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We are visiting today with harness racing trainer Julie Miller.   Julie Miller is one of harness racing's racing leading trainers. She is currently ranked sixth in trainer earnings for the year with close to a million dollar in earnings, $975,100. Her stable of trotters is one of harness racing's best, if not the best. She has an amazing UTRS rating of 0.404. Julie could be on her way to her best year of training ever.   Perfect Alliance trained by Julie Miller, set a world record trotting a mile at Woodbine in 151.2 last week. Perfect Alliance is now the fastest older mare in harness racing history. She defeated last year's Horse Of The Year, Bee A Magician, who tasted defeat for the first time in more than a year.   Perfect Alliance is currently unbeaten in ten starts and is ranked second in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Miller has a stable of outstanding stakes trotters in Cee Bee Yes, Take The Money, Designed To Be, Bambino Glide, Green Hornet, and Sevruga. Her distinguished filly pacer, Katie Said, recently won a division of the Historic Series-Ladyship Stakes at Pocono Downs in 151.2.   One-On-One is done exclusively for Harnesslink.com by Brian McEvoy   HLINK: You have an outstanding stable of horses this year. Is this your best crop of horses ever?   JM: Everything is going great so far. I am really please by the ones who came back from two to three. Designed To Be won a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Servuga was third in the Cutler Stakes to Sebastian K. I thought that was excellent by him. He has had his aches and pains. I am really proud of him.   HLINK: Let's start with new world record holder Perfect Alliance. How did she come out of the race? What did you think of her world record performance?   JM: She came out of the race really well. She is home all tucked away in her stall. We are tickled to death. What else can you expect from a horse. She had a first quarter in 26.3 and came home in 27. You can't ask anymore from a trotter. It was her first step up to the big ranks. She responded incredibly.   Hlink: Your next race is the Armbro Flight at Mohawk. She will be facing a tough task in facing Maven, Bee A Magician and Classic Martine.   JM: It always surprises me that when I am interviewed that they mention only one horse I will be facing. There are five or six outstanding horses in these races. It is going to be in the draw or the trip who wins. It is going to be an outstanding race for the fans. She might get a qualifier before the Armbro Flight or just go up there to race.   Hlink: What are the plans for the rest of the year with Perfect Alliance?   JM: I don't plan that far ahead. I race from race to race. I just look at the next target. I don't put the cart before the horse.   Hlink: You have a full stable of outstanding trotters this year. I am going to name them and maybe you can tell me a little about each one. The first one is Cee Bee Yes.   JM: She was in a short field of horses in her last start. She had the five hole and there was a horrible wind up the backside. She was at the mercy of a thirty two second quarter. She was gapped out turning for home but came home in 26.4. It is a full field this week. I hope we get good positioning. I have high hope for her. She won in the New Jersey Sire Stakes last year.   Hlink: Let's talk about Take The Money. She finished second to Shake It Cerry in her last start.   JM: She was super with a great effort. There was some slow fractions. We sprinted home and we couldn't get the momentum. Shake It Cerry is the number one horse that everyone is talking about. Finishing second to her says it all.   Hlink: What about Designed To Be?   JM: She is awesome. She has her own world record from last year. She is healthy and i am pointing her toward her next start in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Pocono Downs.   Hlink: Tell us about Bambino Glide.   JM: He is coming off a great second in the SOA Final at Yonkers. He is in this Friday at Yonkers. He needs a race. I could have qualified him but decided to put him in. He is a nice four year trotter and I expect big things from him.   Hlink: What is happening with the lightly raced trotter Green Hornut?   JM: He is what Andy and I call our project horse. He was sent to me because he was not minding his manners. He is still on the fence.I hope I got him straightend out. He had a good qualifier. His last race was in the rain and it got congested. He made a break. I hope I have him on his way to success in the New York Sire Stakes.   Hlink: Sevruga was nice third to Sebastian K in the Cutler.   JM: How can you complain when you are third to Sebastian K and Modern Family. He is just a nice war horse. How can you complain about a horse who trots in 1:51 and a piece.   Hlink: I know you also have pacers in your stable, but you seem to specialize in training trotters. What do you attribute that to?   JM: I don't think I specialize in trotters. We just had Katie Said who paced in 151.2 at Pocono. It is just that my clientele want trotters. I get what they want. If someone comes along and says they wanted me to buy a pacer I would do that too (laughter). It just that I am stocked up on trotters now.   Hlink: Let's talk about Katie Said. I had talked to Andy about Katie Said about a month ago. He said that she had some issues. Marcus said he drove her like a trotter the other night. What is the story about Katie Said?   JM: Andy knows my horses inside and out. This is a new challenge for me and my stable. I have to rely 100% on catch drivers. It's hard getting your message across on how you want your horse driven. Marcus was able to qualifier her and get a feel for her. He did what I exactly said in driving her like she is a trotter. She responded and it worked out. She might race next in non-winners of three and then go in the next Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race. She is staked pretty good this year.   Hlink: The trotters this year are going at incredible fast times. Records are dropping left and right. What do you attribute these amazing fast times to?   JM: The Standardbred is getting better all the time. The conformation, breeding and pedigree is better. Our training methods are better. I am just so proud that our sport is evolving. The other breeds are pretty stagnant, Quarter horses and Thoroughbreds. It is nice that we are getting better all the time.   Hlink: How fast do you think the trotters will go this year?   JM: I don't like that kind of question. I just want to go fast enough to win. I don't care if it is 1:49 or 1:52. I just want to be in the hunt and be successful.   Hlink: Ake Svanstedt has burst upon the training scene from Sweden. He seems to have some unique training methods. What do you think of this?   JM: I am not really familiar with him yet. I have not met him. I do not know his training methods. I really don't have a comment about that. His horse Sebastian K was brilliant the other night. I don't know his background. I guess he has a private farm out here and stays pretty secluded. It is great for racing as we have more competition and more races.   