletonian Maturity, Fresh Yankee, and a Miss Versatility preliminary event, Hannelore Hanover ($2.90) had no trouble maintaining her dominance in the harness racing distaff trotting ranks on Friday (August 26) evening at Vernon Downs, posting a resounding 1:51.3 victory in the $170,000 Muscle Hill, the ninth event on a 12-race program.   Yannick Gingras had the 4-year-old Swan For All mare involved from the outset, working clear of 2015 Empire Breeders Classic winner Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory) just after a :27.1 first quarter mile. Upon taking charge, Hannelore Hanover faced no threats whatsoever, rating a soft :29.4 second sectional before accelerating clear of the competition off the far turn. She used a :54.3 final half to put 3-3/4 lengths on the first-over Shake It Cerry (David Miller), who rallied to take second from the fully extended Barn Doll.   Ron Burke trains Hannelore Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, the Weaver Bruscemi partnership, and Frank Baldachino. Hannelore Hanover captured the Vernon track record for 4-year-old trotting mares with her 1:51.3 score, topping Maven's performance in the 2014 Muscle Hill by two-fifths of a second.   Obrigado duels, defends his Crawford Farms title   In the $193,000 Crawford Farms for open trotters, carded as race ten, 2015 Crawford winner Obrigado ($14.80) proved successful in defending his crown, dueling with odds-on favorite Resolve (Åke Svanstedt) for nearly the final three-eighths of the mile en route to a 1:51.2 triumph in rein to Mark MacDonald. The 6-year-old Boy Band gelding approached the first turn from second-over, drafting behind Resolve into a :26 first quarter before capturing the lead for himself in a backed-down :55.1 half mile. Just as Obrigado cleared, Resolve angled back off the pegs to re-engage, and the two dueled through the far turn. Despite being headed just above head-stretch, Obrigado dug deep to prevail, reclaiming the lead in the final 100 yards to narrowly beat Resolve. Flanagan Memory (Brian Sears) closed from last to take third, making massive gains down the grandstand side.   Trainer Paul Kelley shares in ownership of Obrigado with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins, and Stable 45.   Major Moe, Funknwaffles take freshman Sire Stakes splits   A pair of New York Sire Stakes events for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings served as supporting events on the undercard.     Major Moe ($5.40) worked to earn his 1:52.4 victory in the $54,500 seventh race, making steady first-over gains on the far turn to reel in pacesetter Andy's Ideal before holding sway from Very Special Agent's late charge by half a length. Scott Zeron drove the son of Art Major and Maureen Rocks for trainer Chris Ryder.   Funknwaffles ($2.20) did not disappoint at odds-on in the $55,500 eighth event, keeping his undefeated record intact through six career races to date. The son of American Ideal and Hatsoff Hanover brushed to the fore before race's midpoint, evading Serious Major by two lengths in 1:52.3. Jim Morrill, Jr. drove Funknwaffles for trainer John Butenschoen.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (August 27) evening, with first post slated for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

East Rutherford, NJ --- Resolve and harness racing driver/trainer Ake Svanstedt withstood a judge’s inquiry to win the $273,600 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters on Saturday (Aug. 6) at The Meadowlands in a time of 1:50.2. The 6-5 favorite Resolve was first to the lead at the :27.1 first quarter, with Crazy Wow (Tim Tetrick) behind him on the rail. JL Cruze (John Campbell) was on the move past that mark, grabbing the lead briefly, before ceding to Flanagan Memory (Chris Christoforou) just past the :54.3 half. Flanagan Memory held that lead to the 1:22.2 three-quarters. Meanwhile, Resolve was moving three wide close to the three-quarters, prompting a judge’s inquiry to look closely at whether he interfered with Homicide Hunter when he fanned wide. As the field turned for home, Flanagan Memory was hard pressed by JL Cruze and Il Sogno Dream (David Miller), but Resolve was coming fastest of all in the center of the track, getting up to win by 1-1/4 lengths. Obrigado (Mark MacDonald) was second and Flanagan Memory was 1-3/4 lengths off the winner in third. Resolve, a 5-year-old Muscle Hill stallion, is owned by Hans Enggren. The victory was his 12th lifetime and improved his career earnings to $1.31 million. We have good tracks to train the horses on our farm,” said Svanstedt. “This horse is a little bit different. If it’s a long way between the races he’s more excited and he wants to race. He always does better races when there are a couple of weeks in between. He’s not like (former Svanstedt trainee and world champion) Sebastian K, but he’s a very good horse and I hope he can race at that level for maybe one more year.” by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications 

