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Trotters were in the spotlight Monday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the Tie Silk Series Final headlining the 10-race harness racing card. A field of ten three-year-old trotting colts and geldings clashed in the $32,200 Tie Silk Series Final. The sophomore trotters not only had to deal with each other, but also rainy and windy conditions. Eddie Green trainee Donicus, 6-5 favourite, was aiming for a series sweep from post-five, but right to his inside was Per Henriksen trainee Muscle Hustle, the 8-5 second choice. Henriksen opted to skip the second leg with Muscle Hustle after the son of Muscle Mass won a leg one division. Donicus and Muscle Hustle trotted out quickly at the start with the Green trainee grabbing the lead and posting an opening-quarter of :27.2. Muscle Hustle and driver Randy Waples sat patiently in the two-hole, as the favourite posted fractions of :58.2 and 1:28.2. Waples pulled on the right line to set up a stretch duel at the top of the lane. Muscle Hustle found top gear quickly and surged by to record a two-length victory in 1:56.2. Donicus' bid at a series sweep was denied, as he finished second. Greg Peck trainee Merchandiser, who won a leg two division, finished third from post-ten. Muscle Hustle was making just his second start of 2016 and fifth overall Monday. The Henriksen trainee now has three career victories and over $33,000 earned for owners Ecurie Bergh Inc. The clocking of 1:56.2 shaved nearly a second off Muscle Hustle's previous career-best. He paid $5.30 to win. Muscle Hustle Three-year-old trotters, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2015, were eligible to the Tie Silk. The weekly $34,000 Preferred Trot saw yet another older trotter find the winner's circle Monday. Charlie Is A Joker benefited from breaks by the two favourties, Fearless Man and Flanagan Memory, to win in 1:55.3 for driver Trevor Henry and trainer Ben Baillargeon. The eight-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall grabbed the early lead, before surrendering the front to Zeus Lightning in the second-quarter. Charlie Is A Joker sat in the two-hole until the top of the lane and surged by in the stretch to win by a length at odds of 9-1. Zeus Lightning held on for second, while Hldontghttoyurdrms finished third. Charlie Is A Joker now has back-to-back victories to improve his season's record to four wins in 13 starts. The veteran trotter has banked $71,000 this season for owners Thomas & Elizabeth Rankin. Monday's victory was the 32nd career score for Charlie Is A Joker and pushes his career earnings over $443,000. He paid $20.50 to win. Charlie Is A Joker While the older male trotters battled early in the card, the Late-Double started with a $24,000 Mares Trot. Many familiar older trotters, including Charmed Life, Rockin With Dewey and Bax Of Life, headlined the field, but a daughter of Muscle Mass making her four-year-old debut stole the show. Muscle Baby Doll shot through late for driver Sylvain Filion with great final-quarter speed to win in 1:54.4 at odds of 10-1. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was making her debut against older rivals after winning eight of 15 as a three-year-old and banking over $451,000 in her first two seasons on the track. Charmed Life, who took command in the second-quarter, surrendered the lead late and had to settle for second, while Rockin With Dewey finished third. Muscle Baby Doll trotted along fourth for the majority of the mile and used a :27.1 final-quarter to win by a length and a quarter. The daughter of Muscle Mass is owned by F Bellino And Sons LLC and now has 13 career victories. Muscle Baby Doll returned $23.60 to win. Muscle Baby Doll Live racing resumes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Flameon, fresh from winning for the third time from his last four starts in the Keith Willey Memorial; and Silverlode, who lost a heartbreaker to that rival, figure to get the majority of the attention in Sunday night's $6,600 Open Trot. A 10-race program is on tap with the action scheduled to get underway at 6:25 p.m. The main event occupies the third-race slot on the evening. Flameon is a 6-year-old Canadian-bred son of Angus Hall out of the popular Valleymeister mare Benn's Fire. She races for her breeder Mark Anderson, hails from the Gordie Graham barn and will once again be guided by Chip Lackey. The gelding score his richest win of the meeting when he made every pole a winning in the $10,000 Stan Bergstein Trot on March 13, gliding over the sloppy track that evening. He was fourth in his next try after making a miscue while doing his work from the assigned No. 10 post, then was a handy winner the following week on firm footing. It was another sloppy track last week when Flameon suited up for the Keith Willey Memorial. He was parked to the lead by the quarter, showed the way to the stretch with a clear advantage and had enough left to hold safe by a nose over Silverlode. The latter is a 7-year-old daughter of British Sterling out of the excellent producer Charlotte's Web who races for breeders Desomer Stables and will have Steve Desomer at the controls. Silverlode comes into this race with $129,000 in earnings and a 1:56 3/5 mark that was established her two weeks ago when she took the measure of an Open III field in handy fashion. She turned in another big mile to come with a nose of upsetting Flameon in the Keith Willey with Steve Wiseman guiding. Reduced takeout wagers