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MILTON, JULY 3, 2020 - There is an alchemy involved in teaching a yearling how to be a racehorse - the top tier of the Ontario Sires Stakes is, after all, the Gold Series - and last winter harness racing trainer Casie Coleman Herlihy though it might actually take supernatural power to transform Springbridge Duel into a racehorse. As a result it felt like a bit of a miracle when the two-year-old pacing gelding captured one of the season opening Gold Series divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night with an impressive 1:51.3 victory, six and one-quarter lengths ahead of Magnum Moon and Twin B Heart Throb. The time is the fastest for a two-year-old in North America in 2020. "He was a terrible horse to break. I think it took two to three weeks before we even got a jog cart on this horse. I literally had to geld him before we hooked him in a jog cart. I had a horse whisperer work with the horse. He was nuts, he was just absolutely insane," said the trainer. "He's got to be the worst horse, or very close up to the worst horse, we've ever broke and I definitely said to myself, over and over again, what the hell was I thinking." Coleman Herlihy's typical selection process during yearling buying season is rigorous. She studies pedigrees, she visits farms, she looks at horses repeatedly, but on the final day of the Harrisburg Yearling Sale last November she realised she had not filled her quota of Ontario Sired horses. "I love the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but I was focussing more on Betting Line's and I simply didn't have very many Ontario Sired, so I was literally doing last minute shopping, which I never do," said Coleman Herlihy, with emphasis on the never. "I was looking at every Ontario Sired horse there was basically, and seeing him - he's a gorgeous colt, he's big, good looking, perfect conformation, he's gorgeous - I ended up buying him." The trainer would question her last minute purchase repeatedly through the winter as her Florida-based team of second trainer Ray Domenico, caretaker Evelyn Harms and driver Steve Condren wrestled with Springbridge Duel, trying to channel his raw talent into a usable form. "If they weren't as patient with him he could have been ruined very, very easy. Even myself, I owned him and trained him, and I was ready to just say I'm done, give up, sell him, move him or whatever," said Coleman Herlihy, who shares ownership of the colt with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Heimbecker of Conestogo, ON and Mark Kantrowitz of Delray Beach, FL. "And saying that, he's always showed the speed. He has a great gait on him and he's wicked, wicked fast, but it took a long time to get him there and we just had to be so, so careful with him. He's a ton better than what he was, but it was a tough winter, for sure, breaking that colt." Once the son of Big Jim and Stonebridge Damsel returned to Ontario second trainer Mark McKinnon and caretaker Kayla Chappell took up the task of keeping Springbridge Duel on an even keel and on June 20 Bob McClure piloted him in a two-year-old qualifier. The colt finished second and returned to Woodbine Mohawk Park for a second qualifier on June 27, which he won by 16 lengths. On Friday, knowing nothing of his winter-time struggles, fans at the Milton oval sent him off as the favourite in the second $105,600 division. Starting from Post 6 McClure floated Springbridge Duel off the gate, but many of his peers had the same idea and a there was a crowd around pacesetter Dietrich Seelster as he reached the :28.1 opening quarter. Stuck on the outside, McClure put Springbridge Duel on the front before the :56.1 half and the gelding had opened up a two length lead by the 1:24.4 three-quarters. Without urging, the pacer rolled home in :26.4 to claim his first victory. "All I told Bob, in the qualifiers and that, all I ever said was, he likes to be first on the gate and then just take him off. Do not leave with him, do not move with him, just sit him in a hole and keep him calm, keep him relaxed, because as soon as somebody leaves with him you're never going to take him back again, he's going to get nuts," said the Cambridge resident. "The way that he was tonight, it's not like he blasted off the wings, he was floating, looking for a spot and he couldn't find a spot, and so I really don't think that's going to stir him up any more than he already is. I did not want him on the front, but he looked like he was pretty calm and relaxed and Bob had him under control. "When I saw Bob stop, and he was still checked up and Kayla wasn't there yet, I was like, 'Oh God', and I couldn't believe how good he was. He actually was very, very good," she said of the gelding's winner's circle behaviour. "Like I said, his manners are getting so much better no doubt, but I've got his very first video on my phone still from where he ended up laying on the ground." Springbridge Duel will now begin preparations for the second Gold Series Leg at Woodbine Mohawk Park on July 18. He will be joined by the first division winner, Desperate Man, who was equally impressive for driver Trevor Henry, trainer Kathy Cecchin and her co-owners John Cecchin and Nicole and Paul Davies of Arthur, ON. Starting from Post 2 in the first $104,800 division, Desperate Man got away fourth as Vino Louie charged out to a :26.2 opening quarter. Henry edged the fan favourite off the rail just after the :55.4 half and was putting the pressure on Vino Louie by the 1:24.4 three-quarters. The Shadow Play son unleashed a :26.3 last quarter to claim the 1:51.4 victory, two and three-quarter lengths ahead of Twin B Fighter and Next Big Thing. "He is probably the nicest two-year-old I have sat behind. Very smart and professional," said Arthur resident Henry. "I'm so glad for John and Kathy and their kids. It's really well deserved." Complete results from Friday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Video: Race 2 - Desperate Man; Race 8 - Springbridge Duel OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