Hlink: Can you tell us about the unfortunate accident that Andy had? Where were you and how did you find out about it?   JM: I was actually on spring break with my two kids. I was out at dinner with the kids. I said to my son that Bambino Glide is about to race and would you put it on the ipad so we can watch it. I saw a ton of messages on my phone. I knew something happened as there were a ton of messages from people at Yonkers. I immediately called and that is how I found out. I got a flight the next morning and was on my way back home.   Hlink: I am sure you are being asked a million times, but how is he doing now?   JM: it is just a long road to recovery. We are lucky he was 100% healthy and athletic before the accident. On May 28th, he goes for his next appointment. We are hoping for good news. It is a six month process. His mental state has just been amazing. He had to go from going 100 miles an hour to just laying in bed to stabilize his back. I am very proud of him. The other great thing is he comes out and watches the horse train and gives me suggestions. He is still right here helping me do everything. I am really lucky.   Hlink: How are your two-year-olds coming along in their training so far? What can we look forward to this year?   JM: I like to keep my cards close to my vest. There are some I have high hopes for. When you are training out here all by yourself they all look amazing. We will know more when they go to the first qualifiers and face competition. I am very optimistic.   Hlink: I am sure there are a couple that look like they will be very good. I am sure one has caught a twinkle in you eye. Can you give me a couple of names.   JM: No I can't (laughter). I am going to keep everything under wraps. We will have them in the baby races soon at Gaitway. You will have to come out and see them.   Hlink: Was Lucky Jim the best horse you ever had?   JM: Yes he was. We had him for two seasons, 2009 and 2010. He won 1.5 million and every major stake race except the Maple Leaf Trot.   Hlink: How is it training for Jason Settlemoir and Jeff Gural?   JM: Oh my gosh, they are amazing. They pay their bills on time. I call and text them a couple times a month. They let me do my job. This is why they are so successful.   Hlink: Your racing is all based around New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and their sire stakes programs. With the expansion of slots in Ohio is there any chance you will pick up some Ohio bred horses?   JM: I like being based in New Jersey. My kids are still in school. I have got plenty to do here. It is great for our Standardbred economy. I don't have any plans for Ohio or Indiana bred horses.   HLINK: Drugs are always a hot topic in the harness racing business. What can harness racing do better. How can we make the bettor feel safer when betting on the horses?   JM: It is disappointing that this is one of the major things talked about in our sport. People have to have integrity and do the right thing. We need regulations and guidelines. Trainers need to be aware of what is black and white and is allowed and what is not. There is always one bad apple. People generally do the right thing. I think most trainers medicate their horses right and follow the guidelines. It is unfortunate that the one eyesore gets the headlines. The racing commissions have to do the right thing and govern the sport.   By Brian McEvoy for Harnesslink.com

TORONTO, May 18 - After a perfect 17-for-17 campaign last season, the reigning Horse of the Year in both Canada and the U.S., Bee A Magician will make her first start of the season on Monday at Woodbine. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra will contest in the first leg of the Miss Versatility series. Trained by Richard 'Nifty' Norman throughout her career, Bee A Magician has banked $2.3 million for owners David McDuffee, Herb Liverman and Mel Hartman. Among her accomplishments last season, the bay captured the Breeders Crown, Hambletonian Oaks, Moni Maker, Delvin Miller Memorial, Simcoe, American National and Elegantimage. Her career best time of 1:51 in last year's Delvin Miller at the Meadowlands is the fastest mile ever by a three-year-old filly trotter. In addition, Bee A Magician was named three-year-old trotting filly of the year in both Canada and the U.S. "I think she's better than she was last year," Norman said. "She had a great winter with two nice qualifiers and she's turned into a big strapping filly. By next year I think we'll even notice more of a difference." Bee A Magician, a three-time O'Brien Award winner, has two qualifiers under her belt at The Meadowlands, most recently with a winning effort in 1:55.3. Two divisions of the Miss Versatility series will take place in races three and nine. Bee A Magician will contest in the latter $30,000 contest from post two with driver Brian Sears. A field of seven will line up behind the gate and perhaps Bee A Magician's main rival is Perfect Alliance, who has remained undefeated this season from nine starts. "She's a really good horse and to be honest, I don't expect to beat her (Perfect Alliance)," Norman said. "She's on top of her game right now and we're just starting the season. As long as my filly is trotting strong at the wire, I'll be happy. She does always tend to surprise me though with a big effort. The Armbro Flight (June 14) is about a month away and we'll be peaking her for that." Monday evening will mark Bee A Magician's first start as a four-year-old racing against older mares for the first time in her career. "It's a quality field, there's no doubt," he said. "Maven is not in there, but other than her there are a lot of quality mares. Even some of the Canadian mares that we don't see a lot down in the U.S. look like they belong." The trotting miss has tasted defeat just three times in her career from 30 starts. She has remained undefeated since October 27, 2012. The fields will line up as follows: Race 3 1. Classic Martine 2. Charmed Life 3. Angies Lucky Star 4. Upfrontluckycarol 5. Rockin With Dewey 6. Coffeecake Hanover Race 9 1. Dorsay 2. Bee A Magician 3. Ma Chere Hall 4. Bax Of Life 5. Motown Muscle 6. Perfect Alliance 7. Frau Blucher by Greg Gangle, for WEG

