Saturday morning at The Meadowlands felt like spring with sunny skies, mild temperatures and many trainers bringing their stakes hopefuls in for some speed work on the big track. Tony Alagna, Jimmy Takter and Linda Toscano were among those present and Linda had her stable star Market Share on the track for a successful workout minus the trotting hopples in anticipation of a trip to Sweden for the Elitlopp. Many three-year-old trotters were on the menu early but the star of the show was the aging icon Arch Madness. He settled third through the early going for Trond Smedshammer while Corky and Archangel took turns on the front before mowing them down and winning by several lengths in 1:53.3 with an individual sub 28 final quarter into a considerable breeze. The buzz among the observers was that he looks as good or better than he has in the past few seasons. 2013 Breeders Crown freshman filly pace winner Uffizi Hanover made her first appearance with an effortless 1:54.4 tune up out of the pocket for Dave Miller. She comes from the Jimmy Takter barn, as did the winner of the next race, the lightly raced Gettingreadytoroll. That one was well within herself in 1:53.3 with Yannick Gingras along for the ride. Late to the races as a two-year-old, Gettingreadytoroll has but a single money start winning in 1:54.2 at Pocono and two good qualifying efforts at The Meadowlands at the end of last year before being put away. All Bets Off looked sharp in his second go around for the Burke stable. The Matron winner was held just off the pace by Gingras and wore down the stubborn mile cutter Parnu Hanover in 1:52.4 / 28-. Believeinthespirit actually split those two for the place in a solid effort and That's My Opinion was a willing fourth. Burke's Governor's Cup winner JK Endofanera looked sharp winning his qualifier in 1:52.4 with a 28 flat close for Brian Sears over a game Ideal Cowboy and Somewhere Fancy in another key prep for this group. The final race of the day saw the highly regarded Odds On Equuleus return to the wars after a disappointing sophomore campaign. Tim Tetrick sent him along quickly from the start but couldn't shake See And Ski or OK Commander. Those three finished across the track in 1:52-. Live racing resumes at 7:15 tonight with a carryover in excess of $30,000 on the Pick Five beginning in race one. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands
Ray Hall aims to complete a sweep in the five-week Bobby Weiss Series for 3- and 4-year-old male trotters when he faces eight rivals in Tuesday's $30,000 final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. A 4-year-old gelding, Ray Hall has won six of 11 races this year, with four of the victories coming in the Weiss. He starts the final from post four with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for trainer/co-owner Mark Harder. Tuesday's card also features the $30,000 Weiss Series final for 3- and 4-year-old female pacers. "He's just a nice little horse, doing everything right," said Harder, who began training Ray Hall in December and got a share in ownership earlier this month. "He's just hit a nice little groove. He came to me with a couple series in mind out here and it's just worked out. He got happy and a nice little schedule and he's racing good." Ray Hall, who also is owned by Ohio's Bruce and Patricia Soulsby, has won 12 of 28 lifetime starts and earned $91,144. He is a son of stallion Justice Hall out of the mare Comebyrail and his family includes standout female trotter Elaine Rodney, who won the 1960 Kentucky Futurity and later found success abroad. Last weekend, Ray Hall won his Weiss division by a neck over Time To Quit in a career-best 1:53.3. Time To Quit won the Super Bowl Series final in January, with Ray Hall finishing fourth. Ray Hall also finished fourth in the Charles Singer Memorial final in March, which was won by Perfect Alliance. "He raced good against some better horses, Perfect Alliance and a couple of those other ones," Harder said. "I think he's definitely improved since then with racing. He's got a lot of nervous energy, he's a little bit hot, and just with racing he's settled down and become more manageable, more drivable. That's made him a better horse." Sixteen Mikes, who won his first three divisions in the Weiss but was third behind Ray Hall and Time To Quit last weekend, starts the final from post five for driver Mike Simons and trainer Gail Wrubel. Time To Quit, who has one win in the series, leaves from post six with driver Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke. Ray Hall is not staked to any major races, but Harder hopes the trotter can still keep adding to his bankroll. "He's got nothing really, just overnights," Harder said. "We'll probably hang around Yonkers, wherever we can race him. He's not a top, top horse, but he's a nice little horse that can make money knocking around some conditions. A trotter that can trot a small track and tries and stays at it, they can make a lot of money." HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK: THE RETURN OF ARCH MADNESS Renowned pacer Foiled Again is a perfect 10 this season - as in an undefeated 10-year-old - and now trotting star Arch Madness is getting ready to try to join him. The 10-year-old Arch Madness won a qualifier last weekend at the Meadowlands in 1:54.3 and will return to the Big M on Saturday for another prep for the upcoming campaign. Last year, Arch Madness won three of 18 races and earned $425,427 for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer and owners Willow Pond LLC and Marc Goldberg, who also were among the trotter's breeders. He won the Allerage Farms Open Trot at The Red Mile in Lexington, finished second overseas in Sweden's prestigious Elitlopp, and was third in the Breeders Crown. Arch Madness has won 34 of 107 starts and became the ninth trotter in history to surpass $4 million in career earnings when he won the Allerage. A week earlier, he won the Allerage elimination race with a 1:50.2 mile, a time that equaled his own world record for the fastest ever by a male trotter older than age 4. "He's going to qualify again, but I was happy with the first qualifier," Smedshammer said. "We'll go again on Saturday and then we'll start racing. He's a year older, but it doesn't seem like he's changed at all." Arch Madness' first stakes race is slated to be the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial at the Meadowlands. Eliminations are scheduled for May 10 and the $180,000 estimated final is May 17. Another trip to the Elitlopp, where Arch Madness has twice been the runner-up, is not in the works. "He's going to need a start before the Cutler, a couple starts maybe, somewhere around here," Smedshammer said. "We have no plans at all (to go to Sweden). But he seems fine." * * * Two other trotting standouts are expected to head to qualifiers in the near future. Market Share, who was voted the sport's top 3-year-old male trotter in 2012 and the best older male trotter in 2013, is anticipated to qualify on April 26 and 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician is targeted for the first weekend in May. Bee A Magician was unbeaten in 17 races last season at age 3 and earned a divisional record $1.54 million. She became the first 3-year-old filly trotter to receive the Horse of the Year Award since Continentalvictory in 1996. Trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and driven by Brian Sears for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, Bee A Magician's wins included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage Stakes, and Delvin Miller Memorial. Her $1.54 million in purses were the most ever for a 3-year-old filly trotter, breaking the record of $1.17 million set by Continentalvictory in 1996, and her winning time of 1:51 in the Miller Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old filly trotter. "She's in good shape," Norman said. "I'm very happy with her." Bee A Magician is expected to qualify twice and then head to Canada for the first round of the Miss Versatility Series in Ontario on May 19. * * * As mentioned earlier, Foiled Again remains unbeaten this year. Last week, he improved to 4-for-4 this season by winning for the fourth time in the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. The 10-year-old pacer, who has won 80 of 202 career races, had never before started a season with four consecutive wins. Since last fall, Foiled Again has been the richest horse in North American harness racing history, and his $100,000 in purses in 2014 have pushed his career earnings to $6.13 million for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables. Foiled Again leads the Levy series standings, but he will be back in action Saturday night for the last of the five preliminary rounds. He drew post seven in a seven-horse field and is the 3-5 morning line favorite for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Ron Burke. "He's just really getting his legs," Gingras told Yonkers Publicity Director Frank Drucker after his 1:51 win last weekend. "Give the other horses credit, but they're going to have to do better to beat Foiled Again." On Wednesday, co-owner Mark Weaver added, "He's the exception. He really hasn't been pushed that hard yet." Burke's stable has five of the top six horses in the Levy standings and all will be racing Saturday. Mach It So, from the barn of trainer P.J. Fraley, is second in the standings followed by Burke's Bettor's Edge, Itrustyou, Clear Vision, and Easy Again. Hillbilly Hanover, who is No. 11 in the standings, Special Forces (12) and Aracache Hanover (14) also will be competing for Burke in Saturday's three Levy divisions. The conditions for the eight-horse $567,000 final and eight-horse $100,000 consolation, both on April 26, limit Burke to two starters in each. For the full Levy standings, click here. * * * The last preliminary round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for older female pacers is Friday at Yonkers. Series leader Yagonnakissmeornot, who has three wins and a second in the event, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first of two divisions. She will be driven by Daniel Dube for trainer Rene Allard. Somwherovrarainbow is the 8-5 choice in the second division for driver Brian Sears and trainer Joe Holloway. She skipped the third round of the series, but has two wins and a second in her Matchmaker starts. She is No. 5 in the standings, behind Angels Delight, Summertime Lea, and Rocklamation. Anndrovette, the three-time pick for harness racing's best older female pacer, is sixth in the standings, with Shelliscape and defending Matchmaker champion Feeling You rounding out the top eight. For the complete series standings, click here. The $371,400 Matchmaker final is April 26, along with the $75,000 Matchmaker consolation. * * * David Miller, who will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in July, needs 23 wins to reach 11,000 victories for his career. Miller ranks No. 8 in wins among all drivers in North American history and was the sport's Driver of the Year in 2003. He has won at least $10 million in purses in a season a record 12 times and his $178 million in lifetime purses trail only Hall of Famers John Campbell, Ron Pierce and Mike Lachance. Miller, a 49-year-old native of Ohio, has finished among the top seven drivers in seasonal purses each of the last 15 years. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
It is common practice in France, but standing a stallion at stud while pursuing an active racing career is a rarity in the United States. So when Deo Volente Farms in Flemington, New Jersey decided to stand their $2.2 million trotting star Wishing Stone at stud while also continuing his track career, it sent a buzz of excitement through the industry. Keeping stars racing is a proven formula for maintaining the public interest in Europe, and of course Wishing Stone himself has already proven himself highly competitive on both sides of the ditch, even more so considering his European sojourn was conducted when he was just four and five-years-old, a mere baby in European terms. And the news that he will also be available to European breeders has been warmly received – he has been oversubscribed already in Europe for services for the upcoming season – aware as they are that many of the top sires in Europe have competed successfully as an aged horse there – with Scarlet Knight and SJ’s Photo prime examples. “Wishing Stone brings to breeders, durability and longevity. An exceptional colt and aged performer, it is likely his offspring will inherit those qualities,” says Sue Agopian, managing partner at Deo Volente Farms. Wishing Stone certainly ticks all the boxes as a potential stallion, a world record holder with major wins in four countries, the United States, France, Sweden and Denmark – he also competed in some of the very best races in Europe –where only the elite are invited. In France they pay down to seventh, and a placing in a group one event is the equivalent of a black type credential, with many going on to successful stud careers simply with the words classique or semi-classique on their CV. It showed they were good enough to race against the very best. Take Wishing Stone’s seventh placing in the 2011 Prix de France, one of the French Triple Crowns, the absolute jewels in the sparkling European circuit where the royally-bred French, Swedish and Italian elite race The winner of the Prix de France in 2011 was none other than Ready Cash, the greatest horse of a great generation in France. A dual Prix d’Amerique winner and winner of last year’s Masters du Trot grand final, he retired last month as the richest trotter in history with earnings of 4,282,300 euros (US $5,953,675). . Second was Maharajah, the greatest horse that Sweden has produced in decades and the winner of this year’s Prix d’Amerique, while third was Lana Del Rio, a multiple Group One winning Italian millionaire mare, who beat the boys in Italy’s richest race, the Italian Derby. Fifth was Olga du Bewitz who retired as the twelfth richest horse of all time in France, and the best of her generation with wins in the world championship of saddle racing, the Prix du Cornulier and under harness a win in the Prix de Bretagne and a third placing in the Prix d’Amerique. These races mean little to American breeders, but mean plenty to those in Europe and again Wishing Stone appeared in this blue ribbon event as a 4YO, which is incredibly young in European terms. Wishing Stone not only competed against the best trotters in the world on their own turf, he won several of their biggest races. When he came from an almost impossible position, with a withering sprint to win the Copenhagen Cup, he ran down Quarcio du Chene, a Group One winner (Finlandia-Ajo) and one of Sweden’s best aged performers, with Group Two victories in France, Norway and Sweden. In the process he also beat the German sensation Brioni , the winner of the Elitloppet and Olympiatravet – the two biggest open Group One races in Sweden, and French star, and popular stallion Oynonnax (who won the Prix d’Amerique) and also another brilliant French horse Rapide Lebel, the greatest gelding of the R generation who was second in the Elitloppet by a whisker and earned 2.5 million euros. When Wishing Stone won the Group One King Gustav Pokal, he beat Kadet C.D and Raja Mirchi, two of the brightest young stars in Sweden and when