spotlight real value Value players should pay special attention to the Pick 5 and the Pick 4 here at Cal Expo, both offering a reduced 16 percent takeout rate. The Pick 5 is a 50-cent wager conducted on the first five races on the card, while the Pick 4 is a 20-cent bet that includes the final four contests on the evening. Last Saturday night's Pick 5 is a great example. While the sequence featured a $2.20 winner in Flameon in the Keith Willey Memorial and Cadet at $5, it returned an eye-catching $8,886 for each 50-cent investment thanks to wins by Double L Fab ($34), Onesportonly ($38) and Hotel Motel ($19). Using the regular takeout rate, the Pick 5 would have returned $7,934, which is a difference of a cool $952 in each winning player's pocket. James Kennedy, who earned victory No. 1,000 in his career earlier this month, guided Double L Fab to his upset, while brother Mark did the honors behind Onesportonly and Cadet over the sloppy track. Mark Kennedy added another picture for the hat trick when he scored a come-from-behind win in the nitecap for her owner/breeder Cindy Tupper and trainer Lester Smith. By Mark Ratzky, for Cal Expo Harness

There are not many trotting races that go by these days that Motukarara harness racing trainer Craig Edmonds doesn't have a runner in and more often than nor, a serious contender.   The opening trot at the Northern Southland meeting today looked a bit of a benefit for the two pronged attack from the All Star barn but at the end of the race, neither were involved after mistakes during the running.    Blazing Under Fire grabbed an early lead for Brad Williamson and set a very steady tempo in front.   De Vito and Nathan Williamson looped the field with a lap to go to sit parked leaving Blackguard's Corner and Mark Purdon who had followed De Vito around out on a limb three wide for the rest of the race.   As they turned for home De Vito headed Blazing Under Fire and the same point Blackguard's Corner trotted roughly and broke leaving De Vito clear and looking a likely winner.   Half way up the straight the three year old Angus Hall filly Lady Angus with John Dunn in the bike trotted out of the pack at speed and went straight on past De Vito like she had just joined in and and went on for an impressive victory by a length over a game De Vito with Abraham Jones making ground late for third.   Lady Angus trotted the 2700 metres in a very smart 3:29.08 which took 3:3 seconds off the old track record for a threee year old held by Juneamy Castleton.   The closing sectionals were run in 59.6 and 29.1     Driver John Dunn was suitably impressed with the fillies run.   “She is a pretty inexperienced filly having just her fourth lifetime start today, and several runners here are pretty promising sorts so to win like she did was very encouraging.”   “She has broken 3:30 for the 2700 metres so that just makes the run even better.”   “She is such a big immature filly, that in another six months when she strengthens up she has the potential to be a very smart mare next season,” John said.   Trainer Craig Edmonds was pleasantly surprised by the win.   “She is six months away from filling out into her big frame and all I really wanted today was to see her get round safely.”   “To win the race against a field of that quality was a real bonus and bodes well for her future.”   “Pat Driscoll owns her and as a half sister to The Fiery Ginga she has a lot of residual value later on,” Craig said.   Craig Edmonds has continued to produce quality trotters over a long period now and todays winner Lady Angus looks like another one to keep his name to the fore in the trotting trainers ranks in New Zealand.   Harnesslink Media

Unlike the Australasian Classic Yearling Sale at Karaka yesterday, the New Zealand Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch today lacked a vital ingredient and that was a strong middle market. There was a good buyers bench for stock in the $50,000 plus market but the $15,000 to $50,000 section of the market was a lot harder to read with wild fluctuations between lots of similar breeding and type. The top end end was consistent and it was no surprise to see Lot 244 bring up the second six figure purchase of the day. A colt by the outstanding trotting stallion Angus Hall named Hands Are A Gift, he is the first colt from the former brilliant trotting racemare Jasmyn's Gift (17 wins) ($192,436). The first foal is the four year old daughter of The Pres named Le Lievre's Gift 1:57.6 who is two from two to date which obviously helped today's sale. Hands Are A Gift paraded like an old timer and nothing seemed to phase him in his long spell in the ring which is another plus going forward. Straight out of the ring Hands Are A Gift stopped and posed for the cameras and stood there as quiet as a lamb while the pictures were taken. One gets the feeling he may be doing that a lot in his career. The next lot to break the $100,000 mark was also not entirely unexpected. Lot 260 was a daughter of  the leading sire Bettor's Delight and the brilliant age  group performer in Lancome 1:54.9 ($461,278) named Le Lancome and was just a stand out individual in the flesh. When we published a story about Le Lancome last week on Harnesslink we had three phone calls from North America enquiring about her such was the impression the photos had made. The Australasian buyers were just as enthusiastic about her and although she eventually made $105,000, the time in the ring was quite brief. Local interest won out in the end with Alan Neumann from Mid-Canterbury taking her home which is great for the harness racing industry in the South Island. Apart from these two lots, there was a lot of below par results spread between those high priced sales and a lot of vendors would be hurting tonight. Harnesslink Media    

