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
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 19 - A quartet of Canadian Breeders Championships for the nation's finest three-year-old pacers and trotters highlighted the undercard for Maple Leaf Trot night at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip, with Sylvain Filion at the controls, turned in another top notch performance to win the $121,958 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old colts and geldings trotters. After getting away in third, the son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin was sent to the lead approaching the half and never looked back winning by 3 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Muscle Matters, the early leader, finished second, while Jitterbug finished third by a nose over Entranced. Harper Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald, David Reid and George Judson. Following the race, Howard Pearce, a member of the Landmark 6 Racing Sable, said it was a sweet victory. "It's a tough year to have a really nice horse like 'Harper' because of those three nice horses down south," said Pearce. "But he's proven that he is one of the best in Canada, so that's wonderful." Pearce also mentioned that it appears Harper Blue Chip will now head south to the Meadowlands to compete in the Hambletonian. The Breeders Championship victory was the second win in five starts this season for Harper Blue Chip and the fifth win of his career. His career earnings now jump more than $350,000. He paid $2.70 to win. White Becomes Her extended her win streak to four in winning the $118,090 Canadian Breeders Championship for the three-year-old filly trotters. Mario Baillargeon moved the daughter of Angus Hall - Pursuing Keagan from the two-hole to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:28.1, White Becomes Her trotted away from her rivals with a :28.3 last quarter to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.4. Margie finished in the place spot, while Mayberry trotted into third. White Becomes Her is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Vince Mastrangelon. The Breeders Championship was the fifth win in eight starts this season for White Becomes Her. Following the race, Mario Baillargeon said we haven't seen the best of her yet. "I don't think so, I can't wait to race her with the American fillies and get a trip," said Baillargeon. "She loves to follow a lot more than racing on the front, so I would like to get her on a helmet behind Shake It Cerry and see what happens in the lane." White Becomes Her now has six wins and earnings of over $210,000 in her career. She returned $3.30. Silverhill Shadow repelled all comers with a smart front-end pace to win the $122,028 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Chris Christoforou blasted off the gate to demand the lead from pocket-sitting Shadowbriand marking a quarter in :27 and a half in :56.2 through a persistent drizzle over a sloppy track. Sylain Filion made a menacing move first over into the turn with Victor Bayama, but Silverhill Shadow had another gear and stepped away to a dominant win in 1:51.2. A ground saving Shadowbriand, efficiently steered by Paul MacDonnell, stayed on determinedly to earn the place photo over Victory Bayama. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the Shadow Play colt earned his fourth win of the campaign from six starts. The conditioner noted a very important similarity to his champion sire. "Heart and desire for sure," said Moore. "He's a big strong colt and he gives you all he's got every time out." A front-end trip was always in the cards for the quick Silverhill Shadow. "Chris was asking him to get the front going the first quarter, and I thought I had him warmed up pretty good, but he was great the last half-mile and that's where it counted," said Moore. He paid $5.80 to win. Brescia Seelster pulled off a 60-1 upset in the $122,343 Canadian Breeders Championship final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Sudoku brushed to the lead under urging from Jody Jamieson down the backstretch in :56.1, but it was an amped up My Secret Belle, piloted by Joe Hudon, who took over into the turn. My Secret Belle and Sudoku battled to mid-stretch before a closing cavalry of filly pacers converged with the outside rally of Brescia Seelster the winning move for Mario Baillargeon. Performing Art, a 40-1 long shot, stormed up the rail to earn place money keying boxcar payoffs. It was the fourth win in eight starts this season for Brescia Seelster, improving on a 1-4-1 record from 10 starts a year ago. "She was a little slow in maturing and Mario has been telling us all along as this horse gets older it'll be better," said co-owner Norman Keyes. Co-owned and trained by David Keyes, Brescia Seelster paid $138.70 to win. by Mark McKelvie and Keith McCalmont, for WEG
The Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old trotters are currently underway at Mohawk Racetrack. Fresh off a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold victories, White Becomes Her ($3.50) kicked off the CBC eliminations for filly trotters with a 1:54.2 triumph as the 3-5 favourite for the driver and trainer team of Mario and Ben Baillargeon. O'Brien Award winner Riveting Rosie was scratched. After getting away third through a :27-second opening panel, Baillargeon made his move with White Becomes Her as they neared the half-mile mark in :57. White Becomes Her swept past early leavers Tosca (Chris Christoforou) and Muscle Babe (James MacDonald) down the backstretch and led the way to three-quarters in 1:25. Miss Aultsville (Jack Moiseyev) attempted a first over bid from fourth, but broke stride as she began to advance. Down the stretch, White Becomes Her drew away from her rivals to win by four lengths. Tosca followed in second with Chelseas Chance (Steve Condren) coming on for third. Muscle Babe finished fourth and Belgravia (Ake Svanstedt) was fifth. To view the rest of the story click here.