he won the Grand Prix de Sud-Ouest in France, he beat Premiere Steed a multiple Group One winner, who won the prestigious French Prix Rene Balliere and Finland’s prestigious St Michel Ajo. In the USA he is a world record holder at 6 in 1:51.2f beating Uncle Peter, Arch Madness and Market Share. As a 5YO he was winner of the Maxie Lee in 2013 (again over Uncle Peter) and before he left for his two-year-stint in Europe he was a top colt, winning the 2010 Kentucky Futurity in straight heats with a final time of 1:51.2. The same year he won the Matron, the American National and was third in the Hambletonian. Wishing Stone was also a winner as a 2YO with victories in the International Stallion Stake, the Bluegrass Stakes, and the NYSS at Monticello. He has a super pedigree, especially for Europe, being the best son of Conway Hall, who is the brother of four successful stallions in Europe and closely related to several more. Wishing Stone is out of the super broodmare Meadowbranch Magic, a $330,000 yearling and the granddaughter of $1.1 Million winning Davidia Hanover. Wishing Stone’s full brother, Make It Happen, nearly a $1 million winner, has become a sought after stallion in Europe after producing two near Swedish millionaires from his first crop including TravKrterium (Sweden’s top 3YO race) second place finisher Final Oak. Wishing Stone is also a sibling of three other $100,000 winners, which is always a great guide to prepotency. His durability says volumes for his physique and conformation and he is blessed with a perfect gait, which is a necessity for competition in France, where rough gaits lead to disqualifications. He has a wide-striding front action which will remind Swedes of the likes of Maharajah, the winner of this year’s Prix d’Amerique. With services to stallions in Europe heavily regulated, his popularity already is such that he is over-subscribed for his first season, for which he is in Maryland at SBS for frozen semen collection serving the non-US market. He is to be distributed through Offspring Management in Sweden, Allevamenti Toniatti sas in Italy, ENS Snapshot in Denmark and Stallions Australasia for Australia and New Zealand. “We plan to bring him home to New Jersey at Deo Volente Farms this week to serve the US breeding market,” says Sue Agopian. “We will be breeding the mare Yalta Hanover dam of horse of the month Perfect Alliance to Wishing Stone this year. “He will continue breeding and start jogging and training at the training facility few miles from our farm and will be racing come summer. Breeding is part of his daily life, when we need to serve the US breeders we will bring him to the farm for collection.” Wishing Stone will be breeding until June and his immediate racing programme is likely to be focused on the the U.S looking towards the Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown. However, the Copenhagen Cup & TVG trot are also on the future agenda. “Our strategy is for him to have a global career. With Ron [Burke] as his trainer we have all the confidence that he will have a well rounded global career,” says Sue Agopian. There are no plans for how long Wishing Stone can continue combining a race career and breeding, it is common in Europe for racing stallions to continue until nine and ten if their form holds up, Ready Cash a great example, retiring recently at nine, just as his first progeny were cleaning up group races in France. “He will tell us how long to continue breeding and racing him. He had an exceptional season at age 6 setting world records in the process.. As long as he is able to compete at that lofty level, we will breed and race. He has a phenomenal legacy and we want to make sure it remains that way!” By David Sanders, for Harnesslink.com
Pompano Beach, FL – Bruce Ranger, Pompano Park’s all time winningest harness racing driver had little trouble defeating John MacDonald in the opening round of the $20,000 Driver's Invitational Challenge Monday. The series, similar to that of March Madness in basketball, pits two drivers every Sunday and Monday against each other in four select races. The drivers get to choose the horses they drive alternately in the four competition races. On Sunday night, Rick Plano defeated David Ingraham and now Plano and Ranger will go head and head on Sunday, March 2. Ranger started off with second place finish to MacDonald’s fourth place in the third race. The second division (4th race) saw Ranger finish off the board while MacDonald was fourth again. But then in the seventh race third division Ranger began to pull away with a decisive five and one-quarter length triumph with Credit Balance as MacDonald tried to keep it close finishing second. But in the ninth race final division, Ranger sealed the victory with a second place finish as MacDonald finished off the board. Final tally was Ranger 24 points and MacDonald 13 points. The next match-ups take place this Sunday with Joe Pavia, Jr. taking on Simon Allard and next Monday Ricky Macomber, Jr. takes on Kevin Wallis. The $20,000 Driver's Invitational 'March Madness' style tournament continues on Sunday and Monday nights until mid-March. The overall winner of the competition will receive $8,000 and each drive will earn some bucks depending where they finish overall. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Pompano Beach, FL – The Isle Pompano Park starts a unique driver’s competition tonight called the “$20,000 Championship Driver’s Challenge.” Over the course of the next month the “Challenge” pits two drivers against each other in four select races on the evening program. Sunday’s opening round features David Ingraham going against Rick Plano. They are competing in races 4 through 7. Pointed are awarded based on where they each finish in the race. 10 points for a win; 7 for second place; 5 for third; 3 for fourth and 1 point for fifth. No points are awarded if they finish sixth or further back. Driver pairings include Ingraham vs Plano (tonight) and tomorrow (Monday) night it is Bruce Ranger against John MacDonald. The series continues until the final two drivers go head and head on Saturday, March 15. The competing drivers are allowed to select any horse of their choosing in the assigned races each night, alternating who gets to choose first in each assigned race. The overall winner of the competition receives $8,000 with second place winning $4,000, third place $2,000, fourth through sixth place $1,000 and seventh through twelfth place each getting $500. There will be interviews with the competing drivers before and after each night’s competition. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
