Freehold, NJ --- Trainer Nifty Norman might not be expecting his star mare Bee A Magician to beat the sport’s top male trotters in Friday’s $236,000 Crawford Farms Open at Vernon Downs, but he’s not shying from the challenge, either. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, will face nine male rivals in the Crawford. The field includes world champion Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012 and is harness racing’s No. 1-ranked horse this season, plus major stakes-winners Archangel, Intimidate, Market Share, Mister Herbie, and Spider Blue Chip. “I’m not intimidated,” Norman said. “We’ve got to do it at some point, anyway, and I think she seems really good right now. I don’t expect to win, but I expect her to be good. She looks fantastic, nice and sound.” Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old mare who was undefeated in 17 races last season, has won two of eight starts this year and finished second on five occasions. She enters the Crawford off a track-record 1:55 victory over the boys in the open on Aug. 22 at Yonkers Raceway. “That had some bearing on our decision, although that was not the same quality field,” Norman said. “But I liked the way she raced there. “Basically, we’ve got to race and it was either against the mares for $40,000 (in Monday’s Miss Versatility Series leg at Tioga Downs) or the boys for $240,000. Getting a piece of $240,000 is better than winning for $40,000. We figured we’d give it a shot. “Plus Classic Martine is racing as good as anybody right now. It’s not like facing the mares was going to be easy.” Prior to the win in the Yonkers open, Bee A Magician finished second twice to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands. Classic Martine captured the final by a neck in 1:51.1, equaling Bee A Magician’s world-record time for a 4-year-old female trotter. Three of Bee A Magician’s second-place finishes this year came in miles of 1:51.2 or faster. Another came in the Hambletonian Maturity, contested at 1-1/8 mile, against 4-year-old male rivals. “I haven’t been disappointed with her at all this year,” said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. “I’ve thought she’s gone some great trips. “People keep asking what’s wrong with her because she’s not winning every race. I didn’t expect her to. It’s tough at this age (4). This year is really a learning curve to see how she handles the step up. It’s more to help plan for next year.” Bee A Magician, who has won 29 of 38 races and $2.49 million, will start the Crawford from post three with regular driver Brian Sears. Sebastian K, who has won seven of eight races this year, his first season in North America, starts from post five for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He is the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:49 win in the Sun Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28. Intimidate is the only horse to defeat Sebastian K this year, winning the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose. Intimidate, who starts from post eight, won last year’s edition of the Crawford, then called the Credit Winner. Market Share, who has won 24 of 49 races and $3.43 million in his career, was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. He will start Friday from the trailing position, post 10. “It’s a very good field, that’s for sure,” Norman said. “(Bee A Magician) has got a good spot. There’s lots of speed in there, and if she winds up getting a good enough trip, she should be good enough to get a piece.” The field for the Crawford in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 2. Spider Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Chuck Sylvester; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Flanagan Memory, Brett Miller, Rene Dion; 5. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 6. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 7. Mister Herbie, Brian Sears, Jeff Gillis; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 9. Quick Deal, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 10. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano. Spider Blue Chip and Bee A Magician will race as an entry. Market Share will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The very finest trotters in the land will converge on Vernon Downs the evening of Friday, August 29 for Grand Circuit racing. The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial drew full fields for both colt and filly divisions and the Crawford Farms Free For All looks to be the race of the season thus far for the veteran trotting set. The Crawford Farms offers a powerful field of ten to compete for a purse of $236,000. Current Top Ten Poll leader and multiple world record setting trotter Sebastian K will bring his impressive arsenal to Central New York for owners Knutsson Trotting and trainer / driver Ake Svanstedt. He will find plenty of competition here including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's winner of this race and the only horse to vanquish Sebastian K in North American thus far Intimidate and the always formidable Market Share to name but a few. The $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event has landed both Father Patrick and Nuncio from the Jimmy Takter stable. Father Patrick will seek to reestablish his position at the top of the sophomore crop and Nuncio will be coming in on short rest, being entered in a PASS event on Tuesday afternoon. There is also a $60,000 Zweig colt consolation on the Friday card. Takter will also bring the likely favorite for the $150,000 Zweig companion filly race in Shake It Cerry. Last year's divisional champion has won seven of nine this season and is over $1.1 million lifetime for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Local debutante Avalicious, PASS invader Broadway Socks and NJSS champ Heaven's Door will provide ample resistance to the top choice. The first leg of the 8th annual Tioga & Vernon Downs Drivers' Championship will be on the Friday program as well with four overnight races dedicated to that competition. The Vernon Racing Under Saddle series draws to a close with a $5,700 final and local driving legend, the late Jack Bailey, will be memorialized with the feature preferred trot. The hotly anticipated Jimmy Marohn, Jr bobble-head giveaway and free T shirts will only add to the festivities on this important occasion. Post time for the Friday evening extravaganza will be 6:45pm. Visit the Vernon Downs website for complete entry information and further details on racing and promotions.