The early season harness racing showdown between Maven, last year's Dan Patch Award winning Older Female Trotter of the Year, and the undefeated Perfect Alliance, nine for nine in races this year is off.  Both outstanding female trotters were eligible and on a collision course to meet this Sunday in the $50,000 Miami Valley Distaff Trot.   Julie Miller, trainer of Perfect Alliance, has decided not to enter her in the closing night feature at Miami Valley Racetrack. Miller was on record saying that Perfect Alliance needed to freshen up after having trotted in nine races already this year. Maven is still slated to enter before heading off to Europe for the Elitlopp.   Perfect Alliance's undefeated season stands at nine straight wins, including sweeping the Bobby Weiss Series at Pocono Downs and the Charles Singer Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack. She now has lifetime earnings of $165,001 with eleven wins in twenty-seven lifetime starts. Her best time this year has been in 152.2 at the Meadowlands.   "She has had nine starts already this year," Miller said. "We wanted to give her a freshen up after all those starts. It's going to be a long season. We are going to keep her at her home base. My plan is to qualify her next Saturday at the Meadowlands and then head up to Canada, instead of heading  over there for just one race and coming back.   "We have to look at the whole schedule," Miller said. "I wanted to talk to the owners and get everybody's opinion on it. When the group had the discussion we decided to skip the Miami Valley Race.   "I am sure the showdown with Maven will happen eventually," Miller explained. "It's just not going to happen this Sunday. I am sure we will meet up in the future. The next race for Perfect Alliance is the Miss Versatility on May 19th and the Armbro Flight in Canada."   The  $50,000 Miami Valley Distaff Trot still figures to be a formative race. It is Maven's only race this year before heading off to face the best trotters in the world in the Elitlopp. Three other outstanding trotters from the Jonas Czernyson's stable are planning to race this Sunday, D'Orsey, who won four of fourteen races and $189.928 last year, Ma Chere Hall, who won nine of seventeen races for $506,869 as a three-year-old, and Mistery Woman, who won three of fifteen starts for $292,323.   Although Maven and Perfect Alliance will not be racing against each other this Sunday, there will be other meetings this year. Then add in the 2013 Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, to the mix. She is reported to be qualifying very soon. All three could  be racing in the same older mare trot stake races this year. What an exciting year of racing this could be.   by Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com

The first horse officially invited to compete in the 2014 Elitlopp is the best older trotting mare North America has to offer, and joining her is one of the best drivers on the continent. Maven's trainer Jonas Czernyson confirmed the news on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. Last season, Maven swept older trotting mare honours, winning the Dan Patch Award in the U.S. and the O'Brien Award in Canada after winning 10 of 14 races and $509,220 for owner Bill Donovan. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for older female trotters, Armbro Flight Stakes, and Miss Versatility Series championship. She also trotted the fastest race mile ever on a half-mile track in winning the Miss Versatility in 1:51.4 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio, and equaled that speed badge with her 1:51.4 win over Mohegan Sun Pocono's five-eighths mile oval. Two weeks ago, Czernyson noted that shipping and flight arrangements weren't exactly to his liking. According to the Elitlopp website, Maven will fly to Amsterdam and be trucked to Stockholm the Tuesday before the race. Joining Maven will be regular pilot Yannick Gingras, who will fly into Sweden on Friday, May 23 in order to get acclimated to his surroundings before Sunday's two-heat race. Maven and Gingras will be in action this Saturday during morning qualifiers at The Meadowlands before Maven's first pari-mutuel test of the season -- the new Miami Valley Distaff on May 4 at Ohio’s Miami Valley Raceway.

Trainer Jonas Czernyson is getting Maven ready to defend her division title among older female trotters, but last year's Dan Patch Award winner is not his sole focus as he prepares her for the stakes season. Four additional older female trotters are receiving Czernyson's attention as he looks forward to the Miami Valley Distaff on May 4 at Ohio's new Miami Valley Raceway. Joining the 5-year-old Maven in the division for Team JC are 5-year-old D'Orsay and 4-year-olds Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, and Coffeecake Hanover. All five were in qualifier action last week at the Meadowlands, and all should be returning there again Saturday morning for qualifying efforts. "It's going to be an interesting year," Czernyson said. "We're unfortunately going to have to race against each other, but we just have to hope for the best. When you have horses that are that good, they're going to go up against each other." Maven finished second by a half-length to older male trotter Uncle Peter in last week's qualifiers, timed in 1:56.1. Last season, Maven was the unanimous selection for the Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter after winning 10 of 14 races and $509,220 for owner Bill Donovan. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for older female trotters, Armbro Flight Stakes, and Miss Versatility Series championship. She trotted the fastest race mile ever on a half-mile track in winning the Miss Versatility in 1:51.4 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. "So far everything is very good," Czernyson said. "She did what we asked her to do (in her qualifier). We wanted to go somewhere between (1):56 and (1):57 and that's what she did. That was the beginning and we'll go from there." Where she goes could be overseas. Czernyson is considering sending Maven to Sweden for the Elitlopp on May 25. "We're thinking about that," said Czernyson, a native of Sweden. "We're trying to get some better shipping arrangements for that. That would be very fun. That would be very nice if we could go over there and win that race. "She's coming back as nice as she did before, but we'll see how she does racing. That's when we'll make the full decision whether we're going or not." For her career, Maven has won 25 of 40 races and $1.42 million. D'Orsay finished third in the qualifier with Uncle Peter and Maven. She trotted in 1:56.3. Last year, D'Orsay won four of 14 races and $189,928 for owner Consus Racing Stable. Her wins included the Muscle Hill Stakes and Ima Lula Series final and she finished third in the Breeders Crown. D'Orsay has won seven of 46 career starts and $348,335. "She's her own worst enemy," Czernyson said. "Unfortunately, when the gate leaves, she wants to leave with it. Hopefully we can get her to settle down a little more. She's sure fast enough. She's a lot better now than she was at 2; we just have to hope she keeps on maturing." Ma Chere Hall finished second by three-quarters of a length to Archangel in her qualifier. She was timed in 1:56.4. Last season as a 3-year-old, Ma Chere Hall won nine of 17 races and $506,869 for owners Walnut Hall Limited, Aldebaran Park, and Joe Sbrocco. Her victories included the Matron Stakes and Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. She ended the campaign with a second-place finish in the Moni Maker Stakes, which was won by Horse of the Year Bee A Magician. She also was second in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. For her career, Ma Chere Hall has won 12 of 29 races and $668,933. "She's