Standardbred Canada reports that the odds-on harness racing favourite So Much More landed on the lead late in the mile and withstood a late charge from Sly Eleanor N to win the $32,000 Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (March 7). Sly Eleanor N launched to the lead with Reclamation ducking into the pocket and So Much More venturing first over from third for the front. Past the first quarter in :26.4, the four-year-old Big Jim mare edged towards the front and cleared command past a :55.4 half. Reclamation angled out of third around the final turn and drew within a length of the leader passing three-quarters in 1:24.3. So Much More turned away Reclamation’s challenge into the stretch and faced a pocket-popping rally from Sly Eleanor N nearing the finish, but held off the lunge by a head in 1:52.1. Kendall Seelster swept from last for third. Co-owned by trainer Don Beatson with Kenneth Beatson and Cole England, So Much More won her fourth race from eight starts this season and her 23rd from 42 overall, earning $326,850. James MacDonald drove the $2.90 winner. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Standardbred Canada reports that So Much More, sent off as the 7-5 favourite, fired off cover to land first at the finish in the $36,000 Preferred Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday (Feb. 15). Kendall Seelster led the field to a :27.2 first quarter with Easy Lover Hanover sitting in the pocket. Driver James MacDonald lagged So Much More off the gate and sat seventh around the first turn, but caught cover to race third over into a :56.1 half. Fixed Idea led the overland charge around the final turn, drawing on near-equal terms with Kendall Seelster past three-quarters in 1:23.1 and taking a narrow lead into the stretch. MacDonald angled So Much More off cover and dashed down the centre of the track to the lead in the final stages, winning by a length over pocket-popper Easy Lover Hanover. Fixed Idea settled for third. A four-year-old mare by Big Jim, So Much More won her 22nd race from 40 starts, surpassing $300,000 in earnings. Trainer Don Beatson co-owns the $4.90 winner with Kenneth Beatson and Cole England. Trainer Richard Moreau claimed victory five times during the 11-race card. He began with back-to-back victories midway through the card, with Blu Crew ($6.00) winning in near wire-to-wire fashion and Legion Seelster ($3.30) winning in wire-to-wire fashion. Two races later, Sylph Hanover ($15.50) won in near gate-to-wire style while Wheels On Fire ($5.30) capped Moreau’s evening with a first-over grind to victory. The finale on the program, giving Moreau his fifth win on the night, featured a mandatory payout to the Jackpot Hi-5. Moreau trainee Peace Out Posse ($30.20) ripped off cover to win, with Play Jet Ray finishing second, 66-1 shot Ramblingamblinman closing for third, Foot Soldier finishing fourth and Freddy Bear rounding the ticket. With over $300,000 bet into a $150,000 carryover, the ticket combo of 9-4-2-8-3 returned $41,354.03 on a $.20 ticket. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Harness racing driver James MacDonald celebrated his birthday in the winner's circle after guiding favourite So Much More to victory in the $32,000 Fillies & Mares Preferred Handicap Pace featured on the foggy Friday night (January 10) program at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Caught three-wide through the first turn, So Much More kept on rolling and took over command after Kendall Seelster cleared Double A Mint at the :27.2 quarter pole. The bettors' choice continued to lead through middle splits of :57.2 and 1:26 and was clear in the drive to the wire to score by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2. Double A Mint shook loose in the stretch and rallied on to nab second-place honours ahead of Kendall Seelster while drifting towards the center of the track. So Much More was sent postward as the even-money favourite following back-to-back December wins and a closing third-place finish in her season's debut last week behind Youaremycandygirl and Kendall Seelster. She paid $4.20 to win. The victory was the 20th lifetime for the four-year-old Big Jim mare, who has banked $264,170 across 36 starts. Trainer Don Beatson shares ownership with Kenneth Beatson of Palgrave, Ont., and Cole England of Exeter, Ont. To view Friday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Friday Results - Woodbine Mohawk Park. From Standardbred Canada/Mohawk Park

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 16, 2019 -- Jimmy's Little Girl found herself in unfamiliar territory when forced to move three wide near the three-quarters. But she was up to the task as she captured her second straight leg -- and third consecutive win overall -- in Tuesday's Holiday Series for $10,000 claiming filly and mare pacers Monday at The Meadows. The series concludes Friday, Dec. 30, with a championship leg worth an estimated $15,000 to $20,000. Jimmy's Little Girl began her current streak with two front-end victories, yet the 6-year-old daughter of Big Jim-Sheer Horse moved wide willingly for Mike Wilder and scored in 1:56 in the slop. Big Chute missed by a head in the Lightning Lane, while Velocity Gretchen earned show. Sarah Andrews trains Jimmy's Little Girl, who extended her lifetime bankroll to $123,371, and owns with Brian Carsey and Adam Friedland. It was one of five wins on the 13-race program for Wilder. Elsewhere on Monday's card, Perlucky won his third straight in the $20,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot, exploiting a pocket trip and prevailing for Dave Palone in 1:54.3. Ron Burke conditions the 4-year-old Lucky Chucky-Paper Girl gelding, who now boasts career earnings of $340,909, for Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Phillip Collura. With his two Monday victories, Tony Hall raised his career total to 5,997. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a $101,806.41 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5. First post for the 13-race card is 1:05 PM. On Wednesday, The Meadows and the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association (MSOA) will host a holiday party in the Racebook. All guests are invited to attend, enjoy free refreshments from 1 PM to 3 PM and play Plinko. Prizes include a t-shirt, a mystery voucher, a race program and "Pick a Prize." by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

