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The recognition of the importance of the trotting sector to the overall health of the breeding and racing history by successive Harness Racing Victoria administrations paid a handsome dividend last breeding season. Five years ago there were 550 trotting mares bred from in Australia compared to 734 bred from in New Zealand, however, there has been a dramatic turnaround created by an increase in racing opportunities and split gender age classics in Victoria. Figures compiled from last season reveal that the numbers of trotting mares bred from in New Zealand had dropped 20.8% from 2009 to 581, while in Australia the situation was a mirror image with an increase of 11.8% to 615. Remarkably the percentage of trotting mares bred from in Australia in 1999/2000 represented just 4.8% (454 of 9,413) of the total mares bred from, however, the comparative figure for 2013/14 was 10.1% (603 out of a total 5,975). The figure for 2014/15 is expected to be marginally higher again. Headlining the numbers were Majestic Son USA with 97 mares, Yankee Spider with 56, Bacardi Lindy USA (43), Angus Hall USA (36), Great Success USA (28), Imperial Count USA (27), Fling It USA (25), Ready Cash (FRA) (23), Muscle Hill USA (23), Andover Hall USA (22), Victoria Trotters Derby winner Danny Bouchea (21) and La Coocaracha’s son Louey Louey Louey (20). A fascinating survey of the comparative numbers of mares served by stallions based in Australia, New Zealand, North America is illuminating, especially when looking at the situation in 1999/2000. Australian based stallions served 356 mares in the 2014/15 season (383 in 1999/2000), New Zealand based stallions served 10 mares in 2014/15 (8 in 1999/2000), North American based stallions 216 mares in 2014/15 (26 in 1999/2000) and finally European based stallions 33 mares in 2014/15 (16 in 2014/15). I think they call that internationalization. The news just keeps getting too as there is an impending announcement of the importation of a 1:53 2/5s winning son of 2007 USA Harness Horse of the Year and Hambletonian winner Donato Hanover.  Furthermore, after decades of spurning the trotter Alabar Farms will be offering the frozen semen of not only Majestic Son but also the Danish Derby winner Peak who distinguished himself by also winning the Group One NZ Trotters FFA at Addington (NZ). Peak is by French stallion Ganymede, the sire of 45 Classic winners in Europe as well the Vicbred Super Sires 4YO champion Vincennes, who won the Wagon Apollo FFA at Tabcorp Park (Melton) at his last racetrack appearance. And to think that 55 years ago there was not a single North American trotting stallion in Australia and the numbers of trotting foals being bred was less than one hundred. Thank heavens for the visionary Victorian Harness Racing Hall of Famer Chris Howe who stood Bank Note, the first American trotting stallion imported direct to Australia post WW2 in 1961, and later Mt Everest. Chris was a tireless evangelist for the trotter, however, his efforts would have counted for little had it not been for administrators such as Graeme Cochran who insisted that the Victoria Sires Stake feature three age trotting classics and furthermore under his watch the Inter Dominion Trotters Championship came to Victoria for the first time and the Victoria Trotters Oaks was inaugurated. Next Friday night at Tabcorp Park there will be a ten race all trotting programme headlined by six Group One Vicbred Super Sires Finals, a stunning endorsement of the vision of administrators who supported the never say die efforts of countless trotting breeders and enthusiasts. John Peck

Harness racing driver Corey Callahan got the jump on Driver of the Week honors, finding the winner's circle five times on Friday night at The Meadowlands. Callahan didn't waste any time, winning the first two year old event of the season at The Meadowlands, with the John Butenschoen trained Ideal Rocky, a Rocknroll Hanover colt that cost $47,000 at the Harrisburg yearling sale. Callahan and Butenschoen would team up again later on the night, winning a condition trotting event with the Currier and Ives winner, Suit and Tie (Andover Hall). The Captain would also go on to score with B Stern (Bettor's Delight) in wire to wire fashion in a condition pacing event for fillies and mares at 13-1. He also guided Beach Story (Somebeachsomewhere) to a strong win in a very tough upper-level condition pacing event for mares and steered Tirade Hanover (Crazed) to a well-meant win in a competitive middle level condition trotting event. With the five wins, Callahan moved into the top-five in the Meadowlands drivers standings. The feature race of the night was the $50,000 TVG Free For All Trot, the third leg in the $1.2 Million series. Obrigado made his debut in the series and he made it a winning one, scoring in impressive fashion in 1:51.3, a lifetime best performance. Last week, Obrigado found himself locked in throughout the mile while crying out for racing room in the stretch, Mark Macdonald made sure that wouldn't happen this time, putting his gelding in the game early. But Obrigado had to work hard early on, parked out by DW's NY Yank, the 9/5 favorite and the two raced in tandem past the quarter in 26.3. Shortly after the trotters turned into the backstretch, Obrigado cleared the lead and it was a lead he would not relinquish. MacDonald effectively backed his trotter down to a 55.3 half mile before reaching three-quarters in 1:25.1, completely a tepid 58.3 middle half-mile. In the stretch, the Boy Band gelding  simply out-sprinted the field, kicking home in 26.2 to complete the triumph. Flanagan Memory rallied to finish second with Melady's Monet overcoming traffic trouble in the stretch to finish third. Obrigado is co-owned by his trainer Paul Kelley, L. Higgins and W. Weaver III. The fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5 survived another night, despite a 15-1 upset and that carryover will be $168,564 into the Saturday program. The last race carryover swelled to $149,836 as well. Racing resumes on Saturday with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