A tripped-out Turbo Donato put the pedal to the metal in the late stages of Saturday’s $11,000 Preferred 2 for trotters at Georgian Downs, and he held on to win by three-quarters of a length for Team Baillargeon. With Mario Baillargeon at the helm, Turbo Donato worked into the two-hole early and tracked Cimeronken through fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:26.2 before going on the offensive. Baillargeon right lined the Ben Baillargeon trainee in the final quarter of the contest and the four-year-old son of Donato Hanover-Sun Sentinel fired home in :29.4 and posted the1:56.2 victory by three-quarters of a length over Cimeronken. Aisling was a lapped-on third. Sent off as the 3-2 favourite, Turbo Donato prevailed for the partnership of Ben Baillargeon, Craig Turner, Santo Vena and Nunzio Vena. Together they watched the trotter improve this year’s record to 3-2-2 from 17 trips to the track with the win. The lion’s share of the purse bumped his earnings to $74,670. To read the rest of the story click here.
TORONTO, May 5 - The timing couldn't have been more perfect for So Not Cool on Monday evening at Woodbine. The trotting son of Muscles Yankee posted the minor 6-1 upset in this year's $35,800 Tie Silk final, and in doing so the youngster celebrated his first career win. At the hands of driver Mario Baillargeon, So Not Cool laid off the speed in the early stages as The Muscler (Dustin Jones) took command past the quarter in :26.4. Entranced (Mike Saftic), the 1/5 favourite, made a quick brush to the lead before the half in :56.4 and continued to lead at three-quarters in 1:25.4. Turning for home, first-over attacker Justcallmeronald (Jody Jamieson) was stalking on the outside and continued to battle down the stretch with So Not Cool on his helmet. In deep stretch, Entranced was collared by Justcallmeronald, but So Not Cool had the most momentum as he found the wire first in 1:55.3. Justcallmeronald finished second over Entranced. Trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Awesome Acres Stbds, So Not Cool celebrated his biggest payday as is bankroll now sits at $23,650. He paid $15.60 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
TORONTO , April 7 - Thirteen trotting mares made their way to Woodbine Racetrack Monday evening to kick off the opening round of the Lifetime Dream Series. Rockin With Dewey looked every bit the part of a 1/5 favourite as she captured the first $18,000 division in 1:56.1. Driven by Mario Baillargeon, Rockin With Dewey scored by a commanding five and a quarter lengths to celebrate her tenth career tally. Baillargeon was first to the front in the early stages, but allowed Justasmalltowngirl (Paul Macdonell) to the lead at the opening quarter in :26.4. Rockin With Dewey quickly regained the front and led her six rivals past the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.1, before dashing away from her rivals en route to victory. Frisky Magic (Randy Waples) came on for second, over Bop Too The Top (James MacDonald). Trained and co-owned by Ben Baillargeon along with breeder Diane Ingham, Rockin With Dewey increased her bankroll to $219,300. She paid $2.50 to win. In the other split, 3/5 favourite Rose Run Oriana and James MacDonald got under the wire first in 1:57.2. Over a track rated as 'Good,' MacDonald elected to sit in the two-hole behind Be Winnin (Jody Jamieson) before the opening quarter in :26.3. Marabou (Jonathan Drury) angled out of third and was quickly on the move as they took over command before the :57.1 half. Rose Run Oriana quickly engaged the tempo-setter and was the new leader heading toward the three-quarter pole. MacDonald