coming back very nice," Czernyson said. Mistery Woman finished sixth in the qualifier with Ma Chere Hall, timed in 1:57.4. Last year, she won three of 15 starts and $292,323 for owners Millstream Inc., Misty Miller, Donovan, and Aldebaran Park. Her wins included the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Filly Memorial Trot and she was third in the Moni Maker. Lifetime, Mistery Woman has won six of 20 career races and $380,500. "She's also coming back very nice," Czernyson said. "(Driver David Miller) was happy with her. Hopefully she can step it up and go with the big girls." Coffeecake Hanover is a newcomer to the Team JC Stable. She was purchased for $140,000 by Czernyson's wife, Christine, at November's Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. Last season in the stable of trainer Ron Burke, Coffeecake Hanover won four of 16 races and $194,473. She captured a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes and was second to Frau Blucher in the Buckette Stakes. For her career, she has won eight of 27 races and $359,816. She finished fifth in her qualifier, one spot ahead of Mistery Woman, timed in 1:57.3. "(Christine) bought her as a future broodmare also," Czernyson said. "We'll try to make some of our money back at the racetrack first, and then we'll go from there. So far she's been training down really good. "I wish I saw better than a :30.2 last quarter in the qualifier, but there was a headwind and we didn't have her rigged right. We're going to make a few changes to her and hopefully she should be a little sharper for this week." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Trainer Noel Daley is hoping for a pleasant year from Delightful Dragon. A 3-year-old filly pacer, Delightful Dragon was slow to make it to the races last season because of issues with her knees but finished the campaign by winning the $394,950 Three Diamonds Stakes on Nov. 30 at Meadowlands Racetrack. Overall, the homebred daughter of Bettor’s Delight-Little Miss Dragon won three of eight starts and earned $227,329 for owner Adam Victor & Son Stable. “She’s come back very sound,” Daley said. “She can go right with the top ones, I think. She’s a big strong filly. She’s got the will and the desire. She didn’t have a tough year by any means. A few of the speedy ones last year had a lot of racing; it’s always interesting to see what comes back.” Delightful Dragon made her first start on Aug. 19, winning a conditioned race at Yonkers in 1:56.2. She was off the board in her next five appearances, but suffered in part from tough draws. She got post 10 in her division of the Bluegrass Stakes, where she finished fourth, and post nine in her elimination for the Breeders Crown, where she finished eighth. “We always liked her; we always thought she had a lot of ability,” Daley said. “She had no luck a few times. She drew outside in the Bluegrass and (driver) Mike Lachance said afterward that she was the best 90-1 shot he’d ever driven. She drew the outside in her elimination for the Breeders Crown, which was a death sentence. After that, we tried to set her up for the Three Diamonds.” Delightful Dragon won a conditioned race at Yonkers in early November and then qualified twice to prep for the Three Diamonds, which she captured by a neck over Act Now in 1:52.4 at odds of 9-1. “It worked out,” Daley said. “She got a good trip, but she deserved to win that race. She was definitely good enough; it wasn’t a shock to us at all.” Delightful Dragon’s mom, Little Miss Dragon, was a multiple-stakes winner during her racing days. Her first foal was a colt, but he lacked, in Daley’s words, “ambition.” “She’s the opposite,” Daley said. “She’s very nice to deal with, lovely to be around, wants to do it. Everything about her is good.” In addition to Delightful Dragon, Daley is getting a number of other horses ready to return to action. Here is a synopsis of three others to keep an eye on. Demoiselle Hanover: A 3-year-old half-sister to 2007 Horse of the Year Donato Hanover, she was winless in four starts last season. The trotter is by stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare D Train and is owned by Timo Nurmos’ Timot Stable. “She only had a couple races; she had a bunch of issues,” Daley said. “She’s got enough ability to go with them if she behaves herself. If (last year’s division leaders) come back and improve, they’re obviously going to be very good. But you can’t worry about anyone else’s horses. I’m happy with the way she’s been and she’s definitely got enough go if she can step it up a little.” Outburst: A 3-year-old male trotter, he won five of 10 races last season and finished worse than third only once. He trotted a world-record 1:53.1 in winning his division of the Bluegrass Stakes. He is owned by Daley, Adam Victor & Son Stable, Kemppi Stables, and Mirva Bogucki. “He’s a nice horse,” Daley said. “I don’t think he’s a top three or four horse, but I think he’s a top 10 horse if he comes back as good as he was. If you can be a top 10 horse you can make a lot of money if you pick your spots and get lucky now and then. There’s so much money out there and the good ones can’t be in all of them. If you can win one decent one, you can do alright there.” Cedar Dove: She was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old filly trotter in 2011. She has won 14 of 50 lifetime races and earned $1.17 million. Last year, she won a division of the Miss Versatility (in a dead heat with Maven) and finished second in the Breeders Crown and Armbro Flight. She is owned by Bill Weaver. “So far she’s been really good,” Daley said. “I just have to make sure I don’t have her ready too early because she seems to fade away as the year goes on. Keeping weight on her is her biggest issue. But so far so good; I’m real happy with her. She won’t race in too much else other than those (major stakes) races. Canada seems to wipe her out, so I’ll probably do the Armbro Flight but won’t go for the early Miss Versatility this year. She could qualify in probably a week or two.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