WASHINGTON, PA, Dec. 9, 2019 -- Hammered down to 1-9, Jimmy's Little Girl was every bit as dominant on the harness racing track as she was on the board Monday at The Meadows, cruising to victory in the opening leg of a series for $10,000 claiming fillies and mares. The Meadows currently is hosting six Holiday Claiming Series; all begin this week, and all conclude with Dec. 30 championship legs that carry estimated purses between $15,000 and $20,000. Soon after Jimmy's Little Girl released The Spinster N near the quarter, Mike Wilder sent her to the point again. The 6-year-old daughter of Big Jim-Sheer Hose never had an anxious moment thereafter, scoring in 1:54.2 in the slop. The Spinster N held second, 2-1/2 lengths back, with Velocity Gretchen third. Jason Robinson trains Jimmy's Little Girl, who lifted her lifetime bankroll to $117,621, for Robert Main. In the $20,000 Open 1 Handicap Trot, Whats The Word shot the Lightning Lane to pull of a 10-1 upset for Aaron Merriman, trainer Scott Betts and owners Tim Betts, Nick Catalano and Stephen Moss. Wilder, who tallied 17 wins last week at The Meadows, continued to pile up victories, with four more on the 13-race card. Tony Hall and Dave Palone each fashioned a triple while Bob Key enjoyed a big day with three wins, all with horses he bred and owns. Live racing at The Meadows continues Tuesday when the program features a trio of rich wagering opportunities: an $85,012.93 carryover in the final-race Super Hi-5; a $5,000 total-pool guarantee in the Pick 4 (races 3-6); a $1,099.56 carryover in the Pick 5 (races 2-6). First post for the 13-race program is 1:05 PM. By Evan Pattak, for The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association

MILTON, ON - November 16, 2019 - Series finals, a milestone and Jackpot score headlined an eventful harness racing Saturday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. An 11-race card featured a trio of main events with a pair of Harvest Series finals for Ontario sired three-year-old colts and geldings and a $34,000 Preferred Pace. Easy Lover Hanover became harness racing's newest millionaire with 1:51.4 victory in the $34,000 Preferred Pace. The Ben Wallace trainee scored his eighth win of the season and 42nd in 106 career starts to cross the $1 million mark. Sitting second-over at three-quarters, Easy Lover Hanover displayed the determination that fans have become accustomed to seeing by charging down the centre of the track and overtaking the lead in the final-eighth to win for driver Bob McClure. A six-year-old gelded son of Somebeachsomewhere, Easy Lover Hanover has competed in several of the sport's top pacing events during his career with his biggest victory coming in the Progress Pace as a three-year-old. Brad Grant is the owner of racing's new millionaire. 'Easy Lover' was made the 4/5 favourite in Saturday's Preferred, returning $3.70 for a $2 win ticket. Tony O'Sullivan trainee Angers Bayama took off on rivals racing to three-quarters to secure a 4 ½ length victory in the $49,600 Harvest Series final for pacing colts and geldings. Sylvain Filion guided the gelded son of Big Jim to the career-best 1:50.4 victory for the series sweep. The First Step, who had victories in each of the preliminary legs, finished second. Prestige Seelster and Bettor B Going completed the Superfecta. Angers Bayama is now on a six-race winning streak to bring his career record to six for 14 with $78,655 earned for owner Bayama Farms Inc. The six wins have all come since joining the barn of O'Sullivan. A $2 win ticket on Angers Bayama returned $3. Lifetime Royalty claimed the top at the opening-quarter and never looked back for a 10-1 upset victory in the $47,800 final for trotting colts and geldings. Jody Jamieson was the driver behind the gelded son of Royalty For Life for trainer Scott McEneny. Okeanos trotted a :27.3 final-quarter to challenge Lifetime Royalty, coming up just a neck short for a runner-up finish to the 1:54.4 winner. Arcanum and A Royal Line rounded out the top-four. Lifetime Royalty's experience in the Harvest Series was an up and down ride, as the McEneny trainee captured a first leg division, finished seventh in the second leg and then rebounded for the victory Saturday. The sophomore gelded is now two for 16 this season and three for 25 overall after his career-best victory to bring his career earnings to $99,231 for owners Brad Grant, McEneny and Martwest Racing Stable. Lifetime Royalty paid $22.90 to win. The Harvest Series was open to Ontario sired three-year-old colts and geldings, who were non-winners of $30,000 in 2019 as of September 30, 2019. Saturday's final race saw the Jackpot Hi-5 taken down, as a horseplayer from Chicago had the only winning ticket for a score of $92,381.06 (USD). The 6/5 favourite Mc Pat captured the final-race, but the top-five also included the two-longest shots in the race. The top-five finishers are listed below: 1st: #5 Mc Pat (6/5) 2nd: #10 Cliffhanger (5/1) 3rd: #9 St Lads Thriller (46/1) 4th: #1 Mighty Mach (110/1) 5th: #3 Cortez The Killer (12/1) The $0.20 winning ticket cost $134.40 and was built 5,10/5,10/ALL/ALL/ALL. Live racing resumes Monday evening at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment              