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 21, 2016 - In theory, it's an Open Handicap. For Resolve, it's also an audition. The millionaire trotter makes a rare Yonkers Raceway appearance Saturday night (July 23), remanded outside of his six harness racing rivals in the $45,000 Open Handicap. The weekly featured trot, going as the sixth of 12 races, brings arguably North America's best trotter to Westchester for the first time since the 2014 Yonkers Trot (second in elim, third [to Nuncio] in half-million-dollar final). It was Nancy Johansson training him then, it's Ake Svanstedt training and driving him now. The 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill is going to be 29 days removed from his last start, a down-the-road, 1:52.2 effort in the $200,000 Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. The time between works nights does not concern Svanstedt. "I'm not worried at all about he have some weeks off," Svanstedt answered in an e-mail 'questionnaire' with himself and assistant trainer Oskar Florhed. "It was (26 days) between his races in the Elitlopp (second in both elim and final) and (the Cutler). "He has trained well at home and Ake had him go faster this week, so he should be fine." While the winner's share of the 45-large would pay the bills for a while, Svanstedt has his eyes gazing at a much bigger prize, as in the $1 million Yonkers International Trot Oct. 15. "It's true," he said. "In this race, I'm going to show everyone that he can handle a half-mile track, so hopefully he can get a invite. "Maybe he will race in a similar (Open Handicap) race one more time before that." As far as any equipment changes, "Shoes this time on all four feet. Last race, he raced barefoot upfront, but he will be fine with that, no problem." The field for Saturday night's Open Handicap Trot (all post assigned)... 1-Money Maven (Andy Miller), 2-E R Ellie (Larry Stalbaum), 3-Muscle Up the Goal (Brian Sears), 4-Lady's Dude (George Brennan), 5-Undercover Strike (Tyler Buter), 6-Shake it Cerry (Dan Dube), 7-Resolve (Ake Svanstedt). Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Thursday, July 14, 2016-They won the draws as well as and the hearts and minds of the electorate Thursday night. Short-priced pole-sitters Dayson (Yannick Gingras, $2.60) and Dante (Ake Svanstedt, $2.80) delivered in Yonkers Raceway $163,374 New York Sire Stakes Michael Sorentino Trot for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Dayson, racing in a money start for the first time since adding trotting hopples, allowed Smalltownthrowdown (Dan Daley) the initial lead in the opening ($80,937) division. Dayson then retook right before a :29.4 opening quarter-mile, with none of his five rivals electing to press the issue. After a :59.2 intermission and 1:27.3 intermission, Smalltownthrowdown pulled an early pocket in the final turn. Dayson met that challenge and widened, open to 2½ lengths in 1:56.1. Royson (Jim Marohn Jr.) skimmed the cones to grab second, with "Throwndown" third. For Dayson, a Conway Hall gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Our Horse Cents and J&T Silva Stables and Rossi Smith, it was his fifth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $15.20, with the triple returning $35.40. "It was nice and easy," Gingras said. "The straps definitely helped him keep his mind on business." As for Dante in the $82,437 second division, he was content to sit pocketed to uncoupled stablemate The Royal Harry (Mark MacDonald) though intervals of :28.0, :58.2 and 1:28.1. That one had a length-and-quarter lead entering the lane, but Dante edged out and edged by. He beat his barn neighbor by a length in 1:57.2, with Credevie (George Brennan) third. For Dante, a son of Credit Winner trained by his driver for owner Courant A B, he's 4-for-6 this season. The exacta paid $7.60, with the triple returning $105.50. "He doesn't pull as much as he did (at 2)," Svanstedt said. "He's a better horse to drive now." Stakes action continues here this weekend. Friday night, the $167,874 New York Sire Stakes Art Watson Pace (3-year-old fillies). Saturday night, it's the $100,000 Lawrence B. Sheppard (2-year-old colts/geldings). by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands features a quartet of $100,000 New Jersey Sires Stakes (NJSS) freshman finals among fourteen live races on Friday, July 15.   The pacing colts come up first in race two and the road to the title goes through Every Way Out. An easy winner in both preliminary legs including a sharp 1:55 effort in his last, Every Way Out faces just five rivals for new connections this week.   Previous owner Aaron Lambert sold the colt between starts to the partnership of Howard Taylor, Abe Basen, Ed Gold and Tom Lazzaro and Dylan Davis takes over the conditioning. Tim Tetrick is the one constant, back in the bike from post six in the final.   The fourth race is composed of ten colt trotting prodigies seeking the state crown. Of the three prelim winners, both Hammer Time and Fly On paired a win with a third place finish for their dual efforts while New Jersey Viking had the week off after his leg one success.   Trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt had New Jersey Viking ready to win in the first leg off a single qualifier. After letting the dust settle around the first turn, Svanstedt moved his charge to the front on the backstretch and the colt responded with a 27.2 end to a 1:55.4 mile. With his final berth secure, the son of Muscle Hill from Hall Of Wishes was held out of leg two.   New Jersey Viking has drawn post three on Friday. He carries the hopes of Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural via his nom de course Little E, LLC and his partners Knutsson Racing, familiar as the owners of the great Sebastian K.   The trotting fillies are a dynamic group of ten that will settle the issue of who's the fairest of them all, Garden State style, in the sixth race.   Checkmate Time is a slight favorite over Ariana G, based on her pair of leg wins over the latter's single successful appearance in the stakes.   Checkmate Time has been impressive right from the start and showed some grit last week battling her way past a stubborn Waffle Cone to get the 1:55 win. She seems to do her best work following and Scott Zeron has been assigned to sort out a winning trip by trainer Dennis Laterza for owner/breeder Roy Dobbins.   