Melanie Plourde and Sabrina Clevenger each had milestone wins on Sunday night at Pompano Park as the South Florida oval celebrated St. Valentine’s with two harness racing events featuring the ladies. The first St. Valentine’s Day event—The Sweetheart Trot—went to Back To Peace, handled by Melanie Plourde for owner-trainer Shane Arsenault. Plourde sent Back To Peace, a seven year-old altered son of Angus Hall, right to the front and posted fractions of :30, :59 and 1:29 before a :29.1 sprint home sealed the deal measuring ¾ of a  length over Well Connected Kid, driven by Maria Howard. Magic Cheque, with Brooke Nickells in the sulky, rallied with a :28.4 closing panel to be third, just a nose back of Well Connected Kid. M C Felix was fourth while Jailhouse Lawyer finished fifth in the field scratched down to a field of eight. The win for Plourde was her 174th lifetime but the very first on U.S. soil as all of her other wins were at Canadian tracks. Back To Peace won for the initial time in 2016 in six starts and now has eight wins in 120 lifetime journeys to the starting gate, good for $117,775 in career bounty. As the 9 to 5 second choice, Back To Peace paid $5.80 to win. In the Sweetheart Pace, Sabrina Clevenger, driving Normandy Invasion, wasted no time blasting from the wings of the Hummer Starting Gate with her 1 to 5 tote-board favorite as this six year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere zipped through panels of :28.2, :55.4 and 1:25 before gliding home a 10 length winner in 1:55.2 over Jet Er Done, handled by Anne Turenne, with Val’s Way and Melanie Plourde teaming up to be third. Winning Solution finished fourth while Master Of Puppets picked up the nickel in the field of nine. Owned by Yves Sarrazin along with Allard Racing, this Rene Allard trainee earned his first win of the season in four starts after having been absent from the racing wars for a year-and-a-half. Coming into the action with five lifetime wins and a mark of 1:48.4, Normandy Invasion, now with lifetime earnings of $134,744, was promptly claimed out of the event for $4,000. The many $2 investors on Normandy Invasion’s nose were rewarded with a dividend of $2.60. For Sabrina Clevenger, this was also a milestone win—this being her first at Pompano Park. Meanwhile, the $15,000 Open Handicap Pace featured a stellar field with combined earnings of over $3 million and, at the wire, it went to Bluehourpower, handled by Ricky Macomber, Jr., to keep his 2016 scorecard perfect—now at four-for-four. The five year-old gelded son of Sand Shooter made a very sharp and confident quarter move brushing by Bandolito after a :27.4 opener from 2 ½ lengths out of it during a second panel officially timed in :26.4 and then posting fractions of :54.3 and 1:22.1 before stopping the timer in 1:51, his margin a half length over Arthur Blue Chip (Wally Hennessey) with Bandolito (George Napolitano, Jr.) third, 2 ½ lengths away. Panocchio rallied to finish fourth after beginning from the outside post while Duc Dorleans was fifth in the field scratched down to seven. In a post-race interview, driver Ricky Macomber, Jr. said, “I was confident that he’d be good off of his short rest. He trained back very well and all I had to do was give him a couple of soft reminders in the lane. “This was a pretty good group of pacers assembled here tonight so I was very proud of his performance.” Trained by Jamie Macomber for owner Wilbur Eash, Bluehourpower now has lifetime earnings of $536,881. As a very slight 2 to 1 favorite in this evenly matched field, Bluehourpower paid $6.20 to win. The $12,500 Open 2 Pace went to Dedi’s Dragon, driven by George Napolitano, Jr., in 1:51.2. Johnny Grippa, handled by Dan Clements, finished second after battling the entire route through panels of :26.3, 54.4 and 1:23.1—finishing a length away at the line. Whogoesfirst, with Wally Hennessey in the bike, was third while Four Socks rallied stoutly in the lane to be fourth. Maddysonofagun picked up the minor award in the field of nine. Dedi’s Dragon, fourth early on, brushed up strongly on the backside to engage Johnny Grippa in battle, finally forcing that one into submission in deep stretch. Owned by John McGill, along with Brian Carsey and the J L Benson Stable, Dedi’s Dragon, trained by Paul Holzman, won for the 19th time in 97 career starts with this win pushing his lifetime bounty over the $750,000 plateau--$755,706 to be precise. The 2 to 1 second choice returned $6.20 to win. Also on Sunday night, the $12,100 conditioned pace went, in an upset, to Bunkerhill Bill, handled by Mike Micallef for owner-trainer Gene Miller. This five year-old son of Voracious Hanover, a winner in his last start at even-money, successfully jumped up a couple of notches in class to score a 1:52.2 win at 25 to 1 odds this time around, using a late burst to collar the pacesetting Mister Virgin (George Napolitano, Jr.) by a neck with Teranadawn (Kevin Wallis) just another nose back in third. Heart Felt, prominent the entire route, finished fourth while KR’s Power Surge finished fifth in the field of 10. Bunkerhill Bill won for the 16th time during his career measuring 71 starts to push his earnings over the “century” mark--$100,816, to be precise. A mutual of $53.60 awaited those who has a $2 win ticket on Bunkerhill Bill. Racing continues on Monday night with first post scheduled at 7:30 p.m. by John Berry for Pompano Park