WILKES-BARRE. PA - The Big Jim sophomore colt Bronx Seelster, fresh off racing in his Breeders Crown harness racing final, went to the top against mostly older foes in the $17,500 feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs Saturday night, then responded gamely to post a 1:50.3 victory in 40-degree temperatures. Simon Allard, who had three victories on the night, hustled the sophomore to the top before the :26.2 initial split, then got him to the half in :55.1 and the three-quarters in 1:23.2 without too much pressure. In the stretch, though, Twin B Tuffenuff ducked in from the pocket to the Pocono Pike and menaced in midstretch, but Bronx Seelster dug in and held a neck advantage at the wire. The pacer is now campaigned by Allard Racing Inc., Bruce Soulsby, Alan Weisenberg, and Dr. Stephen Klunowski, who acquired him before his Breeders Crown elimination. Bronx Seelster is trained by Rene Allard, who was recognized during the card for being the winningest trainer at Pocono in 2019, a feat which now gives him six of the last seven local titles. The 32-year-old native of Quebec ranks third among North American trainers in the seasonal victory category. Keystone Steam joined an early-forming two-wide tier, went three-wide down the backstretch and went back to two-wide on the far turn, then was just along over the pacesetting Tom's Arockin in 1:51.3 in the $16,000 claiming handicap pace co-feature. The gelded son of Bettor's Delight, who won by a half-length, got the job done for trainer James Guagliardo, owner Steven Cetinsky, and driver George Napolitano Jr., who also won with Pocono's Pacer of the Year Atta Boy Dan on the card among his five wins on the night. The Great Britain-bred Hasty Hall gelding Matticulous GB remained undefeated in three starts on this side of the Atlantic, and he took his lifetime record to 21-17-4-0 with a 1:51.1 victory in a $14,000 pace. Matt Kakaley put the Ron Burke trainee, owned by Brett Thompson, on the lead going to the quarter and was unstoppable - literally: after coming home in :27, Matticulous GB and Kakaley "came back" and sailed right past the winners circle and in the general direction of the paddock. Pocono now will next race on Tuesday, as the track will alternate Saturday and Tuesday programs until the meet's closing night of Saturday, November 16. From the PHHA / Pocono Downs

Trois-Rivieres, QC - Jimbelina, the lone harness racing mare in the field against eight male rivals, will go for her sixth straight win on Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R. The six-year-old daughter of Big Jim was assigned the far outside post eight in the 5th race Preferred Pace. She is trained by Jean Tourigny and owned by Roland Trudel of Becancour. "She (Jimbelina) really came to me to rest a little," said Tourigny. "But she is racing so well now we will continue with her." Jimbelina hails from a strong family lineage. Her dam, Buddys Gal, had five foals and all of them made the races. Jimbelina has a half-sister, Fast N Fiesty p,5,1:50f, who made $397,000 and a half-brother, Buddy Weiser p,1:52.1f, who made $174,000. "She is a beautiful mare," Tourigny said. "She's really very quiet and easy to get along with." Jimbelina has already shown she can beat the boys, having won a Preferred 3 race her first time over H3R's half mile oval. That was two starts back when she raced from off the pace to win in 1:55.4. When at Georgian Downs Jimbelina showed that she can also overcome post eight, winning on the front end in 1:54.2. So, does that mean she can overcome post eight again on Sunday at H3R? "You never know what may happened on Sunday," Touriney said. Jimbelina's main competition Sunday will come from a trio of male competition in the race. They are Maracasso (post 4), who won last weeks race but was disqualified for going inside the pylons, Mister Big Top (post 5) who was placed 1st in the race, and Surf Report (post 7), who was a game second in last week's top pace. Sunday's program also features a Preferred Pace for Fillies and Mares headed by Uptown Woman (post 7), Sauble Bonnie (post 6) and Rainbow Palace (post 8). There is also a Two-Year-Old Open Pace featuring Solid Man (post 5), Acaena De Chakrika (post 3) and SOS Cupcake (post 1). The 11-race Sunday race card gets underway at 1:00 pm. For a free program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The six-year-old harness racing pacing mare, Jimbelina, was parked out four-wide in the backstretch and around the final turn, yet the mare showed true grit and fortitude in winning at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday. Driven by Jocelyn Gendron, Jimbelina won the 6th race F&M Preferred-Handicap Pace by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:57.2. It was the daughter of Big Jim's fifth straight win and sixth victory of the year. The sixth race co-feature saw Uptown Woman (Pascal Berube) grind it out to the lead over Sauble Bonnie (Stephane Brosseau) to the opening quarter mile in :27.2. Then before the half mile in :57.1, Rainbow Palace (Francis Picard) came first-over with Better Now (Stephane Gendron) grabbing the second-over cover and Jimbelina and Gendron, the race favorite, third-over. The action then picked up in the backstretch as Gendron started up three-wide with Jimbelina only to be shoved four-wide when Better Now, who wanted out to go around Rainbow Palace, who was not done in first-over position. Jimbelina continued to gain ground despite being four-wide, cleared to the lead at the top of the stretch and then went on to victory. Sauble Bonnie was second with Rainbow Palace third. Jimbelina is trained by Jean Tourigny for owner Roland Trudel of Becancour and paid $3.30 to win. It took a long inquiry by the judges before declaring race winner Maracasso (Carol Voyer) disqualified and placed last after skipping over pylons on the final turn in the 7th race Preferred-Handicap Pace for the horses. Maracasso had gone on the win by four and one-half lengths in 1:55.3 before the disqualification. Mister Big Top (Jocelyn Gendron), an 18-1 long shot was moved to first place with Surf Report (Tyler Jones) placed second and Outlaw Turn N Burn (Francis Picard) placed third. Mister Big Top is trained by Yves Tessier and paid $39.30 to win. Track Notes: Driver Pascal Berube led all horseman on the day with a driving triple. Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R next Sunday, September 22, first race post time at 1:00 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

