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An action-packed second leg of the harness racing Youthful series was the Doug McNair show Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A pair of seven-horse $15,000 divisions took place in the second and final preliminary leg of the Youthful series for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. The first division of the evening featured a matchup between round one winners Dialamara and Legion Of Boom. The public put their support behind Dialamara, as the Patrick Fletcher trainee was sent off as the 1/2 favourite, while Legion Of Boom was the second-choice at 5/2. Driver Sylvain Filion wasted no time putting Dialamara on the front-end and the pair were able to control the tempo down to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair were situated second-over around the final turn, but still several lengths off the leader as they turned for home. In the stretch, Legion Of Boom blasted down the centre of the racetrack and would pace by an all-out Dialamara to win by half a length in 1:53.4. Giovanni finished third, while Pantheon Hanover rounded out the Superfecta. A son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is co-owned by driver Doug McNair and is trained by his father, Gregg. Equus Standardbreds Inc. rounds out the ownership of the gelding pacer. Legion Of Boom now has a record of four wins from seven starts in his first season on the track. The leg two victory pushes his bankroll over $49,000 and his clocking of 1:53.4 knocks a full-second off his previous career-mark. A $2 win ticket on Legion Of Boom returned $7.10 to win. Legion Of Boom The second leg of the Youthful took place five-races later on the card and by that time snowy conditions had taken over the Toronto oval. American Rock and McNair would take the second division at 2/1 to give the reinsman a round two sweep. A son of Rocknroll Hanover, American Rock came first up in the second-quarter and overtook the lead just past the mid-way point from Nobettorplacetobe. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1, American Rock and McNair would hold off their rivals in the lane to score the victory by a length over Nobettorplacetobe in 1:54.1. Team Captain came off second-over cover to finish third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. American Rock is trained by Ben Wallace for owner Brad Grant and now has four wins from seven starts in 2015. The sophomore pacer was purchased by his connections during the Meadowlands Mixed Sale in January. American Rock, who finished second in last week's opening leg, now has earnings of over $38,000. He paid $6.30 to win. American Rock In order to be eligible to the Youthful Series, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The $37,000 Youthful final will take place next Saturday (April 11) at Mohawk Racetrack. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, March 28 - Sophomore pacing colts took centre-stage Saturday night at Woodbine for the first leg of the Youthful series. A solid harness racing group of 21 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings were split into two $15,000 divisions for the opening round of the three-week series event. Fresh off his win in the WEGZ series last Saturday, Dialamara kept the momentum rolling with a 1:52.3 victory in the first division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Dialamara got away early in fifth and would jump into the outer flow down the backstretch. American Rock, the 9/5 favourite, took control of the lead in the second-quarter. Around the final turn, Dialamara got right up along side the favourite to set up a stretch battle. In the lane, Dialamara was able to forge past American Rock in deep stretch to win by a head. Team Captain finished third, while Vegas Rocks took fourth. A three-year-old son of Lis Mara, Dialamara now has four wins from seven starts this season for trainer Patrick Fletcher. The first leg triumph increases the sophomore's career bankroll to over $92,000 for owner John Lamers. The 1:52.3 clocking lowers Dialamara's career-mark by more than a second. He returned $8.40 to win. In the second division, Legion Of Boom dug deep in the stretch to hold off his rivals and score a 1:55.1 victory. Driven and co-owned by Doug McNair, Legion Of Boom was put right on the front immediately by McNair. After cutting out fractions of :28.1 and :57.1, Legion Of Boom was confronted first up by Pantheon Hanover. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3, Legion Of Boom squared off with Pantheon Hanover in the stretch and would show plenty of grit to hold off his rival and get the job done. Giovanni took the place spot, while fourth went to Nobettorplacetobe. A three-year-old son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair for his son Doug, who co-owns with Equus Standardbreds Inc. The sophomore pacer now has three wins from six starts in his first season of racing. The winner's share of the purse increases his bankroll to over $41,000. Legion Of Boom's victory was one of four winning steers for driver Doug McNair on the card. The McNair trainee returned $4.80 to win. In order to be eligible to the Youthful, the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $15,000 in 2014. The second round of the Youthful series will take place next Saturday (April 4). For full results from tonight's card click here. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 21 - Ontario sired four-year-olds were the main attraction Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in a pair of harness racing winter series finals. The $45,000 Ontario Boys final for four-year-old pacers and the 44,600 Ontario Girls final for four-year-old pacing mares were co-main events on Saturday night's 11-race card. All eyes were on heavy favourite Nirvana Seelster in the Ontario Boys final, as he went for the series sweep. Driven by Phil Hudon, Nirvana Seelster sprinted out quickly to the front to grab his usual spot on the lead and would cruise along in control cutting out fractions of :27, :56 and 1:24.4 In the stretch, Nirvana Seelster continued to pace strong and was never in any danger of surrendering his lead. He posted a final-quarter of :27.4 to score a length and a quarter victory in 1:52.3. Ideal Jet got up to finish second, while Kindofabigdeal took the show spot. A son of Camluck, Nirvana Seelster is trained by Bill Budd for owner Bruce Davy. The four-year-old pacer swept the Ontario Boys series by winning each leg on the front-end. Nirvana Seelster now has three wins from seven starts this year and ten career victories overall. The winner's share of the purse pushes his career bankroll over $145,000. Nirvana Seelster returned $2.80 to win. Nirvana Seelster In the Ontario Girls final, Artistic Fusion was sent off as the heavy 2/5 favourite and did not disappoint winning in 1:53.4. A first-half battle saw a parked out Regally Ready finally clear to the front before the half ahead of Performing Art. However, Jack Moiseyev wasted no time charging Bet Ya up from fourth to overtake the lead from Regally Ready at the half in :55. Meanwhile, Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion paced along fourth and made a first-over move on the way to the final turn. Artistic Fusion and Bet Ya would slug it out past the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, Artistic Fusion powered by Bet Ya and paced on to the win the Ontario Girls final by a length and a half. A hard-closing Jakardez got up for second, while Bet Ya finished third. A daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion captured the first leg of the series, but then saw her four-race win streak snapped in last week's second leg by Bet Ya. The series finale victory improves her record to five wins from six starts in 2015. Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and now has an Ontario Girls title to go along her Blizzard series triumph a month ago. Artistic Fusion now has 11 career victories and earnings of over $142,000. She paid $2.90 to win. Artistic Fusion In order to be eligible to the Ontario Boys and Girls series, the Ontario sired four-year-olds had to be non-winners of $100,000 lifetime or $50,000 in 2014 as of October 31, 2014. Mark McKelvie

TORONTO, February 20 - Legion Of Boom pulled off a mild harness racing upset to win The Count B series final Friday night at Woodbine. A field of ten three-year-old pacing colts and geldings squared off in the $43,800 finale of the three-week series event. Legion Of Boom and driver Doug McNair left from the rail at 9/1 and got away fifth entering the first turn. As the field neared the half, McNair sent Legion Of Boom first up, allowing the 4/5 favourite Conversation Boy to pick up second-over cover. Legion Of Boom wasted no time charging first up and cleared to the front before the final turn. Conversation Boy, who was left without cover first up, made a break around the final turn spoiling his chances. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, Legion Of Boom had to dig deep in the stretch to hold off several rivals and score a half-length victory in 1:54.4. Dialamara finished second, while Nobettorplacetobe and His Boy Elroy finished third and fourth respectively. A gelding son of Artistic Fella, Legion Of Boom is trained by Gregg McNair and now has two wins in the first five starts of his career. The victory is extra sweet for driver Doug McNair, as he shares ownership of the gelding with Equus Standardbreds Inc. Legion Of Boom now has career earnings of $34,830. The clocking of 1:54.4 knocked close to two-seconds off his previous career mark. Legion Of Boom returned $20.20 to win. In order to be eligible to The Count B series, the three-year-old colts and geldings had to be non-winners of three races or $40,000 lifetime as of October 31, 2014. Legion Of Boom Mark McKelvie

Last time New South Wales’ leading harness racing trainer Shane Tritton trekked south to Victoria in search of Group One glory he found it via Marty Monkhouser. Driven by partner Lauren Panella, the Tritton-trained Marty Monkhouser completed a stylish win in the Breeders Crown Final. The Tritton/Panella combo has dominated the local scene this season, with Panella the leading with 86 wins from 232 drives and Tritton on top of the trainers’ ladder with 93 wins from 352. The pair also leads the metropolitan premiership tables – Panella with 18 winners from 90 starts and Tritton with 18 triumphs from 133 starts. On Saturday night the power pair return to Tabcorp Park Melton in search of more top-level success when Easy On The Eye contests the A G Hunter Cup and Artistic Flite takes his place in the Victoria Derby. Easy On The Eye is fresh from his Goulburn Cup success in 1:57.2, covering the last half 56.9. The son of Christian Cullen hasn’t been in top form since joining Team Tritton, securing a berth in last year’s Miracle Mile after running third in the Group 1 Coca-Cola Amatil Sprint behind Beautide and Guaranteed. “We’re really happy with him,” Tritton said. “He was running at Grand Circuit level and performing quite well in New Zealand and is building up a nice reputation in Australia. We’re pretty optimistic.” Easy On The Eye is a long-shot with the TAB $41 after drawing wide in eight. Artistic Flite burst into Derby calculations with an astonishing mid-week 63.4-metre Newcastle win two starts back. Although the son of Artistic Fella could only run fourth in his Derby heat last weekend, Tritton stated the colt is “worth another chance”. “He was probably asked to do a bit too much that night,” Tritton said. “It was a windy night and not a lot of horses in the chair went real well. “The plan will be to come out quick and get to the pegs first. That gives you a chance.” Artistic Flite has drawn better in gate four as opposed to his inside the back row position last week. Tritton and Panella will also combine with Yayas Hotspot in the Four-Year-Old Bonanza and Chance, which is emergency for the Harness Breeders Victoria Ladyship Cup. HRV Media