The honeymoon is not over for Bill Mack when it comes to harness racing. Mack, a breeder/owner in central New Jersey, sends 3-year-old filly trotter Sally Savannah into Wednesday's third round of the Bobby Weiss Series at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sally Savannah finished second in her Weiss division last week and was third in the opening round. Driven by George Napolitano Jr. for trainer Neal Ehrhart, the filly is 9-2 on the morning line. The 71-year-old Mack has owned horses since retiring from his job as a criminal court administrator for the state of New Jersey. Most of his horses have "Savannah" in their names, which is a nod to the city where Mack and his wife Lorraine spent their honeymoon. "(Sally Savannah) is racing very well," Mack said. "I like her determination; she just seems to like to race. I'm hoping to have a nice year with her." A homebred daughter by stallion Equinox Bi out of Mack's mare Sassy Savannah, Sally Savannah won two of nine races last year and earned $42,512. She won a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Stallion Series, finished second to world champion Designed To Be in a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars and capped her 2-year-old season by finishing third in her division of the Keystone Classic. "She finished last year well and she's back where she left off," Ehrhart said. "We toyed around with the idea of putting her in the regular sire stakes last year, but thought it might be pushing it. It worked out because she did well in the Stallion Series. "I don't know yet where we'll put her this year. I'd rather be a star in the Stallion Series than put her in over her head. A lot of the top 3-year-old (trotting) fillies are going to come out of Pennsylvania. Maybe she'll get there, but she'll let us know." Sally Savannah, who was named by one of Mack's granddaughters because she was naming all her dolls "Sally" at that time, also is eligible to the Arden Downs Stakes and Currier & Ives this year. "This series should be a good prep for the sire stakes," Ehrhart said. "She's been facing a lot of 4-year-olds (in the Weiss) and that's what has impressed me. "This horse is a lot like her mother, and that's a good thing," the trainer added. "George Napolitano said (Sally Savannah) is a very smart horse. She can size up a race and know where she needs to be." Sassy Savannah was a rare yearling purchase for Mack. He bought her for $6,000 under the name Strapless at the 2002 Standardbred Horse Sale. Sassy Savannah won a division of the Arden Downs as a 2-year-old and a Landmark Stakes at age 3, finishing her career with $101,242. "She was sick as a dog at the sale," Ehrhart said. "That might have hurt her (price in the auction), but it didn't hurt her down the road." Mack and Ehrhart have been a team for nearly 15 years. Mack found Ehrhart through an advertisement in Hoof Beats magazine. "He's a nice person," Mack said. "He's easy to deal with. He's done I think as well as could be expected with my horses." Said Ehrhart of Mack, "He's the epitome of what a good racehorse owner should be. He cares about the horses and is patient and never puts them in positions they shouldn't be in. We have a trust and he has confidence in me. He leaves me to do my thing and we've held our own." The two hope to continue the success with Sally Savannah. She faces six rivals Wednesday in the Weiss Series, which is for 3- and 4-year-old female trotters that entered 2014 with fewer than three career wins or $40,000 in lifetime purses. Clementine Dream, who finished second in the Super Bowl Series final in January, is the 5-2 favorite. Connie Keeper, who has finished second in both her Weiss races, is the 2-1 choice in the first division. Perfect Alliance and Take The Money, both undefeated this year out of the stable of trainer Julie Miller, are skipping this week's races after winning their starts in the previous two rounds. "It's a lot stronger series than I had anticipated," Mack said. "I think she'd have to hit the board (Wednesday) and next week to make the final. But I always have high hopes for my horses. Hopefully she'll do alright." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Standardbred Canada has announced the winners of the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event, the annual Black Tie Gala was held in Charlottetown, PEI, at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel and PEI Convention Centre. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. O’Brien was born in Alberton, PEI. Bee A Magician who was perfect in her 2013 season, was the unanimous choice in the Three-Year -Old Trotting Filly division and was also voted Canada’s Horse of The Year. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her races last season and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore campaign. The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Kadabra took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The invincible filly’s stakes victories included the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Sylvain Filion successfully defended his Driver of The Year title. In 2013 he led all reinsmen in the nation in terms of purse earnings, as his mounts banked $6,111,736. Filion finished as the leading money-winning driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack. The resident of Milton, Ont. earned the Lampman Cup for the second straight year, as he topped the Ontario Sires Stakes standings for drivers. Filion celebrated his richest win of the season while steering Boomboom Ballykeel to a 10-1 upset victory in the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau was voted Trainer of The Year following an impressive season that saw his stable win 279 races and earn $3,623,805 in purses. The resident of Puslinch, Ont. earned training titles across Ontario at Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau topped the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. The 2013 season marked the 14th consecutive year that his stable has surpassed the $1-million mark in purse earnings. Alberta’s Kelly Hoerdt won the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Hoerdt is a successful driver/trainer who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. The 2013 season was another productive year for Hoerdt, as he trained 82 winners and horses to $623,000, and drove 66 winners and horses that earned over $490,000. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in terms of earnings at Alberta Downs. His stable was led by sophomore pacing colt Premium Attaction, a multiple stakes winner that rattled off six wins in 11 races and over $111,000 Precocious Beauty was honoured as Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, $462,912 in purses and took a mark of 1:50.1 which tied a world record for a one-mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. The two-year-old pacing colt title went to Arthur Blue Chip, who scored six wins in 11 starts and bankrolled $400,120 for his connections. The son of Shadow Play took a mark of 1:51.2 in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk before being scratched ‘sick’ from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore in 2013 and added another O’Brien (Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year) to her trophy case. The talented filly boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner up finish in the American National. Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation took the hardware home as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of The Year. Vegas Vacation gave his connections the ride of a lifetime in 2013. Conditioned by Casie Coleman, the son of Bettors Delight put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 from 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses. He wheeled off victories in his first four races which included the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup. On September 19 he captured the Little Brown Jug in straight heats – both timed in 1:50. ‘Vegas’ finished his sophomore season with a win in the Matron Stakes to put his bankroll at just over $976,000. Anndrovette continued to dominate the pacing mare ranks in 2013, and, for the third consecutive year, was crowned Canada’s Older Pacing Mare of The Year. The daughter of Riverboat King was on the board in all but three of her 21 races. Some of her major wins included three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway along with the Roses Are Red and Breeders Crown eliminations. On July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack she captured the Roses Are Red final in a career best 1:48. The talented mare now has 35 lifetime wins and a career bankroll of almost $2.6 million. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again was voted Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of The Year. Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season, as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final, as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final for his third straight million-dollar campaign. He entered the year within reach of the all-time earnings record for pacers, and he managed to obliterate that mark by adding $1.4 million to his bank account while visiting 11 different racetracks along the way. He closed the season by sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at the Meadowlands. Riveting Rosie was the winner in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Riveting Rosie closed out her rookie campaign with six wins in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Her major victories included the Peaceful Way Final, her Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain Stakes. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, it was Father Patrick who took the O’Brien trophy. He topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Series. Flanagan Memory was voted Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a productive season which saw him win seven of 11 races and $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning his Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Maven was voted Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of The Year. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She added wins in the Miss Versatility Trotting Series, an elimination and final of the Armbro Flight, and the Allerage. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her bankroll. For the second consecutive year, Mister Herbie captured the title as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of The Year. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in stakes competition, including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067 in purses. Seelster Farms, of Lucan, Ont. was honoured as the Armstrong Breeder of The Year. In 2013, Seelster-bred horses scored 248 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. In the Future Star category, the winner of this first-time award was trainer/driver Travis Cullen. The 21-year-old Alberta-based horseman closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the final card of the meet while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. The complete list of winners follows. 2013 O’BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - Precocious Beauty owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Arthur Blue Chip owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - I Luv The Nitelife owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Vegas Vacation owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare - Anndrovette owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Older Pacing Horse - Foiled Again owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL TROTTERS Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Riveting Rosie owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Father Patrick owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Bee A Magician owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Flanagan Memory owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Older Trotting Mare - Maven owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse - Mister Herbie owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY PEOPLE AWARDS O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Armstrong Breeder of The Year Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of The Year Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON Trainer of The Year Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB STANDARDBRED CANADA MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS The Media Excellence Awards program, established by Standardbred Canada in 2008, is aimed at honouring exceptional work that covers Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Outstanding Written Work Paul Delean ’Reaching Improbable Heights’ 'Reaching Improbable Heights', written by Paul Delean, was published in the December, 2012 issue of Trot Magazine. It tells the story of trotter Intimidate’s incredible journey from obscurity to harness racing’s biggest stage and the ride of a lifetime that two smalltime owners from Quebec are still pinching themselves over. Outstanding Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group North America Cup HD Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group’s North America Cup broadcast aired across Canada on The Score television network on Saturday, June 26, 2013. The one-hour special of the $1-million North America Cup was the first live high definition broadcast of a standardbred race in Canada. The show featured live race coverage of the main event, a feature on Marvin Katz (co-owner of eventual winner Captaintreacherous) and a profile of a very special racing fan – Sydney Weaver. The broadcast was a production of WEG’s broadcast department, produced by Rob Platts and directed by Kris Platts. Outstanding Photography Clive Cohen Clive Cohen captured the sunset behind trainer Rene Dion warming up Ocean Mist Beauty on September 19, 2013 at Mohawk Racetrack. The image was published on WEG’s Facebook page later that night. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