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

A field of eight lined up for the featured harness racing event on a rainy Thursday afternoon (June 18) at Harrah's Philadelphia. It was an upper-conditioned level trot going for a purse of $18,000.   The heavy favorite was Thomas Cooke's BWT Taj (Tim Tetrick). The 5-year-old son of Broadway Hall was coming off of an impressive win against easier in his last outing. The favorite was able to secure a good early seat shortly after the start, landing in the three hole behind outside leavers. Long shot Pointe Of Honour (Brett Miller) had the lead at the quarter pole (:28.1), but was quickly passed by other speed. The first half (:56.2) saw several lead changes, including BWT Taj overtaking Calipari (Joe Bongiorno) heading towards three-quarters. The race favorite was immediately challenged by Chris Oakes trainee Auspicious Hanover (Yannick Gingras) at the three-quarter pole (1:25.3).   These two entered the stretch on even terms, with the latter asserting himself in deep stretch to win by a length, stopping the clock in 1:54.3. BWT Taj held second, while long shot Lazurus (Marcus Miller) finished third.   It was the seventh career win for Auspicious Hanover ($16.20), and the third this season.   The 4-year-old son of Andover Hall is owned by Susan Oakes.   Live racing resumes on Friday with a post time of 12:40 PM.   There is a Pick four carryover of just over $3,000 heading into Friday's program. The pick four starts in race seven.   Michael Bozich

WILKES-BARRE PA - Daughters of Andover Hall took the two fastest of five harness racing divisions of the $100,000 second leg of the Pennsylvania Stallion Series Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and two of the three first leg winners entered here repeated.   The intersection of those two statements is Kirsi Hanover, who won her Stallion start at The Meadows despite broken equipment; here she made an early move to command and went on to take a new mark in 1:54.1. Jimmy Takter trains and drove the winner for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld.   Sistas rallied in the Pocono Pike to overhaul another first round winner, Speak To Me, posting the second-fastest clocking and also getting a new mark by tripping the timer in 1:54.2. The powerful local pairing of driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes backed the winner for owners Albert and Michelle Crawford.   The other repeat Stallion Series winner was Manhattan Miss, who rallied from second-over for driver Simon Allard in a 1:55.3 triumph. Trainer Marty Wollam also owns the winning daughter of Broadway Hall with Acadia Farms Inc.   The other two winners Tuesday earned new speed badges with their triumphs. The Muscle Massive filly Seduce A Stranger overcame a first-over trip while stopping the clock in 1:56 for driver Jim Morrill Jr., trainer Dane Snyder, and owners Thomas King III and Danielle Snyder; also victorious was the Cantab Hall miss Wouldn't Itbesweet, who made the most of a sweet pocket trip to win in 1:55.2 for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Jenny Melander, and the Harbor Racing Stable LLC.   Wednesday night Pocono features the Sire Stakes 3TFs in three divisions of a $222,687 second round leg, with the first of 14 races Wednesday marked for 6:30 p.m.   PHHA / Pocono