The Pacific Fella stallion Artistic Fella has now reached the crossroads in his siring career in both hemispheres and he badly needs to lift his numbers or else harness racing breeders will quickly leave him on the shelf. North America Artistic Fella started well enough with his first crop in North America with the two year olds showing enough to suggest that they would be stakes horses at three. And while they were better it wasn't to the extent most had expected and his reputation took a bit of a hit. That first crop in North America numbered 98 foals and to date as early four year olds they have won $1,753,900. Fifty one have won with eight taking a sub 1:53 mark with the best winners to date being Porsche Seelster 1:54 ($168,144) and Regil Meg 1:53 ($119,298) The second crop numbered just 55 foals and raced in North America in 2014 as two year olds and to say they were very disappointing is being kind. The best performer from the second crop to date is Little Miss Artist 1:55.1 ($35,520) while the next best is Faithful Friend 1:55.2 ($16,905) To date thirteen of that crop have been winners and stakes earned total $179,973. The performance of the first crop meant his foal numbers have dropped even further in North America with this years two year olds numbering just 28, with his yearling crop also numbering just 28. Comment  Not a bad start but failed to kick on and is on borrowed time as far as his future as a sire goes. His second crop were poor last season and he badly needs a couple of flagbearers quickly or his days are numbered as a sire in North America. Australia In Australia Artistic Fella's first crop numbered just 80 foals and he started in good fashion. His flagbearer was the brilliant filly Mindarie Priddy 1:53.8 ($284,659) while others of note were Kimba Bay 1:57.5 ($118,490), Artistic Copper 1:59.1 ($99,807) and Majestic Amy 1:59.4 ($87,530) As of today that first crop has won $855,642 which is a reasonable start but the problem for Artistic Fella is only twenty two of that first crop have won a race as of today which equates to a percentage of winners to live foals of just 27.5% which is way off the pace of  todays leading sires. The second crop in Australia numbered just 56 which raced as two year olds last season. Again Artistic Fella was able to produce a high class individual in Artistic Flight 1:57 ($170,094) but again his numbers are not that flash. Half way through their three year old season, the winners to foal percentage is a very low 16.07% His second best horse from his second crop is Leonardos Son 2:07.3 ($15,490) and to date Artistic Fella has just nine winners from the fifty six foals who have earned a total of $273,920) to date. It is way to early to comment on this seasons two year olds but Artistic Fella has 67 two year olds and to date has had one winner in Sultan Fella 2:03.3 ($4520) Off the back of his good start with his first crop, Artistic Fella has his biggest crop on the ground as foals this season with 97 registered to date. Comment Has left a top horse from each of his first two crops in Australia and a few other handy horses from his first crop as well. His problem is well and truly his number of overall winners in relation to his number of foals. A winners to live foals percentage of just 27.5% from his first crop who are now half way through their four year old season is way short of what all his major competition are achieving and has to be lifted substantially or breeders will turn off the son of Pacific Fella. A winners to live foals percentage from his second crop of just 16.07% is further evidence that he badly needs to lift his overall numbers. New Zealand Has just six live foals which are two year olds this season. Overview Has done a better job in the Southern Hemisphere with a couple of outstanding youngsters but his overall numbers are very poor. Has shown he can leave that elite individual but it is all negated if his overall numbers don't compare to those of all his competitors. Needs to lift those numbers in the next twelve months or his future as a sire is in doubt in both hemispheres. Harnesslink Media

In the spring of 2011 a young Jake McGeechan confidently announced to his father Michael that the newly born Artistic Fella and Kahlea Mac colt was the best of their 2011 foals. With a likely future in the sport, Jake never came to realise the progress of the colt born on family's property 'Highland Pride' as he was tragically killed in a motor vehicle collision outside Crookwell in the early hours of Friday morning 30th November, 2012. For Michael McGeechan, his involvement in harness racing and standardbred breeding began in the late 1990's, and it was only natural that Jake would follow. McGeechan's first purchase was Smooth Jes who he owned with his brother John. Following a successful racing career, the mare produced a number of winners including the Miracle Mile champion Divisive and also the unraced Kahlea Mac. Michael also purchased in-foal mares Maputo that produced the Pacing Gold winner Burling Game in 2000 and Blanc De Noir who foaled the sub 1:50 horse Highland Pride who went on to win in excess of $400,000 in the US. McGeechan mostly sells the foals he breeds, but out of those retained for racing he claims the best to date as being Susie Oneill. Michael is now hoping the 2011 selection by Jake can take over the mantle. "I don't know how he did it, but Jake could pick them the moment they were born" said Michael. In 2005, the then 9 year old had chosen Shes All Lady as their best and she went on to win more than $65,000 in prize money, and in the process recorded a personal best time of 1:53.8. "He wasn't born into the horses but he had a way with them" explained Michael. "We ended up keeping all of the 2011 foals and they have been named after Jake." At Jake's funeral the Adam Brand hit Hell Of A Ride was played; it symbolised the McGeechans' year and became a natural choice for the Kahlea Mac colt. Trained by Ian Wilson at Menangle, One Hell Of A Ride has drawn 9 in the first of the $20,505 heats of the VHRSC Victoria Derby. Whilst he may be on the second row, One Hell Of A Ride comes out behind fellow New South Welshman Aztec Bromac who possess good early speed. "It's the weakest of the three heats, so we have a chance" said McGeechan who is hoping the colt Jake selected as the best can