Ariana G is also a homebred, racing for the interests of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. By Muscle Hill from Cantab It All, she's a sister and barn mate in the Jimmy Takter stable to Hambletonian Oaks contender All The Time who won this race last year. Ariana G was rated kindly in her leg one win by Yannick Gingras before sprinting home in 28 flat for the 1:58.2 record.   Pacing fillies will wrap the NJSS races in the eleventh race where Livingthedream will command respect from her eight female rivals. She won both legs at a jog, forwardly placed in each by driver Marcus Miller and has drawn the rail for Friday's race. Trainer Erv Miller bred and owns the If I Can Dream lass with partner Ron Michelon.   Post time on Friday is 7:15 p.m.   From the Meadowlands Media Department

The third edition of the modern day Hambletonian Maturity will go post ward Saturday, July 16 at The Meadowlands with a field of 11 four-year-old trotters competing for a purse of $471,200. Ten eligible trotters plus a $50,000 supplement by the connections of the latest Indiana-sired sensation, distaffer Hannelore Hanover, comprise the field of 11. Musical Rhythm, who won a Graduate leg at Mohawk Raceway and the $250,000 Final at The Meadowlands in 1:51.2 last Saturday, leads the field for trainer Ben Baillargeon. With 12 victories in 14 starts and $270,573 this year, a win with Musical Rhythm would give driver John Campbell consecutive victories in the Hambletonian Maturity, following his successful steer with JL Cruze, also a racetime supplement, last year. A son of 1998 Breeders Crown freshman champ Musical Victory and sire Cantab Hall, Musical Rhythm was a $33,000 Standardbred Mixed Horse Sale purchase at Harrisburg last November for owner/trainer Ben Baillargeon, Claude Hamel and Santo and Nunzio Vena. "He is amazing us," said Baillargeon after Musical Rhythm's Graduate Final victory from post 10, setting a new lifetime mark of 1:51.2. "I go to the sale and look for young trotters with speed - I don't care if they make breaks because I think I can fix them- but they have to show some speed. This guy was maybe a little guy when he went through the ring as a yearling but he fit what I was looking for and in my price range. "Both times down at the Meadowlands, I don't know what happened, he didn't get a good trip but he went a hell of a mile Saturday night," continued Baillargeon. "Because he won in 1:52 in March I was able to stake him to the Graduate, Crawford and Allerage, although I originally wanted him to just stay in 4-year-old races." Though Baillargeon has returned to his home base in Ontario, his daughter Sara is headquartered at Magical Acres training center in New Jersey with Musical Rhythm. Hannelore Hanover joins Bee A Magician (second in 2014) and Shake It Cerry (third in 2015) as the only mares to start in the Maturity against the males. The $50,000 supplemental decision was "kinda easy" according to trainer Ron Burke. "We've had to count on her to do everything we planned on Mission Brief doing this year and she has really come through," said Burke. "Her last two wins were in complete shutdown mode without her ever being asked, and everyone who has driven her believes she can trot in 1:49. She just won at Mohawk in 1:51, so that's not out of the question. "It's a lot of money to put up, but she's made a lot so we are kind of playing with our own money here. She has been just unbelievable this year - and no other horse shows the kind of miles she's been doing." The Burke Racing Stable owns Hannelore Hanover, along with the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi, and Frank Baldachino. A $32,000 purchase as a yearling from the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale, Hannelore started just twice at two in Indiana-sired events, and also stayed home in Indiana as a sophomore, racking up close to $300,000 in state-bred earnings. Now four, the daughter of Swan For All - High Sobriety has joined Indiana stand outs like Wiggle It Jiggleit, Freaky Feet Pete, Always Be Miki and Color's A Virgin in beating the best North America has to offer. Ironically, Hannelore Hanover's sole loss this year came in her home state to the mare Allie Labrook. Otherwise she has picked up stake wins in the Miami Valley Distaff, Armbro Flight and Miss Versatility. Burke will also start Crazy Wow for Our Horse Cents Stable, JT45, Silva Stables and Deo Volente Stable. A winner of $1.2 million lifetime, Crazy Wow has struggled to find his stride this year but put it together in an overnight race last Friday, scoring in 1:51.2. Ake Svanstedt will start three trotters: Centurion ATM, Crescent Fashion and Honor And Serve. Svanstedt won the first edition of the Maturity in 2014 with Your So Vain. Muscle Up The Goal comes in off a second-place finish to Obrigado in the Cleveland Trotting Classic an open race. Trained by Chris Beaver to more than $300,000 in earnings in just 25 lifetime starts, the son of Muscle Mass-Tag's Goal will be making his first start at The Meadowlands. 