It was one of the biggest upsets in the past decade, when Arch Madness defeated Donato Hanover in the Breeders Crown Elimination for three year olds at The Meadowlands on November 17, 2007. That win by Arch Madness established a track record for three year old gelded trotters at The Meadowlands, a record that stood for six years and 26 days until Sweet Justice took to the track Friday night at the East Rutherford oval. Sweet Justice's career began far from the spotlight of The Meadowlands, racing for Steve Carter on the Indiana Fair circuit. His first win came in his second lifetime start, but wasn't close to any records, winning in 2:13. In short time, Sweet Justice made it to the pari-mutuel races. The highlight of his two year old season was a second place finish in the $200,000 Indiana Sire Stakes Gold Final at Indiana Downs. Sweet Justice made his three year old debut on May 8th of this year at Hoosier Park and battled his way through the Indiana Sire Stakes program, picking up minor awards, including a fifth place finish in the Sire Stakes Gold Final at Hoosier. Prior to being entered in the Harrisburg Mixed Sale, Sweet Justice scored a pair of victories, including a 1:54.1 lifetime best effort in a three year old Open at Hoosier. Despite entering the sale with over $180,000 in earnings, when the gavel fell the sales price read just $25,000. The buyer was Bruce Saunders for M&M Harness Racing. Since Sweet Justice walked into the sales ring at Harrisburg, everything has gone right. He made his Meadowlands debut in qualifier, flashing strong late kick, coming home to a third place effort with a 27-second final quarter. He won his first pari-mutuel start at The Meadowlands by a neck in 1:54 before moving up the class ladder to win a B2/B1 Handicap by open lengths in 1:53.4. That brings us to Friday night , where Sweet Justice moved up to face older horses. Not only did he show grit and determination, refusing to relinquish his lead in the stretch, but he tripped the teletimer in 1:52 flat, lowering the previous record for a three year old gelding, held by Arch Madness by two-fifths of a second. From here on, the challenges for Sweet Justice will only get tougher, but every time he races, his future looks brighter. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands
This Week: W.N. Reynolds Memorial 3-year-old paces, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature a pair of W.N. Reynolds Memorial stakes for 3-year-old pacers on the Saturday night (Dec. 7) card with the $58,000 (est.) contest for colts and the $50,000 (est.) race for fillies. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack featured a big stakes card last Saturday night (Nov. 30) led by the TVG FFA finals for pacers and trotters. Foiled Again, who will be 10 years old in less than a month, won the $512,000 TVG FFA pacing final by a head in 1:49.2 against a field with $17.7 million in collective earnings. The win pushed Foiled Again's lifetime earnings to $6,030,968. Golden Receiver and Corey Callahan were first off the gate, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :26 with Bolt The Duer on his back. Foiled Again was right up and at him at the three-eighths to take the lead away and took the field to the :53.1 half. Pet Rock made a bid for the lead past the half but could not get by Foiled Again through the 1:22 three-quarters. Throughout the deep stretch, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) faced relentless pressure from the 8-year-old Golden Receiver, second oldest horse in the race, who came up the rail, but Foiled Again maintained his march to the finish line for the win. Foiled Again, who paid $7.80 to win, is trained by Ron Burke for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. Market Share (Tim Tetrick) trotted hard and fast every step of the mile, bursting off the gate to get the lead and never relinquishing it to win the $500,000 TVG FFA Trot in 1:51 by three-quarters of a length. The win pushed his lifetime earnings to $3,115,011. Market Share and Tetrick came off the gate from the outside post seven to press for the front and made it there in :26.2 at the quarter and held that lead with Uncle Peter (David Miller) on his back to the :55 half. Arch Madness came off the rail from fourth after the half to make a bid on the outside for the lead, still held by Market Share at the 1:23.1 three-quarters. Market Share pulled off two lengths from the field at the head of stretch, but Uncle Peter charged hard in the final strides to be second with a fast closing Guccio (Jimmy Takter) out and moving three wide at the head of the stretch, but he could not pass the leaders and was third. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, is trained by Linda Toscano and owned by Tom and Louis Pontone, Bill Augustine and Richard Gutnick. He is a 4-year-old son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt. Bee A Magician made it a perfect 17 for 17 with her one length victory in 1:53.3 in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stake for 3-year-old trotting fillies at the Meadowlands. The win put her over the $2.3 million mark in career earnings. Time To Kill (John Campbell) made it to the lead first at the :27.2 quarter mile-mark while Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) overtook her briefly just past that marker, but Brian Sears had Bee A Magician just behind her on the outside. Those two made an unpressured move to take the lead just before the :55.3 half. Sears put 2-1/2 lengths between him and the field and trotted on to the 1:25 three-quarters with Ma Chere Hall at his back. As the field trotted down the stretch, Ma Chere Hall made a bid to get past Bee A Magician, got just to her wheel at the wire, but could go no further, as Bee A Magician cruised home to win No. 17 for 2013. Bee A Magician is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman for owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. Grand Circuit action also took place this past Sunday at Dover Downs. Sunshine Beach brushed to the lead heading to the half-mile marker and was never seriously challenged from there as he went on to capture the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers in 1:50.3. Owned by Hudson Standardbred Stable, Conrad Leber and Diane Bertrand, Sunshine Beach is trained by Mark Steacy and was driven to victory by John Campbell. The win was the eighth in 20 season's starts for the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Light Up, while his 2013 earnings climbed to $909,283. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,857; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,625; 3. David Miller - 1,228; 4. Brian Sears - 781.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 719.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,798.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,211.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 515.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 507.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 405.7; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 376.25; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 244. Looking ahead: The final Grand Circuit action of 2013 will take place next weekend at Northfield Park when the northeast Ohio oval hosts the Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old pacing colts. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick took command early and gave no quarter in winning the $500,000 final of the TVG Series for older trotters Saturday at the Meadowlands. "I wanted to take things into my own hands." Said driver Tim Tetrick about the start of the race. Leaving from post seven, Market Share out trotted Uncle Peter (David Miller) to the early lead and then cut fractions of :26.2 to the first quarter and :55 to the half. It was then that driver/trainer Trond Smedshammer came first-over with Arch Madness and started working their way towards the race leaders with Guccio (Jimmy Takter) following the outside cover. But by the three-quarter mile marker in 1:23.1, Arch Madness could not collar Market Share who started to draw away starting down the stretch. Uncle Peter and Guccio were both able to give chase but Market Share was too strong, winning by one length in 1:51. Uncle Peter was second with Guccio third. "I don't do it very often with him (leave with Market Share)," Tetrick said. "but when I do he always pays me back and we got paid today. It's been tough this year. I give Linda (trainer Linda Toscano) all the credit. He's had some rough spots this year but they always bring him back. He's a good horse and he overcomes." A four-year-old stallion by Revenue who was the 2012 Three-Year-Old Trotter of the Year, Market Share concludes his 2013 season with six wins for trainer Linda Toscano and owners Richard Gutnick, T L P Stable and Bill Augustine. The $250,000 winner's share of the purse put Market Share over the $1 million mark this year with $1,077,356 in earnings and lifetime at an impressive $3,015,011. Market Share paid $4.60 to win. "Mr. Gutnick and I sat down yesterday," trainer Linda Toscano said. "We talked about racing him next year. We decided that if he won tonight we would bring him back and race him again next year. He was really good tonight but he needs a rest now. I need a rest now too." "To use Linda's words, it's been surreal," Richard Gutnick said about the 2013 season with Market Share. "I can't believe this is really happening. I hope it keeps continuing. Right now we are leaning towards racing next year. We have been invited to compete in the Elitlopp (Sweden) next year. And we want Timmy (Tetrick) to have a shot at racing in the Elitlopp. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
