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On Sunday, two days before the box closed on the $1 million Hambletonian, owner Marc Goldberg had a conversation with his trainer Trond Smedshammer about Royal Ice. "I told him I thought the Townsend Ackerman was a good race for him," said Goldberg of the conversation. "He thought that there weren't going to be enough horses entered and that if it was just going to be one heat why not take a chance." Smedshammer's opinion matters to Goldberg. The pair has been closely connected most notably to the betting public with the $4.2 million winning Arch Madness. A week ago it might have appeared to be pure madness to consider Royal Ice entered for anything but a non-winners of one race. Everything changed for the horse, trainer and owner this past Friday (July 25) at the Meadowlands. Royal Ice broke his maiden in 1:51 3/5 with catch-driver Yannick Gingras in the bike. The son of Muscle Hill reached the winner's circle for the first time in his career surprising both the trainer and owner. "I didn't think he was sharp enough and I told Marc he might be a little short," said Smedshammer, well aware that the horse hadn't raced in four weeks. "We really didn't get to see how good he was in some of the earlier races. He was always racing on a sloppy track," said Goldberg. But everyone got to see just how strong a horse Royal Ice was this past Friday. "He definitely has the desire," said Smedshammer who admitted that earlier this season he was concerned that the horse was having trouble breathing. With but seven career starts, Royal Ice lacks experience going into Saturday's Hambletonian. He landed post six between two of the Taker's three stable stars Nuncio (post five) and Trixton (post seven). "I think he has enough experience," said Smedshammer unconcerned about whether the horse could be competitive. "Takters horses are better than him but anything can happen," he said. It's somewhat ironic that both trainer and owner hadn't given much consideration to the Hambletonian. As a matter of fact they hadn't given much consideration to staking the horse as a three-year-old. "He's really not in very much," said Goldberg. "It can get very expensive to stake a three-year-old. I don't want an owner to spend $20,000 staking a horse that hasn't shown that much," Smedshammer said. Yet surprisingly the trainer managed to keep Royal Ice eligible to one major race. "I had to talk him into keeping him eligible for the Hambletonian, but it's not as expensive as some of the other races," the trainer said. For Goldberg purchasing the colt for $70,000 as a yearling was not a surprise. "Barry (Goldstein) and I raced his dam The Ice Queen and this was her first foal by a great horse: Muscle Hill, said Goldberg. "Geoff Stein and David Reid bred the colt." What appears paramount to both Goldberg and Smedshammer on Saturday is not to do anything that would hinder the development of the colt. He's stepping up in class in a major way and even the trainer is not blown away by his final time in last week's race. "They are going much faster and I don't take much stock in that. I like the fact that he's a horse that's very willing and wants to go," said Smedshammer. Ron Pierce gets the assignment on Saturday with Gingras committed to Hambletonian favorite Father Patrick. "I think Ron's a good choice," said Smedshammer, "He's not afraid of the moment." Smedshammer's Arch Madness landed post three in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial on Saturday and the ten-year-old. "Brian (Sears) wanted to leave with him in the eliminations but then he had to take him off when others left," said Smedshammer, "That wasn't good for the horse but he fought back late." The wins have not come as often this year for Arch Madness, but his owner hasn't lost faith. "He's still going the same kind of miles he's always gone but it seems the other horses are going faster," said Goldberg. The owner is excited to come out to the Meadowlands on Saturday to watch his favorite horse compete win, lose or draw. As for his new kid on the block Goldberg sounded as if he would do whatever it takes to see Royal Ice race against the best if he's up to it. "We put up $62,500 to supplement Arch Madness to the Breeders Crown against an undefeated horse," the owner reminded. That gamble paid off rather well when Arch Madness defeated Donato Hanover in the Breeders Crown sophomore trot at the Meadowlands in 2007. Seven years later Arch Madness is still going strong and will join his three-year-old stablemate Royal Ice on the big stage Saturday. by Jay Bergman, for the Hambletonian Notes Team  

This Week: Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, John Cashman Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial, Merrie Annabelle and Kindergarten Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Hanover Colt Stakes and Hanover Filly Stakes, Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill; and Tompkins-Geers, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off this Friday (Aug. 1) at Meadowlands Racetrack with the first leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters and 2-year-old filly trotters. There will be three $10,000 divisions for the colts and five $10,000 divisions for the fillies. The big Saturday afternoon (Aug. 2) program is led by the $1,006,125 Hambletonian, the first leg of trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Other major stakes races to be contested that day are the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old filly trotters, the $300,650 John Cashman Memorial for older trotters, the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship for older pacers, the $177,750 Lady Liberty for older pacing mares, the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters, and the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters. Also on Saturday, Balmoral Park will host the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday (Aug. 3) the Crete oval will feature the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Colt Stakes for 2-year-old colt trotters and the $50,000 (est.) Hanover Filly Stakes for 2-year-old filly trotters. Tioga Downs on Sunday will feature the $78,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $67,000 (est.) Tompkins-Geers for 2-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Confronted by a challenger who would not go away, 1-5 favorite McWicked dug in, blazed the back half in an amazing :53.2 and captured this past Saturday's (July 26) $400,000 final of the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids Presented by Coors Light at The Meadows. McWicked held off Somewhere In L A at the wire to win the Delvin Miller Adios. With the 1:49.1 victory, Casie Coleman, who conditions McWicked for S S G Stables, became the first female trainer to win an Adios final in the 48-year-history of this important test for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Leaving from post two, David Miller was able to give McWicked a rather leisurely half in :55.4 on the front. When Brett Miller moved Somewhere In L A uncovered down the backside and the pair looked McWicked in the eye, the battle was on. However, McWicked edged away in deep stretch to triumph in 1:49.1, a length better than his gallant rival. Cammikey was a ground-saving third. With the win, McWicked pushed his career bankroll to $798,447 and extended a prolonged roll that has seen him sweep the eliminations and final of the Max Hempt Memorial and the Adios. Many of the sport's stars were out on Saturday night at The Meadowlands and none were brighter than Archangel who won the first elimination for the John Cashman, Jr. Memorial trot in a world record 1:50. The mile broke a six-way tie for the fastest mile ever by a trotter on a mile track. Yannick Gingras