From afar, he might not appear the easiest to love. But it didn't take him long to steal Ida Nilsen's heart. Archie is just that way. For the last five years, Nilsen has been the caretaker of world renowned trotter Arch Madness, aka Archie, in the stable of trainer Trond Smedshammer. On Saturday night, Nilsen and Arch Madness went to the races together for the final time. On Monday, Nilsen said an emotional goodbye. Nilsen's work visa expires this week and the 29-year-old native of Norway returned to her homeland Tuesday. She was undecided if she would remain there or come back to the U.S. sometime in the future. "I don't know what I'm going to do," Nilsen said Monday afternoon. "I'm just going to go home and see what kinds of opportunities are thrown at me." Her opportunity to work and travel with Arch Madness, she added, was "truly a fairytale." Nilsen arrived at Smedshammer's stable seven years ago after deciding to leave Norway when friend Maria Kristensen - Arch Madness' previous caretaker - told her how much she enjoyed working in the States. "I always wanted to come here and when she told me how great it was I made up my mind," Nilsen said. "It was the best decision I ever made." When Kristensen left the stable in 2009, Nilsen took over as Arch Madness' caretaker. But it wasn't love at first sight. "I didn't really care much for him because I saw him in the barn with Maria and he was very spoiled," Nilsen said, adding with a laugh, "Kind of like the way he is with me now - and everyone else probably sees it, but now I don't see it. "It didn't take me long before I fell in love with him. It's just the way he is. When he lets you get close to him, he's got a great personality. There's just no one like him. To everyone else, he just seems like an old grump, but he is very great, not only on the racetrack, but to be around in the barn as a horse. "He knows people. He's very smart like that. The way he acts when he sees me, I fell in love with that." Arch Madness won his first start, an elimination of the Maple Leaf Trot, with Nilsen by his side and finished second in the Maple Leaf Trot final. During their ensuing time together, Nilsen saw Arch Madness win numerous races, but none more emotional than his triumph in the 2011 Oslo Grand Prix. Smedshammer, also from Norway, was unable to travel home for the race because of paperwork delays for his visa. "It was a lot of pressure to race a horse in that race," Nilsen said. "Everyone dreams of racing in that race, and I got to race in it - and we won it. Then I cried. I cried until after the winner's circle. "To bring a horse like him to my home country, that was really very special. Everyone expected us to do well, and he did great." For his career, Arch Madness has won 36 races and $4.28 million in purses for owners Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. The gelded son of Balanced Image-Armbro Archer ranks No. 6 in earnings among all trotters in history, and second to only Moni Maker among trotters that raced the majority of their careers in North America. 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 Sweden's Elitloppet 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. "Not everyone gets the chance to take care of a horse like this," Nilsen said. "I was really lucky. Thanks to him, I've seen so much and been to so many places. "To see how special it is for Trond and the owners, and the way other people love him, is great. I love reading the comments on his Facebook page and seeing that people care about him too. He deserves that. He hasn't been the best one every year, but he's showed up for so many years. They don't do that, the other ones. He's just a really great horse and I love that people love him for it and see him that way." But probably no one sees him the same way as Nilsen. As she prepared for Arch Madness' start in last weekend's TVG Free For All Series Championship for trotters at the Meadowlands, she posted the following on her own Facebook page: "All fairytales have an ending, and this is ours! On our way to the Meadowlands for our last race together! Thank you for everything Arch, you have given me the time of my life and I have so many great memories. You will always be the love of my life and my everything." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The drawing of post position for the final divisions of the Breeders Crown this weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack took place this afternoon at the Meadowlands. For the $525,000 Older Horse Trot division, European world champion, Commander Crowe drew the outside post position nine but was still make the 3-1 morning line favorite. Market Share drew post two and is the second choice at odds of 7/2. In the $550,000 final of the Breeders Crown for two-year-old pacing colts, it was Go Daddy Go who drew post position five and was installed as the 5/2 race favorite while for the second straight week, In The Arsenal drew the far outside ten post. The $581,250 Breeders Crown final for three-year-old pacing colts saw Always B Miki draw post four and then be made the 8/5 favorite while JK Endofanera drew post six and was made the 5/2 second choice in the race. For the $500,000 final of the Breeders Crown for three-year-old trotting colts, it was Nuncio drawing post position three and he was made the 6/5 morning line favorite over stable mate Father Patrick, who drew post six and is the 7/5 second choice in the race. By Chris Tully , for Harnesslink.com