June 14, 2015 - Today’s Akershus Traktors - for harness racing five year-olds (300,000Nokr to winner, 2100 meters autostart) went to Duke Of Greenwood (5m Otello Pierji-Nikki Groenhof-Meadow Road) that rallied for length victory clocked in 1.12.7kr. Hugo Langeweg Jr. (pilot of OGP 2009 winner Russel November) was in the sulky for trainer Peter J. Strooper and owner M.F. Rothengatter. Lutfi Kolgjini conditioned, Stall Be The Best owned, Dante Boko (5g Going Kronos-Margherita Roso-Abo Volo) set the pace throughout much of the race and finished third for Adrian Kolgjini with Viking Va Bene (5m Rite On Line-Irana du Mont-Viking Sun) second for Ger Vegard Gundersen, trainer Sigbjorn Kolnes and Stall Grenale As owner. Jerry Riordan’s trainee Rod Stewart (5m Love You-Valley Lane-Lindy Lane) ended fourth for driver Gunnar Austevoll and owner Graziano Ceccaroni. Totalisatorløp 10 14.06.2015 Bjerke Travbane Akershus Traktors Europamtach Premiesum:  565 000,- - Distanse:  2 100 Startmetode:  Auto     V5-1 V75-5 Plass Vinner Duo Tvilling Trippel     Pl.nr Pr.nr Hestens navn Dist. Km.tid Kusk Premie Kr Evt.odds 1 10 Duke of Greenwood (DE) 2 100 12,7a Hugo Langeweg Jr. 300 000,- 95 2 11 Viking Va Bene 2 100 12,8a Geir Vegard Gundersen 150 000,- 147 3 2 Dante Boko (SE) 2 100 12,9a Adrian Kolgjini 60 000,- 28 4 4 Rod Stewart (IT) 2 100 12,9a Gunnar Austevoll 30 000,- 35 5 3 Jonesy (FI) 2 100 13,0a Tuomas Korvenoja 15 000,- 332 6 1 Tano Bork (DK) 2 100 13,1a Christian Lindhardt 10 000,- 511 - 6 Royal Blessed (IT) 2 100 13,2a Peter Ingves   315 - 12 Rolex Bigi (IT) 2 100 13,2a Jorma Kontio   67 - 8 Exodus Hanover (US) 2 100 13,7a Ørjan Kihlstrøm   399 - 9 Tycoon Conway Hall (DK) 2 100 13,8a Steen Juul   57 - 5 Love Voice 2 100 dg Thor Borg   557 - 7 Tumble Dust (DK) 2 100 STR Bjørn Goop   0                     Tempo: første 500 1 10 9 (2 Dante Boko*), 1000 1 15 1 (2 Dante Boko*), siste 500 1 11 4 The Finn-Tack aged mares event (1609 meters autostart, 175,000Nokr to the winner) went to Fleetfoot Hanover (8f Andover Hall-Firefly Annie-SJ’s Photo) handled by trainer/driver Peter Untersteiner. The veteran mare won as pacesetter and now has a slate of 28-6-6-9 in 82 starts for earnings of 1,792,658Nokr. Her owner is Skele Stable AB. Premance Simoni (8f SJ’s Photo-Amance Hojgard-Why Not) was second for Frode Hamre after racing second and third during the contest while Jerry Riodan trainee, Bjorn Goop reined Rossella Ross was third for owner Francesco Rosselli.    Totalisatorløp 8 14.06.2015 Bjerke Travbane Finn Tack hoppeløp Premiesum:  358 000,- - Distanse:  1 609 Startmetode:  Auto     V75-3 Plass Vinner Duo Tvilling Trippel     Pl.nr Pr.nr Hestens navn Dist. Km.tid Kusk Premie Kr Evt.odds 1 3 Fleetfoot Hanover (US) 1 609 11,5a Peter Untersteiner 175 000,- 21 2 2 Premance Simoni (DK) 1 609 11,6a Frode Hamre 87 500,- 89 3 10 Rossella Ross (IT) 1 609 12,0a Bjørn Goop 43 500,- 103 4 11 Youana (SE) 1 609 12,0a Erik Adielsson 25 000,- 59 5 1 Uranie Lorraine (FR) 1 609 12,1a Eric Raffin 17 000,- 67 6 5 Lobell Countess (DE) 1 609 12,1a Hugo Langeweg Jr. 10 000,- 68 - 6 Stylish Hanover (US) 1 609 12,3a Jorma Kontio*   229 - 9 Glad Hall T. 1 609 12,3a Bjørn Garberg   1755 - 4 Ruth Reerstrup (DK) 1 609 13,0a Eirik Høitomt   296 - 7 Patricia Hastrup (DK) 1 609 13,2a g Per Oleg Midtfjeld   810 - 12 Seaborn Simona 1 609 dg Amanda Robertsen   824 - 8 Primula Brazza' (IT) 1 609 STR Roberto Andreghetti   0                     Tempo: første 500 1 11 1 (3 Fleetfoot Hanover), 1000 1 12 8 (3 Fleetfoot Hanover), siste 500 1 09 1   The top-class coldbloods battled in the ALM Svartens affair over 1609 meters autostart with 200,000Nokr to the winner. Favorite Lannen Silje and driver Tor Wolleback were favored as this mare had 35 wins in 37 career starts going in. However, she could not rally sufficiently (three-quarters of a length short) to catch winner Lome Brage driven by Per Oleg Midtfjeld that scored in 1.19.6kr for his 26th win in 59 career starts, good for 1,633,000Nokr earned in his career to date. Totalisatorløp 9 14.06.2015 Bjerke Travbane Alm Svartens æresløp (sponset av KJøkken Huset, Miele & Aktiv Snøservice) Premiesum:  400 000,- - Distanse:  1 609 Startmetode:  Auto     V75-4 Plass Vinner Duo Tvilling Trippel     Pl.nr Pr.nr Hestens navn Dist. Km.tid Kusk Premie Kr Evt.odds 1 1 Lome Brage 1 609 19,6a Per Oleg Midtfjeld 200 000,- 29 2 9 Lannem Silje 1 609 19,7a Tor Wollebæk 100 000,- 17 3 8 Ulsrud Tea 1 609 20,2a Svein Ove Wassberg 50 000,- 1055 4 5 Tapsan Tahti (FI) 1 609 20,4a Tapio Perttunen 25 000,- 1102 5 3 Tin Tveiten 1 609 20,6a g Geir Mikkelsen 15 000,- 425 6 4 Tekno Odin 1 609 20,6a Øystein Tjomsland 10 000,- 38 - 10 Føynland Kongen 1 609 21,2a Geir Flåten   2773 - 6 Neslands Loke 1 609 21,5a Åsbjørn Tengsareid   1536 - 7 Stjernejerven 1 609 21,9a Geir Vegard Gundersen   2694 - 2 Doktor Jaros 1 609 brg Tom Erik Solberg   871 Tempo: første 500 1 19 3 (1 Lome Brage), 1000 1 18 2 (1 Lome Brage), siste 500 1 19 8 Summarizing the Oslo Grand Prix, below is a link to the race replay and a note that B.B.S. Sugarlight’s victory clocked in 1.11.3kr was a new race record, lowering the 2008 time of 1.11.5kr set by L’Amiral Mauzun and equaled in later years by Arch Madness and Commander Crowe. The OGP has produced a host of well-respected winners such as double winners Copiad and Gidde Palema (they are two of four double OGP winners), Sugarcane Hanover, Ourasi, Peace Corps in 1991, Sea Cove, Ganymede, Mara Bourbon, Lisa America and the 2011 through 2014 victors Arch Madness, Commander Crowe, Sebastian K and Univers de Pan.  Oslo Grand Prix Thomas H. Hicks  

Tweet Me (Andover Hall) won the feature at the harness racing meeting at Saratoga Casino and Raceway  on Sunday afternoon while making her local debut. The Chris Marino-trained trotter came to town after a lengthy stint at Yonkers Raceway and survived a first over journey to score in the $18,000 Open Trot. Austin Siegelman piloted the four year old mare to the win in the one mile and 1/16 Open in 2:02. The race's lone mare beat the boys to complete a double for Marino and Siegelman who also registered a victory with pacer Bo's So Hot (Yankee Skyscraper). Tweet Me got the best of the race's favorite Slugfest (Jay Randall) who continued his sensational streak of finishing first or second every week in the Sunday feature since early April. The four year old mare returned $14.80 to win while besting Slugfest and Red Hot Herbie (Billy Dobson) who closed for third one week after winning last Sunday's Open. Live racing resumes on Thursday with a first post time set for 4:00pm. Melissa Simser