and Rose Run Oriana led their six rivals past three-quarters in 1:27.2 and fended off all comers down the lane en route to the victory. Standing My Ground (Sylvain Filion) finished second, with Her Name Is Lola (Phil Hudon) third. Trained by Joe Cirasuola for owner Shirley Halas, Rose Run Oriana enjoyed her 14th career victory as her bankroll now sits at $125,717. She paid $3.40 to win. The Lifetime Dream series is for four and five-year-old trotting mares, who are non-winners of $200,000 lifetime as of December 31, 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Ideal Shadow was bet off the board in Monday’s debut effort at Woodbine under the guidance of trainer/co-owner Ben Baillargeon, and the betting public was bang on in its assessment of the lightly-raced youngster. Purchased by Baillargeon and partners Nunzio & Santo Vena for $45,000 from the 2014 January Select Mixed Sale at The Meadowlands, Ideal Shadow appeared to barely break a sweat in what was just his second lifetime start. After making a break and failing to crack the top three in his first lifetime start on January 18 for former trainer Erv Miller, the three-year-old son of American Ideal-Shadow Baby cruised to an easy win by lengths in 1:54.3. Mario Baillargeon got away third with the new recruit, and the pacer maintained that position to the quarter pole before brushing his way to the lead in the backstretch. He cleared to the top without a tussle and successfully chopped out panels of :57.4 and 1:26.2 before using a :28.1 closing quarter to win by a pair of lengths in 1:54.3. Monday’s 11-race card also saw pacer All Chrome extend his personal winning streak to six thanks to a 1:54.4 score in come-from-behind fashion for the tandem of driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Corey Johnson. Filion got away fifth with the five-year-old son of Tell All-Ever Western before advancing the gelding on the rim in the middle stages of the mile. The 4-5 favourite then used a :28.4 final frame to prevail by a half-length margin over Canbec Kingkazimir, with third prize going to Rock N Go. Brian Paquet of Quebec owns the photogenic pacer who is now three-for-three this season after having gone 4-for-12 last year. The 10-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings over $50,000 with the victory. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Sophomore trotting colt Turbo Donato continued his perfect record on the WEG circuit for the Baillargeon brothers on Friday night with a front-stepping score in Woodbine Racetrack's ninth race. Turbo Donato has now won five races in a row, with his last four at Woodbine for his new ownership group. The Donato Hanover colt was purchased for $32,000 at the Harrisburg Sale in November by Rockwood, Ont. trainer Ben Baillargeon and partners Santo Vena of Brampton, Ont., Nunzio Vena of Bolton, Ont. and Craig Turner of Ingersoll, Ont. Driven by Mario Baillargeon in Friday's $18,000 conditioned trot, 3-5 favourite Turbo Donato ($3.30) worked his way to the lead from post seven during the :27.4 opening quarter and proceeded to lead his nine rivals through middle splits of :57.4 and 1:28. As he entered the homestretch, first over Whata Donato and Per Henriksen offered up a serious challenge nearly matching strides with the tempo-setter, but Turbo Donato fought back to prevail by three-quarters of a length in 1:57 flat. Flight Of The Kiwi and Luc Ouellette edged out pocket-sitter Margarita Bi and Sylvain Filion for third nearly three lengths behind. Turbo Donato is now five-for-six in his career with earnings totalling $39,000. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca.