I went four for eight last week, some of my favorite horses got beat, which is bound to happen every now and then. I actually won $.90 (based on $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$36.30 going into this weekend and we will try once again to bring that number down more. We start off the weekend at the Meadowlands Saturday will a great final stakes program of the season headed by seven major events including the TVG Series Finals and then on Sunday it's the Progress Pace final at Dover Downs. It promises to be a great weekend of racing action! $456,150 Final GoldSmith Maid 2YO Filly Trot 2nd race Saturday, Meadowlands - This race could well wrap-up year-end honors in this division as Shake It Cerry has been super throughout the season for the Jimmy Takter Stable. She should be 1/9 and rightfully so having won her last four-starts and is 7 for 10 on the year with earnings of nearly $600,000. She is a trotting machine and has beaten everyone in this field from on and off the pace. $167,500 Nadia Lobell 3YO Filly Pace 3rd race Saturday, Meadowlands - With I Luv The Nitelife out for the season with a fractured knee this race becomes a two-horse match-up with Shebestingin taking on Charisma Hanover. Both are superb fillies in their own right. Charisma Hanover come in on a five-race win streak with 13 wins this year. But I am going with Shebestingin. She has 11 wins this year, won in Lexington at a mile in world record time of 1:47 and if need be can grind it out on the outside. Will be a classic match-up! $494,750 Valley Victory Final 2YO Colt Trot 4th race Saturday, Meadowlands - With Father Patrick turned out for the season this race should belong to Nuncio. This colt has great speed, first or second in all of his nine starts this year and does not like to be passed. Look for him to get to the front and never look back and has trotting master John Campbell in the sulky too! $500,000 TVG Series Final Open Trot 6th race Saturday, Meadowlands - You can just about make a case for any of the seven horses in this field being able to win. Wishing Stone returned to his winning ways last week in the snow, Mister Herbie was super impressive in his qualifying race, Market Share is total class but I am once again going with Arch Madness. Classy "old man" in the field still has plenty of trot, has beaten this competition before and as long as Trond gets him geared up on the outside by the three-quarters he can grind it out for an upset score. $534,500 Governor's Cup Final 2YO Colt Pace 8th race Saturday, Meadowlands - This will be a very competitive race and I am looking at somewhat of a newcomer grabbing the winner's share of the purse. JK Endofanera showed a :25.4 final quarter mile in a nose lost in a Meadowlands qualifying race, his second nose defeat. Prior to that he shows winning in 1:51.4, has gate speed to insure good position to strike from and has yet to finish worse than second in six lifetime starts. $394,950 Three Diamonds Final 2YO Filly Pace 9th race Saturday, Meadowlands - I think this is a two-horse race between JK Molly and Ali Blue. JK Molly prepped for this final with two sharp qualifying races at the Meadowlands and figures to try and lead all the way in here. But I am going with Ali Blue. She needs mainly to watch her manners and stay on stride but when she is right, which she has been in her last two starts she has the speed to beat JK Molly. $512,000 TVG Free For All Final Open Pace 10th race Saturday, Meadowlands - This is the race many of us have been hoping for all season long. Captaintreacherous, king of the three-year-olds, taking on Foiled Again, Pet Rock and some of the best older pacers in the sport. A lot is riding on this race as Pet Rock and Foiled Again can claim Older Pacer of the Year honors by winning. Foiled Again can even look at possible Pacer of the Year honors with a victory, but both of these game performers have to do one thing first, beat Captaintreacherous. Even with drawing the outside post eight, I think Captaintreacherous has been pointed and primed for this race and that he can beat his older rivals. I don't think he will ever see the lead until mid to late stretch, but if he gets any live cover he will be in position to grind a victory. And when he wins he can claim not only Pacer of the Year honors for the second straight year but also have a shot at Horse of the Year honors. $253,000 Moni Maker 3YO Filly Trot 11th race Saturday, Meadowlands - What can you say about perfection? Bee A Magician looks to close out her superb three-year-old season unbeaten as she goes for her 17th straight win. She has beaten everyone she has faced and done so impressively all season long. Another strong showing in her final race of the year should all but nail down Horse of the Year honors for her...unless the "Captain" can win his race, in which it will be a nail-biter decision that won't be announced until February 23. Either way Bee A Magician has giving us her best week in week out all season long and I can't wait for her to return next year. $284,160 Progress Pace Final 3YO Colts 10th race Sunday, Dover Downs - With Vegas Vacation turned out for the year, the elimination race last week was Sunshine Beach's to win or lose and he lost! Twilight Bonfire turned the tables on Sunshine Beach with an upset win at odds of 20-1. I don't see that happening again today. Sunshine Beach may have it rough at first, having to start from the outside in post eight, but I think that John Campbell will be on the lookout and will rate his colt the best he can and still have something left for the final quarter mile.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sometimes long range plans do pan out. Myron Bell starting thinking in March and April about the inaugural $512,000 TVG Free-For-All Pacing Final on Saturday night at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment for the sensational 3-year-old colt Captaintreacherous. "There were four races we wanted to participate in this year: the North American Cup, The Meadowlands Pace, the Breeders Crown and the TVG Final," said Bell, manager of Captaintreacherous Racing. The Captain sailed through the first three missions with victories. Now comes the biggest challenge, in what could be the race of the year. By virtue of the Breeders Crown win, Captaintreacherous was invited to TVG Final where he faces a stellar lineup of nine older pacers, including Foiled Again and Pet Rock. The leading 3-year-olds in harness racing rarely step out of their division to tackle the older horses. In a very sporting gesture, Captaintreacherous team of Bell, trainer Tony Alagna and driver Tim Tetrick have embraced the challenge. "It's an honor and privilege to race a colt against the aged horses," Bell said. "Let the