December 31, 2015 - Paris-Vincennes celebrated New Year’s Eve with a solid harness racing program led by the Gr. III Prix Chateau Chinon (purse €95,000, 2700 meters, 15 starters) and it was won by Italy’s Traders (3m Ready Cash-Graziella) with J-Ph Monclin up for trainer Philippe Allaire and Scuderia Colibri SAS. The even-money favorite scored in 1.14kr to defeat 27/1 Tiger di Poggio (3m Andover Hall-Idole di Poggio) for J-M Bazire, trainer Mlle. Stephanie Lepetit and owner J-A Saguin. Third was 5.2/1 Coeur Baroque (3g Offshore Dream-Joie Baroque) with Damien Bonne teaming for the trainer/owner team of Thierry Raffegau and J-Y Roze. Cash Hanover from Germany finished 10th and Clarck Sotho was a disqualification. The Prix de Saint-Qwen-Dis-Toits (purse €40,000, 2700 meters, 10 monte starters) was the opener and it went to 4.1/1 Bohemian Rhapsody (4f Angus Hall-Bahama-Quito de Talonay) timed in 1.15.3kr for Camille Levesque. Thomas Levesque trains the winner for Pierre Levesque. The favored 0.5/1 odds Belebrine (4f In Love With You-Ebrine) was second for Eric Raffin and owner/trainer Yannick A. Briand. Third was 15.5/1 Belle Katie (4f Oiseau de Feux-Quelle Katie) for jockey Alexandre Abrivard. Vodka du Wallon (6f Onyx du Goutier-Neige des Hameaux) won the Quinte+ Prix de Salvanhac (purse €64,000, 2700 meters, 18 European starters) timed in 1.13.6kr. J-M Bazire teamed this winner for owner/ytrainer J-M Baudouin. 2.6/1 Viva Lover (6f Look de Star-Kaline Love) was second for Matthieu Mottier with 35/1 Ultra des Landes (7f Baccarat du Pont-Justice d’Or) third for trainer/driver Sebastien Hardy. The €36,000 Prix de Juvignac over 2700 meters drew 18 starters and produced a victory for 1.15.8kr timed, 4.8/1 odds, Baraka (4f Love You-Polenska) teamed by trainer Franck Nivard. Comte P de Montesson owns Baraka, a narrow surging winner. 2.6/1 Barbie de Janiero (4f Oiseau de Feux-Orie de Janeiro) was second for Eric Raffin and a length back was 4.7/1 Bartavelle du Rib (4f Diamant Gede-Medde) handled by trainer J.Cl. Dersoir for Ecurie Jeloca. Attacus (5g Hand du Vivier-Nelocata) took the €52,000 Prix de Charroux for Eric Raffin at 2.6/1 odds. The Sebastien Guarato trainee is owned by J-M Machet and was timed in 1.13.3kr over the 2100 meter autostart course, defeating 17 rivals. 78/1 Attila d’Auvillier (5g Hermes du Buisson-Pepite de Gautiers) was second for Gabriel Gelormini ahead of 32/1 Anissio Bello (5m Orlando Vici-Melissa Bella) for owner/trainer/driver L.Cl. Abrivard. Thomas H. Hicks  

"He's getting his mojo. He's a pretty nice horse," were the post race comments from trainer Phil Williamson after the well bred Springbank Eden won the Kina Craig Stud Handicap Trot at Gore yesterday.   The Angus Hall four year old was purchased for  $127,500 at the 2013 Sale of the Stars by Eastern Southland farmers Alistair and Denise Smith. He's out of the four win daughter of Landora's Special which won thirty races including the Dominion Handicap and Rowe Cup.   "He's a good looking horse and that's why Smithy bought him. And he's starting to repay the faith we had in him."   His form early last season was at best patchy so at the end of the season Williamson gave the gelding four starts within twenty one days in a deliberate plan to strengthen him.    "It was just to toughen him up." "Putting those runs into them stands to them as they get more mature." "He's a big horse and heavy boned but every year he's got better." "As he's got better his gait has improved." "As a two year old it wasn't that great because he was like a big kid."   Williamson says Springbank Eden has come back bigger and stronger this season and judging from the way he won yesterday more wins are in store.    "He's definitely got more wins in him and I don't see why he won't win a few more." "If he keeps improving the way he is he might be able to go all the way." I think if we raced him next week he'd be even better." "He jogged that. In saying that some of the favourite horses like Grey Power galloped but manners are important."    Williamson will now look at the upcoming Central Otago racing programme before deciding whether to start the class three trotter at Omakau.   Bruce Stewart  -  Southland Harness Racing    

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 11, 2015 -- Tamarind waited patiently for the harness racing Lightning Lane, then poured through to capture Friday's $20,000 Winners Over $10,000 Life/Preferred Handicap Trot at The Meadows. Tamarind was away second for Aaron Merriman, stalking the leader, Lady's Dude, until mid-stretch. The 7-year-old son of Angus Hall-Spicegirl Kosmos surged inside and downed the rallying Rompaway Galaxy by 1-3/4 lengths in 1:53.2. Lady's Dude saved show. Bill Bercury owns and trains Tamarind, who now boasts $734,424 in career earnings. Jim Pantaleano piloted four winners on the 15-race card. The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