There were two divisions of the Spa Spring Claiming Series for trotters on Friday night at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Harness racing $5,000 claimers battled for purses of $7,500 per division and both races resulted in mild upsets. Haymaker (Billy Dobson) sprung the two hole heading towards the three quarter pole and surged away from his rivals to win in 1:58.3. The Tim Benson-trained daughter of Andover Hall recorded his first victory of the season and did so at odds of 6-1. The other division was won by Jordan Derue's Net Revenue (Revenue S). Derue owns, trains and drives the mare who aggressively moved to the lead and would not surrender. Net Revenue's first score of 2015 came in 1:59.1 as she was dismissed at odds of 5-1. Leg two of the trotting series will take place next Friday before the final in two weeks, a race to be contested at a distance of one mile and a quarter. Live racing continues on Saturday night at Saratoga with a first post time of 6:45pm. Mike Sardella  

WASHINGTON PA, June 6, 2015 -- Suit And Tie was dressed for success in Saturday's Currier & Ives open division at The Meadows, promenading through the Lightning Lane to earn a narrow harness racing victory in the $119,565 stake for 3-year-old trotters. Suit And Tie had won only two of his previous 21 starts and was somewhat overshadowed by his stablemate, Boots N Chains, who also started in the Currier & Ives. But John Butenschoen, who trains Suit And Tie for William Wiswell and M&L of Delaware, said the rangy son of Andover Hall-Warrawee Krisp came back a stronger horse at 3. "Last year, he had as much talent as Boots N Chains," he said. "Mentally, he just wasn't there. At the end of the year, he started to come around. He filled out and developed mentally and physically. Today, he pretty well exploded. I was happy to see that." In the Currier & Ives, Boots N Chains had to work hard for the lead, securing it at the three-eighths, and was pressured by the first-over Chef Lee. That set the stage for Suit And Tie's rally, as he poured through for Aaron Merriman and scored in a career-best 1:54.1. Shoot The Thrill, who was pushed four wide through the final turn, trotted wide gamely but came up a nose short while Boots N Chains saved show. Butenschoen said his $30,000 yearling acquisition will remain in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes and also is eligible for the Hambletonian, the Earl Beal, Jr. and the Colonial, among other stakes. $181,766 PASS, 3-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Pacers In the companion feature on Saturday's special Belmont Day card, a $181,766 PASS for sophomore colt and gelding pacers known as the Bye Bye Byrd, Lost For Words made it three straight in PASS action -- and four in a row overall -- when he overcame post 9 to prevail in 1:50.1 Winning driver David Miller had Lost For Words outside for the entire 27 first quarter, but Miller said he wasn't unduly concerned. "Had there been a spot, I would have taken it," Miller indicated. "They weren't going really big. He can leave much faster. He's one of the better ones in the sires stakes, that's for sure." Lost For Words cruised home without a serious challenge, defeating Blood Brother by 2-3/4 lengths, with Rufo third. Brian Brown, who conditions the son of Well Said-Thou Shalt Not for County Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo and Strollin Stables, said he's unable to pinpoint the exact reason for Lost For Words' impeccable start to the year. "Maybe he's a touch sounder -- not that he was bad last year," Brown said of his $50,000 yearling purchase. "I really can't explain it. He's not a great, big strong horse who's just coming to his own. He's just a good little horse. But if Brown is at a loss for words about Lost For Words, that's about the only thing he's lost at The Meadows in 2015. In 15 starts at the track this year, Brown is 10-3-1 for an eye-popping .800 UTR. He said he didn't pay Lost For Words into the North America Cup or Meadowlands Pace lest those tough tests wear him down. Instead, he's pointing his colt to the Max Hempt. In the other division, My Hero Ron was making his first start for his new connections -- trainer Ron Burke, owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr and Frank Baldachino -- who purchased him for $130,000 at the recent Meadowlands sale. He returned immediate dividends, shooting the Lightning Lane for Matt Kakaley to triumph in 1:50.4. PV Coming Home was second, 1/2 length back, while Rise Up Now completed the ticket. Still, it was no slam dunk, as PV Coming Home and Merriman grabbed a daylight lead with a backside burst that left My Hero Ron 2-1/2 lengths behind at the top of the stretch. "My horse actually was loaded," Kakaley said. "Aaron's horse looked like he was getting a little weak, so I thought I could reel him in. Marcus Miller, who had been driving this horse, told me the horse is lazy. So I figured, a barn change to Ronnie, and he might wake up a little bit. And he did. Like Ronnie said last year about a filly I drove for him, 'It's penthouse or outhouse.'" Tony Hall piloted five winners on the 13-race program. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