chips fall where they may." And the Captain will have to overcome an outside post, No. 8. "Naturally, we would like to draw better," Bell said. "That's the card dealt us. We'll make the best of it. It's now Timmy Tetrick's job. He's pretty high on the horse, as we all are. I'm sure he'll give a good account. We have a lot of confidence in our animal." The TVG Series is part of Meadowlands chairman Jeff Gural's goal of enhancing opportunities for older horses. The series, split into pacing and trotting divisions, offered preliminary legs and major stakes bound together by a season-long point system. The top qualifiers advanced to the $500,000 guaranteed finals for both gaits. In what turned out to be a brilliant stroke, the series awarded invitations to the winners of the 3-year-old Breeders Crowns. That provision set the stage for this dramatic showdown. While Captaintreacherous is the baby in the field, the indomitable Foiled Again is the graybeard at 9. Harness racing's all-time money earner at $5.7 million looks as good as ever. "He couldn't be better," trainer Ron Burke said. "He's in career form. It's an awesome opportunity for him. It's going to be one of the better races of the year." Winner of the Breeders Crown for aged pacers last month, Foiled Again captured the final TVG leg last Saturday, opening night of the new Meadowlands grandstand. It was a typical Foiled Again effort: a game first-over grind under less than ideal conditions. "That's his kind of race," Burke said. "We need to turn it not into a test of pure speed but a test of will, of who wants it the most. I don't care who he is racing against. He will out try them." It was also an encouraging score at a track where Foiled Again has not excelled. He is only 2 for 33 at The Meadowlands. Like Old Man River, Foiled Again keeps rolling along. He is 10 for 28 this year, and no longer amazes Burke with his ability to defy the sands of time. "At one time I was surprised, but not now," Burke said. "We've almost come to expect it. He's such an unbelievable horse. He never shows us a reason to stop believing. Every time you ask him to do more, he goes out and does more." Foiled Again, from post 4 with Yannick Gingras at the lines, is one of three Burke trainees in the final. He also sends out Bettor's Edge and Sweet Lou, fourth to Foiled Again last week. Burke feels Sweet Lou, with Matt Kakaley in the sulky, could be the sleeper in the field. "He's coming back into form," Burke said. "I love Matt on him. He was sneaky good in the Breeders Crown final. I think he's the one horse I've got that's rounding back into shape. He drew a great spot. He fits well with those horses. He'll never get embarrassed. I actually like his chances too." While most of the attention focuses on a Captaintreacherous vs. Foiled Again showdown, Pet Rock could easily upset this applecart. "To win the race, you first have to beat Pet Rock," Burke said. "Everyone is talking Foiled vs. Captain. Believe me, the first horse they have to beat is Pet Rock. That horse doesn't lay down for anybody." Dynamic Youth, Modern Legend, Golden Receiver, Warrawee Needy and Bolt The Duer complete the field. Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, has the outside post in the seven-horse final of $500,000 TVG Trot. Like Foiled Again, Market Share was a Breeders' Crown winner at Pocono Downs, one of his five victories from 13 starts this season. Just like the TVG Pace, the Trot also features a stellar 9-year-old in Arch Madness with over $4 million in the bank. Guccio, Uncle Peter, Wishing Stone, My MVP and Mister Herbie round out the lineup. The 13-race card that starts at 7:15 p.m. serves up eight stakes races, including an appearance by Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician, 16 for 16 on the season and a top contender for Horse of the Year honors, in the $253,000 Moni Maker Stakes for 3-year-old trotting fillies. by Rachel Ryan for the Meadowlands
This Week: Meadowlands fall stakes finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: Meadowlands Racetrack will feature eight stakes on the Saturday night (Nov. 30) card led by the $512,000 TVG FFA Series final for older pacers and the $500,000 TVG FFA Series final for older trotters. Also on tap will be the $534,500 Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers, the $494,750 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, the $456,150 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters, the $394,950 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $253,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $167,500 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. On Sunday night (Dec 1), Dover Downs will feature the $284,160 Progress Pace final for 3-year-old male pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack's new season got underway this past Saturday night, with many of the top free for all trotters and pacers in the sport competing in the TVG FFA Series. The team of trainer Ron Burke and driver Yannick Gingras swept both contests as Wishing Stone captured the trot and Foiled Again the pace. In the $50,000 final preliminary leg of the TVG FFA Trotting Series, Wishing Stone and Yannick Gingras led at every quarter, hitting the first quarter in :28.3, stalked by Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) and Uncle Peter (David Miller). That trio stayed in the same order through the :56 half and 1:24.4 three-quarters. With about an eighth of a mile to go, Market Share was out and moving, but could not overtake the late leaders, Arch Madness, who came off the rail to challenge and the winner in 1:54 by 1-1/4 lengths, Wishing Stone. Arch Madness was second and Market Share was third. Wishing Stone is trained by Ron Burke for owners Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J & T Silva Stables and Deo Volente Farms. "Foiled Again will not be passed." Announcer Ken Warkentin summed up the mile as Foiled Again won the $50,000 TVG FFA Pace at the Meadowlands in 1:49.3. The last chance to gain points for this week's final saw Golden Receiver (Corey Callahan) first on the lead at the opening quarter in :27.1, only to be overtaken by Sweet Lou and David Miller, who held the lead to the :53.4 half. Just past the half, Yannick Gingras had Foiled Again out and poised to advance on the stubborn Sweet Lou, who was still on the lead at the 1:22 three-quarters. As the field paced down the stretch, the advancing duo of Warrawee Needy (Tim Tetrick) and Foiled Again wore down Sweet Lou, and the battle was on between those two. Foiled Again inched ahead and would not yield to Warrawee Needy to win by a neck in 1:49.3. Modern Legend (John Campbell) was third and Sweet Lou was fourth. Foiled Again is trained by Ron Burke and co-owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables. The $35,000 Progress Pace elimination for 3-year-old males was held on Sunday night at Dover Downs and 20-1 Twilight Bonfire got his picture taken. In a two-colt battle down the lane, Twilight Bonfire finally passed the favorite, Sunshine Beach, in the final strides to win by a head. Dedi's Dragon closed to finish third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2013, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will 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). Hanover Shoe Farms is the sponsor for the 2013 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,827; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,580; 3. David Miller - 1,143; 4. Brian Sears - 726.5; and 5. Ron Pierce - 692.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,751.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,166.5; 3. Linda Toscano - 495.5; 4. Jonas Czernyson - 472.5; and 5. Tony Alagna - 471. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 396.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 367.35; 3. Frank Bellino - 268.5; 4. Brittany Farms - 263.05; and 5. WJ Donovan - 242.75. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. The Meadowlands will host W.N. Reynolds Memorial contests for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow for the Grand Circuit
