Bee A Magician will try to return to her winning ways when she faces 13 male rivals - including last year's Hambletonian Stakes winner Royalty For Life - in Saturday's $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, Bee A Magician won all 17 of her starts and was named Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. This season, the mare is winless in three races and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. It was her first off-the-board finish since going off stride in her second lifetime start in July 2012. Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman said Bee A Magician scoped sick following the Armbro Flight. Bee A Magician, who has won 27 of 33 career starts and $2.33 million, prepped for the Hambletonian Maturity with a 1:53.1 qualifier win on June 27, trotting her final quarter-mile in :26.3. She will start the Hambletonian Maturity, to be contested at 1-1/8 mile, from post No. 13 with regular driver Brian Sears. "She qualified really good and she's acting fine, so it looks good now," said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. "I was really happy with her qualifier and Brian thought she was back to her old self, so hopefully we're good. "It was a bit of a shock," he added about Bee A Magician's finish in the Armbro Flight. "I've never seen her stop before. But these things happen. She's never really had any setbacks before, so we weren't used to it. But she got over it, so we're OK. At least we knew there was something wrong." Joining Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Maturity field are Your So Vain, Sweet Justice, Bambino Glide, Fico, Wheeling N Dealin, Royalty For Life, Flanagan Memory, Spider Blue Chip, High Bridge, Master Of Law, Major Athens, Possessed Fashion, and Creatine. Conditions for the Hambletonian Maturity allowed for up to 16 starters rather than the traditional 10. Royalty For Life, who is making his 2014 debut, won last year's Hambletonian Stakes while Spider Blue Chip was the Breeders Crown champion and Creatine captured the Kentucky Futurity. Wheeling N Dealin was the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "I think it will be OK; I think we'll be alright," Norman said about facing the boys. "We'll see how some of those colts are." Also on Saturday's card at the Meadowlands are two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and one elimination for the Mistletoe Shalee. The first elimination for the Meadowlands Pace features North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. The second division includes He's Watching, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, and last year's Breeders Crown champion Luck Be Withyou. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the July 12 final. As for Bee A Magician's future schedule, she is being pointed to the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands, which is for trotting mares, following the Hambletonian Maturity. "I think I'll try to keep her at home as much as possible, race her close to home," Norman said. "It's a long year and I don't want to over-race her. We'll see how it goes. If we can do some good on Saturday and get some money there, that's a big purse, it would make the rest of the year a lot nicer." Following is the field in post order for the Hambletonian Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Your So Vain, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Sweet Justice, Corey Callahan, Bruce Saunders; 3. Bambino Glide, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller; 4. Fico, Tyler Smith, Staffan Lind; 5. Wheeling N Dealin, Jody Jamieson, Luc Blais; 6. Royalty For Life, David Miller, George Ducharme; 7. Flanagan Memory, Ron Pierce, Rene Dion; 8. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester; 9. High Bridge, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 10. Master Of Law, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci; 11. Major Athens, John Campbell, Rich Gillock; 12. Possessed Fashion, Tim Tetrick, Tom Fanning; 13. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 14. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart. by Ken Weingarter, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: TVG Free For All Trot, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. and Ben Franklin Pace, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Max C. Hempt Memorial and James M. Lynch Memorial eliminations, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will shine on Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday (June 20) with a $50,000 leg of the TVG Free For All Championship Series for older trotters. A field of seven will go to the post in race 11. Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will host four sets of stakes eliminations on Saturday (June 21). There will be two eliminations in the Ben Franklin for older pacers and the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters and three eliminations in the Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and the James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $920,000 Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old pacers at Mohawk Racetrack. JK Endofanera, with driver Brian Sears, roared down the stretch to take the Cup, Canada's richest harness race, in 1:48.4. It was the second Cup win for Sears, who took the 2005 edition with Rocknroll Hanover, but the first for trainer Ron Burke and owner 3 Brothers Stables (Alan, Steven and Ronnie Katz) of New York City. Dismissed at 12-1 odds, JK Endofanera, leaving from post nine, came from well out of it, collaring He's Watching and favored Tellitlikeitis deep in the lane. The winning margin was 1-1/2 lengths over Tellitlikeitis, with He's Watching third and McWicked fourth. Mohawk also hosted four other lucrative stakes events on the Saturday evening program. Trixton, the 1-9 choice in the $250,332 Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old trotters, kicked off the evening and lived up to his billing with another facile triumph. Trained and driven by Jimmy Takter, Trixton romped as his odds reflected, scoring by six lengths in a stakes, track and Canadian record time of 1:51.3. Trixton took over from Harper Blue Chip after a half in :55, got to three-quarters in 1:22.4 and floated home in record time. Il Sogno Dream wound up second and Harper Blue Chip was third. Classic Martine snapped Perfect Alliance's attempt at a perfect season by capturing the $244,720 Armbro Flight Stakes for older trotting mares. After following in third, Classic Martine found open racetrack at the top of the stretch. The Chris Oakes trainee dug in, trotting past Perfect Alliance just strides before the wire to win by a length. The mare stopped the clock in 1:52.1, which was a fifth of a second off the stakes record. Perfect Alliance finished second and Rockin With Dewey was third. The classy veteran pacing mare Anndrovette showed she was all heart by completing the three-peat in the Roses Are Red stakes. Anndrovette was pushed hard off the gate by driver Tim Tetrick and got to the front near the quarter pole. Leading the group of mares in the $303,600 event, Anndrovette took the field down to the three-quarter pole in 1:21.4 with Somwherovrarainbow and driver Brian Sears pressuring first-over. The two mares would then hook up in the stretch with Somwherovrarainbow taking a slight lead, but Anndrovette was dead game, fighting back on the inside to retake the lead and win the Roses Are Red in 1:49.1. Rocklamation wound up third in the mile. Trainer Jimmy Takter scored his second stakes wins on the