As per normal the first race on Cup Day is the 3200 metres trot and as has become the norm over the last few years, it was a race dominated by the All Stars barn.   Blackguards Corner with Matt Anderson in the bike was a warm favourite and worked to the lead with 2400 metres to go.   He was still there as they turned for home and looked the winner until stablemate Petite One stormed home wide out in the hands of Mark Purdon to grab the win in the last few strides.   Mark was confident a long way out   “ The speed was on the whole way and she was travelling really well off the back the last time”   “ Her work has been super so I expected a big run,Mark said.   Owners Lex and Heather Williams were all smiles in the birdcage post arce.   “ We have a real soft spot for Petite One because her mother died foaling her and we had to raise her by hand.”   “We bred her and it gives you a lot of satisfaction to win a race like this.”   “She is not that big but she has a lot of speed, “Heather said.   The dam of Petite One was a $100,000 + winning daughter of Sundon in Petite Sunset who was a daughter of the the champion trotter Pride Of Petite who won two Inter-Dominions.   “ We went to Angus Hall with a view to getting a filly to carry on with and things turned out it was lucky we got a filly that season.”   We were pretty confident going into today as Mark thought she would go really well,” Heather said.   Petite One trotted in a very smart 4:04 and looks on todays run to have a lot more wins in front of her.     Harnesslink Media 

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - Even Mother Nature with rains that turned the track sloppy could not put a damper on the final live harness racing card of the season at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday. It was a special day for Mirabel resident, Maxime Velayel, as he won his first training title at the Hippodrome 3R. The driving title came down to the very last race on the program and Denis St Pierre, who was not driving on the card, still won the title in a dramatic finish over Mario Charron, 48-47. Charron had a driving triple at 3R Sunday. For Pierre, it is his second straight driving title at the Hippodrome 3R. Velayel came into the final race program of the season leading all trainers with 19 wins. Then with both of Jean Tourigny's (18 wins) horses entered on Sunday late scratches, Velayel won the title before the race program got underway. He closed out the season with 20 wins. "This is my first training title ever," said Velayel. "And how great it is. This is my first season back in Quebec after seven years in Ontario. So great to win this, coming back home and doing what I love. "I had only wished that Mario (Charron) was able to win the last race," Velayel said. "Then he would have been tied for the driving title and we could celebrate our titles together." In the eighth Open Trot feature, Charron and three-time Quebec-Bred Series champion, Maximuscle, showed their heels to the field. They took the lead away from Beer Mags (Kevin Maguire) after an opening quarter mile in a speedy :28.4. They backed off the pace, held the field at bay and then poured it on down the stretch to win with ease by three and one-half lengths. Beer Mags held for second with Vial Angus (Jocelyn Gendron) third. Time of the race was 2:04.1. It was the ninth win on the year for Maximuscle. The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall posted trainer Maxime Velayel's 20th win of the season. Maximuscle is owned and was bred by Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC and paid $3.30 to win as the wagering favorite. That victory for Charron put him within one win, 47, of tying Denis St Pierre at 48 for the driving title at 3R. With three wins already on the card, Charron needed only to win the 12th and last race on the program to tie for the title. He was driving Cliff Drummond, the 1/5 favorite and led nearly the entire mile race, losing to a first-over and very determined Montezuma Bluechip and driver Stephane Gendron, by a half length. The tenth race Open Pace was the fastest mile on the sloppy track as race favorite, D Gs Woodstock (Pascal Berube) just held off the pocket-sitting The Platinum Guy (Jonathan Lachance), to win by a short head in 2:01. Akoya (Jocelyn Gendron) was third. It was the seventh win on the year for D Gs Woodstock, an eight-year-old gelded son of Yankee Cam who is trained by Guylaine Fertiel for owner Daniel Surprenant of Saint-Valentin, QC and paid $3.60 to win. The Hippodrome 3R will be open for simulcasting seven days a week featuring the best Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing action in North America. For the simulcast calendar schedule go to www.quebecjockeyclub.com. By Steven Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec – With patiences at the start of the race and then getting cover live outside cover, Maximuscle and driver Mario Charron returned to their winning ways Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R, winning the feature trot. Having made breaks in three of his last four starts when getting behind the starting gate, driver Mario Charron took his time with Maximuscle at the start of the sixth race feature. He kept the champion four-year-old son of Angus Hall off the starting gate by 20 yards and once the gate pulled away from the field, Maximuscle closed the gap and got away in fifth place. The race action was fierce from the start as R Rkadabra (Steeven Genois) went to the lead but would not allow Beer Maggs (Kevin Maguire) get to the front and the two sped in a dogfight to the opening quarter mile in a blistering :27.4 before Maguire took Beer Maggs into the second spot on the rail. There was no rest on the front end for R Rkadabra as Caroluzzo (Stephane Gendron) came first-over heading to the half mile with Charron following their live cover second-over with Maximuscle. Caroluzzo pushed R Rkadabra to the half