Whether you are a devoted harness racing fan, a purist of the Standardbred sport, a gambler or just someone who likes to watch a great event, then look no further than the Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday, November 30. It’s a once in a lifetime match-up as Captaintreacherous, the three-year-old pacing machine, looks to close out his 2013 race season going against nine of the best older pacers in harness racing in the $512,000 final of the TVG Series. Voted the 2012 Pacer of the Year by the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), Captaintreacherous has lived up to those standards again in 2013. He has competed in 15 races this season, won 13 of them and lost the other two in photo finishes. He has a record at a mile of 1:47.1 and earnings this year of $2,055,033. Trained by Tony Alagna and owned by the Captaintreacherous Racing Stable out of Versailles, KY, the son of Somebeachsomewhere was a yearling purchase for $250,000 and worth every penny and then some as he now sports career earnings of $2,973,286. Now on Saturday he will be all out to prove once again he is the best pacer in the world for the second straight year. But it will not be an easy task as he faces nine opponents, many of whom have years of experience and tons of speed. Leading the way is Foiled Again, the richest pacer in the history of harness racing with more than $5.7 million in earnings. With a victory he will be challenging Captaintreacherous for the votes in the Pacer of the Year balloting in December by the membership of USHWA and the race secretaries. For three straight years world champion Foiled Again has earned over $1 million for trainer and co-owner Ron Burke. The nine-year-old gelded son of Dragon Again never seems to know where the finish line is. He continues races first-up on the outside and if he can’t get to the lead he just grinds it out against opponents with great success. Also in the race is Pet Rock, whose displays of raw unbridled speed saw him score world records on two different sized tracks in 2013, the fastest a dazzling 1:47 mile. Other standouts in the race include the 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacer of the Year, Sweet Lou, Warrawee Needy, Golden Receiver, Bolt The Duer, Modern Legend, Dynamic Youth and Bettor’s Edge. “Of course we would be happier with post four than post eight,” said Myron Bell, spokesman for Captaintreacherous Racing. “But the racing gods of the post position draw did not hear me. I promise everyone that Captaintreacherous will be heard from in this race. Our goals this year were to win the Meadowlands Pace, win the North America Cup and win the Breeders Crown so we could get an invitation to race in the TVG Final. Now it is up to Captaintreacherous and our driver Tim Tetrick to put the icing on the cake with a win this Saturday. “I am looking to have a great night on Saturday, win or lose,” Bell said. “He’s (Captaintreacherous) record speaks for himself. Of course I think he can beat these horses and I know he could lose too. But I am also happy because this race is for the fans. Anyone who loves a good horse race has to come to the Meadowlands on Saturday.” In addition to the TVG Pace Final, the 13-race program also features the $500,000 TVG Final for trotters headlined by Market Share, Arch Madness and Wishing Stone. There is the $534,500 final of the Governors Cup for two-year-old pacing colts, the $494,750 final of the Valley Victory for two-year-old trotters, the $465,150 final of the Goldsmith Maid for two-year-old trotting fillies, $394,950 Final of the Three Diamonds for two-year-old pacing fillies and the $167,700 Nadia Lobell Pace for three-year-old fillies. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ A new era in harness racing dawned Saturday night with the debut of The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment. The gleaming $88 million track, the vision of chairman Jeff Gural, launched with a 13-race program on a blustery, chilly night with occasional snow squalls before an estimated 15,000 fans. The on-track handle exploded in the new facility, reaching a total of $530,917, an impressive 18-percent of the total $2,968,600. The evening began with a dedication ceremony in the paddock with Gural thanking the numerous members of The Meadowlands team who made the dream a reality. "To all the people who helped--and there are many of you--and for all the people who are here tonight, I hope you enjoy what you see," Gural said. "It's not only racing, it's also entertainment." Tom Luchento, president of the Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association of New Jersey, joined Gural in welcoming the fans on opening night. Luchento recalled how Gural came to the rescue when The Meadowlands faced closure. "Three years later, we are here in a magnificent new building, at the premier track in North America looking forward to showcasing the best harness racing presented anywhere in the world," Luchento said. There was a ceremonial ribbon breaking by a hero of yesteryear, Gallo Blue Chip. The winner of the 2000 Meadowlands Pace was also joined in the winner's circle by Foiled Again, the sport's all-time leading money earner at $5.7 million, who returned later that evening to win a TVG division. The honor of winning the first race at the new Meadowlands went to Alexie Mattosie and driver David Miller in 1:50 4/5. They were greeted in the winner's circle by Ray Remmen, who captured the first race at the original Meadowlands with Quick Baron in 1976. The opening night features were the final $50,000 legs of the inauguaral TVG Free-For-All Series. The $500,000 TVG finals are on tap next Saturday night along with a quartet of 2-year-old stakes: the $534,500 Governor's Cup, the $494,750 Valley Victory, the $394,950 Three Diamonds and the $456,150 Goldsmith Maid. The TVGs were a clean sweep for the team of driver Yannick Gingras and Ron Burke, one night after he set the single-season training record with his 1,000th win. The TVG Trot went to Wishing Stone, a race contested in a brief but blinding blizzard. He set the pace, beating Arch Madness by 1 ¼ lengths in 1:54 with Market Share, the 2012 Hambletonian winner, third. Foiled Again, a top contender for Horse of the Year, turned in yet another game effort in the TVG Pace. He ranged up first-over victory into a stiff wind to beat Warrawee Needy by a neck in 1:49 3/5. Modern Legend was third. Following the racing, the party at The Meadowlands continued long into the night as Victory Sports Bar & Nightclub was packed and in full swing into the morning. Rachel Ryan