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 22 - A full weekend of Grand Circuit racing action at Mohawk got underway Friday night with two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies. Lifetime Pursuit, this year's Hambletonian Oaks winner, cruised to a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the second division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace, Lifetime Pursuit and driver Yannick Gingras got away third and followed along as Cantabs Fortune and Rick Zeron set fractions of :27.4 and :56.4. As the field made their way around the final turn, Gingras sent Lifetime Pursuit first up and she immediately blew by Cantabs Fortune to trot by the three-quarter station in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit put on a show as she separated herself from her rivals and trotted effortlessly to a 3 ¾ length stakes record victory. The old stakes mark of 1:52.4 was set by Action Broadway in 2010. Designed To Be finished second, while Cantabs Fortune held on for third. The clocking of 1:52.1 was not only a stakes record, but it also equaled the track and Canadian record co-held by Check Me Out and Bee A Magician. "She can really scoot," Gingras said following the race. "She's been good all year, but she's really stepped it up since Hambletonian Oaks day and she was scary good that day and she's just as sharp now as she was then." Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit was coming into the Casual Breeze off World Record setting miles in the Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands and a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at the Meadows. While Lifetime Pursuit has really come into her own over the last month, Gingras said she was starting to show her true talent leading up to the 'Oaks'. "No doubt she's got better in the last three starts, but also a couple starts leading up to the 'Oaks' it was just the trip wasn't working out," said Gingras. "Maybe she was getting a little bit sharp then and the trip just wasn't working out, maybe it's a combination of both, but obviously on paper it looks like her last three starts have been vicious, but she's been good all along." Lifetime Pursuit is owned by the Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky. The Casual Breeze Stakes victory was the eleventh win of her career, fifth win in ten starts this season, and it boosted her career earnings to more than $700,000. Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.90 to win. The first division of the Casual Breeze Stakes saw Sweetie Hearts pull off a 45-1 upset. Sweetie Hearts and driver Randy Waples grabbed the early lead and led the field into the backstretch. On the way to the half, My Inspiration came first up and overtook the lead to reach the half way point in :56.3. Donatella Hanover, the 6/5 favourite, was sent to the outside and came up to challenge My Inspiration as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. In the stretch, Donatella Hanover took the lead, but Waples brought Sweetie Hearts off the rail from the two-hole to go around a fading My Inspiration and trotted up the inside by Donatella Hanover to win by a quarter of a length in 1:54.2. Danica, who made a charge on the far outside, finished third by only three-quarters of a length. Trained by Ron Parsons, Sweetie Hearts was coming into the Casual Breeze off a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg at Grand River on August 13. Following the race, Parsons said the daughter of Angus Hall - Sweetheart K has been getting better as the season goes on. "She's a great mare and she gets stronger as the year goes and I think you're going to get a lot cheaper price on her in the next few weeks," said Parsons. Owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Sweetie Hearts was moved during her two-year-old season from Paul Reid's barn to Ron Parsons stable. "When I got her from Paul Reid (last year), he told me 'you're getting a nice filly, but just take your time, put the right driver on her and she'll be good and that's what she did. She went a big race in the Goldsmith Maid and then we shut her down and then we brought her back and she's just starting to get her mojo about her." The mile time of 1:54.2 is a new career best for Sweetie Hearts and the victory was her third win in eleven starts this season. She has now visited the winner's circle seven times in her career and has earnings exceeding $210,000. Sweetie Hearts paid $100.70 to win. Next up for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the $215,000 Simcoe Stakes next Friday night at Mohawk. The following week, eliminations will be held for the $365,000 Elegantimage Stakes. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
YONKERS, NY, Friday, August 22, 2014-Yonkers Raceway's Friday night $44,000 co-featured Opens--a handicap for harness racing distaff pacers and a blind draw all socially-acceptable trotters--were won by odds-on numbers Robin Cruiser (Jordan Stratton, $3.70) and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears, $3.10). From penultimate post position No. 6, Robin Cruiser was in the game early, yielding to outside assignee Summertime Lea (George Brennan). just after a 27-second opening quarter-mile. Social Scene (Sears) was away third. After a 55-second half and before a 1:23.3 three-quarters, "Lea" was getting only mile pressure from a first-up Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett). The lead was length-and-a-quarter into the lane. However, she tired mid-stretch, passed on the inside by Robin Cruiser and on the outside by a fast-closing Crazy on You (Brent Holland). The former beat the latter by a neck in 1:52.3, with Summertime Lea, the filly Fanticipation (Larry Stalbaum) and Krispy Apple rounding