Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Tristan Sjoberg remembers listening to the International Trot on the radio while growing up as a teenager in Sweden. He would be rooting for his favorites Callit and Legolas during the early 80s when the International Trot was held at the now defunct Roosevelt Raceway. Now, Sjoberg is proud to be part of the return of the International Trot Preview to Yonkers when it returns to Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25. "To have a horse in this race means the world to my brother and I," said Sjoberg, who is part owner of Sebastian K., the world record holder for trotting a mile. "Our father would be proud." The International Trot, with all its pageantry and worldwide participation will return in 2015 to Yonkers after last being run in 1995. "As for the sport, I think the reinstatement of the race is very good for harness racing in the United States," Sjoberg said. "When the race was cancelled (in 1988) I think the sport in North America lost a bit of its soul and became more isolated. It is important to have overseas horses compete in the United States as it is brings fresh ideas and keeps the interest up when international marauders come to race in North America. "One of the main problems in the last 10 years or so has been the focus on retiring successful horses too quickly and the lack of international races on American soil," Sjoberg said. "I hope with the reinstatement of the International Trot, or the World Championship as we call the race in Sweden, and the implementation of the "Gural rule" (keeping horses racing into their 4-year-old season) should revitalize the sport." Sebastian K or "Sebbe" as he's known around the barn, has won eight of 10 starts since coming to the United States from Sweden and appears to be one of the top choices in the estimated $250,000 International Trot Preview. On June 28 at Pocono Downs, Sebastian K, an 8-year-old trotter, set the world record for trotting the fastest mile in harness racing, when he stopped the clock in 1:49 in the $100,000 Sun Invitational. "He's an amazing horse," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. "He's a phenomenal animal." In 2012, Sebastian K was named Sweden's Horse of the Year and having started his career in Sweden, Sebastian K, races barefoot, with no shoes unlike many of his American counterparts. "Most horses over there race without shoes," Noren said. "I think it makes them go a little faster. You must have a good surface to race barefoot on or it could sting the horse's foot. Yonkers has a very good surface. We try to race him every time without shoes because he doesn't like to wear them." In Sebastian K's last start, the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic at Hoosier Park on Sept. 20, the 8-year-old faded to seventh, finishing off the board for the first time since coming to North America. "We put down his lackluster performance to dehydration and the thunderstorm that rolled in," said Sjoberg, who noted that Sebastian K scoped clean after the race. "He does not like high humidity." The International Trot Preview is also expected to attract Market Share, Bee a Magician and Archangel and is part of a strong evening of racing from the Old Hilltop featuring the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot. Yonkers Raceway will keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all-trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe beginning at 11 a.m. The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer. By Jerry Bossert
It's been almost 20 years since the International Trot was last run at Yonkers Raceway, but it's back and may be better than ever before. With a probable field including world record holder Sebastian K, along with the 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share, the 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician and the 2012 Yonkers Trot winner Archangel, the 37th running of the $250,000 International Trot will be a must race to see at Yonkers Raceway on Oct. 25. "The timing seems right to bring it back," said Bob Galterio, the vice president and chief operating officer of Yonkers. "This year, with so many good American trotters and a couple from overseas the time just seems to be right." When last run in 1995, it was Sweden's His Majesty who took the International Trot over S.J.'s Photo and Panifesto, both American trotters, and this year Sweden looks well represented by Sebastian K. "Of course it means a lot," said Bjorn (Bernie) Noren, the assistant to trainer Ake Svanstedt for Sweden's Sebastian K. "It's a big event for Europeans and it should be a big race getting all the good trotters together from overseas." His Majesty - 1995 International Trot Linda Toscano, trainer of Market Share, grew up at Roosevelt Raceway, where the International Trot was conducted from its inception in 1959 until 1988. "I come from Roosevelt and one of the highlights I looked forward to was seeing the other horses coming from the