TORONTO, January 16 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced the date of the Pepsi North America Cup, its spotlight Standardbred race, along with the rest of the $12 million 2014 harness racing stakes schedule. The 31st edition of the Pepsi North America Cup will offer a guaranteed purse of $1 million on Saturday, June 14 at Mohawk. The continent's finest three year-old pacers will line up behind the gate, with eliminations scheduled the week prior on June 7. Captaintreacherous captured the race, first staged in 1984, last year. The lucrative June 14 card offers a showcase for the continent's best horses across several divisions, including the $400,000 Fan Hanover for three-year-old pacing fillies, the $325,000 Roses Are Red for older pacing mares, the $270,000 Armbro Flight for trotting mares, the $225,000 Goodtimes for sophomore trotting colts and the $100,000 Gold Cup for older pacing horses. "We are enthusiastic about the 2014 racing season and proud to announce one of the finest stakes programs in North America," said Jamie Martin, Executive Vice President of Racing. "Woodbine Entertainment Group plans to make this the best Pepsi North America Cup ever." Mohawk will once again play host to some of the continent's most prestigious Grand Circuit events. On July 19, the $550,000 Maple Leaf Trot, for older trotters, will be offered for a 62nd time. Market Share won the 2013 renewal. The $685,000 Metro Pace for two year-old pacing colts is set for Saturday, August 30. Ontario-owned, trained & driven Boomboom Ballykeel was victorous in the 2013 edition of the race. Co-featured on the rich Labour Day weekend card are the $650,000 Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers and the $450,000 Shes A Great Lady Stakes for juvenile pacing fillies. The Canadian Trotting Classic (CTC), for racing's best three year-old colt trotters, will take their positions behind the starting gate on Saturday, September 13 for a purse of $685,000. Royalty For Life won the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands en route to a score in the CTC last year. The $375,000 Peaceful Way final for two year-old trotting fillies, the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial for two-year-old trotting colts and the $365,000 Elegantimage, for three-year-old filly trotters, are also featured on the mid-September weekend. The Grand Circuit stakes return to Woodbine for its Fall meet in October. The $1.9 million Fall Four (Goldsmith Maid, Three Diamonds, Valley Victory and Governor's Cup), will be contested on Saturday, October 25. These events were last held at Woodbine in 2010. Also in 2014, all finishers in the stakes finals will earn purse money. The winner will continue to receive the traditional 50% of the total purse, while those sixth through last will get 1% each. Those finishing second through fifth will receive 50%-24%-16%-10%, respectively, of the remaining purse. Plus, if 11 horses or fewer declare to start in a stakes series, there will be no eliminations and all declared horses will advance directly to the final. Byes will no longer be issued in stakes events. The stakes nominating process begins February 15. For the entire stakes schedule click here: by Greg Gangle for WEG    

On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY   Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY   Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON   Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY   Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL   Trotters   Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON   Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI   Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON   Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL   Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY   People Awards   O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON   Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON   Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON   Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON   Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON

TORONTO, November 6 – It’s best known as “Harrisburg” in Harness racing. But to many others, it’s the Standardbred Horse Sales Company Annual Sale and the 2103 edition is underway with more than 2,100 racehorses offered at public auction. The ‘Black Book’ will feature a Select Yearling Sale held Monday through Thursday, followed by the Mixed Sale on Friday and Saturday at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some of the sport’s brightest starts, including those who are currently racing at Woodbine, will be offered on Saturday during the Mixed Sale. Atop the list is the four-year-old Knows Nothing, who is fresh off an open-length victory in the $34,000 Preferred Trot at the Rexdale oval. Hillsborough conditioner Jeff Gillis will auction the top sales prospect. The trotting star has a terrific 5-4-2 record from 17 starts this season, along with his 1:51.4 career best. The talented son of Kadabra competed in the Grand Circuit this season when he contested in the Maple Leaf Trot, Arthur Cutler Memorial,and TVG Free-For-All Series. The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate has $729,356 in career earnings and will sell as hip number 1970. Click here to see Knows Nothing’s latest victory. Another Gillis-trainee that will sell at the Mixed Sale is Continual Velocity. The classy five-year-old has found the winner circle in 21 of 85 career starts along with $344,166 in career earnings. A regular overnight campaigner on the WEG Circuit, Continual Velocity has a 1:50.3 career best and has raced in the Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace. She will sell as hip number 1797. Cheltenham conditioner, Dave Menary will offer four top campaigners in Tarpon Hanover, Windsong Jack and Tea Party Princess and Macharoundtheclock. Tarpon Hanover, who captured the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo last season as a rookie, will sell as hip number 1947. The pacing son of Badlands Hanover has banked $503,854 in his two season of racing. Fresh off a second place finish in the $200,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, Tarpon Hanover recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30 in 1:55.3. The brown colt has a 5-3-8 record from 24 career starts. His stablemate is another top OSS campaigner in Windsong Jack. A son of Santanna Blue Chip, Windsong Jack has banked $438,486 in his career for Menary. The brown gelding has amassed an impressive 6-7-2 record from 21 career starts along with a 1:49.4 career best. He recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30, winning gate-to-wire in 1:54. He will sell as hip number 1953. Macharoundtheclock, a daughter of Mach Three, has banked $239,837 in her young career. From 21 career starts, the bay filly has a 3-5-1 record and a 1:51.1 lifetime best. She talented filly competed in the Jugette, Shes A Great Lady, Canadian Breeders along with the OSS. She will sell as hip 1825. The richest of Menary’s offerings is Tea Party Princess, who has banked $666,934 in her career. The daughter of Art Major has found the winner circle in 18 of 73 career starts. A regular overnight competitor on the WEG Circuit, Tea Party Princess has competed in the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover and Milton Stakes, just to name a few. The $40,000 yearling purchase will sell as hip 1836. Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh will sell top OSS graduate Pan Luis Obispo as hip 1832. The daughter of No Pan Intended enjoyed a terrific three-year-old season in 2013 with $240,833 banked from 16 starts and five wins. The pacing miss has a 1:51.4 lifetime best and was a top competitor in the Ontario Sires Stakes program this season. She was primarily driven by Randy Waples. WEG’s top conditioner Richard Moreau will sell top trotting mare Smarty Pants as hip 1807. The daughter of Kadabra banked $305,836 last season while racing primarily in the provincial program. She classy mare recently finished third in the $34,000 Preferred Trot as she took on aged pacing horses of both sexes. With career earnings of $389,017, Smarty Pants has a 1:54.3 lifetime best. She competed in the Miss Versatility, Armbro Flight, Elegantimage and Casual Breeze in her career. Greg Gangle