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman was not entered, but Jimmy Takter has representation in Canepa Hanover. Trainer Luc Blais who has a history of sending out longshot winners has entered Lookslikeachpndale, a lightly-raced son of Muscle Hill; George Ducharme could be the first trainer in modern times to send out a Hambletonian winner [Royalty For Life in 2013] and a Maturity winner should Wings Of Royalty step up; and Tom Fanning adds Fashion Creditor for owner Joe Smith to round out the field. Created by the Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands as a racing opportunity solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Oaks, like those events the Maturity racing conditions prohibit the use of Lasix, the only race day medication permitted in New Jersey and entrants are subject to out of competition testing. The distance is a mile and an eighth. All starters in the race will receive money, with the winner receiving 50% of the purse. One percent of the total purse will be paid to the owners of the finalist finishing sixth thru eleventh. The remainder of the purse for the Maturity will be divided 50-24-16-10% for the horses finishing second through fifth. Post positions will be drawn later this afternoon with the rest of the sensational Meadowlands card which features the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, Mistletoe Shalee, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Delvin Miller Memorial, Golden Girls, Miss Versatility and the WR Haughton Memorial. The 11-horse field, in alphabetical order, is below: Canepa Hanover Centurion ATM Crazy Wow Crescent Fashion Creditor Hannelore Hanover (S) Honor And Serve Lookslikeachipndale Muscle Up The Goal Musical Rhythm Wings Of Royalty by Moira Fanning for the Hambletonian Society  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - Displaying no ill effects after being away from the races for almost a month, Resolve powered down the road to an easy 1-length win in the $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Final for harness racing trotters at the Meadowlands Friday night. The winner's last start came in the May 29 Elitlopp at Solvalla (Sweden) when the 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill finished second to Nuncio. "The horse was very good," said winning trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. "He came back home (from Sweden) and it took him two weeks to get back to normal." Too bad for his foes. Resolve, the even-money favorite, was sent away fast from post seven and had the lead at the quarter in :27.1. Svanstedt did a masterful job of rating the second fraction, which was timed in a sleepy :30 as they hit the half in :57.1. Obrigado, the 2-1 second choice fresh off wins in the Maxie Lee and Hill Memorial, vacated the four hole at the seven-sixteenths and grinded his way into contention at three-quarters, which went in 1:25.4. Then Svanstedt hit the gas and Resolve responded with a final quarter of :26.3, leaving Obrigado behind while opening up a safe lead. Flanagan Memory, who went a third-over trip, closed well through the stretch to end up a no-threat second. Obrigado held third. Early-season sensation JL Cruze was fourth. Resolve trotted the mile in 1:52.2 and paid $4.20 to win for owner Hans G Enggren. HAIL THE QUEEN: Medusa won her second straight $25,000 Open Handicap Mares pace in determined wire-to-wire fashion for driver Brett Miller and trainer Andrew Federico Jr. The 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight went the mile in a lifetime-best 1:49.2 and paid $3.00 to win as the 1-2 favorite. STILL GROWING: The 5th race 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five did not have a single-ticket winner, increasing the carryover to $20,452.28, while the 11th race version of the wager, unhit since the beginning of the meeting in November, saw its carryover swell to $264,140.15. Both pots of gold will be up for grabs on the next program. ... Live racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations  

After finishing second in the Elitlopp on May 29 at Sweden's Solvalla Raceway, Resolve is back on familiar ground and ready for his next challenge in Friday's $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for harness racing older trotters at the Meadowlands. Resolve faces six rivals in the Cutler. He will start from post seven, with trainer Ake Svanstedt also driving, and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Obrigado, whose wins this season include the Charlie Hill Memorial and Maxie Lee Memorial, is 5-2 and 2015 Dan Patch Award divisional champion JL Cruze is 7-2. "He was a little skinny when he came home, but he's eaten well and in a week or two he was normal again," said Svanstedt, who conditions the 5-year-old Resolve for owner Hans Enggren. "He trained good. Everything is normal. I like the way he feels." Resolve finished second to former U.S.-based star Nuncio in the Elitlopp. It has been 18 years since Moni Maker was the last U.S.-owned horse to win the Elitlopp, although Resolve joined Arch Madness and Mr Muscleman as recent U.S. runners-up in the prestigious invitational event. Arch Madness had back-to-back second-place finishes in 2012 and 2013 and Mr Muscleman was second in 2007. Svanstedt is in his third year of competing in North America. He was Sweden's Trainer of the Year five times and Driver of the Year on three occasions prior to moving his stable to the U.S. in the winter of 2013. During his career overseas, Svanstedt won many of the top races in Europe, including the Elitlopp twice. "It was fun to go back for the Elitlopp," Svanstedt said. "It was very nice. It seems a lot of people in America looked at the race too. That's good. A lot of people have given us congratulations." Resolve's earnings in the Elitlopp pushed his lifetime total to more than $1 million. The son of Muscle Hill-Anikawiesahalee has won 10 of 43 career starts and banked $1.07 million. Last year, Resolve won four of 13 races and hit the board a total of 12 times on his way to $700,938. His wins included the TVG Free For All Series championship and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. He finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final, as well as