other countries to compete in the International," Toscano said. "I think it's a real cool thing that they revived it." The International Trot will be run along with the Messenger Stakes and the Yonkers Trot that evening, making for a super night of racing at the Old Hilltop. "We're very excited about that evening," Galterio said. "It should be a great night of racing and we're looking forward to it." Â· Yonkers Raceway hopes to keep the international flavor going on Sundays, beginning on Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, when it will host an all trotting card that will be simulcast to Europe starting with an 11 a.m. first post. The track will offer fans many promotions for the special Sunday cards. More details about the promotions will be available as the time draws closer. By Jerry Bossert
Classic Martine and driver Tim Tetrick faced four other world champions and went right to the lead and never looked back en route to a 1:54.1 triumph in the $121,000 final of the Ms Versatility for older trotting mares. Tetrick made the best use of the rail starting point on a half mile track and shot out to the early lead with Maven (Yannick Gingras) getting the two-hole trip to the opening quarter mile in :27.3. Then to the half mile marker in an easy :57 saw Classic Martine face her first challenge as Ma Chere Hall (David Miller) started up first-over and Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) was able to grab the second-over live cover. They raced down the backstretch and after the three-quarters in 1:25.1, Sears sent Bee A Magician three-wide and make it a three horse fight to the finish down the stretch. Classic Martine would have no part of that as she dug in and held on to win by a half length in 1:54.1. A late closing Charmed Life (Brett Miller) was second with Maven third. It was the ninth win this year for Classic Martine. The four-year-old mare by Classic Photo is trained by Chris Oakes and is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, C. Zurich and Edwin Gold. She paid $5.60 to win. “She raced really well,” said trainer Chris Oaks, “She is a very good mare and has a great season. Last week at Chester she had the 8-hole blues, but she bounced back quick. Everyone know my mare can leave like a runner. She real good on her feet and that it would take someone special to beat her out of the gate.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Four world champions meet in Thursday's $121,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for older female trotters at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. The group is led by Bee A Magician, who was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, and Classic Martine, who has won this year's Armbro Flight Stakes and two preliminary divisions of the Miss Versatility Series. The two horses share the world record of 1:51.1 for the fastest winning time by a 4-year-old trotting mare on a mile racetrack. Classic Martine also shares the world record of 1:51.2 for the fastest victory by a female trotter of any age on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. She shares the mark with her stablemate, and Miss Versatility contender, Frau Blucher. And then there is Maven. Last year, she won the Miss Versatility Series championship with a 1:51.4 triumph at Delaware. The time established the world record for fastest race mile ever by any trotter, male or female, on a half-mile oval. Only Cash Hall's time-trial 1:51.1 time, recorded at Delaware in 2006, is faster than Maven's race time. A day before Maven made history, Frau Blucher set the world record of 1:53.1 for the fastest win by any 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track at Delaware. "It's a very deep group, for sure," said Chris Oakes, who trains Classic Martine and Frau Blucher. "I think we've got a very good chance. Both horses are doing well right now and drew well, which is important there. (But) I think probably the horse to beat is Bee A Magician." Classic Martine drew post No. 1 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with driver Tim Tetrick. She has won eight of 12 races and $246,732 this year. Last season, she shared the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters with Frau Blucher - finishing in a dead heat for win with her stablemate in the final - and was second to Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Oaks. The mare is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Ed Gold. "She had time off and she matured good and has come back a better horse than last year," Oakes said. "She's a little bigger, a little stronger, and the mental toughness is definitely there this year." Frau Blucher, who finished second to Bee A Magician in last year's Breeders Crown, will start from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1. She has won one of seven races this year, but is approaching $1 million in lifetime earnings for owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes and Matt Tudisco. Bee A Magician, trained