card with Uffizi Hanover in the $420,900 Fan Hanover final for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Into the lane, Uffizi Hanover was angled out of the pocket spot by driver David Miller. Nat A Virgin and Uffizi Hanover battled for the lead and it was Uffizi Hanover who was victorious by 1-1/4 lengths. The 8-5 favorite stopped the timer in 1:50.4. Nat A Virgin was second and Take That Hanover was third. The $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity Pace was the feature of last Friday night's card at the Meadowlands and served as the stage for the successful return to the races of two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous. Saddled with post ten for his seasonal debut, Captaintreacherous was sent away from the gate by Tim Tetrick, improving to a mid-field tuck in fifth as first Word Power and then Apprentice Hanover led past the opening quarter in :26. Tetrick tipped Captaintreacherous at about the three-eighths mark and within a few strides had the lead at the half in :54. A :28.2 breather in the third panel was all he needed to get home as Captaintreacherous responded to Tetrick'a urging when Sunfire Blue Chip approached head-stretch and then held stablemate Odds On Equuleus safe by a length in 1:49.2. Dovuto Hanover was third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 341; 2. Yannick Gingras - 328; 3. Ron Pierce - 215; 4. Brian Sears - 165; 5. George Brennan - 164.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 527.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 225; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Joe Holloway - 132; 5. Julie Miller- 110. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 2. Burke Racing - 112.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 104.8; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 82; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Next weekend Grand Circuit action will be taking place at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and Mohawk Racetrack. Pocono will have the finals for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old male trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old male pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 28). On Monday (June 30), Mohawk will host a leg of the Miss Versatility for older trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
June 15, 2014 - Thanks to a $100 exacta box wager on the Meadowlands Maturity, 2012 Pen vs. Chip Handicapping Champion, Mark McKelvie, surged to the lead in HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest. The $100 exacta box of Captaintreacherous and Odds On Equuleus gave McKelvie a $1,200 profit for Friday evening on the way to a net profit of $1,065 for the weekend. As a result, McKelvie through 13 legs has a net profit of $1,518, leading former leader Brandon Valvo by $214.50. Of course, McKelvie was not the only handicapper to have a profitable weekend. With Dennis O'Hara's profit of $813.60, he moves from 14th place to 11th. Three other handicappers ended up in the black for the weekend. In addition to McKelvie's $1,400 (gross) hit on Friday night, there were other key wagers made on Friday evening. Ray Garnett had a $10 exacta ($90 in total exacta wagers) which paid $140; Derick Giwner's $200 win wager on Captaintreacherous paid $380; Dennis O'Hara's $2 trifecta box ($120) paid $253.60, $5 trifecta ($80) paid $634, $10 exacta part wheel ($40) paid $140. Saturday's big wagers were Ray Garnett's $1 trifecta box ($60) in the North America Cup which paid $328.75; Derick Giwner's $40 exacta in the Goodtimes paid $204; Sally Hinckley's $20 exacta box ($40) paid $160 and $2 trifecta box ($48) paid $255 in the Roses Are Red; Mark McKelvie's $100 win wager in the Fan Hanover paid $265; Josi Verlingieri's $50 win/pace wager in the Armbro Flight paid $387.50; Gordon Waterstone's $10 trifecta key ($60) in the Goodtimes paid $197.50. As of June 14, 2014 - Leg 13 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Mark McKelvie $1,065.00 $1,518.00 2nd Brandon Valvo ($430.00) $1,303.50 $214.50 3rd Derick Giwner $11.20 $735.00 $783.00 4th Earl Paulson ($171.00) $69.50 $1,448.50 5th Bob Zanakis ($420.00) ($59.50) $1,577.50 6th Brian McEvoy ($145.00) ($315.00) $1,833.00 7th Josi Verlingieri ($201.50) ($433.45) $1,951.45 8th Sally Hinckley $11.50 ($489.80) $2,007.80 9th Ray Garnett ($86.75) ($608.45) $2,126.45 10th Gordon Waterstone $6.30 ($853.20) $2,371.20 11th Dennis O'Hara $813.60 ($937.60) $2,455.60 12th Garnet Barnsdale ($650.00) ($1,288.00) $2,806.00 13th Ann Stepien ($263.00) ($1,328.10) $2,846.10 14th Rusty Nash ($639.20) ($1,642.40) $3,160.40 15th Ray Cotolo ($490.00) ($2,472.00) $3,990.00 This week, the handicapping Shoot-Out has one race on tab; Friday night at the Meadowlands is the second round of TVG FFA Trot. Results and handicapper selections may be found on the contest websitehttp://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com. by Allan Schott, for HAHA
Perfect Alliance saw her 11-race winning streak come to a close at the hands of Classic Martine Saturday at Mohawk Raceway in the $266,000 final of the Armbro Flight Final for older trotting mares. Also in the race was the 2013 Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, who had a good trip behind Perfect Alliance but lacked any closing kick and finished a disappointing ninth. It was Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick who shot away from the starting gate to the early lead like a rocket. Bee A Magician also left from post nine and was parked three-wide early and had to grind her way to the lead by the opening quarter mile in a quick :27 seconds. There was no rest for the weary as driver Yannick Gingras was also on the move with the race favorite, Perfect Alliance, and they were able to then clear to the lead going to the half mile pole in :56. From there Perfect Alliance led the field as Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) came first-over and started to challenge at the three-quarters in 1:24. Then as they started down the stretch, Bee A Magician had room along the rail but began to fade. Rockin With Dewey was still strong on the outside as Perfect Alliance held her ground. But Tim Tetrick was able to swing wide with Classic Martine and they closed with a burst of speed to win by one length in 1:52.1 over Perfect Alliance with Rockin With Dewey third. “Leaving out of the gate I wanted to get in good position,” Tim Tetrick said. “I thought that Yannick was going to get his mare (Perfect Alliance) in front and I would be in great position. Then Brian (Sears) put his mare (Bee A Magician) in front and was I content and I was fine having those two great mares in front of me. “I was just concerned about finding some clearance at the top of the lane. She is so quick off the wings and I knew she would follow the cover. She was content to sit and once I got clear with her she can really get to the house. She is just a really nice mare. She is really handy. She can leave the get in :27 or :26 if you have to. Then she can come home in :27 and that makes her very versatile.” It was the fourth win in five starts this year for Classic Martine. The four-year-old mare by Classic Photo is trained by Chris Oakes and is co-owned by the Hauser Brothers Entertainment, LLC and Suan Oaks. She paid $11.90 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