CHESTER, PA - Prairie Panther, who made his 2019 debut in the Great Northeast Open Series (GNOS) a successful one last week at Pocono, has been installed a 7-2 morning line favorite in a very competitive field of eight in a $30,000 GNOS event for fast-class pacers on Sunday at Harrah's Philadelphia. A ten-time winner already this year, the Royal Millennium gelding Prairie Panther shows recent victories at Tioga, The Meadowlands, and Pocono, last week coming from far back to win in 1:50. Tyler Buter, with whom he took his 1:48.2 mark two starts ago, is listed to drive from post one for trainer Mike Deters, co-owner-breeder with Laurie Poulin. The Big Jim gelding Tiger Thompson N, the leader in this GNOS division's pointstandings and only 1½ length behind Prairie Panther last week at Pocono, returns to the track where he won in GNOS competition on May 12. Andrew McCarthy will be a fresh pair of hands behind Tiger Thompson N, beginning from post six for trainer Joshua Parker. Donttellmeagain, late-season conqueror of McWicked during that one's Horse of the Year campaign last fall, finished third behind Tiger Thompson N when that horse won in the GNOS here, and like that day he is burdened with the outside post eight on Sunday. The red-hot team of driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Jim King Jr. are the braintrust behind Donttellmeagain, a Dragon Again gelding who will be making his first start in 2½ months. Others in the field, listed from innermost post position excluding the above three, are Our Max Phactor N (driver George Napolitano Jr.), Slick Tony (Anthony Morgan), Sicily (Victor Kirby), Mach N Cheese (Simon Allard), and Lyons Steel (George Brennan). The horses earn points according to their order of finish, with the top pointwinners in the weekly-scheduled spring/summer competition eligible for their $100,000 GNOS Championship at 1¼ miles at Pocono on Monday, September 9. Sunday's GNOS pace is race seven on Philly's 14-race card, with first post set for 12:40 p.m. From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association, in conjunction with Harrah's Philadelphia and The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono racetracks

Trois-Rivieres, QC - The final leg of the Quebec Plus Series for 3,4, and 5-year-old harness racing pacers takes place on Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with two divisions. Owners, trainers and drivers will be seeking points to be one of the eight finalists going for $10,000 in the final next week at H3R. The first division features the horse that may well sweep the series, Lune Bleu (Blue Moon in French), who will start from the rail for driver Pierre Luc Roy. One of only two fillies in the race against the boys, Lune Bleu was at her best last week for trainer Maxime Velaye. The daughter of Big Jim was able to wire the field in a lifetime best 1:58.3, the fastest mile in the series so far. "She's not the biggest filly," said Velaye of Lune Bleu. "but believe me she has her little character. Fortunately, because it is probably this small side battler who makes a good quality racehorse. I think she has improved throughout the year. She had a few more difficult moments in the middle of the summer which resulted in breaking pace, but since then she has recovered from the hair of the beast, as they say. I even think that, like many mares and fillies, the cooler temperatures suit her." It was Lune Bleu's fifth win in 13 starts for breeder/owner Guy Corbeil of Mirabel. According to Velaye it was a good performance. "I do not claim anything," Velaye said. "but her mile last week in 1.58.3 is a very good performance under the circumstances. It was windy, it was cold, we were in the last race, but none of that seemed to bother her. So, I'm hopeful she'll answer with another good mile this week." A strong contender in the race will be Ernie Panic (post three) who won two starts back in 2:00.3 along with Determinant (post five). In the ninth race second division it looks like a battle will take place between two stable mates, Encore Panic (post five) and Flash Panic (post one). Both are conditioned by H3R's leading trainer, Francis Richard and were bred and is owned by Brian Paquet of Quebec City. Encore Panic will be driven by Jocelyn Gendron and this four-year-old gelded son of Artistic Fella is on a two-race win streak, winning both starts going wire to wire. The fast of the two wins was last week in the opening round of the series, a 2:00.1 lifetime mark. Flash Panic will be driven by Francis Picard. The three-year-old filly by Sportswriter has four wins so far this year, the fastest a 1:57 triumph at H3R. Other contenders include Somebeachbythesea (post two), Art Of The Master (post six) and Hercule J M (post seven). The trotters own center stage in the seventh race Preferred event. Returning to try for his third straight win is last week's winner and former Quebec Series Champion, Seeyou Men. He goes from post six for driver Stephane Brosseau and last week won with ease in 2:00.1 and the prior week scored in 1:57.4 at Rideau Carleton. Another Quebec Series Champ, Capteur De Reve, starts from post two for driver Pierre Luc Roy. He has won three of his last five starts, all in this class. Rideau invader Talbotcreek Suzie (post one) will be a factor having won three of her last four starts for trainer Yves Tessier. Holiday Spirit (post three), the front-end crazy R Rkadabra goes from post four, return winner Ghradelli Lindy (post five) and another Quebec Series Champion, Holiday Party, rounds out the field from post seven. The two top pacing mares at H3RB this season, Rainbow Palace and Wild River Swan, renew their rivalry in the sixth race. Rainbow Palace took a week off after beating Wild River Swan and she will go from post four for driver Francis Picard. Wild River Swan did race last week and won in 1:57. She will start from post three for driver Jocelyn Gendron. First race post time is 12:50 pm on Sunday. For a free race program, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club  