by Nifty Norman, was unbeaten in 17 races last season and has won three of 10 starts this year. She finished second to male rivals in the Hambletonian Maturity and fourth against the sport's top open trotters in the Crawford Farms Trot. In fact, her most recent three starts were against the boys, with her winning an open at Yonkers and a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia. She won a division of the Miss Versatility by a neck over Charmed Life in her world-record 1:51.1 performance. Three weeks later, she lost by a neck to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula final in the same time. Bee A Magician is owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She has won 30 of 40 career races and $2.52 million. She starts the Miss Versatility from post six with driver Brian Sears and is 5-2. Maven, who received the 2013 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, has won two of eight races this year. She opened her campaign with a win in the Miami Valley Distaff and then went to Sweden for the Elitlopp Invitational, where she finished third in her elimination and sixth in the final. On Aug. 23, she beat male foes in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and in her most recent start she finished fifth in the final preliminary round of the Miss Versatility at Tioga Downs. The race was won by Charmed Life in 1:52.2 - the fastest mile ever trotted at the track. "It's really a deep, deep division," said Yannick Gingras, who drives Maven. "In the past, there's always been a standout in that division, but there isn't one right now. Imagine if Maven was to just step up a little and be the horse that she was last year, it would be some scary good trotting mares going at each other every week. It's great for the sport." Maven, trained by Jonas Czernyson, who has three horses in Thursday's Miss Versatility, has won 27 of 48 career races and $1.48 million for owner Bill Donovan. Last year, she finished fifth in her start prior to the Miss Versatility championship at Delaware. Gingras is hoping history can repeat itself with a bounce-back winning performance again this season. "Jonas told me that she's had an unbelievable two weeks since that start at Tioga and he really believes he's got her in peak form right now," Gingras said. "I'm going to go behind the gate with the mindset that she's one of the horses to beat and I'm going to race her that way. Hopefully Jonas is right." Following is the Miss Versatility field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 2-1; 2. D'Orsay, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 3. Ma Chere Hall, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson, 12-1; 4. Frau Blucher, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 5. Maven, Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1; 6. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 5-2; 7. Charmed Life, Brett Miller, Dave Menary, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The Little Brown Jug for three-year-old pacing colts and its filly companion race, the Jugette, are highly coveted races to win and this year Guelph, Ontario-based harness racing trainer Gregg McNair has a shot in each. Both of his Ontario-sired horses are regulars on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit. His filly, Lady Shadow, is the favourite in the first of three divisions of the Jugette, worth a total of $298,100, to be raced Wednesday afternoon at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The daughter of Shadow Play, owned by Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, Michigan, has won five races and finished second in two others in 10 starts so far this year. She comes into Wednesday’s race riding a two race winning streak, both in OSS Gold events. McNair’s son Doug, her regular driver, will once again be at the lines behind the winner of $454,000 so far in her career. The other Ontario-sired filly in the Jugette is the Major In Art daughter Sectionline Aqua who has post eight in the second elimination. She’ll have hometown support as all three of her owners are from Ohio. Sectionline Aqua finished second to Lady Shadow in her last two OSS Gold outings. The Jugette and Little Brown Jug are both heat races. The top three fillies from each elimination on Wednesday will return for a second heat, the winner of which will be crowned Jugette champion. Gregg McNair, the leading trainer in the OSS program so far in 2014, has yet to win either the Jug or Jugette so far in his impressive career, but he has come close. In 2011 his filly Swinging Beauty captured her first heat of the Jugette and finished third to Idyllic in the final. In 2000 he started George Scooter in the Little Brown Jug. The Matts Scooter son was third in the first heat and came back to win the second heat but finished third in the race off to Astreos. McNair’s 2014 Jug hopeful is the Mach Three colt Three Of Clubs. McNair co-owns the colt with Tony Lawrence of Hanover, Ontario, and harness racing