June 6. 2015 - Today’s excellent Paris-Vincennes card showcased two Group events, the Quinte+ and other fast-class races. The harness racing card started off with the Gr. III Prix Istres (€68,000 purse, 2700 meters, 14 European three year-old fillies) and 7/2 Cavalleria (3f Prodigiois-Janga) took the win for Eric Raffin and trainer Sebastian Guarato. She was clocked in 1.16.1kr for an effective start to finish trip. 17/1 Tresor (3f Andover Hall-Rafale) was second for trainer/driver Santo Mollo and Italian owner Scuderia Dream Sas. 9/1 Cala Rossa (3f Lets Go Along-Lee Nova) was third for Julien Dubois aboard. Philippe Moulin trains this one for Ecurie Victoria Dreams. The Gr. II Prix Louis Jariel (€120,000 purse, 2175 meters, 11 starters) went to 3.4/1 Ave Avis (5m Kesaco Phedo-Magna Avis) for trainer/driver J-M Bazire. Mme. O. Roffi-Urano is the owner. He was clocked in 1.11.3kr off even fractions (1.10.4kr at 1500; 1.10.9kr at 1000; 1.11.6kr at 500). Altesse du Mirel (5f Ready Cash-Ina de Mirel) was a game second at 17/1 for trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse and owner Mme. F. Allera. The 7/10 favored Aladin d’Ecajeul (5m Quaker Jet-Nancy d’Ecajeul) was third for reinsman Eric Raffin, trainer Sebastian Guarato and owner Ph. Dewulf. The Jean-Etienne Dubois owned and trained Africaine (5f Oiseau de Feux-Italienne) was fourth at 5.5/1 for Gabriel Gelormini. Today’s Gr. III Prix de Gien (€68,000 purse, 2700 meters, 14 European three year-olds) went to 2.1/1 favorite Cobra Bleu (3m Fortuna Fant-Nuit Irisee-Duc de Jiel) and trainer/driver Pierre Vercruysse, clocked in 1.14.6kr. G-E Morin is the breeder/owner of this five time winner of €114,340. Tesora Degli Dei (3m Igor Font-Isabella Dei-Pine Chip) was second for trainer/driver Pietro Gubellini at 28/1 for owner Scuderia Mary Forever and breeder Az. Agr. Degli Dei. 4/1 Cocktail Meslois (3m Roc Meslois-Ocarina Mesloise) ended third for trainer/driver Pierre Belloche and breeder/owner Ecurie Bois Doufray. Italy’s Perkins Grif (6m Classic Photo-Radiant Victory) took the Quinte+ (€2.2 million jackpot) Prix du Quercy (€85,000 purse, 2850 meters, 14 European starters) with Roberto Andreghetti aboard. Fabrice Souloy trains for owner Scuderia Future 2004 Srl. The 7/2 odds winner was clocked in 1.13.4kr. Second was 10/1 Sahara Fairytale (6f Viking Kronos-Sahara Shadow) from Sweden, trained and driven by Christophe Martens for owner Canberra HB. 10/1 Victoria du Jouan (6f Insert Gede-Jirondelle) was third for teamster William Bigeon and trainer J-L Bigeon. The Prix de Velleneuve-sur-lot (€48,000 purse, 2700 meters, 15 European starters) resulted in a 1.12.2kr victory for 1.3/1 favored Venosc de Minel (6g Laetenter Diem-Melia Monochrome) for J-M Bazire and owner/trainer Mme. S. Raimond. 34/1 Palomar LB (6m Varenne-Gilly LB) from Italy was second for trainer/driver Pietro Gubellini and owner Scuderia AeC  Borsami ahead of Perfect Power (6g Ken Warkentin-Enjoy My Face) from Sweden, handled by trainer Christophe Martens at 14/1. Sweden’s Tell Mr No Lies and Staro Foot Loose were fourth and fifth. Thomas H. Hicks

Louisville, KY --- When harness racing trainer John Butenschoen selected Boots N Chains and Suit And Tie from the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale, obviously each yearling possessed their individual appeal, but both colts also satisfied another essential criteria: they were Pennsylvania Sire Stakes eligible. “We focus on the Pennsylvania program and anything else is an additional perk,” said the 52-year-old Illinois native. “Suit And Tie was the first surviving foal out of a Yankee Glide mare (and he is) by Andover Hall. Of course we go with a budget and a list of things we are looking for. He fit perfectly ($30,000 sales price). “Boots N Chains, however, was a bit of a different story. We gave $75,000 for him, which is quite high for us and he was on the smallish side, but we were familiar with the family. The Pinskes had his full older brother (Leave Your Mark 4,1:55.4f, $123,360) down in Florida a couple years ago and we trained him. He was a very nice horse and I really like this family.” Each colt will look to improve upon their career and seasonal records when they leave the gate side-by-side in the $119,565 Currier and Ives Trot for 3-year-old males at The Meadows on Saturday (June 6). In what is carded as the 10th race, Suit And Tie commences his mile from post position four, while his stablemate starts trotting from post position five. Boots N Chains is the 3-1 morning line choice and Suit And Tie is 5-1. “It may not be the biggest of stages, but I’m happy with the opportunity to go for a purse of more than $100,000 if other people decide to take their horses elsewhere,” Butenschoen said. “It’s not like it used to be where if you had a nice horse you knew where to race them. Now it is about managing them correctly and placing them in the right spots so the owners can make some money with them. “It may not sound as exciting as being in some of the big stake races, but if you can stay right in Pennsylvania and race for money like this, why wouldn’t you? I did that with Allstar Partner a couple years back and he made over $200,000 just racing in the sire stakes by winning the final.” As 2-year-olds, Suit And Tie, co-owned by William Wiswell and M and L of Delaware, and Boots N Chains, co-owned by Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick, earned what was proffered for them and more. Suit And Tie collected just shy of $50,000 from 17 performances. He was third in his Breeders Crown elimination, but ninth in the $500,000 final and set his 2-year-old mark of 1.58.1f in his sole victory at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 13, 2014. “The only thing that held this horse back was his mentality,” Butenschoen said. “He finished out the year very nicely as he was trotting home very strongly in the Kindergarten and I was very pleased with him in the Breeders Crown. He really lost all chance in the final, but still did his best.” Boots N Chains also gave a good account of himself in his first year of competition as he trotted in 1:54.4 and amassed just under $120,000 in purse money with only one triumph from 12 starts. He was, however, second to French Laundry in the $240,500 Kindergarten final and to Muscle Diamond in a $77,120 division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile with a last panel in :27.4. Although their year has just begun, both colts have been promising. Boots N Chains has compiled a record of 4-2-0-1 and $35,767. Suit And Tie has collected $20,080 and possesses a resume of 4-1-1-0. Despite the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit being the primary focus, if either colt should prove they are prepared for another stage, Butenschoen has them staked in order to do so. “They are both Hambletonian eligible,” he said. “They are paid into other races, too and I wouldn’t say they are heavily staked, but they have the opportunity to compete in those races should the case arise. “How I look at it is if they have the ability to go to the Hambo, great, it’s what we all dream of in this business, but if not, I just hope I can spot them correctly in these stakes with good purses to do the right thing by my owners. All of us horsemen are always perpetually reaching for that ring, but we also have to make the appropriate decisions for our businesses so we can afford to continue to do that.” By Kimberly French 