This Week: North America Cup, Fan Hanover, Roses Are Red, Goodtimes and Armbro Flight finals, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Meadowlands Maturity, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this weekend as the Ontario oval hosts five lucrative stakes finals on Saturday night (June 14) led by the C$1 million Pepsi North America Cup for 3-year-old colt pacers. Also on the card will be the C$457,500 Fan Hanover for 3-year-old filly pacers, the C$330,000 Roses Are Red for older mare pacers, the C$272,100 Goodtimes for 3-year-old colt trotters and the C$266,000 Armbro Flight for older mare trotters. Friday night (June 13) will see Meadowlands Racetrack host the $100,000 Meadowlands Maturity or 4-year-old pacers. Two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous makes his seasonal debut in that race. Complete entries for the Mohawk races can be found by clicking on this link. Meadowlands entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for older trotters at Scioto Downs and second choice Modern Family prevailed in an all-age track record-equaling clocking of 1:52.2. Modern Family left alertly and took the front end from Creatine at the opening quarter in :27. The order remained intact with a very soft half-mile time in :56.4. At that point Arch Madness began to turn up the heat with a first-over move and gave the winner all he had to offer down the backstretch. He was followed on the rim by DW's NY Yank and favored Market Share. Driver Dave Palone asked Modern Family to trot in the third quarter and he responded with a :27.3 panel to gain some separation. From there the Daryl Bier trainee trotted away and won in 1:52.2 by 1-3/4 lengths over longshot Archangel and Creatine. Market Share finished a disappointing sixth. Five sets of eliminations for this weekend's Mohawk stakes finals were also part of last week's Grand Circuit action. Leading the way were the finest 3-year-old pacing colts on the continent facing off in three Pepsi North America Cup eliminations. Lyonssomewhere, McWicked and Tellitlikeitis all turned in impressive victories heading into this weekend's C$1 million final. Lyonssomewhere and driver Corey Callahan shot through an opening in deep stretch to take the first of three C$50,000 eliminations June 7 at Mohawk. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the son of champion Somebeachsomewhere kept his racing record perfect, now five-for-five, as he scored by 1-3/4 lengths in a career best 1:50.1. Beat the Drum wound up second, with JK Endofanera fading to third. McWicked and driver David Miller rallied from third in mid-stretch to haul down Sometimes Said and take the second C$50,000 Pepsi North America Cup elimination by two lengths in 1:48.3. Sometimes Said, with driver John Campbell, appeared headed to victory but Miller eased McWicked out from third and blew by the pair for the win. Sometimes Said wound up second, Let's Drink On It was third and Ideal Cowboy was fourth and also advanced to the final. The third and final Pepsi North America Cup elimination looked to be the toughest on paper, with He's Watching, Luck Be Withyou, Tellitlikeitis and Doo Wop Hanover all highly-regarded contenders. But at the finish, it was the Jimmy Takter-trained, Brett Miller-driven Tellitlikeitis who rolled by the odds-on choice, He's Watching, to win by a comfortable 2-1/4 lengths in 1:48.4, just a tick slower than McWicked's time in the second elim. He's Watching, the 3-5 favorite, took over from Luck Be Withyou before the half was reached in :54.2, while Tellitlikeitis was tucked in third along the rail. He's Watching hit the three-quarters in 1:21.4 and appeared capable of holding off a bid from Luck Be Withyou in mid-stretch. But Miller moved out from third with Tellitlikeitis and came motoring home for the emphatic win over He's Watching, with Luck Be Withyou third. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 313; 2. Tim Tetrick - 276; 3. Ron Pierce - 205; 4. George Brennan - 164.5; 5. Brian Sears - 135. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 502.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 175; 3. PJ Fraley - 169; 4. Joe Holloway - 122; 5. Julie Miller- 100. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 136.5; 2. Burke Racing - 112.3; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 104.8; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 62; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Next weekend will see Grand Circuit action taking place at Meadowlands Racetrack and Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The Meadowlands will host a leg of the TVG Free For All series for older trotters on Friday (June 20), while Pocono will have eliminations for the Ben Franklin (older pacers), Earl Beal Memorial (3-year-old colt trotters), Max Hempt Memorial (3-year-old colt pacers) and James Lynch (3-year-old filly pacers) on Saturday (June 21). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
The story of 4-year-old harness racing female trotter Perfect Alliance, who enters Saturday's $266,000 Armbro Flight Stakes with 11 wins in 11 starts this season after winning a total of just two of 18 races at ages 2 and 3, would seem farfetched if it didn't sound so familiar. Perfect Alliance races out of the stable of Julie and Andy Miller, who five years ago took an unheralded 4-year-old male trotter named Lucky Jim and helped lead him to an award-winning season. Lucky Jim joined Team Miller with a total of just two wins in 20 career races. He won his first eight starts that season, including two winter series at the Meadowlands, before tackling the sport's top older trotters. He didn't slow down, winning seven more races in a row before finishing the campaign with 17 victories in 18 starts. His triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Nat Ray, Maxie Lee Memorial and Cutler Memorial, and he received the 2009 Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. Whether Perfect Alliance can write the same ending as Lucky Jim remains to be seen, but the first few chapters of her story are strikingly similar. She won two winter series - one at the Meadowlands and one at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs - before challenging the top female trotters in the game. In her first try against the big girls, in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine, Perfect Alliance won in 1:51.2, equaling Classic Martine's world record for the fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter. Incidentally, Lucky Jim shares the world record of 1:50.1 for the fastest mile ever by any trotter on a one-mile racetrack. Last weekend, Perfect Alliance won her elimination for the Armbro Flight by 6-1/2 lengths in a track-record 1:51.4 at Mohawk. She starts the final from post four with Yannick Gingras at the lines and is the 6-5 morning line favorite. "It's hard to believe we could ever do that again - and she hasn't done it yet - but the way she started out is a lot like the way we campaigned [Lucky Jim] because she fit some of the winter series," Andy Miller said. "She got a lot of confidence out of those series and just kept progressing and getting better and better. "Now she's as brave as a horse can be. Now that she's facing the better mares, she thinks she can tackle anything." Miller drove Perfect Alliance in her first seven starts, but has been sidelined since mid-April because of injuries sustained in an accident. In her second race this year, Perfect Alliance won from post 10 at the Meadowlands despite being stuck on the outside for most of the mile and getting a flat tire on the final turn. "She still dug in and won the race," Miller said. "When she did that, I thought it was something special. I didn't know if she would go [onto record-setting