continue the ride they are experiencing. Also heading south this week is Crookwell born Brad Hewitt. The young gun harness racing trainer now based at Goulburn will be campaigning the talented Spare Me Days. A last start winner at Goulburn on the 19th January, Spare Me Days was bred by Hewitt and is the first foal of Tolnikie, a Nikalong Shadow mare who was bred and originally owned and raced by Brad's grandfather, the late Tom Hewitt of Wheeo. With the colt carrying Tom's favourite exclamation as his racing name, Spare Me Days has drawn barrier 3 in what is doubtless the hardest of the three heats being decided Saturday night. Lining up alongside the Hewitt runner is last season's champion two year old and Breeders Crown final winner Follow The Stars, the Simpson Memorial winner My Field Marshal and the Cran Dalgety trained Art Union who last start defeated the star open class pacer Border Control. "It's the hardest heat of all but we have drawn the 3 gate so it gives us a chance" said Hewitt, who is enjoying his best season ever as a trainer and driver. "I've only ever had one or two in training before but we have kicked off this season really well" said Hewitt who has recently scored feature race wins with Sweet Molly OShea and Im Jay Tee who snatched a last stride win in Monday's $18,600 Goulburn Soldiers Club Goulburn Rose. "He (Im Jay Tee) went really good at Goulburn, it was his first run in a month and just got there". Positioned perfectly in the one by one, Hewitt came with a well-timed run to claim victory on the line from the Belinda McCarthy trained pair of Mister Bling and Epaulette. Im Jay Tee will accompany Spare Me Days to Melbourne and is lining up in race 5 at Ballarat on Friday evening which is a heat of the Country Clubs Championships. by Mark Croatto  

TORONTO, January 23 - The first two stake finals of 2015 took place Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack and it was the Sylvain Filion show. The veteran harness racing reinsman could be poised for another big year, as he took home both the $45,000 Snowshoe Series and $40,000 Blizzard Series finales. The Snowshoe Series final appeared to be wide-open on paper, as seven different horses won divisions during the first two legs. Kindofabigdeal and Filion came into Friday's final as the most consistent horse in the ten-horse field and left with another big effort. The Richard Moreau trainee got the cue to leave hard from Filion and sprinted out to the quick lead, but was quickly challenged for the front by A Boy Named Suuzz. Filion allowed the outside challenger to clear and got a perfect two-hole trip for Kindofabigdeal. Kindofabigdeal sat patiently in the pocket until Filion made his move at the top of the lane. In the stretch, Kindofabigdeal overtook the lead by the eighth-pole and paced away to win in 1:53.3. Bad Bug came on late to make it close and finish second by half a length, while A Boy Named Suuzz held on to hit the board in third. A four-year-old son of No Pan Intended, Kindofabigdeal has been on a roll over the last few months at Woodbine, but has recently been unable to come through in series finals. The Moreau trainee won a leg of the Autumn Series, but finished second in the November final. Last month, Kindofabigdeal won the opening two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third as the favourite in the Boxing Day finale. The series final victory Friday gives the pacer seven career wins from 13 starts and pushes his bankroll over $88,000 for owner Hudson Standrdbrd Stb Inc. Kindofabigdeal paid $5.70. Kindofabigdeal In the Blizzard Series final, heavy favourite Artistic Fusion completed the series sweep with a 1:54.4 victory. Trained by Joe Agostino, Artistic Fusion and Filion got away in fourth and came first up down the backstretch to challenge the leader A Fearless Affair. Those two mares would battle side-by-side past the three-quarter pole in 1:25.2, but Artistic Fusion was too much to handle for A Fearless Affair in the lane. Artistic Fusion wasted no time leaving her rivals behind and cruised home to win by 2 ¾ lengths. Badlands Love got up for second, while A Fearless Affair dug in to finish third. A four-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion has been firing on all cylinders over the last few months in series action. The Agostino trainee won the Autumn Series final in November, finished second in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day and has now swept the Blizzard Series. Artistic Fusion surpassed the $100,000 mark in career earnings with her eighth career win Friday night for owner Mike Foote. She returned $2.60 to win. Artistic Fusion Mark McKelvie

Toronto, ON --- The stage is set for the first two stakes finals of 2015 this Friday (Jan. 23) at Woodbine Racetrack. The $45,000 Snowshoe Series and the $40,000 Blizzard Series finals have been carded as races six and nine on Friday’s 11-race harness racing card. The Snowshoe for 3- and 4-year-old pacers featured seven divisions over the opening two legs and saw seven different winners prevail. All seven winners will return to make up a wide-open ten-horse series finale. Four of the seven winners, Ramblingamblinman (post one, Rick Zeron), Kindofabigdeal (post four, Sylvain Filion), A Boy Named Suuzzz (post five, Jonathan Drury) and P L Heavenly (post 10, Anthony MacDonald), also had a second place finish in a separate leg. The other three division winners were Vegas Rich (post two, Paul MacDonell), Decisive Destiny (post three, Trevor Henry) and Whistle Jimmy K (post eight, Doug McNair). The Richard Moreau trainee Kindofabigdeal has been a top performer on the stakes series scene over the last few months. The 4-year-old son of No Pan Intended won a leg and finished second in the final of the Ontario Sired Autumn Series. The gelding followed that up by capturing the first two legs of the Valedictory, but finished third in the final on Boxing Day. The connections of Kindofabigdeal will hope the third time is the charm to capture a series title, but they will have their hands full with a stack of challengers, including the speedy Ramblingamblinman. Trained