Well it was bound to happen but last week was the first time in five weeks that I did not have a winning weekend with my selections. Oh well, on to bigger and better this weekend! Tons and I mean tons of great racing action both sides of the border this weekend. We will be covering the PASS Championships at Pocono Downs plus some of the Simcoe and Champlain action at Mohawk then off to Harrah’s on Sunday for their excellent PASS Championship card. It’s amazing how some of these championship finals for state-bred trotters and pacers feature the top of the class in some great battle. Just a testimonial to how strong the Pennsylvania breeding program is. Good Luck! $123,120 Pace Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – While there is only one return winner in this field it is still very competitive. I’m going with Lyons Levi Lewis, who despite showing just one win in seven starts this year he has been racing against the best and is coming off a decent second place finish in the $667,000 Metro Pace last week. Use Thinkofagameplan and Freedomformysoul in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Open Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – Really nice field assembled here. I am going with the “old man” Golden Receiver as he has been on a roll as of late and still can show his heels to his younger rivals. Won last two starts against this group and can take another one. Use Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 9th race SATURDAY - With four wins and a third in only her five lifetime starts and a 1:51.4 lifetime mark two starts back right here at Pocono Downs, it’s tough to even think about going against Southwind Roulette. She is on a three-race win streak and has beaten most of these fillies already. Use Aria Hanover and Ginger Tree Alexis in exotic plays. $107,538 Pace Simcoe Stake 3YO Open Mohawk 11th race SATURDAY – After watching both Jet Airway and Melmerby Beach go at each other the last two weeks this was a tough call. But last week Melmerby Beach showed he can win in here and with any kind of live cover today he could score again. Use Jet Airway and Three of Clubs in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – When it comes to young trotters there is none better in the business than Jimmy Takter and he has a very good one here in Wild Honey. She is on a four-race winning streak, already has a record of 1:55 and always wins when she cuts the mile, four of five times this year. Use Speak To Me and Gatka Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 11th race SATURDAY – You cannot, of course, ignore perfection, and that’s Billy Flynn this season. The son of Cantab Hall is 6 for 6 for trainer Staffan Lind and has beaten everyone else in this field already. Can score from on or off the helmet and continue winning ways. Use Piercewave Hanover and Honor And Serve in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 12th race SATURDAY – Here is one of the top colts in the nation. Yankee Bounty is undefeated in six starts but last week was really tested and still held on. Gets tested once again with big money on the line but should get the job done. Use Wakizashi Hanover and Tomy Terror in exotic plays. $50,000 Trot Open Pocono Downs 13th race SATURDAY – From a betting standpoint you just can’t go against the entry today of Wishing Stone and Market Share. May be separate trainers but both are world class trotters and should be able to handle this decent group. Use Sevruga and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace PASS Consolation 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 7th race SUNDAY – Had to include this field even though it’s not a final, it’s still jammed with top fillies. Katie Said gets the nod as she has been razor sharp as of late with three wins in last four starts on the Grand Circuit including a lifetime best 1:49.2 clocking. Use Marathon Day and Tyra in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – Since her big score in the Hambletonian Oaks, Lifetime Pursuit has yet to lose either in the PASS or on the Grand Circuit. She is razor sharp for the Takter Stable and while this race is no cake-walk she should still be able to win off her recent form. Use Designed To Be and Take The Money in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 10th race SUNDAY – What a great line-up for this final as nearly every horse has had a major score this year. McWicked is the horse to beat in here and rightly so off his championship season and he draws the rail to boot. He is most likely using this race as his final prep before heading out to the Little Brown Jug and thus will be all out for the rich purse. Use Somewhere In L A and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 11th race SUNDAY – Despite his Hambletonian nightmare, Father Patrick has been nearly perfect his entire career. Last week he vented against same in Zweig Memorial and held the field at bay with an easy impressive score. He should be able to do the same inhere. Use Nuncio and Datsyuk in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 12th race SUNDAY – After her 20 length qualifying romp last week I have no doubt that Sandbetweenurtoes will leave from the rail in here and not look back and that no one will catch her. Undefeated filly is super and goes for her ninth straight win. Tough field but she has shown this season that she is one of the best in the nation. Use Allstar Rating and Weeper in exotic plays.