the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Hambletonian Maturity. Resolve received the 2015 O'Brien Award for the best older male trotter to compete in Canada. The Cutler is Resolve's only stakes-level engagement until the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Aug. 6 --- Hambletonian Day --- at the Meadowlands. In the meantime, Svanstedt will try to race Resolve at Yonkers Raceway in the hopes the horse receives an invitation to October's International Trot at The Hilltop. Svanstedt often races Resolve without shoes, but on Friday the stallion will race with shoes on his hind feet. "He can go fast with shoes too," Svanstedt said. Following is the field for the Cutler Memorial. Wind Of The North is the only one of the seven horses who competed in last year's Cutler, which was won by Bee A Magician. Wind Of The North finished second, two lengths back. Svanstedt won the 2014 Cutler with Sebastian K. The Cutler is race No. 7 on the Meadowlands' card, with a 9:15 p.m. approximate post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1 - Crazy Wow - by Crazed - Tim Tetrick - Ron Burke - 6/1 2 - Gural Hanover - by Crazed -  Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 12/1 3 - JL Cruze - by Crazed - John Campbell - Eric Ell - 7/2 4 - Obrigado - by Boy Band - Mark MacDonald - Paul Kelley - 5/2 5 - Flanagan Memory - by Kadabra -  Brett Miller - Rene Dion - 8/1 6 - Wind Of The North - by Cantab Hall -  David Miller - Daryl Bier - 10/1 7 - Resolve -  by Muscle Hill - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 2/1 by Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ - The $200,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial will see seven of the top harness racing older trotters currently racing convene at The Meadowlands to contest the 19th renewal of the Grand Circuit stake on Friday, June 24.   Mr. Cutler was a popular and successful Manhattan restaurateur. His empire of restaurants began in 1990 with Carmines (still a popular Italian family style venue) and grew to embrace several cuisines such as Ollie's Noodle Shop, Gabriela's Mexican and Virgil's BBQ. A Virgil's location is set to be opened soon by Mr. Cutler's longtime friend Jeff Gural as part of the renovations at Tioga Downs.   On the track (race 7) it's a quality over quantity field that includes Obrigado, who will seek to make it three consecutive memorial trots having annexed the Charlie Hill and Maxie Lee in his last two starts. A winner 37 times in 67 career starts, Obrigado is now less than $4,000 from the coveted million dollar mark in career earnings. Trainer Paul Kelley shares ownership of the classy veteran with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45 and Mark MacDonald will be in to drive.   Resolve is making his first start back state-side for Ake Svanstedt after an impressive showing in the Elitlopp last month where he finished second in that final to Nuncio.   JL Cruze will return to his favorite track as he searches for the form that made him virtually invincible in his award winning season of one year ago.   The Burke Stable has drawn posts one and two with Crazy Wow and Gural Hanover. Wind Of The North and Flanagan Memory are both accomplished trotters who add class and form to the contentious field.   Post time on Friday is 7:15 p.m.   Meadowlands Media Relations  

Vernon, N.Y. -- Harness racing trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt swept Sunday (June 19) evening's Empire Breeders Classic finals at Vernon Downs, as Non Stick ($7.50) and Dante ($11.60) both took full advantage of pocket trips en route to victory.   In the $234,375 Filly Classic, Non Stick avenged defeat in her elimination, but was anything but conservative in the early stages. The 3-year-old daughter of Lucky Chucky circled three other leavers en route to a :26.1 first quarter before yielding to Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) on the backstretch. Non Stick never lacked for racing room, drafting behind middle splits of :54.3 and 1:24.2 before vacating the pocket at head-stretch to avoid being boxed by the gradually-gaining Swinging Royalty (Brian Sears). Non Stick vaulted to the lead upon cornering and subsequently parried Swinging Royalty's stout late bid, prevailing by a head in 1:54. Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) stalked live cover and rallied belatedly for third.   Svanstedt co-owns Non Stick with Little E, LLC.   The $222,975 Classic for colts and geldings likewise saw the victor sprint clear, yield, and retake off the far turn, as Svanstedt sent Dexter Cup winner Dante to the fore from post 9 through a :26.2 initial quarter before stablemate The Royal Harry (Mark MacDonald) charged up from third to control the terms with five-eighths of the mile remaining. Dante angled off the pegs after a :57 middle half to once again take charge from his stablemate, vaulting clear by three in head-stretch. Just For Today (Bartlett) mounted good belated gains from the second flight, working into a clear second but missing Dante's 1:52.3 mile by 1-1/2 lengths. Thats a Bad Boy (Tyler Freese) likewise emerged from off the pace to claim third.   Courant AB owns Dante, a 3-year-old son of Credit Winner.   A sizable on-track crowd enjoyed camel and ostrich races as part of the Father's Day festivities at the Miracle Mile.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Thursday (June 23), with first post scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs   ATTACHED: Non Stick (#6, foreground) and Dante (#9, alone) gave trainer-driver Ã…ke Svanstedt a sweep of the Empire Breeders Classic trotting events on Sunday night at Vernon Downs. Fotowon photos.