When Wayne McGean was warming up Bronx Seelster at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night the trainer figured the two-year-old pacing colt's win streak was going to be halted at two. The youngster was sluggish and did not seem keen to engage his Ontario Sired peers in the fourth Gold Series event of their season. "I'm telling you, I didn't like him warming up tonight," said McGean. "He was quiet and I told Trevor (Henry) that." Driver Trevor Henry lined up at Post 9 with the division leader and settled the colt in fifth as Fast N First led the field to a :27 opening quarter. Fast N First had a brief tenure on the lead before being overtaken by Better Than Cash, who in turn was quickly demoted by Bettors Wish heading by the :55.1 half. As the lead changed hands in front of him, Henry had tipped Bronx Seelster into the outer lane and once the colt caught the fading early leaders he was able to tuck in behind Bettors Wish through the 1:23.1 three-quarters and into the stretch. Sliding out from behind Bettors Wish well into the lane, Henry asked Bronx Seelster for another gear and the fan favourite delivered, powering home to a one length victory in 1:52. Bettors Wish settled for second and Perkins finished well behind the leaders in third. "I didn't think he was going to win it. At the third flag pole down he was still a length and a half off," admitted McGean. "Trevor got after him and he just got him out off the wheel, and he just dug in. He's got such determination. He's just so determined and he fights on, he doesn't take back. He's just one of them horses, they're hard to find." The win was Bronx Seelster's third straight over the Woodbine Mohawk Park oval and his third in Gold Series competition, putting him atop the division standings with 175 points. In 10 starts the son of Big Jim and Tarport Baccarat has netted seven wins and two seconds for earnings of $341,810. He posted his personal best 1:51.2 winning his Sept. 7 Champlain Stakes division against some of North America's best young pacing colts. "Myself, Brent Bradbury and Dave Mercer are on a big roll, we're on a roll we never ever dreamed of," said the Nova Scotia resident of his Capers 3 Stable partners. "And to cap it all off Better Single win the next race, the eighth race, and Dave Mercer, my partner, owns half of that one, so he had two Golds back-to-back." Mercer barely had time to finish celebrating Bronx Seelster's victory before he was heading back out to the winner's circle with two-year-old pacing filly Better Single, who parlayed a pocket trip into a neck victory in a personal best 1:53.4. Pacesetter Powerful Chris settled for second and Be Best was three lengths back in third. All three fillies are by sire Betterthancheddar. James MacDonald engineered the win for trainer Anthony Beaton of Waterdown and Sydney, Nova Scotia resident Mercer who share ownership of the consistent youngster. "She's picked up a cheque every time she's stepped on the track for us, and like I say, fingers crossed, hopefully she continues for the next two starts," said Beaton. "I'm pretty sure we're planning on the next start for next Saturday in the Gold, and then the Super Final, obviously." Friday's victory was Better Single's second in Gold Series action and boosted her to the top of the division standings with 117 points. In eight starts the filly now has two wins, one third, one fourth and four fifths for earnings of $157,885. Cafe Society won the other $98,000 pacing filly Gold division, getting up late for the 1:55.1 victory after the fans' top four choices got snarled up coming off the last turn. Turncoat was two and one-quarter lengths back in second and fan favourite Ideation Hanover finished third. Jonathan Drury piloted Café Society to her first-ever Gold Series win for trainer Casie Coleman and her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Kevin McKinlay of Holland Landing and Jim Fielding of Toronto, Ontario. Like Better Single, Café Society is a daughter of Coleman's former trainee Betterthancheddar. The other $97,200 pacing colt division went to Sports Teen, who also closed from mid-pack in the wind and rain to claim the neck victory. The son of Sportswriter hit the wire in a personal best 1:53.1, just ahead of Twin B Watching and fan favourite Better Up. Louis Philippe Roy, who currently sits atop the Ontario Sires Stakes drivers' standings, crafted the colt's second straight win for trainer Paul Reid and owner Robert Key of Leechburg, PA. The two-year-old pacing colts and fillies will wrap up their Gold Series regular season at Woodbine Mohawk Park next Saturday, Oct. 6. This Saturday, Sept. 29 the Campbellville oval hosts the $400,000 Grassroots Championships, with eight division finals going postward in Races 1 through 3, and 5 through 9. The Championships get under way at 7:10 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