mile in :57.3 and once in the backstretch, the pressure was too much as R Rkadabra began to fade and Caroluzzo took command with Maximuscle challenging on the outside. By the three-quarters in 1:27.2, the two horses were neck and neck around the final turn and then in a dramatic stretch drive, Maximuscle was able to wear down Caroluzzo to win by three-quarters of a length in 1:58.2. Somoli E (Jrome Lombart) closed to be third. It was the eighth win in fourteen starts this year for Maximuscle. He is trained by Maxime Velaye for owner/breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC and paid $3.60 to win as the wagering favorite. Just as exciting as the feature trot was the eighth race pace at a distance of one and one-quarter mile with eleven starters in the field. From the start in the backstretch the fight for control of the lead was a war as Fortune Fever (Steeven Genois) has the rail but was pressured immediately by Charlie Drummond (Daniel Mondou) and from the outside eight post was the 6/5 race favorite, OK Diablo (Denis St Pierre). They went to the first quarter in :28.3 as Pierre settled OK Diablo second over, but after the half mile in :59, Pierre came back with OK Diable three-wide again, clearing Charlie Drummond, but unable to get past race leader Fortune Fever to the three-quarters in 1:28.4. Then the action headed up even more as Kesons Reign and driver/trainer Andre Champagne, who had started from post nine in the second tier and had plenty of road traffic, was able to get to the outside and they came three-wide in the backstretch as they pasted the mile marker in 2:00.2. Kesons Reign was able to clear to the lead by the final turn and then in stretch was still the strong horse, winning by one and three-quarter lengths in 2:31.1. O Diablo was second with Shesbadtothebone (Pascal Berube) third. It was the fifth win this year for the seven-year-old son of Royal Mattjesty. He is locally owned by Jean Cote and Paul Lacoursiere of Trois-Rivieres, QC and paid $10.60 to win. By Steven Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, October 3, 2015 - The trotters own the limelight at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday with eight going to post in the sixth race feature. While the "hit or miss" antics of Maximuscle behind the starting gate will be the main focal point of the race, there are others in the race that will be ready to pounce on any mistake he makes. Over the past two month the great Maximuscle has come upon hard times for driver Mario Charron, trainer Maxime Velaye and owner/breeder Ecurie Provoquante of Mirabel, QC. It seems that the four-year-old son of Angus Hall, who won the Quebec-Bred Series Championship at ages 2, 3 and 4 (this year) and is a career winner of $192,000 with a record of 1:54.2 this year, can't stay on stride before the start of a pari-mutuel race. Yet, he goes perfectly fine in a qualifying race. Both trainer and driver are mystified by their top trotter's strange bad habits and are hopeful Maximuscle will behave on Sunday. Despite his antics as of late, he is the 5/2 morning line favorite. Caroluzzo, the 3-1 second choice in the race from post four for driver Stephane Gendron, will be ready to pick up the slack if Maximuscle miss cues again. The six-year-old chestnut stallion by Musclesextrodier has been on a roll as of late, finishing first, second and third in his last six starts for trainer Daniel Martin. Other contenders include Beer Mags (post five), Meganou (post one) and return winner Somoli E (post six). Drivers Tournament October 11 The fourth annual Hippodrome 3R Drivers Tournament finalists will be determined on Sunday's race card. The tournament takes place next Sunday, October 11 with nine of the best drivers in the contest. Special guest invitees are Simon Allard and Robert Shepherd. They will take on the top seven drivers this season at the Hippodrome 3R. Prior winners of the tournament were Jody Jamieson (2014), Yannick Gingras (2013) and Daniel Dube (2012). Post time Sunday is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. by Steven Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, September 19, 2015 - This Sunday the Hippodrome 3R features two strong trotting features on their ten-race program, headed by the return of three-time Quebec-Bred Series champion Maximuscle. But will the real Maximuscle show up on Sunday? Plagued by breaks behind the starting gate at the start of three of his last four races, the $191,000 career winner has been giving headaches to his trainer Maxime Velaye and driver Mario Charron. "He (Maximuscle), had this problem when he was younger," said Maxime Velaye. "But these last three breaks, believe it or not, is just bad luck. These things happen, but I am sure he will be alright on Sunday." The four-year-old gelded son of Angus Hall starts from post four in the third race on Sunday. He is listed as the morning line favorite despite making a break at the start of his last race at Rideau Carlton. Maximuscle was able to catch up to the field but finished sixth, race timed in 1:59.4. In his prior start, Maximuscle was able to "mind his manners" at Trois-RIvieres in the Open Trot and wired the field by two and one-quarter lengths in 1:57.4. That was his seventh win in just eleven starts this year. "Mario (Charron) knows him very well," Velaye added, "He has been driving him nearly his whole career. He (Maximuscle) will be perfect and ready to rock on Sunday!" Maximuscle will have to be at his best Sunday as he faces rival