legend Keith Waples of Durham, Ontario. One of the most respected harness drivers in history, and a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, Waples won the 1972 Little Brown Jug with Strike Out. The horse’s owner, the late John Hayes, famously said prior to the race: “I’d rather win the Little Brown Jug than go to heaven.” That victory was the first time a Canadian-owned horse won the Jug and now the 91 year-old Waples has another chance to capture the famed event with Three Of Clubs on Thursday afternoon, but it will be a big undertaking given the talent of the 16 colts entered. Three Of Clubs has drawn post three in the $103,600 first heat alongside On Golden Ponder trained by Bob McIntosh of Windsor, Ontario, who sits second to McNair in the OSS trainers’ standings. There are two colts entered in the second heat which also have Ontario trainers, Casie Coleman’s McWicked (post one) and Dave Menary’s Hes Watching (post six). The first four finishers will advance to the $310,800 second heat. A race-off, if required, will be worth $129,500. Other Ontario-sired performers racing at Delaware Wednesday include the Majestic Son daughter Yanks Ball Girl in the Standardbred Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies. The second division finds OSS regular Gee OKeeffe who has two OSS wins to her credit this year. She’s owned by trainer Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. Little Brown Jug day also finds one of the greatest mares to ever race in the OSS, Bee A Magician, competing. The four-year-old daughter of Kadabra, who has drawn post six in the 17th race of the day, the $121,000 Miss Versatility Final. Horse of the Year in both Canada and the US last year, Bee A Magician has earned $2.5 million to date in her career. Starting alongside in post seven is another top OSS graduate, $592,000 winner Charmed Life. For more information on the Little Brown Jug and Jugette, please visit their website Little Brown Jug website. By OSS News
The Cam Land LLC owned Cammikey has been drawn from the Little Brown Jug due to illness. The son of Somebeachsomewhere was scheduled to leave from post #8 in the second elimination. John Campbell has been tapped to drive Sometimes Said in the second elimination. Beach Body was drawn from the 44th Jugette. The Jug undercard is set and the racing fans will get their fill of quality fields with 22 races with the potential of a 23rd race, the LBJ race-off (if necessary). Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, headlines the $121,000 Ms Versatility Final. The field of seven also features Frau Blucher and Maven, both of which established new world records during last year's meet. The $118,200 Old Oaken Bucket may shape up as a duel between Datsyuk and Il Sogno Dream. Datsyuk has been first or second in 8 of 11 starts this season. Il Sogno Dream was fourth in the $1.1 Hambletonian Final in early August. One event that is missing from the traditional Jug day undercard is the Winbak Farm Pace for older horses. The event was cancelled this year due to lack of entries. "We don't like to cancel an event, but we find ourselves in that position this year," noted Tom Wright, Director of Racing. "We still have a wonderful 23 race card, including the richest Little Brown Jug ever." Total purses on Jug Day will exceed $1.2 million. Jug Day will have a trio of guaranteed pool wagers; a $60,000 Pick 4, a $40,000 Pick 4 and a $25,000 Pick 3. The Little Brown Jug can be seen on CBS Sports Network from 5:00 - 6:30 pm. The post time on Thursday is 11:00 am. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug
A field of eight winner's over $25,000 lifetime trotters lined up behind the starter for the Thursday afternoon feature at Harrah's Philadelphia, renewing the rivalry between trotting mare superstars Bee A Magician and Classic Martine. At the start, it was Opening Night (Dave Miller) showing the best early speed. The 56-1 long shot battled for the lead, in an opening quarter that was reached in 27.1. Shortly after he cleared however, world champion Bee A Magician moved quickly up to take command. After settling down the half in 56.1, another long shot, Melady's Monet (Anthony Morgan), emerged first over, but could get no closer to the leaders wheel. At the top of the stretch, Bee A Magician sprinted clear under minimal Brian Sears urging, stopping the clock in 1:52.1, just one fifth of a second off the track record set by Classic Martine less than one month ago. Classic Martine started here from post eight, and finished sixth after being caught wide the entire first turn. Melady's Monet finished second, while Opening Night finished third. Bee A Magician is owned by Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David Mc Duffee, and is trained by Nifty Norman. She paid $4.00 to win, and keyed an exacta that paid $87.40. The trifecta paid $723.20, while the Superfecta paid $1,435.80. by Mike Bozich, for Harrah's Philadelphia