out the payees. For Robin Cruiser, a 5-year-old homebred daughter of Yankee Cruiser owned by Pinske Stables and trained by Julie Miller, it was her sixth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $74.50, with the triple returning $345.50. ...and then there was the week's featured trot, where the name above the marquee was one Bee A Magician. The reigning Harness Horse of the Year, in her first Westchester work night-and just third career half-mile excursion-took to the four turns like a veteran. Winning the draw, she allowed the 2013 Yonkers Trot champ Dewycolorintheline (Stratton) to throw the first salvo. Bee A Magician then secured the lead after a :28.1 first station. From there, a waltz--around :59.3 middle half (:58.4 intermission, 1:27.4) gave the lass three lengths in and out of the final turn. Millionaire four times over Arch Madness (Trond Smedshammer) was the first to move, trotting in place from fourth before Somebody As (Dan Dube) tried his luck advancing modestly from third. A :27.1 chaser closed the sale by 3Â¾ lengths in 1:55...a new track record for her division. Somebody As won the scrum for second, with "Dewy," Tober (Bartlett) and Arch Madness rounding out the payees For Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman, she's now 2-for-8 this season (career 29-for-38 with earnings a shade under $2.5 million) "She handled the track perfectly, and I'm hoping she returns," Sears said of the first HOY to race here after winning the award since Gallo Blue Chip (won HOY in 2000, raced here twice in '03). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
I had to wait until the very last race of Saturday night, the Gold Cup & Saucer, to give me my fourth straight winning weekend. The Bigtown Hero/Wazzup Wazzup exacta box saved it in what was a super dramatic race. There is not one race for more than $100,000 this weekend, but it isn’t always the purse that counts as there are some great races in store for fans at Mohawk with their eliminations for the Metro, Canadian Pacing Classic and She’s A Great Lady plus solid action Friday at Yonkers and Sunday at Harrah’s and Tioga. Good Luck! $44,000 Trot Open Yonkers Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – What a great race with world champion’s Bee A Magician and Arch Madness in the lineup. She may be the only mare in the field and shows just one win in seven starts this year, but Bee A Magician should be able to surprise this field having drawn the rail. This is just her third time ever on a half mile track but I see her wiring the field. Use Arch Madness and Somebody AS in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – He shows nothing but 1’s on his race program lines and Sweet Lou is no question the top pacer in the world this year. He is going for his ninth straight win and sixth straight mile in under 1:48. He is simply amazing for the Ron Burke Stable. Use Foiled Again and Sunshine Beach in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – As the lone return winners in this preliminary round, I think Shakai Hanover is also the one who can repeat. She has won two of her last three starts for Jamieson Stable and should be at her best again. Use Bedroomconfessions and Aria Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – After showing everyone he has the gate speed to overcome post eight and get a perfect trip to win off of last week, Sports Bettor should be able to do it again from post seven this week. He gets slim call in very wide open race. Use Go Daddy Go and Lone Survivor in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – When it is your home track it means a lot and that is why I am going with State Treasurer. He has seven wins this year and nearly everyone was either at Mohawk or Woodbine. He never got into the hunt last start in Dan Patch at Hoosier Park and should come back with a vengeance in here. Use Captaintreacherous and Ellis Park in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – When you are as well-bred as JK Shesalady is and are on a four-race unbeaten streak to start off your career, you can’t go against such success. As long as she does not get into any road trouble she should win once again. Use Cashaway and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – Here is another undefeated young filly who has a passion for racing on the front end and not getting caught from behind. Band Of Angels could be tested well in here but I think she will still emerge as the winner. Use Happy Becky and Dancin Caroll in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Not much to speak of in here EXCEPT for Artspeak. Unbeaten in four career starts this colt has been ranked with Yankee Bounty as the two best colts in the nation and rightly so. He has been hot racing on the front end but shows he can come from behind too. Use Pierce Hanover and Traceur Hanover in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace winners-over $25,000 Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – I really tried to pick against P H Supercam in here. I don’t think he will like being away from Yonkers (as he showed last week) and racing in the daylight too. Just have a feeling but then I could not really put my hand on anyone else in the field that could beat. Thus with the rail for the first time in months I guess P H Supercam is the best. Use Great Vintage and Adventure Bound in exotic plays. $10,000 Trot Kindergarten Series Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – What a great match up between Mission Brief and Allerage Star, two of the top young trotting fillies in racing. But I think that Mission Brief has too much front end speed to anyone to keep close enough to her the entire mile and she should win in here. Use Allerage Star and Josie’s Joy in exotic plays.