MILTON, ON - September 7, 2018 - Rookie pacers were in the spotlight Friday for five divisions of the Champlain Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A trio of $70,107 eight-horse divisions for colts and geldings were contested, while a pair of $95,738 nine-horse splits for pacing fillies also took place. The undefeated Captain Ahab sent another message to the rookie pacing colt division with an impressive 1:52.3 victory in Friday's second Champlain division. A son of Captaintreacherous, Captain Ahab and driver Andrew McCarthy took their time at the beginning and settled in fifth, while Captain Crunch, who was undefeated entering the Champlain, was sent to the top and posted a :27.2 opener. Driver Scott Zeron was able to steal a :29.4 second-quarter with Captain Crunch, which forced McCarthy to get underway with Captain Ahab ahead of the half. The Captaintreacherous colts 'Crunch' and 'Ahab' would battle on the far turn, reaching three-quarters in 1:25.2. In the stretch, Captain Ahab powered by Captain Crunch and cruised home effortlessly in :27 for the victory. Better Up, who got a two-hole trip, finished second, while Captain Crunch was third. "They got out of there that first-quarter pretty good, so I was happy just to sit back and wait and I got to ride up there very slow first-over," said McCarthy following the victory. "That's what great about this horse, he'll sit out there and just grind on up there and does his thing. I chirped at him a little bit at the head of the stretch and away he goes." Trained by Tony Alagna, Captain Ahab was prepping Friday for next weekend's Metro Pace eliminations and is the headliner heading into this season's richest race for two-year-olds. "We brought the colts and fillies in here (to Mohawk Park) on Tuesday and trained them and he trained great," said Alagna. "I was really happy with how he trained Tuesday and he's been very sharp all week. The week off last week really helped him." Captain Ahab is from the first-crop of Captaintreacherous and Alagna noted there are many similarities between the two. "I see a lot of (Captaintreacherous) in him," said Alagna. "His characteristics, the way he is so easy on himself, the way he lets you drive him...his work ethic. He reminds me a lot of 'Captain' and hopefully he can keep reminding me of 'Captain'". Captain Ahab improved to six for six with his Champlain score and has now earned $117,616 for owners Brittany Farms, Brad Grant, Vince Barbera and Captain Ahab Racing. He was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. A $2 win ticket on Captain Ahab returned $2.90. Bronx Seelster was Friday's fastest winner, making a statement with a 1:51.2 score in the evening's first division for colts and geldings. A son of Big Jim, Bronx Seelster and driver Trevor Henry angled out from fifth to start a first-over bid approaching the half. Blank Canvas shot to the lead and posted a :27 opening-quarter before slamming the brakes to lead by the half in :56.3. The tempo ramped up on the far turn, as Blank Canvas paced a :27.1 third-quarter with Bronx Seelster pressing at his side. In the stretch, Bronx Seelster immediately powered by Blank Canvas and pulled away impressively to win by five-lengths for the career-best 1:51.2 score. Blank Canvas held second, while Lyons Night Hawk was third. Trained by Wayne McGean, Bronx Seelster improved his record to six wins and $292,810 earned in nine starts for owners Capers 3 Stable. "Nobody wanted to move and he come first-up kind of early I thought tonight, but he's a tough little horse," said McGean, who showed some emotion when talking about the season he's enjoyed with Bronx Seelster. "It's unreal. It's hard to put into words. You look for this once in your lifetime and we have it now." Bronx Seelster's trophy case now consists of the Battle of Waterloo, Champlain Stakes and a pair of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold divisions. The $22,000 London Selected Yearling Sale purchase paid $2.70 to win. The final division for colts and geldings saw Cruise Captain upset the 1/9 favourite Stag Party in 1:52.2. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Cruise Captain left from post-six and dropped down to the pylons in third, holding onto his rail spot throughout. Casie Coleman trainee Stag Party, who entered off a blowout win in the Nassagaweya, got away one spot back in fourth and sat there until the half. Do Ya Think cut out fractions of :26.4 and :55.4 before taking on Stag Party, who came first-up on the far turn. Unlike the Nassagaweya, Stag Party didn't fire by the leader in the third-quarter and was at the leader's saddle pad when they hit three-quarters in 1:24.3. In the stretch, Stag Party overtook the lead from Do Ya Think, but couldn't create much separation. Meanwhile, Cruise Captain found his best stride, shooting up the rail to overtake the lead in deep stretch and score the victory. Stag Party finished second, beat three-quarters of a length, while Do Ya Think was third. Cruise Captain had to survive an inquiry for a possible first-turn pylon violation before getting his photo taken. The second son of Captaintreacherous to win a Champlain, Cruise Captain was winless in six starts entering Friday and picked the perfect moment to break his maiden for trainer Victor Puddy and owners Bill Manes, James Ruhl, Lloyd Stone and 10462217 Canada Inc. "We've raced this guy in Pennsylvania all summer and he's had many trips like he had tonight and he never got out," said co-owner Manes. "He's one of them Captaintreacherous' and they try. "He's had a good summer chasing them good colts and now we'll have to sit down and we've talked about entering him in the Metro and he deserves it now." Cruise Captain, who was a $25,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, increased his earnings to $68,414 with Friday's victory. He paid $15 to win. Dave Menary trainee Quebec Blue Chip captured the first division for pacing fillies in a career-best 1:52.2. Driven by Jody Jamieson, Quebec Blue Chip hustled from post-seven to make the top and post a :27.4 opening-quarter. Longshot Revival Cards and driver David Miller moved out of third in the second-quarter and cleared to the top just after a :56.3 opening-half. Key West, the 3/5 favourite, came first up from fourth on the far turn and was on even terms with Revival Cards at three-quarters in 1:24.2, while Quebec Blue Chip and Jamieson were locked in behind the leader hoping room would develop in the lane. In the stretch, Key