The best of the best of this year’s Pennsylvania-sired harness racing two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses, in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest point totals based on finish position in four PA Sire Stakes preliminaries raced at the state’s tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday’s 16-race card. The stellar card also features the $50,000 Modern Family Open Trot, in honor of the late trotter trained by Daryl Bier, and featuring such star-power Wishing Stone; Arch Madness; Market Share; and Sevruga, along with four other heavy-hitters. The $50,000 Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace will host the millionaire pacers Golden Receiver and Mach It So, who hit the finish line in a brilliant Dead Heat two weeks ago; millionaire Bolt The Duer; and Sunfire Blue Chip, headlining another star-studded field. To kick off the Sire Stakes Championship Night, a special “Signings and Sightings” event will be held with Hall of Famer and former NY Giants Linebacker Lawrence Taylor on the Sky Bridge from 4:00pm to 5:30pm. This is a wristband-only event, and fans may obtain their wristband starting at 1:00pm, which will be a limited amount. Authorized photos only will be signed, and they will distributed at the event. The first 200 fans at 5:00pm can get the 50/50 deal; they pay $50, and receive a total of $100 in live racing vouchers. Each $10 free voucher is good on a select Sire Stakes race or the Open Trot or Open Pace. Post Time for the night is 6:30pm. Racing continues at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday through November 22, and the track is dark the week of September 9-13 for the annual Oktoberfest celebration. JENNIFER STARR
WILKES-BARRE PA -The cream of the crop of this year's Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses,in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest pointtotals based on finish position in four PaSS preliminaries raced at the state's tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday's 16-race card at Pocono; here's a look at them in the order they will be conducted: TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:51.1, Economy Terror, 2007) These fillies have been very competitive among themselves, as this is the only of the four divisions that will find no four-time prelim winner looking for a sweep in the Championship. (In fact, there has never been a "sweeper" in the 2PF class since a record of prelim points was started in 2002, a fact which will obviously stay intact in 2014; what's more, the prelim pointleader has not won the 2PF Championship since Lady Annie in 2007.) Aria Hanover (post two, driver Tim Tetrick listed) and Southwind Roulette (post five, Yannick Gingras) figure to be the focal points of attention after showing three wins and a third in their prelims to be tied for the top in this group. Southwind Roulette was third in her first PaSS start, then has taken her last three; among the conquered in her final prelim was ... Aria Hanover, who had won three straight going into that event. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:54.3, Sand Violent Blu, 2011, and Designed To Be, 2013) In contrast to their pacing counterparts, two 2TFs have swept their four prelims and their Championship: Coulantine in 2004, and Fashion Feline in 2009. And the leading pointwinner has won their Championship in each of the last three years (the stake speed setters with Frau Blucher in between). Looking to add herself the "sweeper" ranks is Wild Honey (post seven, Yannick Gingras). In keeping her record unblemished in the prelims last time out, Wild Honey defeated Gatka Hanover (post eight, Ron Pierce), who had also won her three prelims heretofore, by a half-length. Neither filly will particularly benefit from their outside post draw, making this shape up as a very tough affair. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS (stakes record - 1:54.3, Stormin Normand, 2011) In setting this division's speed mark, Stormin Normand also completed the "Sire Stakes sweep," the only 2TC to have accomplished the feat. Attempting to emulate the "Storm" will be Billy Flynn (post four, Brett Miller), 6 for 6 in his young career. But there are three two-time Sire Stakes prelim winners in this field - Honor And Serve, Lima Pride, and Piercewave Hanover - plus Walter White, a horse who came within a head of Billy Flynn two starts back, so no one is conceding the honors to the unbeaten horse going in. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS (stakes record - 1:50.2, One More Laugh, 2009) Like his colt counterpart on the trotting side, Stormin Normand, One More Laugh became his division's only sweeper when he set the stakes mark five years back. (The leading prelim pointleader has won the 2PC in three of the last five years, including Allstar Partner last year.) Probably set to draw the majority of the focus here is Yankee Bounty (post three, Yannick Gingras), who like Billy Flynn is both 6 for 6 lifetime and unbeaten in the Sires prelims. But also like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty had a horse who gave him a scare - Wazikashi Hanover came within a neck of an upset last time -- and again like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty faces three opponents with multiple PaSS prelim wins: McArdles Lightning (who had three) along with Dragon Eddy and Lost For Words (two each). THE UNDERCARD There will be $50,000 consolations for each of the four Sire Stakes divisions' horses who came up just