YONKERS, NY, Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - When more than $6.8 million of career class and cash hit town, notice is summarily taken. Such is the case Friday night, with Yonkers Raceway's $44,000 Open Trot enhanced by the presence of Bee A Magician and Arch Madness. Bee A Magician, the reigning Harness Horse of the Year, won the draw as she makes her local debut and just her third career half-mile track start (two at Flamboro in 2012). The 4-year-old daughter of Kadabra, driven by Brian Sears, is trained by Nifty Norman for co-owners David McDuffee, Mel Hartman and Herb Liverman. After a 17-for-17, $1.5 million season a year ago, Bee A Magician has a win and five seconds in seven tries this season ($154,704). The career bankroll is in excess of $2.4 million. Despite her lack of small-track experience, "I have no reason to think she won't handle it," Norman said. "I'm probably gonna tighten up some of her equipment a bit, but that's about it. "It should be a good test for her. She needed a race (out 20 days since her last start), we're planning to race her on the half at Delaware (Ohio) next month, and perhaps we can come back for the (details to be announced) Invitational Trot here (late October)." "She trots the turns well, so I don't see a problem," Sears said. "We can play at by ear and see the race unfolds." According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Anne Chunko, Bee A Magician is the first Horse of the Year to race here after winning the award since Gallo Blue Chip (HOY in 2000, raced here twice in '03). With a mere $4.2 million in lifetime loot, Arch Madness makes just his second Westchester visit (an eight-hole break in a 2009 Open Handicap Trot). He drew post position No. 3 for trainer-driver Trond Smedshammer. The 10-year-old Balanced Image gelding, who could also be a Invitational candidate, is Long Island co-owned by Marc Goldberg and Willow Pond LLC. With 35 wins in 117 career starts, there's not much room left on this resume. The remainder of Friday night's overstuffed co-feature (8h race, approx. post time 9:30 PM) includes...2-Sombody As (Dan Dube), 4-Tober (Jason Bartlett), 5-Theraputic (George Brennan) 6-Dewycolorintheline (Jordan Stratton), 7-Coraggioso (Eric Carlson) and 8-Obrigado (Brent Holland). "Dewy" won the 2013 Yonkers Trot, while Coraggioso was the 2012 New York Sire Stakes (3-year-old colt/gelding) champ. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
Freehold, NJ --- Sweet Lou moved nearer to No. 1 Sebastian K and Trixton pulled into a near dead heat with stablemate Father Patrick in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. Sebastian K remained in the top spot coming off his world-record-equaling win in last week’s John Cashman Jr. Memorial while Sweet Lou, who won the U.S. Pacing Championship, swapped places with Father Patrick to take over the second slot. Hambletonian winner Trixton vaulted from sixth to fourth, just one point behind Father Patrick. Mission Brief, who equaled the world record in winning the Merrie Annabelle Stakes, and Ima Lula Series winner Classic Martine, who also equaled a world record, joined the Top 10. Mission Brief is ninth while Classic Martine is tied with Sandbetweenurtoes for the final spot. Shake It Cerry dropped out of the Top 10. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 12 – 8/5/2014 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (31) 8th 8-7-1-0 $502,603 344 1 2 Sweet Lou (4) 5ph 11-8-1-1 $791,500 307 3 3 Father Patrick 3tc 7-6-0-0 $520,992 240 2 4 Trixton 3tc 9-7-1-1 $786,917 239 6 5 He’s Watching 3pc 7-4-1-1 $564,485 207 4 6 McWicked 3pc 9-6-2-0 $618,830 156 5 7 JK Endofanera 3pc 8-5-1-1 $569,792 59 8 8 Nuncio 3tc 8-5-3-0 $563,351 56 10 9 Mission Brief 2tf 5-4-0-0 $255,775 49 -- T10 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 7-7-0-0 $211,157 47 9 T10 Classic Martine 4tm 9-7-0-1 $221,732 47 -- Also: Shake It Cerry (38), Dancin Yankee (37), Rocklamation (18), Centurion ATM (14), Market Share (12), Archangel (11), Intimidate, Lifetime Pursuit (10), Artspeak, Modern Family (7), Yankee Bounty (6), Perfect Alliance (2), Bee A Magician, I Like My Boss (1). Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications Courtesy of the U.S. Trotting Association
Jimmy Takter has once again won the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for three-year-old fillies, only perhaps with the horse he did not figure winning it with this Saturday. Lifetime Pursuit upset her stable mate Shake It Cerry in the stretch and posted a world record mile of 1:50.4 in giving driver Yannick Gingras his first ever victory in the Hambletonian Oaks. Leaving from post seven, Gingras sent Lifetime Pursuit to the early lead with Take The Money (Dave Palone) right on their backs. They sped to the opening quarter in :26.3 and before anyone could settle down, here comes stable mate Shake It Cerry and driver Ron Pierce and they went to the front by the half mile in :55.1. Heaven’s Door (Ake Svanstedt) came first-over and gave outside cover to the race favorite Designed To Be (Brian Sears) as they raced to the three-quarters in 1:23.2. As the field started down the stretch, it was Gringas and Lifetime Pursuit pulling from the pocket, collaring Shake It Cerry and drawing off to win by two lengths over Designed To Be and Take The Money. Shake It Cerry was fourth. Lifetime Pursuit paid $22.00 to win. “She (Lifetime Pursuit) has been a little under the radar,” said trainer Jimmy Takter, “She is a top horse. She ran second to “Cerry” all last year. I felt good about her going into this race. She has been serious every race. I gambled a little bit, we made a few changes and it worked.” “She got a perfect trip,” Gingras said. “She probably needed that to win but she was awesome anyway. They pulled off her shoes and I think that made the difference. She is always good gaited but that really helped her today.” Owned and bred by Brittany Farm’s George Segal, her time of 1:50.4 surpassed the previous world record of 1:51 set last year by Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician. “Absolutely she is a terrific filly,” said Segal, Jimmy’s done a great job, Yannick driving her great. I don’t pay attention to the publicity. She’s been racing great. You race for $30,000 and you do different things and you come out here for half a million bucks and you put it all on the line..” Lifetime Pursuit By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