sent the handsome 5-year-old millionaire son of Credit Winner out fast for the lead with a wicked :26.1 opening quarter then set even fractions of :54.4 and 1:22.3 in the record mile. Archangel was a geared down 1-3/4 length winner over Intimidate with Market Share third. Your So Vain and Sevruga rounded out the qualifiers from this elimination for this Saturday's Cashman final. Ron Burke trains the winner for Legendary Standardbred Farm and Claire Semer. Sebastian K was back to his winning ways in the second elimination for Ake Svanstedt with an easy three length score in 1:51. The race began with Creatine flying off the wings from the outside for Mike Lachance and clearing Sebastian K as they reached the quarter in a dazzling :26. The pace slowed abruptly when Lachance took up on the lead and Svanstedt was forced to yank Sebastian K out quickly before Mister Herbie could get the jump on him from third. He got out, though the judges flashed the inquiry sign and reviewed the move, and was back to the top. Sweet Justice mounted a final turn challenge but was rebuffed with a :27.3 final quarter. Mister Herbie split horses late to be second, Uncle Peter was third in his return to US soil, Appomattox a solid fourth and Arch Madness captured the final berth in this week's race. The winner is trained in the Svanstedt barn for Knutsson Trotting and was winning for the sixth time this year in seven tries. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 509; 2. Tim Tetrick - 443; 3. Ron Pierce - 307; 4t. Brian Sears - 205; 4t. David Miller - 205. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 884.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 444; 3t. PJ Fraley - 189; 3t. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Joe Holloway - 154. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 206.75; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 188; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. S S G Stables - 80. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at The Meadows with the Currier & Ives for 3-year-old colt trotters; at Hoosier Park with the Dan Patch for older pacers; and at Charlottetown Driving Park with the Gold Cup and Saucer eliminations for older pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Intimidate followed his most lackluster performance of the year with a stunning victory in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend and trainer Luc Blais is hopeful the 5-year-old trotter can keep the momentum going in Saturday's first of two eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses, including world champion Sebastian K. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. Intimidate, who won the 2012 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters and the 2013 Credit Winner, edged previously unbeaten Sebastian K by a nose to win the Maple Leaf in 1:54.2 on a sloppy track. Intimidate was 47-1. "It was an amazing feeling again," said Blais, who trains Intimidate for Serge Godin's Determination stable and Judith Farrow. Blais and Farrow bred the son of stallion Justice Hall and mare Fabulous Tag. "That (Maple Leaf) was an amazing win. "He was just so-so in the elimination but came back good. I think Sylvain Filion gave him a perfect drive. I think everything was perfect that night. At that level, you need everything perfect." Intimidate finished fifth in his Maple Leaf elimination, losing 3-1/2 lengths in the stretch, but Blais says the horse was still feeling the effects of a quarter-crack on a front foot. "I think the foot wasn't right-right," said Blais, a native of Quebec. "We worked very much on his foot and the quarter-crack looked better (in the Maple Leaf final). That's time. You need time to repair that. Now he looks sound. I don't know if he's a hundred percent, but he looks better than before, that's for sure." Intimidate has won three of seven races this season and earned $326,070. For his career, he has won 24 of 36 starts and banked $923,628. His only off-the-board finishes this year came in his Maple Leaf elim and in the final of the Cutler Memorial, where he had a three-wide trip. "I think in the Cutler we had no luck," Blais said. "After that he came back and won the preferred at Mohawk. He hasn't raced a bad race, except maybe the elimination of the Maple Leaf. That was the only race that I think wasn't right." Ron Pierce will drive Intimidate on Saturday night, leaving from post four as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. Market Share, from post one, is the 8-5 favorite. The remainder of the field, from the inside, is Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. The second division, from the rail, is Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, Appomattox, Arch Madness, and Creatine. The group has five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). "That's a nice bunch of horses this year," Blais said. "The competition is very high level. I think that's good for the game; it's good for the show. People want to see that." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Arch Madness wasn't ill, but a victory in a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia last week might have been just what the doctor ordered. Now the 10-year-old gelding is returning to competition against the continent's best older trotters as he heads to Saturday's eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. Among the entrants are world champion Sebastian K, Maple Leaf Trot winner Intimidate, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, and 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. Arch Madness, who skipped the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario, enters his Cashman elim with one win in eight starts this season. Lifetime, he has won 35 of 115 races and earned $4.22 million, good for sixth place among all trotters in history and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. "It's always nice to get an easy win in a horse," Trond Smedshammer said about Arch Madness' three-length victory in 1:52.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia on July 16. "That's the best medicine for a horse, winning. I was very happy about that decision [not to go to the Maple Leaf Trot]. It worked out good. "You can't ask him to go everywhere; he's 10 years old. Canada was an easy decision to leave out." Arch Madness (a son of Balanced Image-Armbro Archer) was winless in two races at age 2, but won at least one race worth more than $170,000 in six of the next seven years. His top triumphs came in the 2007 Breeders Crown for 3-year-olds, 2008 Maple Leaf Trot, 2011 Oslo Grand Prix, 2010 Cutler Memorial, 2009 Credit Winner, and 2013 Allerage Open Trot. He finished second in the Elitlopp in 2012 and 2013. He also finished second twice in the Breeders Crown Open, in 2008 and 2009, and twice in the Maple Leaf Trot, in 2009 and 2011. "Arch is pretty much the same as he's been previous years," said Smedshammer, who trains the horse for owners Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. "It doesn't seem like he's lost much, it's just the competition is tougher. It's been brutally tough, especially [Sebastian K]. "I haven't been too worried about it because later in the year when the others seem to be getting tired, he usually gets better," Smedshammer added. Arch Madness will start from post seven in the second of the two Cashman eliminations. To his inside from the rail are Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, and Appomattox. To his outside is Creatine. The first division, from post one, is Market Share, Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Intimidate, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. They have five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