performances] but I knew there was a lot there." Perfect Alliance is owned by New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Meadowlands Racetrack General Manager Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She is a daughter of stallion Credit Winner out of the mare Yalta Hanover and was purchased for $75,000 under the name Perfect Deo at the 2011 Lexington Selected Sale. Her mother is a half-sister to stakes-winners Yursa Hanover, He's Spooky and Scary Good. She is a three-quarter sister to Thistle Dhu, who ironically edged Perfect Alliance last season by a nose in the $40,000 Zweig Memorial Consolation for 3-year-old filly trotters. "Last year [Perfect Alliance] was hot on the gate and had a few little issues, just immaturity," Miller said. "I think the time off and bringing her back this year she's just matured so much. The second time I qualified her, I covered her up a bit and put some earplugs on her and when I popped them she responded. I knew there was a lot there, but how far it would go, I didn't know. "It's worked out good. With these types of horses, you just hope you don't do anything wrong. She kind of takes care of herself. She does everything we ask and we just try not to mess it up." Following is the field in post order for the Armbro Flight with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lady Laker, Trevor Ritchie, Al Tomlinson, 20-1; 2. Bax Of Life, Chris Christoforou, Jerry Duford, 15-1; 3. D'Orsay, Sylvain Filion, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 4. Perfect Alliance, Yannick Gingras, Julie Miller, 6-5; 5. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 5-1; 6. Upfrontluckycarol, Steve Condren, Clark Beelby, 20-1; 7. Rockin With Dewey, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1; 8. Charmed Life, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 12-1; 9. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman, 4-1; 10. Angies Lucky Star, Trevor Henry, Richard Moreau, 25-1. Andy Miller got a positive report from his doctors recently as he continues his recovery from vertebrae surgery, but still is several months from returning to action. "He said everything looks good," Miller said Monday while watching qualifiers at Gaitway Farm, where he and wife Julie Miller are stabled. "He said in six weeks I can probably get rid of the [back] brace, but as far as doing anything, it'll be a couple months yet. "I was hoping I could do a little bit of work. Hopefully in six weeks I'll get a little more clearance, but I'm sure it will be a couple months before I can really do much." Miller said it was "frustrating" to be on the sidelines, but he is still active in watching horses train and race and providing his input. Miller has won 8,054 races in his driving career and nearly $101 million in purses, with both totals ranking among the top 25 in North American harness racing history. "Eventually, I'll get back out there, but I'll just take my time," Miller said. "I'm so thankful that I can be here and watch them and give my input on them training. "There haven't been any setbacks and if I didn't have the brace on, you wouldn't know anything is wrong with me. I can get around pretty good; I'm not running sprints, but everything is as good as it can be." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
June 8, 2014 – The handicappers of HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs were in love with Market Share this week. As a result, except for two astute handicappers who allowed for the possibility of Market Share laying an egg, the roster of handicappers took it to the chin when the horse finished sixth in the inaugural Charlie Hill Memorial Aged Trot at Scioto Downs.. Of the fifteen handicappers, only Ray Garnett ($776.50) and Derick Giwner ($456.60) showed net profits for the week, leaving Brandon Valvo as the overall leader in the contest through the first eleven legs of the handicapping series. As a result of their performances, Giwner moved from 5th place into 2nd while Garnett moved from 13th to 9th place overall. There were three key hits this week. Ray Garnett’s $5 Trifecta box of 4 horses, which cost him $120, returned a generous $1016.50. It should be noted Garnett did not include Market Share in his wager. As for Derick Giwner, he was spot on with regards to the race winner as his $100 win ticket on Modern Family returned $290 while his $2 trifecta partial wheel ($40) returned $406.60. As of June 7, 2014 - Leg 11 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo ($250.00) $1,733.50 2nd Derick Giwner $456.60 $723.80 $1,009.70 3rd Mark McKelvie ($220.00) $453.00 $1,280.50 4th Bob Zanakis ($250.00) $360.50 $1,373.00 5th Earl Paulson ($150.00) $240.50 $1,493.00 6th Brian McEvoy ($250.00) ($170.00) $1,903.50 7th Josi Verlingieri ($250.00) ($231.95) $1,965.45 8th Sally Hinckley ($190.00) ($501.30) $2,234.80 9th Ray Garnett $776.50 ($521.70) $2,255.20 10th Garnet Barnsdale ($240.00) ($638.00) $2,371.50 11th Gordon Waterstone ($230.00) ($859.50) $2,593.00 12th Rusty Nash ($198.00) ($1,003.20) $2,736.70 13th Ann Stepien ($250.00) ($1,065.10) $2,768.60 14th Dennis O'Hara ($240.00) ($1,751.20) $3,484.70 15th Ray Cotolo ($221.00) ($1,982.00) $3,715.50 This week, the handicapping Shoot-Out is a double header with the contest beginning Friday night at Meadowlands Racing & Gaming with the TVG FFA Trot and the Meadowlands Maturity for 4yo pacers. The week’s contest action concludes Saturday evening with a big night of stakes racing at Mohawk Racetrack starting with the Pepsi North America Cup. In addition to the Cup, Mohawk’s undercard features the Roses Are Red, Fan Hanover, Goodtimes, and Armbro Flight stakes races. With five stakes races, the handicappers’ bankroll expands to a maximum of $400 and a 13 wager limit. by Allan Schott, for HANA
Perfect Alliance all but destroyed a field of six rivals at Mohawk Raceway Friday, romping by six and one-half lengths in winning her $35,000 division of the Armbro Flight harness racing eliminations while Bee A Magician tasted defeat for the second time this year, losing to 54-1 long shot D’Orsay by a half length in her division. Now undefeated in 11 starts this year, Perfect Alliance lived up her name once again as driver Yannick Gingras had little trouble once he got his mare to the lead. He was parked out from post seven by Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) and was unable to clear to the lead until after the opening quarter mile in :27. But once on top Perfect Alliance settled in and led the field to the half mile in :55.3 and then by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4, Ma Chere Hall made a break in the two-hole as Perfect Alliance scooted away from the field, leading by four and one-half lengths before coasting home to win in 1:51.4. Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) was second with Bax Of Life (Chris Christoforou) third. The time of the race was the track record at Mohawk for trotting mares. Also making it to next week’s $266,000 final were Upfrontluckycarol (Stephen Condren) in fourth and Lady Laker (Trevor Ritchie) in fifth place. To watch Perfect Alliance win click here. Trained by Julie Miller, Perfect Alliance is sired by Credit Winner and is owned by Little E, LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She paid $2.30 to win. Mohawk Raceway’s tote board had to use all five digits when D’Orsay did the unthinkable and defeated last year’s Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, and she did it at odds of 54-1 and paid $111.30 to win. The five-year-old mare by Yankee Glide was driven by Sylvain Filion and used a :26.2 last quarter mile kick to collar Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) in late stretch and then win by a half length in 1:52.1. Classy Martine (Tim Tetrick) was third. It was Classy Martine that went right to the early lead and gave Bee A Magician what seemed to be the perfect two-hole trip through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25 and all the while D’Orsay and Filion sat in third place following the action until the top of the stretch. Sears came out with Bee A Magician and started after Classy Martine and had them collared but Sears was not pushing Bee A Magician so when Filion fanned out with D’Orsay they may have caught Sears napping a bit as they charged down the stretch to pull off the upset. Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) was fourth with Angie’s Lucky Star (James MacDonald) fifth to complete the final for next week. For D’Orsay, it was her first win in three starts this year for trainer Jonas Czernyson and the Consus Racing Stable of Hamilton, NJ. To watch D'Orsay win click here. The field for the final will line up as follows per post positions: 1) Lady Laker 2) Bax Of Life 3) Dorsay* 4) Perfect Alliance* 5) Classic Martine 6) Upfrontluckycarol 7) Rockin With Dewey 8) Charmed Life 9) Bee A Magician 10) Angies Lucky Star AE) Ma Chere Hall By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
This weekend the bulk of the racing action is at Mohawk Raceway both Friday and Saturday as they host the eliminations for five major stakes events headlined by the North America Cup for three-year-olds pacers. The big stakes event of the weekend is Saturday at Scioto Downs with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial FFA Trot plus on Sunday Vernon Downs hosts two rich ($217,000/$215,00) finals of the Empire Breeders Classic. Good Luck! $35,000 Trot Armbro Flight elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 2nd race FRIDAY – Very tough to go against perfection, as in Perfect Alliance, who is perfect this year with ten straight wins. She is the first to have beaten Bee A Magician and should be able to lay over this field with her front end dominance. Use Ma Chere Hall and Rocking With Dewey in exotic plays. $35,000 Trot Armbro Flight elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – She may have tasted defeat for the first time in over a year, but Bee A Magician is still the best there is and may not get beat again this year. She was a game second to Perfect Alliance in her first start back and now gets tested again but should prevail. Use Classic Martine and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $30,000 Trot Goodtimes elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 5th race FRIDAY – This is the tougher of the two divisions tonight but I think that Flyhawk El Durado will end up being the best in here. He easily handled his division of the NYSS last week with a sharp 1:55.1 triumph at Tioga Downs and now seems primed to cut loose in here. Use Verdi and Hitchin A Ride in exotic plays. $30,000 Trot Goodtimes elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Here comes on of the dynamic Jimmy Taker’s three top Hambletonian prospects. Trixton has been nearly perfect this year with three wins in his four starts this year, including a sizzling 1:51.2 lifetime mark. Once he gets rolling he should not be beat. Use Speak The Truth and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Fan Hanover elims 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 1st race SATURDAY – With five return winners in this field there is no clear standout so I am going with Nat A Virgin. This filly was decent last year and is coming off a sharp win here last week in 1:50.3 with a final quarter mile in :26.3. All she really needs to do is repeat that effort to win again. Use Beach Gal and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Fan Hanover elims 3YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Here comes the Dan Patch winning two-year-old pacing filly of the year in 2013, Precocious Beauty. She started off the season with an easy win in the NYSS at Vernon Downs in 1:52.4 and should be ready to cut loose against this field. Use Lady Shadow and Major Dancer in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Here is the first of three great preliminary round divisions. JK Endofaneara is undefeated in his three starts this year, can cut the mile of come from off the pace and is super razor sharp. He will be very tough to beat. Use Western Vintage and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY – This is the toughest of the three divisions as a good case can be made for just about everyone in this field. I am going to go with Let’s Drink On It because last week he faced He’’s Watching and went first-over against him in a valiant second place finish. Same effort will make him a winner in here. Use Always B Miki and McWicked in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Rose Are Red elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – This will be a real slugfest as some top mares will be going to post in this first division. Some are worried that Shebestingin was not at her best in her last start. Well, horses, especially mares, can have off days and I think this was one of them so watch her warm up and then you will see how great she really is. World champion mare will make amends. Use Anndrovette and Drop the Ball in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace N.A. Cup elims 3YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Looks like He’s Watching is back into the swing of things after being choked down in first start in the Rooney elims. He came right back last week and smoked’em with a 1:49.3 romp and will most likely repeat that same effort tonight. Use Tellitlikeitis and Doo Wop Hanover in exotic plays. $200,000 Trot Charlie Hill Memorial Older Horses Scioto Downs 10th race SATURDAY – The older trotting ranks this year will be a sensational division. Tonight we have the return of $800,000 winner Creatine to the mix of outstanding squaregaiters but all eyes will be on the continuing world champion Market Share. With Sebastian K not yet in the traveling mood, Market Shares looms the horse to beat and rightly so. He made amends for his costly break two starts back with a world record effort last time out. Use Modern Family and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace Rose Are Red elims Older F&M Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Another world record holder heads this field as Somwherovrarainbow comes to Mohawk off her amazing 1:48 mile in her last start. She has been tops this year with six wins in eight starts for the Joe Holloway Stable and should be able to continue her winning ways. Use Camille and Moneky On My Wheel in exotic plays. $217,725 Trot Empire Breeders Classic 3YO Fillies Vernon Downs 6th race SUNDAY - Looks like it will pay big time for a couple of horses to be New York sired with these two rich stakes. The filly field is headlined by the Leigh Raymer entry of Avalicious/Winning Pursuit for the Crawford Farms. They have each won recent starts and provided winning Pursuit can mind her manners, can take this field. Use Glowngold and Annies List in exotic plays, $215,125 Trot Empire Breeders Classic 3YO Colts Vernon Downs 9th race SUNDAY - Tough to not like Expressive Action in here. Undefeated early on with two straight wins against this same company. Look for him to either cut the mile or come from off the pace and win once again. Use Karets and Cash For Gold in exotic plays.