The sun peaked out just in time for the first race at the Meadowlands Saturday afternoon and with the track maintenance crew working overtime paid off as Classic Martine held off a determined Bee A Magician and tied the world record for four-year-old mares with a 1:51.1 triumph in the $52,000 final of the Ima Lula Trot. Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick was able to take the early lead away from NF Happenstance (Jack Parker, Jr.) by the opening quarter mile in :27. They started to back it down to the half mile in :55.2 as Bee A Magician and driver Brian Sears come first-over over and started to grind their way towards the leaders and nearly collared Classic Martine at the three-quarters in 1:23. As they started down the stretch it looked as if Sears had Bee A Magician in full stride but each time they nearly caught the leader, Tetrick asked Classic Martine and she responded twice before holding off for a neck victory. NF Happenstance was third. “My mares best game is usually not on the front,” said Tetrick, “but today we had to do it. We fought it out. Brian’s mare was still good but mine was better.” It was the a lifetime mark for Classic Martine as the daughter of Classic Photo tied Bee A Magician’s world mark she set back on July 12. It was her seventh win this year in just nine starts for trainer Chris Oakes. Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Zurick and Ed Gold. She paid $2.60 to win as the 1/5 betting favorite. “She is a good mare and she came back gamely,” said Chris Oakes, “She is a very talented filly. She couldn’t get the job done against Bee A Magician last year but she has come back super this year.” Classic Martine By Steve Wolf for Harnessslink.com
Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 Â½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
We have been on a roll as of late with winning weekends the last two weeks. I am confident we can make it three straight winning weeks and never have to leave the Meadowlands. It’s their closing weekend and that mean’s Hambletonian Day, one of the best days of racing in the sport of harness racing this Saturday, headlined of course by the Hambletonian Trot. The card is jamming with top stakes action. The only problem is something we have no control over and that is Mother Nature. I handicapped based on a fast track so here’s hoping the rain either ends early or does not stop until late in the day. Good Luck! $52,000 Trot Ima Lula Final 4YO Mares Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – With a serious case of seconditis after her championship season last year, we keep hoping for Bee A Magician to return to her unbeaten form of 2013 but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps they will change tactics here and go back to racing her off the pace and that she will be able take this field. Use Classic Martine and Ma Chere Hall in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace Miss New Jersey 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY – Seems that trainer Jimmy Takter may have solved the previous breaking problems of Gettingreadytoroll off her lifetime mark last week in 1:49.3 and that she is settled down to keeping her mind on business. Repeat of last winning effort will bring home the bacon in here. Use Act Now and Bliztra in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace New Jersey Classic 3YO Colts Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Western Vintage has had a rough 3YO season after many thought he would be one of the leaders in this division after his great two-year-old season. Seems he has not lived up to expectations but should go off the favorite here after decent qualifying win. I’m going with Doo Wop Hanover. He has had good success when not racing against the best in the country, drew well for this and could get the dream two-hole trip to score off of. Use Western Vintage and Bushwacker in exotic plays. $257,700 Pace FFA US Pacing Championship Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Too tough to even consider going against the best pacer in the sport. Sweet Lou is on a seven-race winning streak, last four in less than 1:48 and he is just a pacing machine. He is facing a strong field but he has beaten all of them before and can do it again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $352,050 Trot Merrie Annabelle 2YO Filly Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – This will be an interesting matchup as both Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover have yet to meet and both are hot fillies that race on the front end. Mission Brief gets the call with her blinding early speed but you never know how Gatka Hanover will handle getting a two-hole trip. Use Gatka Hanover and Lock Down Lindy in exotic plays. $355,500 Trot Peter Haughton 2YO Colt Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – It’s interesting that in this final there are four return winners of the ten starters. Ake Svanstedt’s Centurion ATM showed he is the horse to beat after coming off the pace in his elimination race last week and strolling to a 1:54.2 win in just his third lifetime start. Repeat of that mile will make him an easy winner once again. Use Canepa Hanover and Guess Who’s Back in exotic plays. $75,000 Trot FFA Vincennes Invitational Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – All the talk was that after Master Of Law won his qualifying race that he was on his way to taking on the best in the