A Winner's Over $25,000 Lifetime Trot was the featured event on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. The heavy favorite was the classy Arch Madness, who has won over $4 million in his career. As the gate swung open, it was Money On My Mind leaving quickly for the lead, but was collared by Arch Madness just shy of the opening quarter. The 10-year-old by Balanced Image faced mild pressure from Opening Night near the three quarters, but sprinted away to win by a wrapped up three lengths in 1:52.2. Money On My Mind finished second, while Traverse Seelster rallied for show. Arch Madness is owned by Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC, trained by Trond Smedshammer, and was driven by George Brennan, who had two wins on the day. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia

Dancin Yankee wins $100,000 Pace

Uffizi Hanover won the biggest race of her career so far at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, the 2013 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers, after losing the previous week. Last weekend, Uffizi Hanover finished second to Cinamony in her elimination for Saturday's $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. The filly started from post seven and raced to the front in a :54.4 opening half-mile before losing the lead in the stretch. This weekend, she starts from post No. 1 with driver David Miller at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Horses from post one have a 14.5 win percentage at Pocono Downs, compared to 7.6 percent from post seven. Prior to last weekend's elimination, Uffizi Hanover led at the halfway point in just one of her previous 15 career starts. She also finished second in that race. "I think she will be better this week," Miller said. "She had the outside last week and I decided to leave with her and she got used a little bit early. That's really not her style. "This week, if I can get away close I think I'll be in good shape. She surprises us all the time." Saturday's stakes-laden card at Pocono Downs also includes the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, and the $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Sun Invitational is race No. 8 and will be followed by the four stakes. Uffizi Hanover has won four of 16 lifetime starts and earned $594,500 for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband. She entered her Lynch elim off a victory in the Fan Hanover Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack on June 14. Fancy Desire and Weeper, who won the other two Lynch eliminations, are 3-1 and 4-1, respectively in the final. Fancy Desire drew post four and Weeper got post eight. Cinamony will leave from post six and is 6-1. Following are Saturday's Sun Invitational and stakes fields in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: Race 8, $100,000 Sun Invitational - 1. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 10-1; 2. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 5-1; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 7-2; 4. Amigo Ranger, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 12-1; 5. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier, 3-1; 7. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 2-1. Race 9, $300,000 Lynch Memorial - 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 2. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 3. Also Encouraging, Brett Miller, Casie Coleman, 15-1; 4. Fancy Desire, George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr, 3-1; 5. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. Cinamony, Corey Callahan, Alex Rice Jr., 6-1; 7. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 12-1; 8. Weeper, Dave Palone, Kelly O'Donnell, 4-1; 9. My Lady Day, Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway, 20-1. Race 10, $500,000 Hempt Memorial - 1. Cammikey, Brian Zendt, Bill Zendt, 6-1; 2. Allstar Partner, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 12-1; 3. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 5-2; 4. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 4-1; 5. At Press Time, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker, 20-1; 7. Bushwacker, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder, 15-1; 8. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 3-1; 9. Limelight Beach, Brian Sears, Brian Brown, 10-1. Race 11, $500,000 Franklin Pace - 1. Bettor's Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1; 2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke, 15-1; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 5-2; 5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 10-1; 6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 5-1; 7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 20-1; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 6-1. Race 12, $500,000 Beal Jr. Memorial - 1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 3-1; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 5-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 4-1; 5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley, 15-1; 6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder, 20-1; 7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris, 6-1; 8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 12-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Nuncio spent a lot of this past winter learning to use his natural talent in a more productive way, and it shows. The 3-year-old trotter, who is 3-1 from post two in Saturday's $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is undefeated in four starts in 2014 after a barn change following his 2-year-old season. New trainer Jimmy Takter concentrated on teaching the son of Andover Hall to conserve and use his speed judiciously and driver John Campbell said he's passing the course so far. Last year, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of his 10 races. This year, he's been no better than third at the halfway point of any race and not seen the lead until the stretch. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "He just got so aggressive and so wound up at the end of last year that you just couldn't rate him at all. That was to his detriment in a couple races and it cost him winning. Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way and raced him that way and he's started to figure it out, so I can be a little more aggressive with him at the gate. "He left a little bit last week and didn't get wound up. I'm very happy with his manners so far. He's been very relaxed and that's important because if they're worked up and you're fighting with them, you just take away energy. He's always been able to go; speed hasn't been an issue ever with him. It's more been just manageability." Nuncio won his Beal elimination last weekend by a half-length over Datsyuk in 1:52.2. His previous three wins this season all came in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Last year, he won five of 10 races and never finished worse than second on his way to $461,074. His earnings were third most among 2-year-old trotters, behind Takter-trained colt Father Patrick and Takter-trained filly Shake It Cerry. Four of Nuncio's second-place efforts were against Father Patrick, in the eliminations and final of the Peter Haughton Memorial and elims and final of the Breeders Crown. Nuncio won the Matron Stakes and a division of the Reynolds; he also was runner-up to Muscle Network in the Valley Victory. Father Patrick, who received the 2013 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter, also won his Beal elimination last week. He drew post No. 8 for the final and is the 5-2 morning line favorite with driver Yannick Gingras. "I'd certainly rather have the two hole than outside, that is for sure, but once we get in to the race, everybody will know at the quarter whether it's good or bad," Campbell said. "But going in to the race, I'd rather be down inside." Father Patrick won his Beal elim by 2-1/4 lengths over Harper Blue Chip in 1:52.4. He is 4-for-4 this year and brings a 13-race win streak into the Beal final. Last year, Father Patrick won 10 of 11 races, including the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs, the Wellwood Memorial and the Peter Haughton Memorial. His only setback came against Nuncio in July. "This is the first time all year that he'll be asked to go," Gingras said. "He's more than ready after four easy starts." Saturday's stakes-laden card at Pocono Downs also includes the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, and $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Sun Invitational is race No. 8 and will be followed by the four stakes. Following are Saturday's Sun Invitational and stakes fields in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: Race 8, $100,000 Sun Invitational - 1. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 10-1; 2. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 5-1; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 7-2; 4. Amigo Ranger, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 12-1; 5. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier, 3-1; 7. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 2-1. Race 9, $300,000 Lynch Memorial - 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 2. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 3. Also Encouraging, Brett Miller, Casie Coleman, 15-1; 4. Fancy Desire, George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr, 3-1; 5. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. Cinamony, Corey Callahan, Alex Rice Jr., 6-1; 7. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 12-1; 8. Weeper, Dave Palone, Kelly O'Donnell, 4-1; 9. My Lady Day, Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway, 20-1. Race 10, $500,000 Hempt Memorial - 1. Cammikey, Brian Zendt, Bill Zendt, 6-1; 2. Allstar Partner, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 12-1; 3. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 5-2; 4. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 4-1; 5. At Press Time, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker, 20-1; 7. Bushwacker, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder, 15-1; 8. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 3-1; 9. Limelight Beach, Brian Sears, Brian Brown, 10-1. Race 11, $500,000 Franklin Pace - 1. Bettor's Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1; 2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke, 15-1; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 5-2; 5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 10-1; 6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 5-1; 7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 20-1; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 6-1. Race 12, $500,000 Beal Jr. Memorial - 1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 3-1; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 5-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 4-1; 5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley, 15-1; 6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder, 20-1; 7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris, 6-1; 8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 12-1. by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications  

No trotter in history has recorded four winning miles of 1:50.3 or faster, but on Saturday night Sebastian K will try to accomplish the feat in only his fourth start in North America. Sebastian K is among the seven horses in Saturday's $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The field also includes Market Share, who is history's only other trotter with three winning miles of 1:50.3 or faster. Last weekend, Sebastian K and trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt won for the third time in as many starts since arriving in the U.S. from Sweden. They captured the third round of the TVG Free For All Series for older trotters in 1:50.3 at the Meadowlands, beating Archangel by two lengths and third-place Market Share by 4-3/4. Sebastian K won his U.S. debut in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 on May 10 and followed that performance with a 1:50.2 victory in the $175,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial final. "It's an amazing story," said Bjorn "Bernie" Noren, who is Svanstedt's assistant. "Of course we were hoping he was going to do great, but this is - I don't want to say a surprise, really - but a good feeling that the horse can do like he's done." Saturday's stakes-laden card at Pocono Downs also includes the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, and the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Sun Invitational is race No. 8 and will be followed by the four stakes. Sebastian K drew post No. 7 in the Sun Invitational, which also includes Arch Madness, Sevruga, Amigo Ranger, Archangel, and Modern Family. Arch Madness, one of the richest trotters in history with more than $4 million in purses, and Sevruga also are among history's 15 trotters to win with at least a 1:50.3 time. Arch Madness, who has won twice in his career with a time of 1:50.2, Market Share, Sebastian K, and the retired Chapter Seven are the only trotters in history to win in 1:50.3 or faster multiple times. One of Market Share's 1:50.3 miles came last year in a qualifier. Earlier this year he trotted 1:50.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia, the fastest time ever on a five-eighths-mile track. Pocono Downs is a five-eighths-mile track known for its speed, so that mark could be in jeopardy Saturday. Depending on how the race unfolds, a sub-1:50 mile might not be out of the question. "It's not out of the possibility," Noren said. "It depends how the race unfolds. If they get to three quarters and everybody still has something in the tank, it could happen. If you go too much in the [first] half, of course you're going to go a little slower the last half. That's the way racing is. But that's a fast track. If the weather is good, they're going to have the track in top shape." In his most recent race, Sebastian K won from gate to wire. He got the lead with a :27.3 opening quarter-mile before relaxing in a :28.2 second quarter. He trotted :54.3 for the second half, including :26.2 for the final quarter-mile. "It was the best I ever felt him," Svanstedt said. "Usually he gets to the front and looks around for other horses, but this time he just kept going." Added Noren, "Ake was just sitting and waiting. He was waiting for somebody to come and then Market Share came first up and the last quarter he let [Sebastian K] go and he was flying home really good. It was his best race so far. He was really sharp. He really wanted to take off. "The horse looks great, he feels great. He should get better the more he's racing." Following are Saturday's Sun Invitational and stakes fields in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: Race 8, $100,000 Sun Invitational - 1. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 10-1; 2. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 5-1; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 7-2; 4. Amigo Ranger, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 12-1; 5. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier, 3-1; 7. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 2-1. Race 9, $300,000 Lynch Memorial - 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 2. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 3. Also Encouraging, Brett Miller, Casie Coleman, 15-1; 4. Fancy Desire, George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr, 3-1; 5. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. Cinamony, Corey Callahan, Alex Rice Jr., 6-1; 7. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 12-1; 8. Weeper, Dave Palone, Kelly O'Donnell, 4-1; 9. My Lady Day, Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway, 20-1. Race 10, $500,000 Hempt Memorial - 1. Cammikey, Brian Zendt, Bill Zendt, 6-1; 2. Allstar Partner, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 12-1; 3. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 5-2; 4. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 4-1; 5. At Press Time, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker, 20-1; 7. Bushwacker, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder, 15-1; 8. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 3-1; 9. Limelight Beach, Brian Sears, Brian Brown, 10-1. Race 11, $500,000 Franklin Pace - 1. Bettor's Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1; 2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke, 15-1; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 5-2; 5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 10-1; 6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 5-1; 7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 20-1; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 6-1. Race 12, $500,000 Beal Jr. Memorial - 1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 3-1; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 5-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 4-1; 5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley, 15-1; 6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder, 20-1; 7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris, 6-1; 8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 12-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Freehold, NJ --- It might run counter to trainer Ron Burke’s intuition, but less appears to be more with Sweet Lou. Burke changed Sweet Lou’s between-race routine and the 5-year-old male pacer has responded with a four-race win streak heading into Saturday’s (June 28) $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. It is Sweet Lou’s longest streak since putting together six consecutive victories bridging his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sweet Lou was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer and earned more than $1 million at age 3, but endured a stretch of just four wins in 31 starts prior to his recent surge. “We’ve backed off on him and he’s become more like a Thoroughbred,” Burke said. “I can’t ask him to race four weeks in a row; I can’t ask him to train in between when he’s racing. I just give him weeks now where he basically jogs and hangs out in the field. “It kills me, because I’m thinking that he’s getting unfit. But I’ve watched him and he just blows back up and starts to look strong again. Then I’ll give him one hard fast work before he races and he seems to race great.” Saturday’s card at Pocono Downs also includes the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, the $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old trotters, the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, and the $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Sun Invitational is race No. 8 and will be followed by the four stakes. Sweet Lou, who won his Franklin elimination by four lengths over Bolt The Duer in 1:47.4 last weekend, drew post four in the final. Three other Burke horses -- Bettor’s Edge, Allstar Legend, and Foiled Again -- will all start inside of Sweet Lou while Domethatagain, who edged Captaintreacherous by a nose to win the other Franklin elim in 1:48, got post five. Captaintreacherous, the two-time defending Pacer of the Year, leaves from post eight. “I was very impressed with the way (Sweet Lou) raced the other day,” Burke said. “He’s come back as the horse we always thought he would be.” Sweet Lou’s win streak also coincides with Ron Pierce becoming his driver. “Pierce maybe has a different strategy of how to race him and so far it’s been good,” Burke said. “Everything right now is working good, so we’ll just keep doing it the same way until we need to make a change.” In addition to his quartet in the Franklin, Burke will send At Press Time and All Bets Off into the Hempt, Sayitall BB and Southwind Silence into the Lynch, and Amped Up Hanover into the Beal. All Bets Off, who won the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers in May, and At Press Time captured their respective Hempt eliminations. All Bets Off has won five of six starts this year; At Press Time bounced back from a third-place finish in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes with the addition of Lasix. “I knew At Press Time would be better,” Burke said. “We did some work on him in between (starts) and got him straighter and he bled very badly. It wasn’t a question of whether we should put him on Lasix, he really needed Lasix. I was happy with his performance. “(All Bets Off) is a very good horse. He’s top five; he’s as good as any horse out there, I think. He can go either way. He had to be pulled to a stop at the top of the lane (in his elim) and most of my horses if you pulled them to a stop like that they wouldn’t fire again. And he did.” The Hempt field also includes McWicked, who won the fastest elimination, in 1:48. Jimmy Takter-trained trotters Father Patrick and Nuncio headline the Beal. Both won their eliminations, with Father Patrick extending his win streak to 13 races dating back to last July. Father Patrick was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. Nuncio was a stakes winner and four-time runner-up to Father Patrick last season. This is their first meeting as 3-year-olds. Cinamony, Fancy Desire, and Weeper all won Lynch eliminations. Cinamony and Fancy Desire were supplemented to the Lynch for $15,000. The final also includes multiple-stakes-winner Uffizi Hanover. Sebastian K, who is 3-for-3 since arriving in North America from Sweden, headlines the Sun Invitational. The race also includes Market Share, who is a two-time Dan Patch Award winner. Following are the fields in post order with listed drivers and trainers: Race 8, $100,000 Sun Invitational – 1. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer; 2. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick,Linda Toscano; 4. Amigo Ranger, Simon Allard, Rene Allard; 5. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier; 7. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt. Race 9, $300,000 Lynch Memorial – 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter; 2. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 3. Also Encouraging, Brett Miller, Casie Coleman; 4. Fancy Desire, George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr; 5. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 6. Cinamony, Corey Callahan, Alex Rice Jr.; 7. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell; 8. Weeper, Dave Palone, Kelly O’Donnell; 9. My Lady Day, Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway. Race 10, $500,000 Hempt Memorial – 1. Cammikey, Brian Zendt, Bill Zendt; 2. Allstar Partner, Tim Tetrick, John Butenschoen; 3. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman; 4. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell; 5. At Press Time,Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker; 7. Bushwacker, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder; 8. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 9. Limelight Beach, Brian Sears, Brian Brown. Race 11, $500,000 Franklin Pace – 1. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard; 6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley; 7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy. Race 12, $500,000 Beal Jr. Memorial – 1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley,Ron Burke; 2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr.; 5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley; 6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder; 7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris; 8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