Caroluzzo (post two) with Stephane Gendron in the sulky. The six-year-old stallion by Musclesextrodinar was second to Maximuscle the last time they met at 3R. In his last six starts, Caroluzzo has been first or second. Repeat winners in the field include Beer Maggs (post seven), who wired the field in his last start in 1:59.4 for trainer/driver Kevin Maguire and Meganou (post 1), the lone filly in the race, who in her last start won her $65,000 Quebec-Bred Series final at 3R in 1:59.3. The first race feature trot sports a full field of nine starters and is a wide-open affair. Aworthy Bi (post four) is the lone return winner for driver Gaetan Lamy, winning impressively from post eight last week on a muddy track. He takes the always competitive Kim Sorel (post 5), who has been first, second or third in this class in four of her last five starts. Post time Sunday at 3R is 1:30 pm. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. By Steve Wolf, for the Quebec Jockey Club

September 5, 2015 - Orsia (7f Angus Hall-Tigre OM-Zebu) won the second heat and final of Saturday’s European Championship (purse €17,600 each heat; final €151,800, each race 1660 meters autostart), at Cesena, driven by Antonio De Nardo. Orsia was timed in 1.13.1kr in heat two and 1.13.5kr in the final when she defeated Olona OK (7f Varenne-Erreuno OK-Supergill) by half-length in an excellent match race in which Olona OK battled early to gain the front and almost held on. In heat two Orsia defeated Probo OP (6m From Above-Elimara-Lemon Dra) and third finishing Rania Lest (5f Love You-Superiors Sun-Diamond Way). The first heat went to Olona OK in 1.11.4kr by three lengths over Probo OP and Oneghin del Ronco (7m Love You-Talia del Ronco-Park Avenue Joe). Thomas H. Hicks

Muscle Mass daughter Desis Dream arrived at the harness racing meeting Hanover Raceway on Saturday needing a win to keep her Ontario Sires Stakes season alive and the three-year-old trotting filly got the job done in thrilling fashion. Starting from Post 5, driver Ryan Holliday settled Desis Dream into fourth on the rail as Ill Stay Here rocketed out to a :27.4 opening quarter as Arthur, ON resident Wayne Henry took his foot off Ill Stay Here's accelerator in the second quarter - reaching the half in :57.1 - Holliday and Desis Dream moved up to third. Heading for the 1:27.1 three-quarters Holliday sent Desis Dream up the outside to the lead and the filly battled down the stretch to a one-quarter length victory over Flexceptional and Tymal Fireitup in 1:58.2. "She's a good, honest little filly who capitalized on a great drive," quipped Mount Forest, ON resident Holliday. "She fought hard right to the wire." Holliday engineered the filly's first Grassroots win of the season for trainer David Byron and owner-breeder Glengate Farms of Campbellville, ON. In her five previous Grassroots outings the Muscle Mass daughter had tallied one second, two fourths, one fifth, and one sixth-place finish and she was sitting twenty-eighth in the division standings heading into Saturday's test. With the win, she jumped into the top 20 and will compete in the Sept. 18 Grassroots Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. The other four winners also secured their spots in the post season, including local filly Mass Rail, who kicked off the festivities in the first race. Starting from Post 3, Mass Rail and driver Alfie Carroll got away fifth and moved into the outer lane heading for the half. Turning for home Carroll sent the Muscle Mass daughter after the leaders and Mass Rail got a head in front of Allies Gift for the 1:59 score. Roses In The Rain, who had served as a wind break for Mass Rail, settled for third. Iona Station, ON resident Carroll crafted the 1:59 victory for trainer Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON, Trevor Henry Stables Inc. and 1035840 Ontario Inc. of Arthur, ON. The win was the Muscle Mass daughter's first of the season, and with the two seconds, one fourth and one sixth she posted in her first four Grassroots starts, gives her 111 points and a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack. "She is a big filly. She can't leave, but loves to finish," said Trevor Henry, who relinquished his usual spot in the filly's race bike due to driving commitments at Mohawk Racetrack. "With a little luck she will do good in the finals." Giona scored her second straight Grassroots win in the second division, controlling the tempo through fractions of :29.1, 1:00 and 1:28.4 before battling down the stretch to a neck victory in 1:58.4. Oh My Magic finished second and division point leader Renegade Magic settled for third after pressing the pace for most of the mile. Chelmsford, ON resident Wayne MacLean trains and drives Giona for Jocelyne Menard, also of Chelmsford. The Angus Hall filly scored her first Grassroots win in the Aug. 25 event at Mohawk Racetrack and has also finished second, third, fourth and fifth in her six regular season starts for a total of 150 points and sole ownership of third in the division standings. Elora, ON resident Bob McClure piloted Sheguindah to her first Grassroots win of the season in the third split, tipping out in the stretch and trotting home to a one and one-quarter length victory over GS Grasshopper and Tymal Signature. Sheguindah halted the Hanover Raceway teletimer at 1:59. "She's a solid Grassroots filly," said McClure, who piloted the Angus Hall daughter to the win for trainer Alan Fair and owner Elizabeth Fair of Ancaster, ON. "The Fairs have done