In 2014, Michael Pozefsky watched a horse he bred --- Resolve --- race in the Hambletonian Stakes. This year, he hopes to watch a horse he bred and owns compete in the $1 million harness racing event. Pozefsky and Edward Wilson bred The Royal Harry, who on Sunday races in the $222,975 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old male trotters at Vernon Downs in upstate New York. The colt, whose family includes two Hambletonian winners and a Hambletonian Oaks champion, is now owned by Pozefsky and his brother, William. The Royal Harry has won two of six career races and hit the board a total of five times, earning $32,030. He has a win and a second-place finish this season, with his victory coming in 1:55.1 in a conditioned race June 10 at Vernon Downs. He was second to Sir Royson in his first start, which came in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Tioga Downs. Sir Royson, the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Empire Breeders Classic, won by a half-length in 1:54. "He won against a lesser crew at Vernon last week, but we just needed another race to try to be ready for this week," Pozefsky said. "His first start, it was a good line, but he got a good trip and he got a good drive. I wasn't expecting to go that much, but he did, which was terrific." The Royal Harry, trained by Ake Svanstedt, raced only four times last season. He had a win and two second-place finishes, but was shut down in early October to prepare for this year. "He was a big colt," Pozefsky said. "Instead of rushing him into it, the Svanstedt Stable decided to bring him along at a slower pace, which was fine with us. We had higher hopes, but he got to a point where he was going about the same and we decided to bring him back as a 3-year-old and hope that he improved substantially. It appears he has, but we'll know a lot more about that after the Breeders Classic." Wilson and Pozefsky bred and raced The Royal Harry's dam, Wilsonator, who enjoyed success on the Ontario circuit and finished fourth in the 2010 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters. The family also includes Hambletonian winners Emily's Pride and Spencer Scott and Hambletonian Oaks champion Keystone Pioneer. Pozefsky and Wilson also shared the breeding credit for Resolve, who finished fifth in the 2014 Hambletonian. The two breeders take turns naming their horses and Wilson named The Royal Harry, a son of RC Royalty, after Pozefsky's son Harry, who is now 29. The Royal Harry was put through the Standardbred Horse Sale in 2014, where the Pozefskys bought back the yearling for $100,000. "He's just part of the family," Pozefsky said. "We liked him a lot. It was kind of an easy decision. The dam was a fine mare and this is her second foal. Her first foal (Muscle Hill-sired Hillsonator) is racing well in Canada." The Royal Harry is one of two Hambletonian eligible horses in the Empire Breeders Classic, along with George Ducharme-trained Reve Royale. Pozefsky hopes The Royal Harry can continue to make strides and find himself at the Meadowlands on Aug. 6 for the Hambletonian. "He's got to find some real additional time," Pozefsky said, "but surely that's the dream." The Royal Harry will start the Empire Breeders Classic from post No. 1 with Mark MacDonald in the sulky. He is 5-1 on the morning line. Svanstedt will drive Dexter Cup winner Dante, who is 9-2 from post nine. Sir Royson will start from post seven with Jim Marohn Jr. driving for trainer Linda Toscano and owner R-And-I Farms. A homebred son of Crazed-Leibovitz Hanover, Sir Royson has won five of nine career races and earned $84,722. Sunday's card at Vernon Downs also features the $234,375 Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old female trotters. The entry of Earn Your Wings and Straight A Student is the 2-1 morning line favorite. Earn Your Wings, from the stable of trainer Anette Lorentzon, and Straight A Student, from the stable of trainer Paul Kelley, are coupled because of common ownership. by Ken Weingartner

Vernon, N.Y. -- Commanding favorite Non Stick was handed her first career defeat in her Empire Breeders Classic elimination on Friday (June 10) at Vernon Downs, while Fad Finance ($22.60) and Earn Your Wings ($18.20) copped minor upsets in the harness racing preliminaries for next week's marquee trotting event.   In the first $12,500 elimination, trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt sprinted to the fore with 1-10 favorite Non Stick, and the pair were unchallenged through splits of :26.4, :56.4, and 1:25.3. At head-stretch, the then-undefeated daughter of Lucky Chucky faced pressure from the two who most directly tracked her, as Straight A Student (Mark MacDonald) emerged from the pocket and Fad Finance (Trond Smedshammer) fanned deeper yet. Fad Finance vaulted to a narrow lead in mid-stretch, battling to maintain a lead over Straight A Student for a 1:54.1 triumph. Non Stick and Lindylicious (Chris Lems) rounded out the top four in the first elimination.   Smedshammer also trains Fad Finance, a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the Purple Haze Stables, Marc Goldberg, and the Rojan Stables.   In the second elimination, Earn Your Wings (Jason Bartlett) took full advantage of a pocket trip, swinging out at head-stretch to duel clear of pacesetter Swinging Royalty (Lems) for a 1:54.4 win. Open Access (Matt Kakaley) rallied belatedly into third, while Goosebump Hanover (Jim Morrill, Jr.) held fourth.   Anette Lorentzon trains Earn Your Wings, also a 3-year-old Credit Winner filly, for the SRF Stable.   Of the two fifth-place finishers in the eliminations, Dazzling Dollars draws into next week's $234,375 final.   The following ten 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings advance directly to the $222,975 Empire Breeders Classic final:   Dante   Just For Today   Omaha Set Hut    Reve Royale   Sir Royson   Smalltownthrowdown   Southern Palms   Sweet Royalty   Thats a Bad Boy   The Royal Harry.   Both finals will be part of a special Sunday evening card at Vernon, on Father's Day, June 19.   Live racing returns to Vernon Downs on Saturday (June 11). Post time is set for 6:45 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