It is as if he can toy with the field at any time as Sebastian K showed once again he is currently the most dominant trotter in the world, remaining unbeaten in 2014 with his third straight win. With trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt aboard, Sebastian K led from start to finish in winning the $50,000 TVG Free For All Trot Friday at the Meadowlands. Sebastian K was making his first start back after not racing for 33 days. The eight-year-old stallion by Korean from Sweden, left out of the starting gate like he was shot out of the cannon and led the field to the opening quarter mile in :27.3 with Archangel (Yannick Gingras) getting the two-hole trip with. Svanstedt then backed it down to the half in :56, almost daring anyone to try and come first-over and no one was biting. Then Market Share (Tim Tetrick) started to move first-over and grabbing the outside trip was Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) as they went by the three-quarters in 1:24.1. It was then that Ake Svanstedt led Sebastian K have his head and the world champion began to pull away from the field and cruise home to win by more than two open lengths in 1:50.3. His last quarter a speedy :26.2. Archangel was second with Market Share third. His time was just two-fifths of a second from his world record mile of 1:50.1 on May 10 and he becomes the first trotter ever to record three straight victories in under 1:51. And once again Sebastian K raced barefoot with no shoes on his hooves. “I think he is better with a few weeks between races,” said Ake Svanstedt. “He can leave pretty fast if I want him to.  He can do everything. I could have driven him faster if I knew how close we were to the record. He was not tired, we could go faster if I asked him to. Usually he waits for the others but today he was wanting to go. I think we will go for the world record. He is in very good form right now. His next race will be at Pocono Downs next week.” Owned by Khutsson Trotting, Inc. of Vero Beach, FL, Sebastian K posted his 29th career victory. He now has lifetime earnings of $2, 423,149. He paid $3.20 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

If it seems like a while since world champion trotter Sebastian K went to the racetrack, that's because it is. The No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America last appeared on May 17 when he won the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in a stakes-record 1:50.2. His connections hoped to race last week in the third round of the TVG Free For All Series for older trotters, but the race failed to draw enough entries. So Sebastian K's return was delayed until Friday's $50,000 TVG leg. But gaps in Sebastian K's schedule are nothing new. After all, when he competed in the Cutler Memorial eliminations and final, it marked the first time he ever raced in consecutive weeks. "He's been off a month before and come back racing very good without training him too hard," said Bernie Noren, top assistant to Sebastian K's trainer-and-driver Ake Svanstedt. "We don't go on the round track, but we've been training regularly on the sand track and doing intervals. He's doing very good, training very well." Sebastian K is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Friday's race. He will leave from post five. The remainder of the field features DW's NY Yank, Archangel, Market Share, Arch Madness, Creatine, and Sevruga. Following the TVG Free For All Series start, Sebastian K is expected to head to Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28 for the $100,000 Mohegan Sun Invitational Trot. "It would have been nice to have gotten to race last week because then he would have had two weeks for the next race," Noren said. "He's going to race in the Pocono Invitational next Saturday. It would have been nice not to race two weeks in a row because he's going to have a busy schedule in July. But it is the schedule and he'll have eight days between the races." Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Sebastian K was the U.S. Trotting Association's Horse of the Month for May after winning his Cutler Memorial elimination in a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 and capturing the Cutler final a week later. The Cutler elims and final counted as the first two rounds of the TVG Series. Those two starts were the beginning of Sebastian K's North American racing career. The 8-year-old trotter was Sweden's Horse of the Year in 2012 and has won 28 of 65 lifetime starts and earned $2.39 million. Svanstedt, Sweden's five-time Trainer of the Year and three-time Driver of the Year award winner, moved his stable to the U.S. late in 2013. Sebastian K has generated excitement on this side of the Atlantic and added depth to an already talented division of older trotters. "We're very happy that people are excited to see him and come forward and say it was nice to show up with a nice horse," Noren said. "I'm a big harness fan, always have been all my life, so to give harness racing a boost so that we can go forward with this sport that we love, it's a great thing to do. I know it's a lot of money to be a stallion, but everybody loves racing. We don't like to see good horses in the breeding shed too early." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

This Week: North America Cup, Fan Hanover, Roses Are Red, Goodtimes and Armbro Flight finals, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Meadowlands Maturity, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this weekend as the Ontario oval hosts five lucrative stakes finals on Saturday night (June 14) led by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old colt pacers. Also on the card will be the C$457,500 Fan Hanover for 3-year-old filly pacers, the C$330,000 Roses Are Red for older mare pacers, the C$272,100 Goodtimes for 3-year-old colt trotters and the C$266,000 Armbro Flight for older mare trotters. Friday night (June 13) will see Meadowlands Racetrack host the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity or 4-year-old pacers. Two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous makes his seasonal debut in that race. Complete entries for the Mohawk races can be found by clicking on this link. Meadowlands entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters at Scioto Downs and second choice Modern Family prevailed in an all-age track record-equaling clocking of 1:52.2. Modern Family left alertly and took the front end from Creatine at the opening quarter in :27. The order remained intact with a very soft half-mile time in :56.4. At that point Arch Madness began to turn up the heat with a first-over move and gave the winner all he had to offer down the backstretch. He was followed on the rim by DW's NY Yank and favored Market Share. Driver Dave Palone asked Modern Family to trot in the third quarter and he responded with a :27.3 panel to gain some separation. From there the Daryl Bier trainee trotted away and won in 1:52.2 by 1-3/4 lengths over longshot Archangel and Creatine. Market Share finished a disappointing sixth. Five sets of eliminations for this weekend's Mohawk stakes finals were also part of last week's Grand Circuit action. Leading the way were the finest 3-year-old pacing colts on the continent facing off in three Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. Lyonssomewhere, McWicked and Tellitlikeitis all turned in impressive victories heading into this weekend's C$1 million final. Lyonssomewhere and driver Corey Callahan shot through an opening in deep stretch to take the first of three C$50,000 eliminations June 7 at Mohawk. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the son of champion Somebeachsomewhere kept his racing record perfect, now five-for-five, as he scored by 1-3/4 lengths in a career best 1:50.1. Beat the Drum wound up second, with JK Endofanera fading to third. McWicked and driver David Miller rallied from third in mid-stretch to haul down Sometimes Said and take the second C$50,000 Pepsi North America Cup elimination by two lengths in 1:48.3. Sometimes Said, with driver John Campbell, appeared headed to victory but Miller eased McWicked out from third and blew by the pair for the win. Sometimes Said wound up second, Let's Drink On It was third and Ideal Cowboy was fourth and also advanced to the final. The third and final Pepsi North America Cup elimination looked to be the toughest on paper, with He's Watching, Luck Be Withyou, Tellitlikeitis and Doo Wop Hanover all highly-regarded contenders. But at the finish, it was the Jimmy Takter-trained, Brett Miller-driven Tellitlikeitis who rolled by the odds-on choice, He's Watching, to win by a comfortable 2-1/4 lengths in 1:48.4, just a tick slower than McWicked's time in the second elim. He's Watching, the 3-5 favorite, took over from Luck Be Withyou before the half was reached in :54.2, while Tellitlikeitis was tucked in third along the rail. He's Watching hit the three-quarters in 1:21.4 and appeared capable of holding off a bid from Luck Be Withyou in mid-stretch. But Miller moved out from third with Tellitlikeitis and came motoring home for the emphatic win over He's Watching, with Luck Be Withyou third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 313; 2. Tim Tetrick - 276; 3. Ron Pierce - 205; 4. George Brennan - 164.5; 5. Brian Sears - 135. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 502.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 175; 3. PJ Fraley - 169; 4. Joe Holloway - 122; 5. Julie Miller- 100. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 136.5; 2. Burke Racing - 112.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 104.8; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 62; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Next weekend will see Grand Circuit action taking place at Meadowlands Racetrack and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The Meadowlands will host a leg of the TVG Free For All series for older trotters on Friday (June 20), while Pocono will have eliminations for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old colt trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old colt pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 21). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

Modern Family was his best Saturday in the $200,000 inaugural Charlie Hill Memorial FFA Trot at Scioto Downs as he led from start to finish over a field to top performers with total lifetime harness racing earnings of more than $10 million. Sent off as the 9/5 second choice in the race, Modern Family was driven for the very first time by Hall of Famer Dave Palone. They won the race by one and three-quarter lengths in 1:52.2, which set the track record for older horses and tied the all age trotting record. The tenth race feature saw Creatine (Mike Lachance) go out quickly to the early lead but on the move was Palone with Modern Family and they took command after the opening quarter mile in :27. Modern Family then led the field past the half mile marker in :56.4 as Arch Madness and driver Ronnie Wrenn, Jr. moved first-over to challenge with DW’s NY Yank (Josh Sutton) following second-over and world record holder Market Share (Tim Tetrick), the betting favorite, third-over on the outside. The action really heated up after the three-quarters in 1:24.2 as DW’s NY Yank fanned three-wide and carried Market Share four-wide as they geared up for the stretch drive to try and beat Modern Family. But Modern Family and Palone would hear or see nothing of that as they skirted away from the field to win with ease over Archangel (Chris Page) with Creatine third. Market Share was a disappointing sixth place finisher. “Daryl (Bier) said he was a beautiful horse to drive,” Dave Palone said. “That he had plenty of gate speed and that was all we needed. I had never driven him before but I am a fan of the horse. I have seen him racing against Sebastian K and can see how great a horse he is. He has a really nice way of going. I was lucky enough to get a call from Daryl asking me to drive him. Daryl and I have been friends for over 25 years.  It’s just nice to do good for good people.” Trained and co-owned by Daryl Bier of Smyrna, DE with Charles Dombeck of Davie, FL and Richard Pollucci of North Easton, MA, it was the sixth win in twelve starts this year for Modern Family. The five-year-old stallion by Cantab Hall now sports earnings this year of $241,150. Modern Family paid $5.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The final Grand Slam event of the UET Masters Series,  takes place this Sunday at the Oslo track of Bjerke, with the running of the  Oslo Grand Prix, one of four UET Masters Series group races on the day. The Oslo Grand Prix, over 2100m for a purse of 340,000 euros, has an illustrious honour roll, the last two events being won by Elitloppet champions of the previous year, in Sebastian K (Korean) and Commander Crowe (Juliano Star), while US warhorse Arch Madness a two-time Elitloppet runner up was the winner over the 2011 contest. Students of European racing and breeding will recognize the names of Sugarcane Hanover (USA) , Ourasi (FRA), Giant Cat (FRA),  Zoogin (SWE), Peace Corps (USA), Victory Tilly Zoogin (SWE), and Steinlager Zoogin (SWE),  who are all past winners of the event as is a horse who has been available in Australia, Ganymede (FRA), the sire of rising NSW trotter Vincennes, the winner of 8 of his last 11 races. Norwegian star Juliano Rags (Juliano Star), who missed the Elitloppet final by one position and Raja Mirchi (Viking Kronos) who set the blistering pace in the first heat, only to be caught on the line are the only two entrants who are making back to back Grand Slam starts. But the big coup for Oslo is the appearance of genuine French heavyweights in Univers de Pan (Kenya du Pont)  and Un Mec d’Heripre (Orlando Vici), two rising stars of the French scene. Both are multiple group one  winners, Philippe Daugear’s Univers de Pan the  winner of this year’s Finlandia Ajo,  while Un Mec d’Heripre is the Criterium des 4 Ans runner up and last year’s  European five-year-old champion and comes from the barn of Fabrice Souloy. Another French horse with serious credentials is Jean Paul Marmion’s Roi du Lupin, who being a gelding is ineligible for most of the big group races in France but has still amassed a credible 1.56million euros. He is the recent winner of the 150,000 euro Prix des Ducs de Normandie in the bike but is also one of the very best under saddle trotters in France. The day also features the UET Masters Series group two Berke Cup, an Elitloppet style event with two heats and a final over a mile on the same day, for the region’s sprinters. Prominent Swedish trainer Lutfi Kolgjini has good chances in both heats with Swedish 3YO Breeders Crown winner Barracuda River (Express It), who has won on this track before in the first heat and old warhorse, with a name that does not translate well down under, Kaffir Face, entered in the second and rated a good chance. Top Norwegian trainer Frode Hamre has two in each heat, with two Credit Winner sons Winmecredit and  the strongly fancied I’m the Answer in the first, and VC Chocoholic (Chocolatier) and Broadway Legs (Broadway Hall) in the second. The favoured runners in the first heat are Herve Philippe Gautier’s French entrant Saphir de Fille (Ipsos de Montfort) and Finnish trainer Markku Nieminen’s Dutch-bred