country. He lived up to performance with a 1:52 win last time out and now gets really tested against a good field and having to start from post nine. Use Wishing Stone and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $300,650 Trot John Cashman Memorial FFA Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – Whether it rains or not I think Sebastian K and Ake Svanstedt are too tough to get caught again at the wire. No one can out leave him and unless every horse in the field tries to go first-over against him, he has too much stamina to not hold them off. Use Uncle Peter and Market Share in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Hambletonian Oaks 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 12th race – Last week in prep race, Ron Pierce and Shake It Cerry held Designed To Be and Brian Sears at bay and were able to win. Now Shake It Cerry starts from second tier in post 11 and won’t be able to dictate early fractions to anyone. I still think that Shake It Cerry will “shake it loose” somehow and find a different way to beat Designed To Be once again. Use Designed To Be and Lifetime Pursuit in exotic plays. $1,066,125 Trot Hambletonian Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – Trainer Jimmy Takter has his heart set on finishing one, two, three in harness racing’s most prestigious race and he very well should get what wants as he has the best colts in racing. Father Patrick needs to just overcome starting from post ten as he is seconds faster than the rest of the field. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $177,750 Pace Lady Liberty Final Older Mares Meadowlands 14th race SATURDAY – Was super impressed with the three moves Drop The Ball made for driver Corey Callahan last week in winning elimination race. She will need that gusty performance once again to win the final as Rocklamation will be in the hunt this week. Drop The Ball gets the slim call in here. Use Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays.
After watching Bee A Magician put together an 18-race win streak that began at age 2 and covered her entire 3-year-old season, harness racing fans wanted to know what was wrong with the 2013 Horse of the Year as she went winless in her first four starts this season. Not much, says trainer Nifty Norman, other than the fact that winning is difficult. "Lots of people have said to me that she's been no good, but only once really," Norman said. "Her first start was a great run, [second in 1:51.3] right off the bat and she had trot finishing. We kind of raced her easy in her second start and she was second; she was a little bit flat. Then she was sick, but she's been good again ever since. "People just expect her to win," he added with a chuckle. "It's not that easy; I wish it was. But I think she's been pretty solid." Bee A Magician, owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, returned to her winning ways with a world-record 1:51.1 triumph July 12 in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. She now holds the records for fastest 3-year-old (1:51) and 4-year-old female trotters in history. She will try to make it two victories in a row when she meets six rivals in Friday's second leg of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bee A Magician and regular driver Brian Sears will start from post one. The rest of the field in post order is Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, NF Happenstance, Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, and Classic Martine. Handover Belle won the Ima Lula's first round on July 18 by a half-length over Ma Chere Hall in 1:51.4. The $55,000 estimated final is Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day. Bee A Magician -- who has won 28 of 35 career races, finished second on four occasions, and earned $2.45 million -- was eligible to the John Cashman Jr. Memorial, but the mare's connections decided against facing the boys. She raced against her male counterparts in the Hambletonian Maturity on July 5, finishing second to Your So Vain. "I want to race her as easy as I can," Norman said. "I'll consider racing those horses again later in the year maybe, but not right now. You can't be too tough on them. You see some of the other 4-year-olds that have come back and are not what they were. It's a tough thing to do because most of them have laid it all on the line last year." As it is, racing against the mares is difficult enough. "It's a tough division; very solid," Norman said, adding about her 1:51.1 win in the most recent Miss Versatility round, "It was a good race. She didn't jog, it was a good race." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Former world champion Perfect Alliance, who was victorious in her first 11 races this year before suffering back-to-back setbacks, will try to get another win streak started when she faces five harness racing foes in Friday's $20,000 first round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Perfect Alliance finished seventh in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series on July 12 at the Meadowlands. The race was won by Bee A Magician in a world-record 1:51.1, with Perfect Alliance 4-1/4 lengths back. Afterward, Perfect Alliance was found to have bled, in addition to scoping sick, and will compete with Lasix on Friday. In her previous start on June 14, Perfect Alliance finished second to Classic Martine in the Armbro Flight Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. Perfect Alliance starts Friday's Ima Lula from post six, with Corey Callahan driving for trainer Julie Miller, and is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The remainder of the field is Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, and NF Happenstance. "I was pretty surprised because she had a layoff and trained good during the week," Miller said about Perfect Alliance's performance last week. "This time of year, we do have a little bit of sickness in the barn with the young