shy in trying to earn themselves a place in the final. It does seem strange to call a contest an "undercard" event when the field of eight has combined earnings of $12,112,270, especially when the first three horses in the post parade have bankrolled $9,956,663 among them. But this is a special field, for a special race - the $50,000 Modern Family Trot, honoring the recently-deceased free-for-aller who was based with the Daryl Bier stable right at Pocono, and who was competitive with this national group the last two years. Those "first three horses," by the way, are Wishing Stone, Market Share, and Arch Madness, and when mixed with Sevruga and four other hard-hitters they should give a fit tribute to their fallen fellow competitor. There will also be a $50,000 Invitational Pace, the Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace (no doubt if this race were held in the western part of the state, it would be called the Adios to the Almost Summer Pace, but that's another story). Millionaires Golden Receiver and Bolt The Duer will draw attention here, along with two sharp four-year-olds on three-race winning streaks: Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So. The first of Saturday's 16 races is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (And of course on Sunday afternoon, the $1,240,000 PA Sire Stakes 3YO Championships Day will be held at Harrah's Philadelphia, likely to feature a few horse you may have heard of -- Father Patrick and Nuncio, McWicked and Smewhere In L A, Shake It Cerry, Sandbetweenurtoes, horses like that. The draw for those races is tomorrow [Wednesday].) From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association
YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 22, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Opens--a handicap for harness racing distaff pacers and a blind draw all socially-acceptable trotters--were won by odds-on numbers Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $3.70) and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears, $3.10). From penultimate post position No. 6, Robin Cruiser was in the game early, yielding to outside assignee Summertime Lea (George Brennan). just after a 27-second opening quarter-mile. Social Scene (Sears) was away third. After a 55-second half and before a 1:23.3 three-quarters, "Lea" was getting only mile pressure from a first-up Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett). The lead was length-and-a-quarter into the lane. However, she tired mid-stretch, passed on the inside by Robin Cruiser and on the outside by a fast-closing Crazy on You (Brent Holland). The former beat the latter by a neck in 1:52.3, with Summertime Lea, the filly Fanticipation (Larry Stalbaum) and Krispy Apple rounding out the payees. For Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stables and trained by Julie Miller, it was her sixth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $74.50, with the triple returning $345.50. ...and then there was the week's featured trot, where the name above the marquee was one Bee A Magician. The reigning Harness Horse of the Year, in her first Westchester work night-and just third career half-mile excursion-took to the four turns like a veteran. Winning the draw, she allowed the 2013 Yonkers Trot champ Dewycolorintheline (Stratton) to throw the first salvo. Bee A Magician then secured the lead after a :28.1 first station. From there, a waltz--around :59.3 middle half (:58.4 intermission, 1:27.4) gave the lass three lengths in and out of the final turn. Millionaire four times over Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) was the first to move, trotting in place from fourth before Somebody As (Dan Dube) tried his luck advancing modestly from third. A :27.1 chaser closed the sale by 3Â¾ lengths in 1:55...a new track record for her division. Somebody As won the scrum for second, with "Dewy," Tober (Bartlett) and Arch Madness rounding out the payees For Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman, she's now 2-for-8 this season (career 29-for-38 with earnings a shade under $2.5 million) "She handled the track perfectly, and I'm hoping she returns," Sears said of the first HOY to race here after winning the award since Gallo Blue Chip (won HOY in 2000, raced here twice in '03). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
I had to wait until the very last race of Saturday night, the Gold Cup & Saucer, to give me my fourth straight winning weekend. The Bigtown Hero/Wazzup Wazzup exacta box saved it in what was a super dramatic race. There is not one race for more than $100,000 this weekend, but it isn’t always the purse that counts as there are some great races in store for fans at Mohawk with their eliminations for the Metro, Canadian Pacing Classic and She’s A Great Lady plus solid action Friday at Yonkers and Sunday at Harrah’s and Tioga. Good Luck! $44,000 Trot Open Yonkers Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – What a great race with world champion’s Bee A Magician and Arch Madness in the lineup. She may be the only mare in the field and shows just one win in seven starts this year, but Bee A Magician should be able to surprise this field having drawn the rail. This is just her third time ever on a half mile track but I see her wiring the field. Use Arch Madness and Somebody AS in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – He shows nothing but 1’s on his race program lines and Sweet Lou is no question the top pacer in the world this year. He is going for his ninth