When Sarah Svanstedt drove in an amateur race last week at the Meadowlands, it had been nearly three years since she competed on the harness racing track. But it seems that winning in a race bike is like riding a bike; one never forgets how it's done. Sarah, the wife of trainer Ake Svanstedt, guided Real DJ Hanover to victory last Friday in a GSY Series trot, rallying from the back of the pack to defeat Windsun Galliano by three-quarters of a length in 1:56.2. Sarah and Real DJ Hanover will be back for another GSY Series event Friday (June 10) at the Big M and the tandem is the 5-2 morning line favorite from post nine in a nine-horse field. A native of Sweden, Sarah drove in nearly 500 races overseas. Her win last week was No. 50 in her career. "When I passed the finish line, I was like, oh my gosh, I won," Sarah said. "I was shocked. It was an amazing feeling." The Svanstedts moved to the U.S. in the winter of 2013. Ake, a five-time Trainer of the Year and three-time Driver of the Year in Sweden, was ready for a new challenge and established a winter base in Florida and racing home at a farm in New Jersey. Sarah had driven on only a limited basis in the several years prior to the move because of the birth of the couple's two young boys, Erik and Jonas, and put off a return to the bike until the family was settled in its new environment. "It is like a fulltime job with the kids, especially when Ake is gone so much," Sarah said. "The first one-and-a-half or two years here, I'd say it was really much work, with the kids, and school, and language, and paperwork. This farm is a lot of work too. It's like starting all over again. "This year it feels really good. Now that everything is settled it is good. And people here were so nice to us, helping us and making us feel welcome. It was nice and helped us feel more at home. "Some people say I don't have a life outside the horses, but it's my life. I travel a lot and get to see so much. You go out and meet many nice people and have fun. I love my life." Sarah grew up in Sweden riding horses. She got her first trip behind a trotter at the age of 13 when her best friend's brother, who was a trainer, told her "it was time to stop the riding." "I didn't know if I wanted to get in the cart," Sarah said, "but I drove a really nice horse and from that moment I was in love with driving." Sarah prepped for her amateur debut by driving in a qualifier on May 21 at the Meadowlands. She finished third with The Royal Harry, from Ake's stable. She received a few words of advice from Ake prior to the start, and discovered that when the gate pulled away, she was ready to go. "When I drove in the qualifying race I felt something coming over me, like the race moment," Sarah said, adding with a laugh, "Ake told me to just drive from the back, but when the gate was leaving, I was like I'm not going to go behind. Why? I could feel something coming to me like I wanted to race again." Sarah's win with Real DJ Hanover was special beyond the obvious reason. She wanted to drive the 4-year-old gelding because the horse is owned by the Svanstedts and Sarah's father, Torbjorn Swahn. "I wanted to go with him first so there was no pressure," Sarah said. "He's a really wonderful horse to work with and such a nice horse to drive. So I felt like that was the horse to start with. When you like the horse so much, I work with him seven days a week, it was a great feeling to win with him." Sarah kept her plans to drive in the amateur ranks quiet until about two hours before her first race, when she sent out a photo of herself with Real DJ Hanover via social media. "So then everyone was like, what, is she going to drive?" Sarah said. "When it ended up with a victory, everyone went crazy. So it was fun." Sarah is uncertain of her future as a driver, but plans to compete in the amateur ranks when she has the opportunity. "I have to start somewhere and I will see where it takes me," Sarah said. "I have been driving the horses here every day, so the horse driving itself is not the thing. It's more like the speed and having to think quickly. I want to keep going in the amateur races, but then I'm not sure if I'll go out with the big boys. I drove with them in Sweden. I'm not sure how different it would be here. "But it's fun to drive again. I'm just taking one step at a time." by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

Ake Svanstedt, Inc. and Little E, LLC's Non Stick ($2.70) remains undefeated in eight career starts after a comfortable two-length harness racing win in her $40,600 New York Sire Stakes division on Saturday (May 28) evening at Vernon Downs.   Mark MacDonald wasted no time with the 3-year-old Lucky Chucky filly, working clear of Goosebump Hanover (Chris Lems) before exiting the straight. Non Stick was uncontested through splits of :28, :57.2, and 1:26, working clear of her seven foes on the far turn. At head-stretch, Goosebump Hanover vacated the pocket to give chase, but Non Stick maintained her clear lead throughout under just mild encouragement for a 1:55 triumph. Earn Your Wings (Charlie Norris) circled from the rear of the main group to take second, while Dizzy Broad (Jim Morrill, Jr.) saved third off her cozy tracking trip. Goosebump Hanover lacked any late burst from the pocket, finishing fourth.   Ake Svanstedt trains Non Stick, who has amassed $226,532 thus far in career earnings.   Mario Mazza's Stick of Butter ($7.20) prevailed in her Sire Stakes division off an extended first-over bid, dueling clear of pacesetter Straight A Student for a 1:54.3 win. Trainer Francisco del Cid drove the Lucky Chucky filly.   Fair Winds Farm, Inc.'s Open Access ($33.80) also found the winner's enclosure, vaulting off cover and collaring Fad Finance and Swinging Royalty for a last-to-first 1:54.1 score. Charlie Norris drove the daughter of Credit Winner for trainer Robert Baggitt, Jr.   As no one hit the 50¢ Pick 5, a carryover of $246.95 will head to Monday (May 30) afternoon's card. Post time for the first of 12 races on Memorial Day is set for 1:25 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Vernon Downs