Stakes racing-wise, we're around the halfway point of the 2013 harness racing season. We've also just transitioned from the "Meadowlands season" to the "post-Meadowlands season." Here's one man's assessment of where the various trotting divisions stand. Where cited, speed marks, starts, 1-2-3 finishes and earnings are for this year only. Rankings are strictly for 3-year-olds and older. We'll let the frosh guys and gals sort themselves out some more before ranking them. They're still in diapers this time of year! Okay, with the Hambletonian still fresh in everyone's mind, we'll start with the 3-year-old trotting colts ... Three-Year-Old Trotting Colts (and geldings) Royalty For Life 3, Q1:51.3 ($694,850); 7 starts, 4 wins, one second, no thirds Finally, the 3-year-old trotting colts have a pro tem leader. Ross, Campbell Jr. & Fontaine's Royalty For Life, by virtue of impressive wins in his elimination, and the $1 million final, of the Aug. 3 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, moves to the head of this class. There are other good colts here, including the Corky, who won the rich Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs in June, the two other Hambo elimination winners, Spider Blue Chip and Creatine, the early season standout Smilin' Eli, and Yonkers Trot winner Dewycolorintheline. But it's Royalty For Life, who also won last month's Stanley Dancer Memorial at the Meadowlands, who currently rules the roost. In all honesty, last year, the "leaderless" situation going into the Hambletonian was similar. Eventual division champ Market Share, who similarly won the Hambo, went into the big race as a contender, but wasn't yet the star he became with his very successful second half of the season. In fact, Market Share wasn't the betting favorite in the 2012 Hambo (that was Uncle Peter), nor even the second-choice (Knows Nothing). In keeping with the 3-year-old trotters, here is the top female ... 3-Year-old Trotting Fillies Bee A Magician 3, 1:51 ($845,956); 10 starts, 10 wins What can't she do? Bee A Magician, owned by Hartman, Liverman & McDuffee, may well be the best 3-year-old trotter in all the land, of either sex. But her connections, to this point, have elected not to take on the colts. She won the Hambletonian Oaks two Saturdays ago, and is still undefeated this year, though she just narrowly won this past Saturday's Ontario Sire Stake event at Mohawk. Maybe she was racing with a post-Oaks hangover? Those colts mentioned earlier, with the exception of Royalty For Life, who has a 1:51.3 qualifying record this year and a 1:52 race record, all seem to have a "speed limit" of 1:52 and change, or even 1:53 (the Hambo final was clocked in a pedestrian 1:52.1). Bee A Magician, on the other hand (or hoof), won the Oaks in 1:51.4, and also won last month's Del Miller Memorial at the Meadowlands in an even faster 1:51. So she seems to be about five lengths faster, in theory anyway, than the colts. Does that mean she's better, and can beat them? We'd sure like to find out, but it appears we'll just have to speculate right now, and see how the rest of the year plays out. And for the older, free-for-all trotters ... Older Trotting Horses (and geldings) Sevruga 1:50.3 ($410,275); 16 starts, 9-4-2 Going into the Aug. 3 John Cashman Jr. Memorial, raced on the Hambo Day undercard, tops in this division seemed to the the streaking 2012 Hambletonan winner, Market Share. He's come back well this year, entered the Cashman (a race formerly known as the Nat Ray) 3-for 3 in '13, and was fresh off a win in the rich Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk in Toronto. But the odds-on Market Share uncharacteristically finished fifth in the Cashman, and we lean, for now at least, in the direction of Sevruga, who won the Cashman in 1:50.4, and who also shows a win in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial in May. Sevruga is owned by Howard Schneidler's KDM Stable Corp. Head-to-head, Sevruga and Market Share have raced each other twice, and have each one once. Yet a third top FFA trotter in the picture is Wishing Stone, who won the rich Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia in May. Uncle Peter (yes, last year's Hambo favorite) and Guccio (second in last year's Hambo), are also in the picture. So is Mister Herbie, last year's Maple Leaf winner and second in the Cashman. Finally, in the trotting category, are the FFA mares ... Older Trotting Mares Maven 1:52 ($203,370); 7 starts, 5-1-0 There isn't much out there exclusively for older trotting mares to race for, but the biggest prize offered in this division thus far in 2013, the Armbro Flight (Memorial? All these races we've been mentioning seem to be named for famous deceased horsemen. Well, Armbro Flight is deceased, too), raced at Mohawk in June. She's owned by William Donovan. Maven, last year's Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly trot champ, has lost but twice this season, and they do happen to be her last two starts, but she's won twice as much money as any other older trotting mare, so far. She was upset by her own barn mate, D'Orsay, in the Ima Lula (might as well call it Memorial, too) on Hambletonian Day, as the crowd's favorite. Last year's champion 3-year-old filly, Check It Out, is racing, but has yet to win this season. Another nice mare in this division is 2012's Hambletonian Oaks winner, Personal Style. All in all, it looks like a good year for the trotters in all their various divisions, although if pressed for a Horse of the Year right now, it would be the pacer Captaintreacherous. But we're getting ahead of ourselves here. The Captain, as well as the other top pacers, will be covered separately. By Pete Lawrence  

Mohawk Raceway hosted Canada's richest night of harness racing for the 2013 season with the North Amercia Cup Night Saturday. Purses for the evening's program totaled more than $2 million with six major events headlined by the $1,000,000 30th annual North America Cup Final for three-year-old pacing colts.

Ok racing fans, after three weeks I have picked horses in 16 race with only 7 winners, but I picked three of the five race winners last week and broke dead even so we are still at a profit of $7.80 for this weekend.

The only thing as good as Maven's finish last year is her start this year. The harness racing 4-year-old ended 2012 with two straight wins, taking the American-National Stakes and Breeders Crown.

Maven turned in a 1:52.4 clocking to take the faster of two $35,000 eliminations for the Armbro Flight Stakes for older trotting mares Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack.

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