a great job with her and she is going into the end of the season in great shape." Sheguindah wrapped up her regular season with one win, two seconds and one third in four outings for a total of 112 points. The final division saw Alfie Carroll make his second appearance in the Grassroots winner's circle, guiding Cincinnati Miss to a front-end score in 1:58.3. The Kadabra daughter hit the wire one and one-quarter lengths ahead of Wing Flash and Summers Jewel. Hall of Fame horseman Bob McIntosh of Windsor, ON trains Cincinnati Miss for his brother Doug McIntosh of Wheatley, ON and breeder Ivey Pharm Stable of Cincinnati, OH. In five Grassroots outings the filly posted two wins, one second, one third and one seventh for a point tally of 139, good enough for fourth spot in the standings. The top 20 fillies will battle in a pair of Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 18, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to the Campbellville oval for the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26. Ontario Horse Racing

Local filly Hape earned her second Grassroots trophy at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, making up for the aggravation she caused trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev prior to the race. "She's not fun to be around all week and warming up - she kicks and pulls and grabs on - but you get in a race, she's pretty nice to drive in a race," said the Moffat resident. "Once you get her warmed up she forgets about kicking and thinks about racing." Starting from the outside Post 8 in the fifth $18,000 division, Moiseyev eased Hape away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting in the outer lane in sixth when Pointe Of Inquiry reached the :28.2 opening quarter. Fan favourite Renegade Magic took command before the :57.1 half while Moiseyev and Hape continued to watch from sixth, but heading by the 1:26.3 three-quarters Moiseyev sent the filly out three-wide and started to reel in the leaders. At the top of the stretch Hape had advanced to within two lengths of Renegade Magic, but when she straightened out Moiseyev was able to find an even bigger gear and the filly rocketed down the stretch to a two and one-half length win in 1:56.4. Division point leader Renegade Magic had to settle for second, with Pointe Of Inquiry third. "She raced real good last week too. She's very finicky, you've got to let her do what she wants and at the end she knows what to do, she takes off at the end there," said Moiseyev, who conditions the Pilgrims Taj daughter for Joanne Colville of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. "Once she straightens up she kind of takes off." In an overnight event at Mohawk on Aug. 18, the top three fillies from Tuesday's fifth Grassroots division finished in reverse order, with Pointe Of Inquiry getting the win, Renegade Magic second and Hape third. Through 14 starts this season Hape has tallied five wins, two seconds, one third and $55,750. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's Grassroots point tally to 126, virtually assuring her of a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-final. Hape The top 20 point earners after six regular season events qualify for the Semi-final, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to Mohawk to compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26. The other four division winners also made considerable leaps up the point standings. Meadow Seelster captured the first division with a gate-to-wire effort that saw her cruise home one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Mass Rail and Oh My Magic in 1:56.2. Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON engineered the win for trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON and owner William Dixon of Caledon, ON. The Holiday Road daughter was also a Grassroots winner at Georgian Downs on July 14 and currently has 112 points in the race toward a Semi-final berth. Giona scored her first Grassroots win in the second division, also controlling the tempo from start to finish. The Angus Hall miss and trainer-driver Wayne MacLean of Chelmsford, ON crossed the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Railee Priti and Roses In The Rain in 1:57.2 Jocelyne Menard of Chelmsford owns Giona, who jumped from 50 to 100 points with the win. In the third division, Allerage Star earned her first win of the season with a front-end effort that saw her sail under the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of Desis Dream and Summers Jewel in 1:56.1. The Angus Hall daughter was driven to the win by Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell. Howard Okukso Jr. of Vernon, NY conditions Allerage Star for Little E LLC of New York, NY, Arthur Geiger of Livingston, NJ, David Stolz of Columbus, OH and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ. World Class Izzy and Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON claimed the remaining Grassroots trophy with a come-from-behind effort that saw them sweep home to a three length win in 1:56.2 Flexceptional and Hope Rises completed the top three. The win was the first ever for World Class Izzy, who is trained by Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. The victory boosted the Muscle Mass daughter's Grassroots point total to 86. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday with a pair of $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

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