Perfect Alliance puts her perfect 10-for-10 record this season on the line in the first of two Armbro Flight eliminations for older female trotters Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The 4-year-old Perfect Alliance is coming off a world-record 1:51.2 win over 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician on May 19 in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine. The time is the fastest by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile racetrack. She is the 3-5 morning line favorite in her elimination, which also includes Upfrontluckycarol, Intense America, Rockin With Dewey, Ma Chere Hall, Bax Of Life, and Lady Laker. Perfect Alliance starts from post seven with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Julie Miller. Perfect Alliance had totaled two wins in 18 starts at ages 2 and 3 before bursting onto the scene this season with wins in the Singer Memorial Series and Bobby Weiss Series. "She couldn't be much better," Gingras said. "She's done everything asked of her and has been very impressive. I couldn't be happier with her." Gingras, who also is the regular driver of 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter Maven, has been driving Perfect Alliance since Andy Miller was injured in an accident in April. Maven just recently returned from Sweden, where she finished sixth in the international invitational Elitlopp. "I think (Perfect Alliance) fits really well (with the top older female trotters) off that last start," Gingras said. "You really don't know until they go out and do it, but she had raced very well and I felt she had some more. I was very happy to find out she did." Four-year-old Bee A Magician is the 6-5 favorite in the second Armbro Flight elimination, with Classic Martine the second choice at 8-5. It will be Bee A Magician's second start of the campaign after going 17-for-17 last season on her way to Horse of the Year honors in both the U.S. and Canada. She is trained by Nifty Norman and driven by Brian Sears. Chris Oakes' Classic Martine, another 4-year-old, has won all three of her starts this season, including her division of the Miss Versatility in 1:52.2. One race earlier, she won in 1:51.2 at Pocono Downs to become the fastest 4-year-old female trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval. The remainder of the second Armbro Flight elim field is Angies Lucky Star, Charmed Life, Daylon Miracle, and D'Orsay. * * * Trainer Joe Holloway sends out the favorites in each of Saturday's two eliminations for the Roses Are Red Stakes at Mohawk. Shebestingin is the 2-1 morning line pick in the first division and Somwherovrarainbow is the 4-5 selection in the second elim. Somwherovrarainbow has won six of eight races this year, including the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, and was last seen pacing the fastest mile ever by a female pacer on a five-eighths-mile track when she won in 1:48 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She brings a three-race win streak to Mohawk. Shebestingin, who happens to be the fastest female pacer in history thanks to her 1:47 win last year at The Red Mile, is returning to stakes action after being scratched from the Betsy Ross Invitational because of a fever on May 25. She has won two of four races this season, with one second-place finish. She finished fifth in the mares preferred at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 1. "These girls can rock," Holloway tweeted recently. (Follow @joehollowaystab). "Rainbow is feeling very good and trained well," he texted Wednesday. "I hope Sting rebounds; she might still be off her game some from being sick." Anndrovette, the three-time Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. She won the Betsy Ross in 1:50.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Rumors of her demise are premature," co-owner Jeffrey Bamond quipped after Anndrovette picked up her second win in seven starts this season. Also in the first elim are Jerseylicious, Charisma Hanover, Summertime Lea, Shelliscape, and Drop The Ball. Joining Somwherovrarainbow in the second elimination are Krispy Apple, Rocklamation, Monkey On My Wheel, Voelz Hanover, Yagonnakissmeornot, and Camille. * * * Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, was among 14 horses entered in the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. The group was split into two seven-horse eliminations, to be contested Saturday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the final. Sent out by the father-and-son team of trainer Gregg McNair and driver Doug McNair, Precocious Beauty is in the second elim. She is coming off a 1:52.4 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs last weekend in her seasonal debut. She is owned by breeder Jim Avritt Sr., who was looking forward to her campaign. Precocious Beauty has won eight of 12 lifetime starts and finished worse than second just once. She is unbeaten in four starts at Mohawk, where last year she captured the She's A Great Lady Stakes and divisions of the Champlain and Eternal Camnation stakes. Precocious Beauty is the 2-1 morning line favorite in her elimination. The rest of the second elim is Rock N Roll Xample, Mamas Fallen Angel, Table Talk, Major Dancer, Lady Shadow, and Bahama Blue. Uffizi Hanover, who won the 2013 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers, is in the first elim. She is joined by Take That Hanover, Barefoot Beauty, Nat A Virgin, Beach Gal, Wanna Rock N Roll, and Fancy Desire. Beach Gal, who beat older horses her last time out, is the 5-2 morning line choice. She finished third in last year's She's A Great Lady. * * * There are two eliminations Friday for the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Elim No. 1 features 2013 New York Sire Stakes champion Flyhawk El Durado, who is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Trained in the U.S. by Mark Ford, he races out of the stable of Jeff Gillis in Canada. The colt has a win and two third-place finishes in three starts this season. Entranced, trained by co-owner Garth Gordon, is the second choice at 9-2. He is coming off a second-place finish to Massive Talent in a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes. Massive Talent, from the barn of Nifty Norman, is 9-1 in the same Goodtimes elim. Thomas Durand's Hitchin A Ride, another Ontario Sire Stakes winner last week, is 5-1. The rest of the field is Massacaia, Musical Spell, Skates N Plates, Verdi, Il Sogno Dream, and So Not Cool. The second elim features Jimmy Takter's New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Trixton, who has won three in a row since finishing second to Odds On Amethyst in his seasonal debut. Trixton's three wins are by a total of 22 lengths. He is the 3-5 morning line choice. Harper Blue Chip, trained by Mark Steacy, is the second pick at 6-1. Last year, he won a division of the Champlain Stakes and finished second to Father Patrick in the Wellwood Memorial. Pasadena Star, trained by Bob McIntosh, also won a division of the 2013 Champlain and has won six of nine starts in his career. Lightly raced Speak The Truth, from the stable of Linda Toscano, won a leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in May. The remainder of the field is Adversity, Dontcheatonmenow, Mister B's Way, Sas Warkentin, See The Wind, and Raise The Curtain. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Currier & Ives filly division, The Meadows, Washington, Pa; Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, North America Cup, Fan Hanover and Roses Are Red eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Charlie Hill Memorial, Scioto Downs, Columbus, Ohio; and Hanover Stakes (3-year-old colt and filly trot), Balmoral Park, Crete, Ill. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this week. Action begins on Wednesday (June 4) at The Meadows with three divisions in the $93,860 Currier & Ives for 3-year-old filly trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will host Grand Circuit racing on Friday (June 6) with two C$35,000 eliminations in the Armbro Flight for trotting mares and two C$30,000 eliminations in the Goodtimes for 3-year-old trotting colts. The Saturday (June 7) card at Mohawk features a trio of C$50,000 eliminations for the North America Cup for 3-year-old pacing colts and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Roses Are Red for pacing mares and the Fan Hanover for 3-year-old pacing fillies. Scioto Downs will offer its second Grand Circuit stake of the season on Saturday, with the $200,000 Charlie Hill Memorial for open trotters, while Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Saturday with the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old colt trotters and the $35,000 (est.) Hanover Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the Meadows, Scioto Downs and Balmoral Park races can be found by clicking on this link. Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Molson Pace for older pacers at The Raceway at Western Fair District, the Art Rooney at Yonkers Raceway and the Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs. State Treasurer (#1) gets up on the outside to narrowly defeat Apprentice Hanover (#4) and Foiled Again (#7) in the Molson Pace. In one of the most exciting editions of The Raceway at Western Fair District's signature race, the $138,000 Molson Pace, last year's winner State Treasurer defended his title despite a terrible start and an inquiry on May 30 at the London half-mile track. Driver Chris Christoforou had State Treasurer three wide down the backside and picked up the cover of Apprentice Hanover and Jody Jamieson heading into the stretch. It was a great race to the finish with State Treasurer getting up on the outside to win by a neck in 1:51.4. Apprentice Hanover was a close second followed by the always game Foiled Again, just a half-length back in third. The winning connections, trainer Dr. Ian Moore and owners Sally MacDonald and Paul MacDonald, had to wait out an inquiry regarding the start before the race was declared official. "I sweated a little bit last year too, but this is a little different this year," noted Moore. "He's a real good little horse, he tries his heart out and he showed that tonight for sure." Odds-on favorite All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley, $2.60) was both anxious and effective on May 31, winning the $300,000 final of Yonkers Raceway's Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old colts and geldings. All Bets Off was a 1:52.2 winner in the Art Rooney Pace. All Bets Off collared leader Maxi Bon early in the lane, then held off a rallying Some Playa by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.2. Maxi Bon held third. All Bets Off, a son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Frank Baldachino, Panhellenic Stables and Rosemary Shelswell, is now three-for-four this season with earnings of $180,250. "Oh, yeah, I was worried," Kakaley said. "I thought giving up the lead (to Stevensville) was the right thing to do. Then I saw Danny's (Dube, with Maxi Bon) coming fast and I knew I was in trouble. I was lucky to get out. If I don't, I'm shuffled out, and probably last. "He's (All Bets Off) handy enough for the half-mile, but I think he can carry his speed to bigger tracks, too. Every start (All Bets Off) has been on his toes. Give Ronnie (Burke) and his crew an A-plus. I'm just fortunate to have the drive." Utilizing a powerful push clear in the far turn, Sweet Lou could not be caught in the $160,000 Roll With Joe Open Pace at Tioga Downs on June 1, turning in an impressive 1:48.3 victory. The 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser floated forward to track Bolt The Duer in the early stages, brushing to the front after a :26.2 first quarter and keeping the pace solid en route to a :53.4 half-mile. On the backstretch, Ron Pierce pushed clear with Sweet Lou, putting four lengths on the field in a :26.3 third quarter. Approaching the final 200 yards, it seemed the pace may have been too taxing, as Sweet Lou was all-out through the stretch and Heston Blue Chip found room to chase after being locked in. Sweet Lou dug in late, staving off Heston Blue Chip to prevail by 1-3/4 lengths. Bolt The Duer stayed on to be third. Ron Burke trains Sweet Lou for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 291; 2. Tim Tetrick - 255; 3. George Brennan - 164.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 143: 5. Brian Sears - 121. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 485.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 117; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller- 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 111.05; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 103.55; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 60; 5. Brad Grant - 49.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Mohawk and the Meadowlands next weekend. Mohawk will host its five stakes finals, led by the C$1 million North America Cup, on Saturday night (June 14), while the Meadowlands will card the Meadowlands Maturity for 4-year-old open pacers and a leg of the TVG Free For All series for open trotters on Friday (June 13). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
A blockbuster weekend of racing is fast approaching at Mohawk Racetrack, and while all eyes will be on Saturday’s trio of eliminations for the Pepsi North America Cup – they won’t be the only races worth watching. A stakes-filled weekend will see many of the sport’s brightest stars also be in action in eliminations for the Armbro Flight, Goodtimes, Fan Hanover and the Roses Are Red Stakes. Those elimination will take place on the Friday and Saturday cards at Mohawk Racetrack, and we’ve previewed those elims below: Friday – Armbro Flight Elim #1 – Race 2 Perfect Alliance, who was last seen establishing a world record for four-year-old trotting mares when she blazed to a 1:51.2 victory in her division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine Racetrack, headlines her $35,000 assignment for trainer Julie Miller. The daughter of Credit Winner-Yalta Hanover, who is a perfect 10-for-10 this season, will be handled from Post 7 by Yannick Gingras. Friday – Armbro Flight Elim #2 – Race 3 The multiple award-winning Bee A Magician will take on five other foes in the second elimination for the tandem of driver Brian Sears and trainer Richard ‘Nifty’ Norman. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra-Beehive finished second to Perfect Alliance in her world record performance in the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine Racetrack on May 19. That was the first start of the season for the 27-time winner who starts from Post 1. One of her biggest challengers figures to be Classic Martine - a recent divisional winner in the Miss Versatility Series. To read the rest of the story click here.