Mother Nature did not cooperate with the opening night of the new Meadowlands grandstand as a snow storm hit the New York area. It was truly the start of the winter racing meet. But the inclement weather had no bearing on Wishing Stone and driver Yannick Gingras as they wired the field in the first stakes event at the Meadowlands, winning the $50,000 final leg of the TVG Free For All Series for trotters. Leaving from post six, Yannick sent Wishing Stone to the front and held the field at bay through fractions of :28.3, :56 and 1:24.4. Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) sat the pocket trip and after the three-quarters Uncle Peter (David Miller) came first-over to challenge along with Market Share (Tim Tetrick) fanning three-wide at the top of the stretch. But none of them were able to collar Wishing Stone as he went on to win by one and one-half lengths in 1:54. Arch Madness was second with Market Share third. “I knew the front end was going to be tough tonight,” Said Yannick Gingras, “It’s pretty windy too and his lines do not show how good he is. I put on Twitter today that I was going to drive him aggressively because trips have not worked out for him lately. He is as good as anybody going into the final next week. He likes to be involved.” A six-year-old stallion by Conway Hall, it was the sixth win this year for Wishing Stone. Trained by Ron Burke for Cowboyland Aalborg, TLP Stable, J & T Silva and Deo Volente Farms, Wishing Stone went off at odds of 9-1 and paid $21.00 to win. By Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
I went six for ten last week, some of my favorite horses got beat, which is bound to happen every now and then. I actually lost $2.40 (based on $2 win bet each race). We are still in the minus earning column at -$37.20 going into this weekend and we will try once again to bring that number down more. We start off the weekend at the Saturday opening of the new Meadowlands grandstand and two $50,000 final legs of the TVG Series for open trotters and pacers. Other Saturday action takes us to Woodbine and Yonkers. Then on Sunday it’s off to Dover Downs for the elimination division for the Progress Pace. Should be some great racing. $50,000 TVG Series Open Trot Final Leg 2nd race Saturday, Meadowlands – Market Share has been at his best last two starts with big scores in the Breeders Crown and American National but returning to the scene is my selection, Arch Madness, who against this short field looks to be in a perfect spot to grind it out first-over as he has done in the past. $25,000 3YO Filly Open Pace 4th race Saturday, Meadowlands – No question that Charisma Hanover is the horse to beat in here. She beat I Luv The Nitelife (who is not in this race) in her last start, is on a four-race winning streak, has 12 wins this season and should be able to take this field either on the front end or coming from behind. $50,000 TVG Series Open Pace Final Leg 7th race Saturday, Meadowlands – This could be the race that Foiled Again will surpass Ready Cash as the winningest Standardbred (purse wise) in the history of harness racing. He just missed that mark last start with a neck loss to Pet Rock (who is not in here) in the American-National. Game nine-year-old is at the peak of his career and keeps showing his heels to his younger rivals. $30,000 A-2/FFA Handicap Pace 11th race Saturday, Meadowlands – You can make a case for nearly everyone in this field having a shot at winning. I am going with Southwestern Dream. He hails from red hot Ron Burke Stable, can win from on or off the pace and despite not having raced on a big track in some time he can upset in here as long as he minds his manners and stays on stride. $34,000 Preferred Pace 2nd race Saturday, Woodbine – Well matched but short field could make for a very interesting tactical race. Franceschetti is moving up in class but off a strong closing effort last week. Usually he does his best racing on the front end but with Camaes Fellow a dead leaver I look for Franceschetti to come from off the pace and steal this race. $37,000 Open Handicap Pace 6th race Saturday, Yonkers Raceway – Even though the unwritten handicapping rules say to stay away from a three-year-old taking on older horses and going from a five-eighths mile to a half mile oval, I just can’t turn away Ultimate Beachboy. He hails from the Ron Burke Stable, has faced older rivals and beaten them already this season and I can actually see him winning in here and paying a great price. $35,000 Progress Pace 3-YO Colts Elimination 10th race Sunday, Dover Downs – It’s another classic matchup of Vegas Vacation Vs Sunshine Beach. Last week Vegas Vacation turned the tables on Sunshine Beach with a very impressive first-over grind it out victory in 1:48.3. He draws inside him once again and I am looking at Vegas Vacation going the same mile once again to victory lane.
The very first races using the new racetrack configuration in front of the brand new Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment grandstand were the Thursday morning qualifiers. Eight races in total were highlighted by several stars of the season using the races as a prep for next week’s opening in the fantastic new facility. The first qualifier was won by the accomplished older trotter Blacktuxwhitesocks, driven to a closing win from just off the pace over stable mate Bluff by his trainer Trond Smedshammer in 1:57-. The career winner of nearly $900,000 has been owned throughout his career by Wanda Polisseni’s Purple Haze Stable. Trond came right back to win the second race with his champion trotter Arch Madness in a tightner for the upcoming TVG last leg on Opening Day, November 23 and the $500,000 Final a week later. The old boy has really found his best form lately, winning the Allerage Farms Open trot elimination at The Red Mile in a career record equaling 1:50.2 and then the final of that race a week later. He trotted along on a happy lead this morning through comfortable fractions tacking a :56 final half and 27.3 last quarter on his 1:54- win. He is the pride of owners Marc Goldberg and Barry Goldstein’s Willow Pond LLC. The Kindergarten Trotting Classic final winner Southwind Spirit knocked the dust off with a 1:57.4 win, home in 28.2 for regular driver Yannick Gingras. He is one of the leading eligibles for the $430,000e Valley Victory for the Burke Stable, who owns him in partnership with Weaver & Bruscemi, LLC and Stable 45. Pacers came up in race four, with a couple of nice two year old colts sharpening up for the $500,000e Governor’s Cup. Arthur Blue Chip (Dave Miller) and Somestarsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) went right to the wire together in 1:53.3. Watching the pair of talented freshmen battle rekindled memories of watching their sires, Shadow Play and Somebeachsomewhere, square off in the 2008 Messenger Stakes. Miller had Arthur on the lead through conservative numbers and Yannick wrestled his mount into a four hole before moving first over around the final bend. Both were willing through the sprint home. Dr. Ian Moore trains Arthur Blue Chip, owned in partnership with RG McGroup and Serge Savard. Somestreetsomewhere is conditioned by Ron Burke for his own interests with Weaver & Bruscemi, M. Yanek and L Karr. Freshman pacing fillies were next, Gingras and Miller battled to the wire again with JK Molly (Gingras/Burke for 3 Brother Stable) and Delightful Dragon (Miller for Noel Daley and the Adam Victor & Son Stable) in 1:55- /28. Those two debutantes are among the top candidates for the $400,00e Three Diamonds. Western Vintage and JK Endofanera paced to the wire together in 1:54.2/28- in a tight finish between two more Governors Cup eligibles. Brian Sears had JK Endofanera forwardly placed throughout for Ron Burke, who trains the Art Major colt for the 3 Brothers Stables. Western Vintage was reserved off the pace and finished strong for Gingras. Perry Soderberg now has a partner in the good Western Ideal colt in Marvin Katz. Nancy Johansson is the trainer. The next qualifiers will be on Monday evening with a scheduled post time of 6:00pm, the box for those will close at 10:00am tomorrow (Friday). A preview of the new grandstand will be made available to horsemen with the evening qualifiers of Thursday, November 23, again at 6:00pm. More information is available on the Meadowlands Racing& Entertainment website. by Nick Salvi for the Meadowlands