Vernon, NY --- Labor Day weekend harness racing began with a bang at Vernon Downs on Friday (Aug. 29) night as the opening leg of the Tioga-Vernon All-Star Drivers' Championship shared the spotlight with the Zweig Memorial, the Jack Bailey Memorial and the Crawford Farms Trot. All drivers advance to Tioga today (Sept. 1) for round two and the Cane Pace. Following the first four legs of round one of the drivers 'race for the cup' the lead is shared by Yannick Gingras and Ron Pierce with 20 points each. But it was not solely the lure of a $10,000 first prize that drew the top reinsmen to Vernon. With over three-quarters of a million dollars of purse money on the card, and some of the best racehorses in the country, the big guns were happy to be in town. For trainers, the day began with a noon check-in at the detention barn for the top stakes horses. Many horsemen made the most of the opportunity to attend the inaugural Open House at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, just 10 minutes north on route 31 near Verona. With plenty of yearlings to inspect, several trainers like Ron Burke, Linda Toscano, Charlie Norris, Homer Hochstetler and Gates Brunet got a head start on their evaluation rounds. Al and Michelle Crawford put out an elaborate spread of barbecue and refreshments and most attendees spent the sunny afternoon socializing and looking at colts. The crew at Vernon also had a fun-filled evening planned at the Downs, which started with an autograph session with the top drivers and included a T-shirt giveaway as well as the Jim Marohn Jr.bobblehead. Fans lined up along the apron to get the T-shirts and Marohn dolls which were individually emblazoned with the nine different drivers competing. Even the boss himself, Jeff Gural, was on-hand to greet the drivers and fans, and could be seen along the outside fence chatting with the Green Hornet before the card began. Following the third race was the ever popular Racing Under Saddle series $5,700 final. The race was won by Heather Reese who opened up a city block on the rest of the field by the time they rounded the final turn. Team Crawford packed the winner's circle to help celebrate with their colleague and farm manager who was the winning rider in 2:04 with Tymal Oh So Nice. Both Zweig finals went to Takter stable all-stars. Filly Shake It Cerry rallied in 1:53.4 with Ron Pierce driving and improved her seasonal stats to 8 wins in 10 starts and $395,036. Colt Father Patrick got back to his winning ways and eclipsed $700,000 for the season with regular pilot Yannick Gingras in 1:52.2. Despite all the 3-year-old trotting talent on tap, the elixir that the crowd was truly thirsty for was Sebastian K and the rest of the field in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot. The number one horse in North America went off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite and did not disappoint, winning strategically for Svanstedt USA in 1:53, equaling the track record. The Crawford-sponsored purse put the collective earnings of the talented field just over the $15 million mark, and included Archangel (2nd), Market Share (3rd), and 2013 Dan Patch Horse of the Year Bee A Magician (4th). Gingras and Pierce will be reunited today (Sept. 1) at Tioga along with Corey Callahan, Tim Tetrick, Matt Kakaley, Scott Zeron, Jody Jamieson, Jim Marohn Jr. and Chris Lems for the final round. Along with the drivers challenge, the Miss Versatility and the Shady Daisy fill-up the Southern Tier's holiday menu. Highlighted by the $437,325 Cane Pace, first leg of the pacing triple crown, the historic event features glamour boys He's Watching and JK Endofanera. Labor Day in central New York will assuredly go out with a bang as well. by Chris Tully
Last week for the first time in five weeks we broke even. We didn’t lose money but we were on a four-weekend winning streak for making money. But this now old news and on to this great weekend of racing. It’s the “Roaring Grand Circuit” big time this weekend and it kicks off Friday night at both Vernon Downs and Mohawk Raceway with the Zweig Trot, Crawford Farms Trot plus the Champlain Stakes. And the top horses are competing to make it even better. Then on Saturday the night belongs to Mohawk with the Metro Final, Canadian Pacing Derby, She’s A Great Lady final and the Simcoe Stakes. Super weekend and don’t forget on Labor Day Monday it’s the Cane Pace and Shady Daisy at Tioga Downs. Good Luck! $150,000 Trot Harry M Zweig 3YO Fillies Vernon Downs 6th race FRIDAY – Earlier this season she would have been 1/5 in the morning line but after a tough loss in the Hambletonian Oakes, Shake It Cerry has not yet gotten back the respect she once had. Don’t out this filly out. Last year she crushed at the end of the season and looks to be back in shape. Jump all over her if she goes off at 5/2. Class will tell. Use Broadway Socks and Avalicious in exotic plays. $124,621 Trot Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk Raceway 6th race FRIDAY – Draws the rail and he is on a two-race winning streak. Habitat may be pressed a little early on but he should have things his own way in here. Can sit the pocket or go to the front and not look back. Use Muscle Diamond and Gifted Way in exotic plays. $340,000 Trot Final Harry M Zweig 3YO Colts Vernon Downs 8th race FRIDAY – How on god’s earth can you not even think of going again an entry of Father Patrick and Nuncio against this field. Two of the three best colt trotters in racing and all from the Jimmy Takter Stable. I am surprised they are allowing win betting. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Martiniwithmuscle in exotic plays. $124,621 Trot Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Having won three times already this season, French Laundry is the horse to beat in here. He is usually hot on the lead and usually wires the field with ease as he can do again. Use Wheels An Smokin and Don’t Rush in exotic plays. $236,000 Trot Crawford Farms Open Vernon Downs 9th race FRIDAY – Last time this world champion was well rested he came back to win with a vengeance. Sebastian K goes for his eighth victory this year and should enjoy Vernon’s oval but wouldn’t count on a world record, just a nice easy win. Remember to watch the mare, Bee A Magician, as she has yet to face Sebastian K. use Bee A Magician and Market Share in exotic plays. $207,689 Pace 3YO Fillies Simcoe Stakes Mohawk Raceway 4th race SATURDAY – This is a very well matched field of top fillies. I am taking a shot that Beach Gal can upset. She has been razor sharp winning two of last three starts including lifetime mark of 1:49.3 right here at Mohawk. Use Precocious Beauty and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $480,000 Pace 2YO Fillies She’s A Great Lady Final Mohawk 5th race SATURDAY – After watching her last couple of starts I am convinced that unbeaten JK Shesalady is the top two-year-old filly of the year and she will prove it in here. She has the ability to get geared up and once in motion she blows by everyone else. Use Band Of Angels and Bedroomconfessions in exotic plays. $667,000 Pace 2YO Colts The Metro Final Mohawk Raceway 7th race SATURDAY – Unbeaten in five starts so far, but what impressive miles they have been for Artspeak. He can just bully his way to the front and never look back, especially in his last two starts at Mohawk. Use Go Daddy Go and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $218,076 Trot 3YO Open Simcoe Stakes Mohawk Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Since he has never been a rocket ship out of the starting gate, it really does not bother me that Trixton is starting in the second tier here in post 11. Jimmy Takter will weave his magic and once Trixton gets some clearance he will stalk down the field, take the lead and win for fun. It’s the first start back for the Hambletonian winner but he loves Mohawk Raceway. Use P L Hercules and Harper Blue Chip in exotic plays. $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby Final Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – It’s almost not fair anymore like with Sebastian K. Sweet Lou is pretty near perfection this season and goes for his eleventh straight win. He has mowed this opponents down left and right, week after week. When is Ron Burke gonna let Ron Piece cut loose with Sweet Lou and go for a 1:45 mile? More than likely in Lexington. Use State Treasurer and Clear Vision in exotic plays.
It took an exciting stretch drive for Love You Bye (McArdle-Cam's Genious) to pick up her third win in the last four starts at Vernon Downs in the $10,000 harness racing feature on Thursday night. Love You Bye (Jimmy Whittemore) sat in mid-pack through the early stages of the race, as Seascape Hanover (Fern Paquet Jr.) set the early pace of 26.1 for the quarter and 54.4 for the half. It was at the half-mile mark that Ugly Betty (John Macdonald) rallied up on the outside to take the lead, which she held through the three-quarter mark in 1:22.3. Ugly Betty was in front into mid-stretch, at which point Seascape Hanover came back up the inside and Love You Bye commenced to close down the outside. Love You Bye managed to beat Seascape Hanover home to win in 1:52.1. The complete order of finish was: Love You Bye, Seascape Hanover, Ugly Betty, Park N Orchard, Table Games, Elleofnxample, Artic Byrd, and R U Ideal. Let's Go Higher had been a Judge's scratch. Love You Bye is owned by D. Jimmy Whittemore of Norway, Maine and trained by Dennis Whittemore. Live racing resumes on Friday night with an exciting 10-race program featuring $340,000 Zweig Memorial with Hambletonian runner-up Nuncio and betting favorite Father Patrick making up a very strong entry for trainer Jimmy Takter. Sebastian K will also be racing at Vernon on Friday night in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot and he will be facing 2013 Horse Of The Year, Bee A Magician, who takes on the boys. Post time for racing on Friday night at Vernon Downs in 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs
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.