by Rick Zeron, Ramblingamblinman joined the Zeron barn in late November and turned in an eye-catching career best performance of 1:51.4 in a non-winners of two event on Dec. 15. The 4-year-old son of Lis Mara finished second in the opening Snowshoe leg and followed that up with a 5-1/4 length victory in round two. The second leg victory was the largest margin of victory in the first two rounds of the series. The Snowshoe Series was first staged in 1978 and has been a launching pad for successful older horses, including Modern Legend, last year’s Canadian Pacing Derby champion, who won the series back in 2012. Unlike the Snowshoe, the Blizzard Series for 3- and 4-year-old pacing fillies and mares has been dominated by one horse. Artistic Fusion (post five, Sylvain Filion) has stamped herself as the horse to beat in the ten-horse final, after winning in both of the first two legs, including a more than seven length victory in round one. The Joe Agostino trainee won the Ontario Sired Autumn Series final on Nov. 28 and finished second to Witch Dali in the Niagara Series final on Boxing Day. A 4-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion won five of 19 starts last year and will look to improve to three for three in 2015 by sweeping the Blizzard Series for owner Mike Foote. Mappos Moenhay (post three, Mike Saftic), A Fearless Affair (post eight, Simon Allard) and Deuces For Charity (post nine, Paul MacDonell) were all division winners that also finished second in another leg and will be looking to block the broom of Artistic Fusion. The Blizzard Series was first raced in 1980 and has been won by several mares that went on to be Open class competitors, including Art's Secret (1998) and Numeric Hanover (2003). In order to be eligible to both the Snowshoe and Blizzard Series, the 3- and 4-year-olds had to be non-winners of two races or C$30,000 lifetime as of Oct. 31, 2014. Post time for Friday night’s card is 7:25 p.m. Here are the complete fields for Friday’s stakes finals. Race 6: Snowshoe Series Final–Purse: C$45,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. Ramblingamblinman–Rick Zeron 2. Vegas Rich–Paul MacDonell 3. Decisive Destiny–Trevor Henry 4. Kindofabigdeal–Sylvain Filion 5. A Boy Named Suuzz–Jonathan Drury 6. Bad Bug–James MacDonald 7. American Island–Trevor Henry 8. Whistle Jimmy K–Doug McNair 9. Ys Lotus–Simon Allard 10. P L Heavenly–Anthony MacDonald AE: Newbie–Randy Waples Race 9: Blizzard Series Final–Purse: C$40,000 Post-Horse-Driver 1. P L Hurricane–Chris Christoforou 2. Onyourmarknatava–Rick Zeron 3. Mappos Moenhay–Mike Saftic  4. Badlands Love–Sylvain Filion 5. Artistic Fusion–Sylvain Filion 6. Doc's Hollywood–Phil Hudon 7. Bettim Jenny–Roger Mayotte 8. A Fearless Affair–Simon Allard 9. Deuces For Charity–Paul MacDonell 10. All The Ladies–James MacDonald Woodbine Entertainment Group

Within moments of Artistic Flite’s arrogant victory at Newcastle today, trainer Shane Tritton turned his attention to Australian harness racing’s oldest classic – Victoria Derby. Second-up from a spell, Artistic Flite led throughout for an authoritative 63-metre win from Artistic Kate, with Exterminate five metres away third. Rating 1:58.3 for the 2030 metres, Artistic Flite covered the last half in 57.7 seconds with Lauren Panella in the cart. Thrilled with the three-year-old’s performance, Tritton will take Artistic Flite south of the Murray River for next week’s Derby heats at Tabcorp Park Melton. Should all go to plan, the colt will contest the Final at the same venue on February 7. “We are over the moon with him,” Tritton said. “I wanted him to slide along today to give him a good blow out and he has just done it so easy. “Lauren never pulled the plugs and he got to the line with plenty up his sleeve. “He is a superstar this horse and now we will target the Victoria Derby heats on January 31.” One of last season’s top freshman, Artistic Flite was transferred to Tritton’s stable last October. Artistic Flite had 13 starts under the guidance of Anton Golino for five wins and six placings, earnings a bankroll of $163,494. Victorious in the Bathurst Gold Crown, the son of Artistic Fella was second in the Group One Australian Pacing Gold and Seymour Nursery Finals. Artistic Flite is unbeaten from two starts for Tritton. “Anton did a great job with him and since he has been with us he has had the perfect preparation for the Victoria Derby,” Tritton said. “Everything has fallen into place perfectly and I couldn’t be happier with him ahead of the Derby.” Following his interstate trip, Artistic Flite will be targeted at the New South Wales Derby, which is scheduled to be run on March 1 – TAB.COM.AU Inter Dominion day. “After the Vic Derby I will keep him fresh for the New South Wales Derby,” Tritton said. “He is also eligible for the Breeders’ Challenge and Crown, Bathurst, Vicbred and the Kevin Seymour, so he has a big campaign ahead of him. “It’s unlikely he will go in everything, and even then, he won’t race between the heats and Finals of each series.” PAUL COURTS

TORONTO, January 15 - Favourites struggled early, but Artistic Fusion turned the tide and made another bold statement in the Blizzard Series Thursday night at Woodbine. Just like round one, three $16,000 divisions of the three-week series for three and four-year-old pacing fillies and mares were contested. In the first division, Bettim Jenny got up at 22-1 to pull off the upset in 1:56.3. Driven by Roger Mayotte, Bettim Jenny got away fifth and would pace along in that position for the majority of the mile. Mappos Moenhay, a leg one division winner, left hard to get the lead, but would duel with Tango Bayama to the half-mile before finally clearing to the front. Bettim Jenny got into the outer flow just after the midway point and was situated second over behind the favourite Wildcat Magic around the final turn. In the stretch, Wildcat Magic took the lead at the top of the lane, but Mappos Moenhay battled back on the inside. However, Bettim Jenny would surge by the top two in the final eighth of the mile to score the upset win by three-quarters of a length. Mappos Moenhay took