straight win and sixth straight mile in under 1:48. He is simply amazing for the Ron Burke Stable. Use Foiled Again and Sunshine Beach in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – As the lone return winners in this preliminary round, I think Shakai Hanover is also the one who can repeat. She has won two of her last three starts for Jamieson Stable and should be at her best again. Use Bedroomconfessions and Aria Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – After showing everyone he has the gate speed to overcome post eight and get a perfect trip to win off of last week, Sports Bettor should be able to do it again from post seven this week. He gets slim call in very wide open race. Use Go Daddy Go and Lone Survivor in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – When it is your home track it means a lot and that is why I am going with State Treasurer. He has seven wins this year and nearly everyone was either at Mohawk or Woodbine. He never got into the hunt last start in Dan Patch at Hoosier Park and should come back with a vengeance in here. Use Captaintreacherous and Ellis Park in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – When you are as well-bred as JK Shesalady is and are on a four-race unbeaten streak to start off your career, you can’t go against such success. As long as she does not get into any road trouble she should win once again. Use Cashaway and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – Here is another undefeated young filly who has a passion for racing on the front end and not getting caught from behind. Band Of Angels could be tested well in here but I think she will still emerge as the winner. Use Happy Becky and Dancin Caroll in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Not much to speak of in here EXCEPT for Artspeak. Unbeaten in four career starts this colt has been ranked with Yankee Bounty as the two best colts in the nation and rightly so. He has been hot racing on the front end but shows he can come from behind too. Use Pierce Hanover and Traceur Hanover in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace winners-over $25,000 Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – I really tried to pick against P H Supercam in here. I don’t think he will like being away from Yonkers (as he showed last week) and racing in the daylight too. Just have a feeling but then I could not really put my hand on anyone else in the field that could beat. Thus with the rail for the first time in months I guess P H Supercam is the best. Use Great Vintage and Adventure Bound in exotic plays. $10,000 Trot Kindergarten Series Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – What a great match up between Mission Brief and Allerage Star, two of the top young trotting fillies in racing. But I think that Mission Brief has too much front end speed to anyone to keep close enough to her the entire mile and she should win in here. Use Allerage Star and Josie’s Joy in exotic plays.
YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - When more than $6.8 million of career class and cash hit town, notice is summarily taken. Such is the case Friday night, with Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Trot enhanced by the presence of Bee A Magician and Arch Madness. Bee A Magician, the reigning Harness Horse of the Year, won the draw as she makes her local debut and just her third career half-mile track start (two at Flamboro in 2012). The 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra, driven by Brian Sears, is trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. After a 17-for-17, $1.5 million season a year ago, Bee A Magician has a win and five seconds in seven tries this season ($154,704). The career bankroll is in excess of $2.4 million. Despite her lack of small-track experience, "I have no reason to think she won't handle it," Norman said. "I'm probably gonna tighten up some of her equipment a bit, but that's about it. "It should be a good test for her. She needed a race (out 20 days since her last start), we're planning to race her on the half at Delaware (Ohio) next month, and perhaps we can come back for the (details to be announced) Invitational Trot here (late October)." "She trots the turns well, so I don't see a problem," Sears said. "We can play at by ear and see the race unfolds." According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, Bee A Magician is the first Horse of the Year to race here after winning the award since Gallo Blue Chip (HOY in 2000, raced here twice in '03). With a mere $4.2 million in lifetime loot, Arch Madness makes just his second Westchester visit (an eight-hole break in a 2009 Open Handicap Trot). He drew post position No. 3 for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The 10-year-old Balanced Image gelding, who could also be a Invitational candidate, is Long Island co-owned by Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. With 35 wins in 117 career starts, there's not much room left on this resume. The remainder of Friday night's overstuffed co-feature (8h race, approx. post time 9:30 PM) includes...2-Sombody As (Dan Dube), 4-Tober (Jason Bartlett), 5-Theraputic (George Brennan) 6-Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton), 7-Coraggioso (Eric Carlson) and 8-Obrigado (Brent Holland). "Dewy" won the 2013 Yonkers Trot, while Coraggioso was the 2012 New York Sire Stakes (3-year-old colt/gelding) champ. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
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