John Campbell put a little more distance between himself and the field Friday night as the leading harness racing driver in Meadowlands history steered four winners on the 11-race card. The Hall of Famer guided Mavens Way to victory in the lone New Jersey Sire Stakes event for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. After racing on the lead - and taking pressure virtually every step down the backside from Southwind Flash - the son of Muscle Hill held off the late-charging 6-5 favorite Jack Vernon to win by a neck in a lifetime-best 1:51.4 for trainer Ake Svanstedt and owners Svanstedt, Burroughs and the T L P Stable. Double L Lindy finished third. Sent to the gate as the second choice in the wagering, Mavens Way returned $9.80 to his backers. Campbell also scored with Batoutahill ($6.20 to win, 1:55.1) in a division of the NJSS for 3-year-old trotting fillies, as well as with pair of conditioned pacers, Gweneeee J ($7.00, 1:50.1) and Danish Durango ($5.20, 1:52). CARRYOVER CONTINUES: The late 20 cent Jackpot Super High Five, which has not once had had a single-ticket winner since the start of the current meeting on November 13 of last year, now has a carryover of $234,671.79 heading into the next program. ... Southwind Hope ($3.40, 1:54.1) won the other division of the NJSS for 3-year-old trotting fillies. ... The Meadowlands is back with live racing Saturday at 7:15 p.m. ... On Sunday morning, the Meadowlands will offer on-site wagering on races nine through 15 from Solvalla, Sweden. The ninth race is the first of two Elitlopp eliminations and has an estimated post time of 9:22 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. by Dave Little, Meadowlands Media Relations

Harness racing owner Hans Enggren will watch Sunday as his 5-year-old trotter Resolve competes in Sweden's famed Elitloppet at Solvalla Raceway. It has been more than three decades since Enggren can recall having a horse in the elite race, but the thought of his previous attempt to win it with a horse named Spirits Supreme triggers an amusing anecdote which could have started with the line, "A man walks into a bar with a horse." The bar, located in Gettysburg, Pa., near Enggren's adopted hometown of Abbottstown, was owned by Enggren and renamed in honor of Spirits Supreme, who raced in the 1983 Elitloppet. One day, Enggren decided to show off the horse to the establishment's patrons. "To everyone's delight, I brought Spirits Supreme right into the bar," the 86-year-old Enggren said, laughing, "and he gracefully baptized it, I guess you would call it." Spirits Supreme was unsuccessful in his attempt for an Elitloppet victory, not to mention barroom etiquette, but Enggren is hopeful that Resolve can get him to the winner's circle. Resolve, who received the 2015 O'Brien Award for the best older male trotter to compete in Canada, races in the first of two Elitloppet eliminations. The top four finishers from each division advance to the same-day final. Resolve is trained by two-time Elitloppet winner Ake Svanstedt, who also will drive the stallion. Five-year-old stallion Nuncio, whose success in the U.S. at ages 2 and 3 included victories in the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot, competes in the second elimination and is the 2-1 favorite to win the event according to online oddsmakers. Since turning 4, Nuncio has raced in Europe for owner/trainer Stefan Melander. He finished third in the 2015 Elitloppet, which was won by Magic Tonight. Resolve, who will start his elimination from post No. 2, is the fourth choice in the pre-race odds, at 12-1. Timoko, who won the 2014 Elitloppet, is 7-1 and Propulsion is 8-1. Timoko and Propulsion, who raced in the States for trainer Tony Alagna at ages 3 and 4, are in the same elimination as Resolve. Defending champion Magic Tonight, who raced in the U.S. for trainer Noel Daley in his early years, is in the second elimination and will start from post seven. He is 41-1. "I'm very excited," said Enggren, a native of Sweden who moved to the U.S. in 1952. "I know a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to get the horse there and to get me there. It will be nice to meet some old friends and see Resolve race. I know Nuncio has been declared a pretty strong favorite, but I have high hopes for Resolve. "I think an awful lot of my trainer. According to comments I've seen in the Swedish papers, they feel like I feel --- that Svanstedt has improved the horse tremendously." Enggren, perhaps best known as the breeder and owner of 1985 Hambletonian winner Prakas as well as heading Meadowbranch Farms, bought Resolve in July 2014. Last year, Resolve won four of 13 races and hit the board a total of 12 times on his way to $700,938. His wins included the TVG Free For All Series championship and an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot. He finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final, as well as the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Hambletonian Maturity. This year, Resolve is officially winless in two starts, although he did get to the finish line first in the Mack Lobell Elitloppet Playoff on May 8 at the Meadowlands only to be disqualified for going inside several pylons in the stretch. Despite the missteps, the connections received an Elitloppet invitation. Resolve is the lone U.S.-owned horse in the race. "It would mean a lot," Enggren said about the possibility of winning the race, which he has attended numerous times over the years. "I was brought up in Sweden with horses in the late '30s, early '40s. I always was very closely attached to Solvalla. As a kid, I was there a lot. If we were to win, it would be truly amazing. I have promised everybody here that I'm not going to cry if they take pictures." Is it a promise Enggren thinks he can keep? "We'll see," he said, adding with a laugh, "Perhaps I will wear very black glasses." Ken Weingartner

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