With a powerful charge in the homestretch, Delaware harness racing sired Purrfect Bags, racing off three qualifying races since the Dover Downs meet, won the $117,724 Lismore Pace for three-year-old filly pacers by two-lengths on Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway. The favorite, Sassa Hanover, led from the start and held-on for second. Bedroomconfessions was third. Driven by Victor Kirby, Purrfect Bags, was his biggest purse-win of his career. Another Delaware-sired filly, Totally Rusty, finished out of the money for the first time in her career. Purrfect Bags, a daughter of Delaware stallion Roddy's Bags Again, is trained in Harrington, by Jim King and owned by his wife, Joann King, both who also owned and trained Tyra, winner of last year's Lismore. "Last year I won as a trainer and this year as an owner. Winning as an owner is much more profitable," said Joann King. "I paid $2,000 for the filly at a Chick's horse sale and brought her home and my husband was less than thrilled." In the companion, $300,000 Art Rooney Pace for three year-old pacing colts on Saturday at Yonkers. In An Arsenal, in 1:51.2 by a nose. Stablemate Betting Exchange was second and Rock N Roll World was third. Saturday night, In Indiana, Wiggle It Jiggleit, a sophomore gelding who is rated first in the Hambletonian-Breeders Crown media survey, owned by the George Teague contingent of Harrington, Del. remained perfect in his 10th lifetime start, winning in 1:49.3. During a night marred by thunder showers, Wiggle It Jiggleit, paced to a 1:49.3 victory in the $75,000 Indiana Sires Stakes Final for three-year-old pacing colt at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino over a sloppy-rated track. The rain was not inconvenient to Wiggle It Jiggleit, who posted his 10th consecutive win in an undefeated 10 career starts. Freaky Feet Pete finished an impressive second place with Harfo Hanover. Third. Wiggle It Jiggleit now heads to Canada for the prestigious North America Cup. The weather didn't bother me; you've got to race in all kinds of weather," stated driver Montrell Teague in the winner's circle. "Good horses you don't have to make excuses for and we didn't have to for him tonight, he was able to overcome it." Trained by Clyde Francis, Wiggle It Jiggleit, whose father Mr Wiggles now stands as a Delaware stallion, pushed his career earnings to $142,242 with the victory. On Sunday, the biggest trotting race in Europe, the Elitlopp in Sweden was won by Magic Tonight, a six-year-old horse by Andover Hall. Bred by prominent North American horsemen Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz, of Ontario, Magic Tonight, won wire-to-wire, in 1:52.4f, before nearly 29,000 fans. U.S. finalist, Maven finished unplaced after diminishing second in her earlier elimination. Wind Of The North, owned by Smyrna, Del. resident Daryl Bier, drew outside in his elim and did not qualify for the final. Bier was more successful on Saturday night at Pocono Downs, where his fast pacer, Bandolito, the Dover Downs Horse of the Meet, who overcame a downpour to win the feature race in 1:49.3. Marv Bachrad