horses. She still went in (1):52 with a last quarter in :27, it's still an impressive mile, but I didn't like how she did it. "After scoping her and pulling the bloodwork, we elected to put her on Lasix and treat her for being sick. She seems really good. We took the necessary steps to get her better for this week. I'm just hoping for a nice bounce-back race. I'll let Corey decide behind the gate what he wants to do, if he wants to leave or race from behind. I just want to see her finish strong at the wire." Perfect Alliance -- owned by Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz, and Arthur Geiger -- won the Singer Memorial Series and the Bobby Weiss Series during the winter and equaled the then-fastest mile ever by a 4-year-old female trotter when she won a division of the Miss Versatility in 1:51.2 at Woodbine Racetrack. She also set a track record at Mohawk, winning in 1:51.4. "You always want more, and we're the same way," Miller said. "She started luckily in good spots [earlier in the year] where she seemed to be the prohibitive favorite all the time, to where she did prove herself in those races in Canada. "You're going to have a clunker every now and then. They're living animals; they're going to have an off day. You just need to listen to your horse and let them decide their schedule. I'm still proud to train her and I'm sure the owners are still proud to own her." The second round of the Ima Lula is July 25 and the $55,000 estimated final is Hambletonian Day, Aug. 2, at the Meadowlands. Reynolds Memorial Stakes divisions for 3-year-old trotters are on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Only four fillies entered, so that race will be a non-betting event prior to the regular 7:15 p.m. post time for the night's first race. One of those fillies is Julie Miller-trainee Take The Money, who is auditioning for the chance to race in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks. Eliminations for the Oaks are July 26 and the $500,000 final is Aug. 2 at the Big M. Take The Money, owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, has won six of 10 races this year, primarily in Pennsylvania. She has twice finished second to top Hambletonian Oaks contender Shake It Cerry. She will be driven Saturday by Marcus Miller and faces Bikini So Teeny, Silent Opera K, and Mity's Winner. "She's been a nice [Pennsylvania] Sire Stakes horse, in my opinion," Miller said. "We're using this race to decide whether if we're a Hambletonian Oaks contender or not. She's had a little bit of a layoff, but I want to see a nice race, finishing with trot. With a four-horse field, it's usually just a race home. That's what I want to do. "If Marcus hops off the bike and says 'She was vicious, she was super,' then you go in the Oaks. If he says she didn't seem strong, then we have to have a discussion. She trained really good. I know by program she seems to be the best, but that's why they still race. I'm just hoping for a strong race." On the boys' side, there are two 11-horse divisions worth $32,207 each. Jimmy Taker-trained Nuncio, who has won four of six races this year and twice finished second to nemesis, and stablemate, Father Patrick, is part of the 3-5 favored entry with Amped Up Hanover in the first division. Nuncio and Amped Up Hanover are eligible to the $1.2 million Hambletonian on Aug. 2. The rest of the field is Uva Hanover, Another Deposition, Sarcastic Man, Southwind Poseidon, Revrac Harbour, Resolve, Home Front, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. All are eligible to the Hambletonian except Another Deposition, Dony Andreas, and Montalbano Bi. Takter's Trixton is the 3-5 choice in the second division. The split also includes Mister B's Way, Skates N Plates, Another Transcript, Truxton, Well Built, Speak The Truth, Scacco Matto, Lightning Force, Muscle Midas, and Datsyuk. All are eligible to the Hambletonian. * * * The Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters on Friday visits Harrah's Philadelphia, where several horses with famous siblings will go behind the gate. Kolachke (Donato Hanover-La Riviera Lindy) is a half-sister to 2012 Horse of the Year Chapter Seven and Sistas (Andover Hall-Honorable Mother) is a half-sister to Honorable Daughter, the 2008 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter. Inch By Inch (Yankee Glide-Armbro Niagara) is a full sister to millionaire Falls For You, Lilu Hanover (Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover) is a full sister to stakes-winner Luckycharm Hanover, and Gatka Hanover (Muscle Massive-Girlie Tough) is a three-quarter-sister to 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Heaven's Door. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
Bee A Magician, the 2013 Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year after her undefeated 17 race season, finally got her first win of 2014 after five starts, beating the top trotting mares in the country in a $40,000 leg of the Miss Versatility at the Meadowlands Saturday. And unlike most of last year, she did it by coming from behind for driver Brian Sears. Classic Martine (Tim Tetrick) was the first to leave with Perfect Alliance (David Miller) also leaving and settling into the two-hole. They went to the first quarter in a quick :26.3. Then Miller came out with Perfect Alliance to quarter move and before she could clear to the lead, there was Maven and driver Yannick Gingras flying three-wide on the outside and they took command. Past the half mile marker in :55.2, Maven was in control of the lead as D’Orsay (Corey Callahan) came first-over and Miller followed the outside flow second over with Bee A Magician. To the three-quarters in 1:24.3, Maven was still on top but D’Orsay was gaining ground and giving Bee A Magician a perfect outside trip. Down the stretch D’Orsay past Maven and then Sears got Bee A Magician into high gear and she trotted on by and then was able to hold off a late closing Charmed Life (Brett Miller) to win by a neck in 1:51.1. D’Orsay was third. Trained by R. Nifty Norman, Bee A Magician is a four-year-old mare by Kadabra and is owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. Her time of 1:51.1 was one fifth of a second from her lifetime mark. She paid $4.00 to win as the even money favorite. Bee A Magician By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