Bret Boko (Yankee Glide) while Reijo Liljendahl’s  Angelo also has some strong support. In the second heat Nieminen’s other entrant Finnish Derby winner Quite an Avenger and Swede Anders Pedersen’s US import MagicCarpet Ride are the two early favourites on the tote with the latter having the services of Bjorn Goop in the bike. There are two other UET Masters Series group two races on the day, The Summer Meeting Stayers race (3140m) and the Europamatch, a 2100m race for  four and five-year-olds. The Europamatch features some of Europe’s top younger horses headed by Swedish legend Stig Johnasson’s German star Indigious, a son of French sire Prodigious who was second in Germany’s big race last year the Grosser Preis von Deutchland. He will face stiff competition from former Dutch Derby winner Clint Boko (Abano As), former European and Norwegian Derby runner-up  Thai Broadway (Thai Thanic) and Swedish group winner Stelton (Dream Vacation). The Stayers race has attracted Pas Sans Toi a French horse who at 11-years-old has been pensioned off in France but is eligible for two more seasons in the rest of Europe. Lieven de Groote’s son of In Love With You is the winner of more than 550,000 euros but will be at long odds from a 60m handicap even with Jorma Kontio in the bike. Bjorn Goop’s Swedish bred Roobois  (Rotation) was a fast finishing second on Elitloppet weekend and will enjoy the extra distance here even with a 40m handicap, while Reijo Liljendahl’s Italian import Nescafe (Daguet Rapide) off 20m and Dutchman Hugo Langeweg Jnr’s  Capitole (Offshore Dream) off the front will also be in the mix here. by David Sanders Harness Racing Victoria

This weekend the bulk of the racing action is at Mohawk Raceway both Friday and Saturday as they host the eliminations for five major stakes events headlined by the North America Cup for three-year-olds pacers. The big stakes event of the weekend is Saturday at Scioto Downs with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial FFA Trot plus on Sunday Vernon Downs hosts two rich ($217,000/$215,00) finals of the Empire Breeders Classic. Good Luck! $35,000 Trot Armbro Flight elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 2nd race FRIDAY – Very tough to go against perfection, as in Perfect Alliance, who is perfect this year with ten straight wins. She is the first to have beaten Bee A Magician and should be able to lay over this field with her front end dominance. Use Ma Chere Hall and Rocking With Dewey in exotic plays. $35,000 Trot Armbro Flight elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – She may have tasted defeat for the first time in over a year, but Bee A Magician is still the best there is and may not get beat again this year. She was a game second to Perfect Alliance in her first start back and now gets tested again but should prevail. Use Classic Martine and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $30,000 Trot Goodtimes elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 5th race FRIDAY – This is the tougher of the two divisions tonight but I think that Flyhawk El Durado will end up being the best in here. He easily handled his division of the NYSS last week with a sharp 1:55.1 triumph at Tioga Downs and now seems primed to cut loose in here. Use Verdi and Hitchin A Ride in exotic plays. $30,000 Trot Goodtimes elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Here comes on of the dynamic Jimmy Taker’s three top Hambletonian prospects. Trixton has been nearly perfect this year with three wins in his four starts this year, including a sizzling 1:51.2 lifetime mark. Once he gets rolling he should not be beat. Use Speak The Truth and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Fan Hanover elims 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 1st race SATURDAY – With five return winners in this field there is no clear standout so I am going with Nat A Virgin. This filly was decent last year and is coming off a sharp win here last week in 1:50.3 with a final quarter mile in :26.3. All she really needs to do is repeat that effort to win again. Use Beach Gal and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Fan Hanover elims 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Here comes the Dan Patch winning two-year-old pacing filly of the year in 2013, Precocious Beauty. She started off the season with an easy win in the NYSS at Vernon Downs in 1:52.4 and should be ready to cut loose against this field. Use Lady Shadow and Major Dancer in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway  3rd race SATURDAY – Here is the first of three great preliminary round divisions. JK Endofaneara is undefeated in his three starts this year, can cut the mile of come from off the pace and is super razor sharp. He will be very tough to beat. Use Western Vintage and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY – This is the toughest of the three divisions as a good case can be made for just about everyone in this field. I am going to go with Let’s Drink On It because last week he faced He’’s Watching and went first-over against him in a valiant second place finish. Same effort will make him a winner in here. Use Always B Miki and McWicked in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Rose Are Red elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – This will be a real slugfest as some top mares will be going to post in this first division. Some are worried that Shebestingin was not at her best in her last start. Well, horses, especially mares, can have off days and I think this was one of them so watch her warm up and then you will see how great she really is. World champion mare will make amends. Use Anndrovette and Drop the Ball in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Looks like He’s Watching is back into the swing of things after being choked down in first start in the Rooney elims. He came right back last week and smoked’em with a 1:49.3 romp and will most likely repeat that same effort tonight. Use Tellitlikeitis and Doo Wop Hanover in exotic plays. $200,000 Trot Charlie Hill Memorial Older Horses Scioto Downs 10th race SATURDAY – The older trotting ranks this year will be a sensational division. Tonight we have the return of $800,000 winner Creatine to the mix of outstanding squaregaiters but all eyes will be on the continuing world champion Market Share. With Sebastian K not yet in the traveling mood, Market Shares looms the horse to beat and rightly so. He made amends for his costly break two starts back with a world record effort last time out. Use Modern Family and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Rose Are Red elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Another world record holder heads this field as Somwherovrarainbow comes to Mohawk off her amazing 1:48 mile in her last start. She has been tops this year with six wins in eight starts for the Joe Holloway Stable and should be able to continue her winning ways. Use Camille and Moneky On My Wheel in exotic plays. $217,725 Trot Empire Breeders Classic 3YO Fillies Vernon Downs 6th race SUNDAY - Looks like it will pay big time for a couple of horses to be New York sired with these two rich stakes. The filly field is headlined by the Leigh Raymer entry of Avalicious/Winning Pursuit for the Crawford Farms. They have each won recent starts and provided winning Pursuit can mind her manners, can take this field. Use Glowngold and Annies List in exotic plays, $215,125 Trot Empire Breeders Classic 3YO Colts Vernon Downs 9th race SUNDAY - Tough to not like Expressive Action in here. Undefeated early on with two straight wins against this same company. Look for him to either cut the mile or come from off the pace and win once again. Use Karets and Cash For Gold in exotic plays.

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