May 31, 2015 - In what was a stirring battle among three harness racing champions, Magic Tonight (6m Andover Hall-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed) defended post one and earned a gate to line victory clocked in 1.10.10kr for teamster Orjan Kihlstrom, trainer Roger Walmann and owner AB Svensk Reklanfinans. The winner earned 3,000,000SEK for winning the Gr. I International Grand Slam – UET Masters Series over 1609 meters autostart. It was a magical race and a magical strategic effort by Kihlstrom as he parked both Mosaique Face (6m Classic Photo-Iona LB-Supergill) that was left two wide throughout for Lutfi Kolgjini and three wide Nuncio (4m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) with owner/trainer Stefan Melander up. Melander tried for the lead in front of the stands the first time but could not clear. Kihlstrom masterfully rated the pace leaving his two adversaries alongside and the other elimination winner Royal Fighter blocked in the pocket and this Jennifer Tillman handled battler ended fourth. Maven, following Nuncio, made a bold wide move around the last bend to surpass the three leaders but she weakened some in mid-stretch. Timoko was taken off the gate early and could not advance enough to contend. Magic Tonight prevailed by a neck on the line with Nunco beaten three-quarters of a length with the field all within three lengths. Mosaique Face was timed in 1.10.16kr, Nuncio timed the same and Royal Fighter at 1.10.29kr in a fantastic, “magical” horse race. Magic Tonight Wires Elitloppet Second Elimination Orjan Kihlstrom put trainer Roger Walmann’s winner Magic Tonight (6m Andover Hall-Miss Possessed-Self Possessed) on the front from the outset and he scored in 1.09.7kr by three-quarters of a length over the game Maven (6f Glidemaster-M Stewart-American Winner) and pilot Johnny Takter. B.B.S. Sugarlight (6g Super Light-Sugarsweet Sid-Sugarcane Hanover) was third for Peter Untersteiner with first over Timoko (8m Imoko-Kiss Me Coulonces-And Arifant)  fourth for Bjorn Goop. The winner now has three wins in five 2015 starts and 19 wins in 54 career efforts for owner AB Svensk Reklamfinans. His breeders were Libfeld and Katz of Canada, and he paid €8.76 to win. This second elimination offered 250,000SEK to the winner of the 1609 meters autostart test. The Elitloppet 2015 Final lineup in post order is: Magic Tonight, Kihlstrom Royal Fighter, Tillman Maven, Johnny Takter Nuncio, Melander B.B.S. Sugarlight, Peter Untersteiner Mosaique Face, Lutfi Kolgjini Timoko, Bjorn Goop Vincennes, Raffin Royal Fighter Wins Elitloppet First Elimination The Per Eriksson trained, Jennifer Tillman teamed Royal Fighter (7m Varenne-Froken Julie-Supergill) gamely took the first elimination (1609 meters autostart, Gr. I, purse to winner 250,000SEK) of the 2015 Elitloppet clocked in 1.10.4kr, overcoming a death seat trip outside of pacesetter Mosaique Face (6m Classic Photo-Iona LB-Supergill) with Lutfi Kolgjini up (finished third). The winner prevailed by three quarters of a length. Second over Nuncio (4m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) rallied to be second for owner Stefan Melander. Vincennes was fourth for Orjan Kihlstrom. Wind Of The North was third over for Dave Palone and could not gain. Univers de Pan was locked on the pegs but when loose in the lane had little to offer. The winner paid €12.92 to win. Support Justice and Ustinof du Vivier mad miscues. The winner scored his 13th career victory in 57 starts and has a slate of 2-0-3 in five 2015 starts. The owner/breeders are Per Rodert and Christina Nilsson. Thomas H. Hicks

East Rutherford, NJ - Saturday morning served as Opening Day for the 2015 harness racing edition of Breakfast With The Babies at The Meadowlands. It was a beautiful, windless morning with temperatures in the 70's. There were but four two-year-old races with short fields in all.   The first race was for trotters with a field of three fillies. Royal Treason led all the way with a 28.4 sprint on the end of a mile in 202.2 for driver Tim Tetrick. She's a daughter of RC Royalty owned by trainer Paul Kelley in partnership with Charlie Iannazzo, Steve Michaels and Jim Winske. She was a $26,000 purchase at the Morrisville sale last fall.   Colt trotters came up next and the Andover Hall colt Mikkeli Hanover looked like his $130,000 Harrisburg price tag may have been a bargain. He set all fractions as driver Yannick Gingras did his best to rate the colt through a sensible 1:01 half, tacking a 28.2 final quarter on the 1:59.3 mile under wraps. He sure is big and pretty! Ron Burke trains for his Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Frank Baldachino and Panhellic Stable Corp.   Also noteworthy in this race was the sharp looking Cantab Hall colt Rocky Hanover who followed along willingly to be second just a few lengths off the winner, finishing under his own power. Rocky Hanover will sell tomorrow in the Tattersalls Mixed sale as Hip #9 for trainer Tony Alagna and Steve Stewart.   A pair of Burke pacing fillies squared off in the third with Yankee Moonshine holding Eloquent Grace at bay though a sparkling 26.3 close to a 1:57.2 mile. Matt Kakaley drove the $42,000 Harrisburg Yankee Cruiser filly for Burke Racing, Stable 45, Larry Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. The Roll With Joe filly Play Again went along nicely to be third here and she will be sold in tomorrow's sale as Hip #7.   Stolen Glimpse looked sharp, easily winning the colt pace in 1:55.3/27.2 for Gingras and Burke. The Art Major colt was a $100,000 Harrisburg purchase by Stable 45, J&T Silva and Burke Racing. No Shame Blue Chip, also sale-bound as Hip #6, set the early fractions here.   Moving on, one of last season's top freshman filly trotters and half-mile track World Record holder Wild Honey breezed a mile in 1:54.1/27.2 for Yannick. She looked fantastic today for trainer Jimmy Takter scoring a decisive open length win over the good colt Billy Flynn.   Gural Hanover (Gingras) and JL Cruze (John Campbell) came out to sharpen up for next week's second leg of the Graduate Series and sharpen up they did. Gural Hanover cut the mile as JL Cruze followed along in second through a 1:24.3 three quarters, then threw up a 27 flat last quarter to finish the 1:51.3 mile that drew a couple of "Wows" from the small crowd of attendees. JL Cruze actually closed it up a bit in the final eighth under no urging at all.   The field of pacers that lined up next would be the feature at any track with three of the entrants, Foiled Again, McWicked and Bettor's Edge accounting for more than $9 million. There were all nearly upstaged by That's My Opinion who bull rushed the field just past the McWicked-led 57.2 half and opened up by three or four. Ultimately, the old warrior Foiled Again (Gingras) saved the day by tracking That's My Opinion down near the wire in 1:51 flat and he looked good doing it. It's good to see him back.   That's My Opinion sells as Hip #84 tomorrow, he may be the sleeper of the sale.   JK Endofanera (Gingras) and Somewhere In LA (Brett Miller) were also getting in some work before the Graduate leg, the former zipping around the oval in 1:50 off a half in 56 for Gingras going under the wire four or five in advance of his chief rival.   Three year old pacer King Of Delight closed it out with a 1:51.3 win for trainer/driver Richie Silverman over Dream's Beachboy and the sale-bound Suchasenseofhumor (Hip #54) who set the fractions and held well late.   Live racing resumes tonight at 7:15pm and it will be accompanied by the annual Food Truck battle known as JerseyFest.   Royal Treason (Race 1 Baby race)     Mikkeli Hanover (Race 2 Baby race)     Yankee Moonshine (Race 3 Baby race)     Stolen Glimpse  (Race 4 Baby race)     Toys Is Ours (Race 5 qualifier)     Wild Honey (Race 6 qualifier)     Gural Hanover (Race 7 qualifier)     Foiled Again (Race 8 qualifier)     JK Endofanera (Race 9 qualifier)     Well Hello There (Race 10 qualifier)     King Of Delight (Race 11 qualifier)     Meadowlands Media Relations Department    