Due to a third suspensory injury, suffered in the Olympiatravet April 26 at Aby, the veteran nine-year-old Yarrah Boko, a son of Coktail Jet-Big Blue Kitten-Pine Chip has been retired. The game campaigner finished fourth in his last start and retired with 35 wins in 85 starts for earnings in excess of US$1.386 million. His pedigree is rich with performance tracing directly to Armbro Regina and Armbro Flight (dam of Armbro Goal) through second dam Dasooner Dabettor, she a Meadow Road from Armbro Brilliance. Yarrah Boko has been the flagship of Norwegian racing for many seasons. Trained in France, at Grobois, during the winter months, Yarrah Boko won races at Vincennes winter meet in four straight years, an unprecedented achievement. A great racing career is over. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com
This Week: Molson Pace, The Raceway at Western Fair District, London, Ontraio; Art Rooney and Lismore, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Somebeachsomewhere, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Roll With Joe, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at four locations this weekend. Action begins on Friday (May 30) at The Raceway at Western Fair District with the C$150,000 Molson Pace for free for all pacers. In addition to the appearance of defending champion, State Treasurer, who will start from the rail, two-time winner Foiled Again drew the outside post seven in the eight-horse field and will be making his sixth appearance in London's signature race. Yonkers Raceway will host the $300,000 final of the Art Rooney Pace (3-year-old colts/geldings) and the $124,744 Lismore Pace (3-year-old fillies) on Saturday (May 31). Elimination winners Stevensville and All Bets Off lead the field in the Art Rooney Pace, while the Lismore is led by Southwind Silence and Tyra, who captured last weekend's pair of eliminations. Also on Saturday, Mohawk Racetrack will host a trio of C$75,000 divisions in the Somebeachsomewhere for 3-year-old pacing colts. The Grand Circuit action concludes on Sunday (June 1) as Tioga Downs will host the $200,000 (est.) Roll With Joe for free for all pacers. Complete entries for the Yonkers and Tioga races can be found by clicking on this link. Western Fair and Mohawk entries can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Last weekend's Grand Circuit action was highlighted by the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters and the Betsy Ross for Market Share won the $250,000 Maxie Lee by two lengths over Sevruga in 1:50.2. The time established the record for history's fastest on a five-eighths-mile track, which previously was 1:50.3 and shared by Sevruga and Uncle Peter. Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick settled into fourth place behind Sevruga, Arch Madness, and Daylon Magician in the early part of the race. Market Share moved into second place on the backstretch before challenging Sevruga for the top spot on the final turn. Sevruga finished second followed by DW's NY Yank and Arch Maness. "Nowadays, when you win a stakes race it's either a stakes record or a world record," trainer Linda Toscano said. "The horses are faster, the equipment is better; you just have to go (speed wise) where you have to go to win. These are good horses, all of them." Market Share, a 5-year-old who won for the second time in three starts this season, is owned by Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable and Bill Augustine. Gutnick, a Philadelphia native, won the 2012 Maxie Lee with Chapter Seven. Two races later on the card, Anndrovette and Tetrick won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette won the $250,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers by two lengths over Rocklamation in 1:50.2. Anndrovette took the lead from Monkey On My Wheel as the field headed to the halfway point and never looked back. Rocklamation made a late charge from the rear of the pack, but finished second. Jerseylicious was third, followed by Monkey On My Wheel. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Anndrovette paid $13.40 to win. Morning line favorite Shebestingin was scratched. It was Anndrovette's second win in seven starts this season and first since winning a leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on April 4. She was fourth in the Matchmaker final on April 26. Anndrovette, who captured the 2011 Betsy Ross, is owned by Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. The 7-year-old mare, a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, has won 37 of 95 career races and $2.77 million. She is trained by P.J. Fraley. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 286; 2. Tim Tetrick - 225; 3. George Brennan - 144.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 113: 5. Brian Sears - 101. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 410.5; 2. PJ Fraley - 155; 3. Joe Holloway - 97; 4. Jimmy Takter - 95; 5. Julie Miller - 80. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 128.5; 2. Burke Racing - 96.85; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 94.35; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 40; 5. Brad Grant - 39.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at four different racetracks next weekend. The Meadows will host 3-year-old filly trotters with the Currier & Ives on Wednesday (June 4). Mohawk will feature three sets of eliminations for 3-year-olds, plus the Armbro Flight and Roses Are Red for older mares. The Goodtimes eliminations for colt trotters and the Armbro Flight eliminations for mare trotters will take place on Friday (June 6), while on Saturday (June 7) the track will host elims in the North America Cup (colt pacers), Fan Hanover (filly pacers) and Roses Are Red (mare pacers). Also on Saturday, Scioto Downs will host the Charlie Hill for free for all trotters and Balmoral Park will offer Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
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