I love to take credit when I do something right. Those of you that read my column last week or saw me at the Meadowlands knew how much I thought that Your So Vain could win the Hambo Matturity and he did at 7-1 and that Bee A Magician was the play in exacta’s and that came back a very nice $71.00. Now the action is almost all at the Meadowlands on Saturday headed by the Meadowlands Pace and other top stakes event, but Friday there are eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot and thus we must see what magic Ake and Sebastian K can wow the crowd with. Good Luck! $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – No place or show wagering and rightly so as Sebastian K is the premier trotting star in the world of harness racing this year. After his amazing 1:49 world record victory in his last start everyone will be wondering if he can surpass that at Mohawk. Maybe not this week but perhaps next week. Use Flanagan Memory and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Without Sebastian K in this field it becomes very competitive. Only Modern Family has been able to stay somewhat close to him so look for this good trotter to get out early to the lead and not look back. He usually can win when Sebastian K is not in the race. Use Market Share and Intimidate in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – Tough to go against a trotting colt from the Jimmy Takter Stable that has yet to face defeat and drops a few seconds every time he races. That’s the case in here with French Laundry who has been perfect early on and should reap some big rewards in here. Use Stonebridge Force and Canepa Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – Surprised at such a short field going for $100,000. Going with Mission Brief over Saturday Mornings as last week Mission Brief put on a trotting clinic for Ron Burke Stable in posting a ten length romp in 1:55.1. What a mile in only her second lifetime start! Use Saturday Mornings and Demons N Diamonds in exotic plays. $317,000 Trot Stanley Dancer Memorial Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Let’s see if this will be an early prep for the finish of the Hambletonian as Jimmy Takter has all three of his top colts in the race. I nearly selected Trixton as he is not a great leaver but once he gets going he is too tough to beat. But after Father Patrick’s world record mile I think he may be in a class by himself. Going to be a great race. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $213,500 Trot Del Miller Memorial Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Going to take a shot in here that trainer Ake Svanstedt has Heaven’s Door primed and ready to take on Shake It Cerry. Last two starts this filly has been awesome with a lifetime mark of 1:52. A repeat of that mile will make her a winner again. Use Shake It Cerry and Designed To Be in exotic plays. $212,150 Pace Mistletoe Shalee Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Last week Sandbetweenurtoes showed true grit in grinding out a very impressive elimination division victory in 1:49.3. She is unbeaten in her five starts this year and same effort will get her back in the winner’s circle. Use Table Talk and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $178,450 Pace Golden Girls FFA Mares Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – Another classic match-up of the best open mares in racing. I am going with Shebestingin as she has seemed to return to her winning ways and last week popped a 1:50.3 score against lesser competition but sometimes a win like that will wake a horse up. Use Anndrovette and Somwherorainbow in exotic plays. $463,300 Pace William Haughton Memorial Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY – Here comes the best open pacers in all the land and heading the lineup is none other than Sweet Lou. He has been unbeaten in his last five starts against the very best and once he gets rolling I don’t think anyone will be able to catch him once again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $776,000 Meadowlands Pace Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 9th race SATURDAY – Gentlemen, start your engines! This will be a classic race as it always is. JK Endofanera is the favorite and rightly so after his impressive win last week but He’s Watching impressed me the most. He showed that with any live cover he can beat the best and I think that is what is going to happen tonight. Either way it will be a great race. Use JK Endofanera and Lyonssomewhere in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Older Mares Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – What a great group of world class trotting mares in this race. I have to go with Bee A Magician after she wove her way around the best older trotters in the world last week and came away with a strong second place finish showed me she is back to winning form. Use Perfect Alliance and Maven in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – If Artspeaks continues to improve over his last two starts he will mop up this field once again. His late moves have been pretty sharp, especially last week when he scored in 1:53.3 for Scott Zeron. Use Dealt A Winner and Weapons Dealer in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – When you show last quarters in :27.4 and :25.4 in just your first two pari-mutuel starts, then you are a force to be reckoned with. That’s what Stacia Hanover has done and she is undefeated in her early career and looks to stay that way for a while. Use Cashaway and Ideal Nuggets in exotic plays.