WASHINGTON, PA, May 28, 2015 -- Danish Durango exploded to the lead and rolled home in 1:54.1, establishing a stake record in Thursday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series harness racing event at the Meadows. The stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters was conducted over five divisions, with Hurrikane Johnny K, Don't Mind Me, Woodmark and Simeon taking the other splits. Tony Hall enjoyed a stake double (Hurrikane Jonny K, Don't Mind Me) among his three victories on the 14-race card. Danish Durango had only a maiden win in seven previous lifetime outings before Thursday's stake but had been facing tough company. He overwhelmed the field in his division, defeating Only The Brave by 7-1/4 lengths. Keystone Bodacious was third. Danish Durango eclipsed the stake mark of 1:54.3 set by Wing Tips in 2012. "That's a good horse right there," said winning driver Dave Palone. "When I got a nice sleeper second quarter, I expected him to be full of himself. But that mile today was pretty impressive, since the other divisions were hung up on 1:56 and a piece. He was by far the best colt on the card today." Ake Svanstedt trains Danish Durango, a son of Andover Hall-Danish Diamond, for Little E LLC, Jula Racing and Ted Gewertz. Hurrikane Jonny K followed cover beautifully and scored in 1:56.1 for trainer Jonas Czernyson and owner SRF Stable. Colbert was second, 3/4 lengths back, with Wildintention AS third. Hurrikane Johnny K reached the championship of the PA Sires Stakes last year, finishing a respectable fourth, but Czernyson said he's still getting to know the son of Andover Hall-Lavieenrose De Vie. "I haven't had him that long -- my owner just picked him up in February," Czernyson said. "We couldn't get him all figured out, so I started him a little lower. It definitely paid off today. We're hoping we can step it up to the next level. He did everything right today." After leading early, Don't Mind Me was shuffled to fifth before the Lightning Lane beckoned. The son of Andover Hall-Peace Of Mind poured through to triumph in 1:56.4, 1-1/4 lengths better than Kolbee's Star. Made By Design earned show. "He has to mature," said trainer Jim Raymer of Harbor Racing Stable's $50,000 yearling acquisition. "This week he showed a whole lot more. Tony said he was large and wanted to get to them. There was no doubt where he was going." In the $22,500 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Pace, the always-tough Sam Hill -- dismissed at 10-1 because of post 9 -- took charge early and scored in 1:51 for Greg Wright, Jr., trainer John Sullivan and owner Don Tiger. The 9-year-old Artsplace-Apple Of My Eye gelding extended his career bankroll to $355,742. Friday's program at The Meadows, which kicks off a summer-long series of "Family Fun Nights," features three divisions of the Super Bowl, a $191,217 PASS for sophomore trotting colts and geldings. Pinkman, the 2014 divisional Dan Patch Award winner, goes from post 1 in the third split (race 8). First post is 6:55 PM. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, May 27, 2015 - Andovers Touch regained his winning form with a seven length romp Wednesday at the harness racing meeting at the Hippodrome 3R in winning the first division of the Quebec-Bred Series for four and five-year-old trotters. It was the second round of the series and without powerhouse Maximuscle in the race, Andovers Touch became the overwhelming 1/9 wagering favorite and he most certainly did not disappoint his backers. Driven by Stephane Polliot, the four-year-old gelded son of Andover Hall was following second-over cover from Somoli E (Jerome Lombart) who was trying to go after pacesetter Offson (Stephane Gendron) through early fractions of :28.4 and :58.4. Then the cover died as Somoli E dropped into third on the rail as Offson held a two-length lead from the start. It was then that Polliot let Andovers Touch cut loose and they trotted away from the field to win with ease in 2:00.1. Offson did hold for second with Somoli E third. Trained by Danny Fontaine, Andovers Touch is bred and owned by Ecurie Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC. It was his second win this year and he paid just $2.10 to win. The third race second division saw SOS Ticket Master and driver Gaetan Lamy sit a perfect two-hole trip as George S P (Stephane Brosseau) cut fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1 and 1:32. Then in the stretch Lamy sent SOS Ticket Master after George S P and they passed them by before the wire to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:02.1. Excel P V (Sylvain Fontaine) was third. In the lone mare division of the series which featured ten starters, it was Canbec Kangourou and driver Jocelyn Gendron taking full advantage of starting from the rail and wiring the field by four open lengths in 1:59.4. It was a lifetime mark for the four-year-old mare by Angus Hall and her third win in four starts this year. Ocean Mist Beauty (Stephane Brosseau) was second with Bambie Benjo (Rheo Filion) third. Canbec Kangourou is trained by Jean Tourigny and owned by Michel Damphousse of Louiseville, QC and paid $4.90 to win. Coming up on Sunday is the second round of the Quebec-Bred Series for pacing horses and mares, first race post time is at 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com.  Quebec Jockey Club   Information : Vincent Trudel, 514-717-5899          

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