The 2013 Forest City Yearling Sale held its first of two sessions on Saturday afternoon at the Western Fair Agriplex in London, Ont. with Queen Fourteen topping the opening session. Selling as Hip 64, Queen Fourteen was purchased for $130,000 by Tony O'Sullivan of Cambridge, Ont. Consigned by agent Preferred Equine Inc. for Warrawee Farms, the filly is by Hall of Famers Camluck and Mystic Mystress. She is Mystic Mystress' 14th foal and is a full sister to Mystician ($1,860,422 - 1:49.2), Camystic ($779,728 - 1:49.4) and Lucks Mistress ($616,605 - 1:51.3). O'Sullivan also purchased Warrawee Quick, Hip 115, from the same consignment for $65,000. The Sportswriter-Great Memories filly is a half-sibling to world champion Warrawee Needy ($1,105,669 - 1:46.4) and Big Bay Point ($501,139 - 1:49). Also among the top three highest priced yearlings of the session was Tessa Seelster, Hip 90. Consigned by Seelster Farms Inc., the Shadow Play-Titania Seelster filly was purchased for $77,000 by Ben Baillargeon, agent for Quebec's Richard Berthiaume. She is a half-sibling to Grassroots Championship runner-up Twilight Seelster ($86,438 - 1:56). A total of 111 yearlings were sold for $2,087,000, producing an average price of $18,802. Last year, 119 yearlings passed through the sales ring on opening day, selling for $1,802,500 with an average price of $15,147. The sale will continue at 12 p.m. on Sunday. Pedigrees and videos (where available) for all of the yearlings selling may be viewed here. For complete sale results, click here. Reprinted with permission from www.standardbredcanada.com
CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — Fillies are in the spotlight at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday evening, as the Campbellville oval hosts Gold Series legs for the two-year-old pacing and three-year-old trotting lasses. Undefeated Bee A Magician puts her 12 race win streak on the line from Post 4 in the first of two $105,000 sophomore trotting filly divisions. The Kadabra daughter and driver Rick Zeron of Oakville tackle a field of seven fillies in their final prep before the Sept. 28 Super Final, where Bee A Magician hopes to repeat as the division champion. Melvin Hartman of Ottawa, Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL and David McDuffee of Delray Beach, FL share ownership of Bee A Magician, who has banked $966,979 in her flawless 11-race sophomore season while battling the best fillies in North America. Current division point leader Motown Muscle will square off against Bee A Magician for the seventh time this season from Post 2. The Muscle Mass daughter came within a head of halting her rival’s win streak in the Aug. 10 Mid-Summer Challenge, and will be taking another shot at the task on Friday. Ben Baillargeon of Rockwood conditions Motown Muscle for owner-breeders Bet Max Sables Inc. of Casco, MI and Benenati Inc. of Clinton Twp., MI. The two-year-old pacing fillies return to Gold Series action on Friday for the first time since their Mid-Summer Challenge at Mohawk on July 19. Division leader and Mid-Summer Challenge victor Nefertiti Bluechip will be looking for her fourth victory from Post 8 in the first $105,000 division. Jack Darling of Cambridge owns and trains the Shadow Play daughter, who prepped for Friday’s test with a Sept. 4 qualifier over the Mohawk oval, finishing second to her stablemate Alibi Seelster in a 1:57.1 clocking. Alibi Seelster will make her own bid for a fourth victory from Post 10 in the second division. Among the fillies Alibi Seelster will face is Battle of the Belles winner Lady Shadow, who has not raced since she captured the Aug. 5 event at Grand River Raceway. Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions the Shadow Play filly for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI. The two-year-old pacing fillies are featured in Races 1 and 6 on Friday, while the three-year-old trotting fillies will impress Mohawk Racetrack fans in Races 2 and 3. The evening’s first race goes behind the starting gate at 7:25 pm. For complete entries For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder
INNISFIL, ON - Sophomore trotting filly Motown Muscle earned her second Gold Series win of the season with a confident front end effort around the Georgian Downs oval on Saturday evening. Starting from Post 8 with Mario Baillargeon at the helm, Motown Muscle hustled away from the starting gate and landed in second spot as Choir Robe roared out to a :27.3 opening quarter. Baillargeon sent his filly to the front heading for the :57.3 half and the fan favourites were comfortably in charge at the 1:26.3 three-quarters. A little late acceleration saw Motown Muscle pull away from the field and reach the finish three and one-half lengths on top in 1:55.1. Choir Robe settled for second and Brenway Dixie, owned by Denarben Stables of Thornhill and Rocco Auciello of Stouffville was two more lengths back in third. The win was Motown Muscle's fifth through 10 starts this season and bumped her sophomore earnings to $272,052. Trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner-breeders Bet Max Stables Inc. of Casco, MI and Benenati Inc. of Clinton Twp., MI, the Muscle Mass daughter now owns top spot in the three-year-old trotting filly standings with 112 points. Anaffairtoremember and Seeuinthespring treated Georgian Downs fans to an epic stretch battle in the second $105,000 division, hitting the wire a neck apart in 1:55.4. Princess Lilly was just three-quarters of a length back in third, while fan favourite Angies Lucky Star made a break heading for the three-quarters and finished at the back of the field. Jack Moiseyev piloted Anaffairtoremember to her second Gold Series win for trainer Marie Dupont and owners Claude Brault of Peterborough, ON and M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. The Angus Hall daughter is currently in second spot in the point race, 10 points behind Motown Muscle. The three-year-old trotting fillies make their last regular season Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 13 and Georgian Downs wraps up its 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule with an event for their Grassroots peers on Tuesday, Aug. 27. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder
SUDBURY, ON - Sudbury Downs harness racing fans are in for a treat on Sunday, Aug. 11 when the Ontario Sires Stakes makes a stop at the northern oval. Four divisions of three-year-old trotting fillies will battle for a total of $72,000 in Grassroots purse money and the second heat is loaded with talent, including division co-leaders Muscle Magic and Oaklea Veronica who will start from Posts 2 and 3, respectively. The duo earned their top ranking - which they share with Twin B Alibi - by scoring one win and one second in the first two Grassroots events. Both fillies prepped for Sunday's contest in overnight events on Aug. 2, with Muscle Magic finishing a hard-closing sixth at Mohawk Racetrack and Oaklea Veronica making an early error and finishing seventh at Grand River Raceway. Rockwood resident Ben Baillargeon conditions Muscle Mass daughter Muscle Magic for his partners Nunzio Vena of Bolton and Santo Vena of Brampton, while Guelph resident Gregg McNair conditions Pegasus Spur daughter Oaklea Veronica for Bryan Lawrence of Hanover. Hoping to keep both of the division leaders off the podium are Bop Too The Top and Orderingin. Bop Too The Top will benefit from Post 1 in Race 5 and arrives in Sudbury off a fifth-place finish against the colts in the Aug. 3 Dream Of Glory Final at Hanover Raceway. In the first two Grassroots events the Muscle Mass daughter, trained by Peterborough resident John Bax for his partners Glengate Farms of Campbellville and Lorne Johnson of Cobourg, has two thirds. Orderingin captured her division of the Grassroots season opener and then jumped up to the Gold Series where she also scored a win. Trainer Richard Moreau and owners Furious Farms of Repentigny, QC, Jean Mondoux of Blainville, QC and Normand Mondoux of Laval, QC opted to drop the Majestic Son daughter back down to the Grassroots program however, and she will be looking for a third win from Post 7 on Sunday afternoon. Post time for Sunday's program is 1:30 pm and Sudbury Downs fans will see the three-year-old trotting fillies wage their Grassroots battles in Races 3, 5, 6, and 8. For complete entries For up to date point standings, race replays, and more. Sandra Snyder
With high-level harness racing two-year-old credentials to build on, Murmur Hanover has license to be a serious Hambletonian contender for Quebec-based brothers, Claude Bardier, 48, and Normand Bardier, Jr., 50.
One More Ginny captured the $43,000 Lifetime Dream final with a stakes record harness racing performance at Woodbine on Saturday evening for the Baillargeon brothers.
When One More Ginny found herself in the Ben Baillargeon barn late last season, she quickly developed the nickname the 'Tank' from the Rockwood harness racing conditioner.
A pair of $20,000 Lifetime Dream series divisions highlighted the Thursday evening harness racing program at Woodbine with One More Ginny and Sheer Glide finding the wire first in their respective tilts.