the place spot, while Wildcat Magic had to settle for third. Bettim Jenny is trained by Jeffrey Lilley, who shares ownership with Rodney McGrath, and was coming off a fifth place finish in last week's opening leg. The four-year-old daughter of Largo won four of 24 starts last season, racing primarily in the Maritimes. Thursday night's victory is her fifth career win and pushes her bankroll over $32,000. The clocking of 1:56.3 is also a new career speed badge for Bettim Jenny. She paid $46.10 to win. Deuces For Charity was all heart to win the second division in 1:55.3. Driven by Paul Macdonell, Deuces For Charity flashed good early speed to grab the front and posted an opening quarter of :28. MacDonell decided to drive on in the second quarter and did not allow Sweet Princess, who was at the leaders saddle pad, to clear to the front and posted a half of :56.2. After putting away Sweet Princess, Deuces For Charity hung up a three-quarter time of 1:25.1 to bring the field into the lane. In the stretch, P L Hurricane, was first over around the final turn, paced up along side Deuces For Charity and took a neck advantage at the eighth-pole. However, Deuces For Charity dug in along the rail and fought back to retake the lead and defeat P L Hurricane by half a length. Onyourmarknatava, the slight 8/5 favourite over P L Hurricane, got up for third. Deuces For Charity is owned and trained by Kelly Goodwin and was coming off a second place finish in a division of the opening leg. The four-year-old daughter of Armbro Deuce won three of 15 starts last year and is now one for two in 2015. The leg two victory gives Deuces For Charity four career wins and more than $30,000 in career earnings. The mile of 1:55.3 lowered her career mark by close to two seconds. She returned $14.90 to win. In the final division, Artistic Fusion went off at 2/5 and turned in another easy-looking victory to set herself up for a chance at a Blizzard Series sweep. Artistic Fusion came in Thursday's second leg off a close to eight length victory in the first round a week prior. However, another first leg winner, A Fearless Affair, took a bit of support away from the heavy favourite, but ultimately was no match. Artistic Fusion and driver Sylvain Filion got away in fourth, but quickly surged to the front in the second-quarter and never looked back. After posting fractions of :57.4 and 1:26.3, Artistic Fusion accelerated away from rivals Badlands Love, who was first up, and A Fearless Affair, who got a two-hole trip, to win by 2¾ lengths in 1:55.2. A Fearless Affair ended up finishing second, while Badlands Love took the show spot. A four-year-old daughter of Artistic Fella, Artistic Fusion is trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote and is now two for two this year after winning five of 19 starts last season. Artistic Fusion now has eight career victories and earnings of over $86,000. The final of the Blizzard Series will take place next Friday (January 23) along with the final of the Snowshoe Series. Round two of the Snowshoe Series is set for Friday night with three divisions on the card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

TORONTO, November 28 - It was a frosty night Friday at Woodbine, but Mario Baillargeon and Sylvain Filion were both on fire in the Autumn Series finals for three-year-olds. The three-week series for Ontario sired three-year-olds came to a close with a finale for each division. In the first final of the evening, Meadowview Vicky completed the Autumn Series sweep with a 1:57.2 victory in the three-year-old filly trot. The daughter of Muscle Mass was sent off as the 4/5 favourite and got away in second for driver Mario Baillargeon behind Serendipitious and Chris Christoforou. In the second quarter, Baillargeon appeared to be pulling the pocket, but Christoforou asked Serendipitious to pick up the tempo forcing Meadowview Vicky to continue trotting along in the two-hole. After fractions of :58.2 and 1:27.1, the fillies reached the top of the stretch and Meadowview Vicky came off the rail and trotted by Serendipitious to win the Autumn Series final by a length. Superflex got up for third, while Osprey Impact finished fourth. By sweeping the Autumn Series, Meadowview Vicky has now won three starts in a row and seven of 14 this season. Trained by Mark Etsell for owner Meadowview Farms Inc, Meadowview Vicky has now earned over $70,000 in her first season of racing. She returned $3.80 to win. Meadowview Vicky In the $38,600 three-year-old pacing colts and geldings final, Baillargeon would find himself back in the winner's circle after guiding Rural Art to a 1:52 victory. The son of Major In Art was second over around the final turn following The Optomist, while Kindofabigdeal called the shots through the opening three-quarters. In the stretch, Rural Art popped off his cover and would track down Kindofabigdeal to score a half length victory with a :27.4 last quarter. Bugger Bruiser took the show spot, while V I P Bayama was fourth. Trained by John MacMillian, Rural Art finished second in the opening leg, but opted to skip round two and instead won an overnight event at Rideau on November 23. Rural Art has now won eight of 20 starts this season, nine of 24 in his career and banked more than $60,000 for owners 2099551 Ontario Inc and MacMillian. The clocking of 1:52 was a new lifetime best for the three-year-old gelding. He returned $6.20 to win. Rural Art While Baillargeon swept the opening two finals, it was now Sylvain Filion's turn in the spotlight. In the $40,000 three-year-old trotting colts and geldings final, Filion and Dontcheatonmenow held on to prevail in a win photo. Dontcheatonmenow was three-wide around the first turn and would duel with stablemate Warrawee Prince in the second quarter. Filion and Dontcheatonmenow would finally clear before the final turn and would post a three-quarter time of 1:27.1 to lead the field into the lane. In the stretch, Deweykeepumnwhy, who was second over on the final turn, would close ground on Dontcheatonmenow and the two trotters were almost inseparable as they hit the wire in 1:57. In the photo, Dontcheatonmenow was declared the winner by nose leaving Deweykeepumnwhy in the place spot. Stonebridge Rich and Tequila Haze finished third and fourth respectively. A son of Deweycheatumnhowe, Dontcheatonmenow is now trained by Richard Moreau for owner Rolling Hills Racing Stables and has now won three of 16 starts this season for earnings of over $46,000. Dontcheatonmenow won a division of the first Autumn Series leg, but skipped the second leg. In his career, Dontcheatonmenow has now visited the winner's circle five times and banked over $120,000. He paid $7.20 to win. Dontcheatonmenow Filion would return to the winner's circle in the $40,400 three-year-old pacing fillies final with Artistic Fusion. The daughter of Artistic Fella got away in fourth, but after a couple lead changes on the front, Filion sent the filly towards the front and would clear to the lead in the third quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:23.3, Artistic Fusion would open a solid lead in the stretch en route to a career-best 1:52.4 victory by a length and a quarter over Double Joy. Mach Some Noise, the heavy favourite, finished third, while Performing Art was fourth. Trained by Joe Agostino for owner Mike Foote, Artistic Fusion won an opening round leg of the Autumn Series and then finished second in the second round. Artistic Fusion has now won five of 16 starts this season and six in her career. The Agostino trainee has now banked over $56,000 in two seasons on the track. She paid $21.50 to win. Artistic Fusion Along with winning a pair of Autumn Series finals, Filion also won two other races on the 11-race card for a grand slam. In order to be eligble for the Autumn Series, three-year-olds had to be Ontario sired and non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2014 as of September 30. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine with an 11-race card. Post time is 7:25 p.m. Mark McKelvie

Having taken possession of Easy On The Eye earlier this week, Shane Tritton’s harness racing stable continues to grow. A top rated New Zealand pacer, Easy On The Eye arrived in New South Wales on Monday after being purchased by clients of Tritton. Expected to make an impact on the Grand Circuit, the son of Christian Cullen has been aimed at next month’s SEW-Eurodrive Miracle Mile. As for Tritton’s latest acquisition, the premier trainer is now in charge of last season’s star two-year-old, Artistic Flite. Artistic Flite had 13 starts under the guidance of Anton Golino for five wins and six placings, earnings a bankroll of $163,494. Victorious in the Bathurst Gold Crown, the colt was second in the Group One Australian Pacing Gold and Seymour Nursery Finals. Thrilled with the youngster’s arrival, Tritton will set the son of Artistic Fella for the various Derbys. “We are very excited to have a horse like him in the stable,” Tritton declared. “He’s a very nice type which we will aim at the majors. “At this stage I will just bring him up slowly with the view of having him ready for the Derbys in the New Year. “There is no set date for his return…he will tell us when he’s ready.” PAUL COURTS

A trio of $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series dashes for three-year-old colt and gelding pacers were the marquee races on Sunday evening (September 7) at Rideau Carleton Raceway, and heavily favoured Shadowbriand, Titus Seelster, and Shadow Place did not disappoint their legions of backers in their respective divisions. In the first Grassroots split it was Arrived Late (Sylvain Filion) who chopped out fractions of :26.4, :55.3, and 1:23.3 while Shadowbriand (Mike Saftic), who had gotten away third, was able to get himself into the pocket spot just past the half. Shadowbriand would remain in that position until the passing lane became available at the top of the stretch, and once it did, Saftic guided Shadowbriand to the clearance. Shadowbriand had plenty of pace to go with the space, and he would go on to prevail by two and a quarter lengths in 1:53.3. Major Homer (Gord Brown) was up for second and Sanattle Slew (Billy Davis Jr.), who wound up first-over in the final half, was third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ontario, owns and trains Shadowbriand, a three-year-old gelded son of Shadow Play. This was Shadowbriand’s third win from 15 starts this year and his fourth career victory. He has earned $91,608 in 2014 and $152,293 lifetime. This was Shadowbriand’s first OSS win of the year. Last year he won once in OSS competition, that coming in a Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack. The second Grassroots flight saw Titus Seelster (Filion) on the point through panels of :27.3, :57.4, and 1:25.1. Titus Seelster would put away a first-over try from Star Messenger (Trevor Henry) past three-quarters, and then he left the remainder of his foes in arrears through the stretch as he reported home two lengths to the good over Shadios (Davis Jr.) in a final time of 1:52.2. High Flier (Jonathan Drury) checked in third. Stephane Larocque trains the victorious son of Artistic Fella for owners Brian Paquet of Quebec City and Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Quebec. Titus Seelster, making his tenth trip behind the gate this year, has three wins this season, and it was his fourth lifetime tally. He has banked $41,187 this year and $81,312 lifetime. Titus Seelster also won in Grassroots competition on August 3 at Hanover Raceway and on August 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. Shadow Place (Trevor Henry) also went right down the road in the Grassroots nightcap. He was hustled to the lead before the :26.1 opening quarter and then went on to reach the half in :55.2 and the three-quarters in 1:23.4. Blacktree (Doug McNair) gave way from first-over before the top of the stretch, and although pocket-sitter Cluster Hanover (Mike Saftic) had room in the passing lane, it was to no avail as Shadow Place went on to triumph by a pair of lengths in 1:52.3. Cluster Hanover was the runner-up and OK Galahad (Davis Jr.) nabbed third. Richard Moreau trains Shadow Place, a son of Shadow Play, for owners 9174 7998 Quebec Inc. of St-Janvier-Mirabel, Les Ecuries Bruce of Piedmont, and Henri Hebert Jr. of Papineauville, Quebec. Shadow Place has now won four times from 11 tries this year, and he has six career victories. He has put away $43,840 in 2014 and $71,922 lifetime. This was Shadow Place’s third Grassroots success this year, joining his victories on August 3 at Hanover Raceway and August 19 at Mohawk Racetrack. Tonight concluded the Ontario Sires Stakes season at Rideau Carleton Raceway and the regular season for the three-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series. The next time they will be in action is in their Semifinal events on September 20 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results and charts of Sunday evening’s races, please visit – http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0907ridcfn.dat. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Star harness racing filly Mindarie Priddy has lost her battle with laminitis. Struggling to recover from a “simple” cut in her hoof, Mindarie Priddy had to be put down yesterday. Devastated by the news, trainer David Miles remains shocked by the manner in which the daughter of Artistic Fella met her demise. “All this is the result of something amazingly simple,” Miles said. “Initially she only stood on a toe chip, which developed into a foot infection that didn’t burst as you’d normally expect. “We took her to the vet surgery and it went pear-shaped from there, and before we knew it, she was fighting for her life. “In the end she was suffering from laminitis and we had to make the heartbreaking call.” Laminitis is a disease that affects hooved animals, often leading to perforation of the coffin bone through the sole of the hoof, requiring aggressive treatment or euthanasia. Sadly in the case of Mindarie Priddy – a winner of 11 races from 17 starts for earnings of $284,659 - it was the latter. In human terms, Laminitis is similar to gangrene, which often leads to amputation. “I can’t believe this has happened,” Miles declared. “We tried everything we could to save her, but her body was just fighting itself and not responding. “In the end the laminitis was too bad and there was every chance the pedal bone would have kept rotating and pushed through the sole of her foot. “There was even talk of getting a prosthetic leg for her, so I can tell you we tried, and thought of, everything, but the overall result is she had to be put down.” Miles also revealed connections flushed several embryos from the mare, which was served by leading sire, Bettors Delight. Again to Miles’ dismay, the embryos “didn’t take”. “During the last month we knew things weren’t looking good and were aware of what may come, so we tried to get some embryos out of her,” Miles said. “They were by Bettors Delight, which would have been a terrific mating, but they didn’t take, so we’ve ended up with nothing. “She was without doubt the best filly I have ever put a bridle on…she had speed, stamina and brains, she was the perfect racehorse. “The Australian Pacing Gold will remain her best win, but for one reason or another, we never got to see the best of her.” PAUL COURTS

Four $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots tests for three-year-old pacing fillies were held on Monday night (August 25) at Mohawk Racetrack, and Dana Dearest remained hot as she picked up her third consecutive Grassroots victory. Driven by Chris Christoforou, it looked like Dana Dearest was up against it inside the final sixteenth as Mea Lilley Mark (Mike Saftic) had cleared to the lead out of the pocket and opened up a clear advantage. However, Dana Dearest kicked it into another gear nearing the finish line, and she would get up to win by a head over Mea Lilley Mark in 1:52.1. Double Joy (Mario Baillargeon) finished third. Dana Dearest, a daughter of Jeremes Jet, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner/breeder Charalambos Christoforou of Campbellville, Ontario. Dana Dearest was winless in four starts last year, but she’s turned it around in her sophomore campaign, going seven-for-13. She has season’s earnings of $62,820 and a career bankroll of $67,048. Division points leader Her Own Land (James MacDonald) was also gunning for her third straight Grassroots triumph in the night’s third division, but she fell short. Her Own Land was in the lead through fractions of :27, :55, and 1:23.4, but in deep stretch Born To Dream (Doug McNair) forged her way by after a pocket trip, and it would be Born To Dream who won by a length a career-best 1:51.3. Her Own Land had to settle for second on this night and Shadows Wonder (Christoforou) bagged third. A winner in Grassroots competition on August 3 at Clinton Raceway, Born To Dream now has three total victories this season and four career triumphs. The daughter of Camluck, trained by Tony O’Sullivan for owner/breeder Lomangino Standardbreds of Tinton Falls, New Jersey, has banked $39,930 on the campaign and $49,726 lifetime. Monday night’s other two winners posted their first wins in Grassroots action this year. In the opener Artful Impulse (Randy Waples) took the lead past the :27.2 opening quarter and didn’t look back en route to a 1:52.3 score, and in the nightcap Regil Meg (Anthony MacDonald) worked out a three-hole trip and then paced by the leaders in the lane to prevail in 1:53. Artful Impulse is trained by Bob McIntosh, whose stable of Windsor, Ontario, bred and now co-owns the daughter of Artistic Fella with partners Dwight Stacey of Mitchell and James Walker of Port Perry, Ontario. This was win number three from 16 starts this year for Artful Impulse, and it was her fourth career victory. She has put away $73,480 in 2014 and $94,385 in her life. Carmen Auciello trains Regil Meg, another filly by Artistic Fella, for owners Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville, Ontario. She now has a pair of triumphs from 15 attempts in 2014, and this was the third win of her career. She has pocketed $26,240 this season and $101,988 lifetime. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

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