West poked a head in front, but couldn't power away, which led to a scene of five fillies across the track all within a length at the eighth pole. Jamieson was able to get around a fading Revival Cards and dip back to the rail with Quebec Blue Chip. Undefiable and driver Trevor Henry rallied from fourth-over to shoot by their rivals on the extreme outside. Despite the fantastic effort, Undefiable couldn't best Quebec Blue Chip, who reached the line first for a half length score. Crisp Mane was third. "I got caught with my pants down in front of the class," said Jamieson of his less than ideal route to victory with Quebec Blue Chip. "I was looking for a cheap half and Dave (Miller) recognized that...and kind of caught me sleeping and I didn't want to let him go, but as it turned out it worked out for our filly." Trainer Dave Menary has been high on the Sportswriter filly since the winter months. "This is the pacer that I pegged all winter," said Menary. "She's such a handy filly and at Grand River she was doing it so easy, but here I didn't know how she would be able to translate the speed to the big track. "She's just so willing and so quick, so fast." Quebec Blue Chip improved her stats to six wins and $256,914 earned in eight starts with her fifth-consecutive score Friday. She was a $40,000 Harrisburg purchase as a yearling and is owned by Menary Racing Inc, Michael Guerriero, Kenneth Ewen and Bruce Norris. A $2 win ticket on Quebec Blue Chip returned $5.60. Deb and driver Trevor Henry saw patience pay off, as they pulled off a 17-1 upset in the second division for pacing fillies. Race-favourite Tall Drink Hanover made a move from fourth to first entering the backstretch and led by the half in :56.2. Prescient Beauty came first-up from fifth entering the far turn and engaged in a gritty third-quarter battle with Tall Drink Hanover, who held a lead of less than a length at three-quarters in 1:24.1. Deb and Henry got a three-hole trip through the middle-half and were able to slip off the rail to take a shot in the lane. Tall Drink Hanover dug in trying to fight off rivals, as Ideation Hanover, who sat in the two-hole, pressured along with Deb on the outside. Prescient Beauty drifted out in the lane and finished seventh. At the wire, Deb was able to muscle by for a 1:53.2 victory. Tall Drink Hanover didn't fold and finished second, beat half a length, while Ideation Hanover was third. "She's the type of the filly that's been roughed up first-up in her last three starts," said Henry post-race. "I had to keep her in and I had a good hold on her through the last turn and it just worked out we got out and she got up to win." A daughter of Sportswriter, Deb picked up her third win in eight starts with Friday's score. Her three victories have all come in three different levels of stakes events (OSS Gold, OSS Grassroots and Grand Circuit). A $24,000 London Selected Yearling Sale purchase, Deb has now earned $108,328 for owners Wilma and James MacKenzie. She paid $36.60 to win. Next up for many of the Champlain competitors is the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady eliminations next Saturday (September 15). Bronx Seelster is the only winner from Friday not eligible to next weekend's stakes. Live racing continues Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The 13-race card is headlined by three divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers and the eliminations of the Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

JULY 23, 2018 - Ontario Sired two-year-old pacing colts took over Woodbine Mohawk Park on Monday evening, competing for a total of $337,850 in two Gold and eight Grassroots divisions. Bronx Seelster moved to the top of the division standings with his second straight Gold Series victory in the evening's eighth race. Driver Trevor Henry eased the colt away from Post 7 and settled him in fifth as Arcane Seelster led the field to a :26.4 opening quarter. Heading for the :56.1 half Henry moved the fan favourite into the outer lane and then edged the colt out three-wide heading by the 1:24.2 three quarters. Just three-quarters of a length behind pacesetter Arcane Seelster at the top of the stretch, Bronx Seelster sprinted home to a one and three-quarter length victory in 1:52. Caviart Rockland also closed hard to be second and The Regulator was third. "I like the little horse, he's all right, and he raced great tonight," said Arthur, Ontario resident Henry from the winner's circle. "He's just a little horse, but he's got a good brush to him." Henry piloted Bronx Seelster to the win for trainer Wayne McGean of Sydney Mines and Capers 3 Stable of Sydney, Nova Scotia, who offered up $22,000 for the colt at last fall's London Selected Yearling Sale. The son of Big Jim and Tarport Baccarat now has two Gold wins and one second in overnight action on his resume through four lifetime starts, giving him earnings of $86,500. "January on I liked the colt, and I had opportunity to go away on trips and I wouldn't go, because I liked this colt," admitted McGean to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Chad Rozema. "And he come along the way I thought he would really; he's all right." Bettors Wish earned the win in the other $98,800 Gold division when Stag Party was ruled to have interfered with him near the halfway marker. As a result Stag Party, who crossed the line one-half length in front, was place back to second and Bettors Wish was moved up to first. Sunshines Finest was two lengths behind the duelling leaders when they crossed the wire in 1:51.2. The win was the second lifetime for Bettors Wish, who captured a July 5 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park before finishing third to Stag Party in the July 12 Gold Series opener. Guelph resident Paul MacDonell has piloted the Bettors Delight son in all three of his outings on behalf of trainer Chantal Mitchell of Hamilton, Ontario. Chris Ryder of Allentown, New Jersey, Bella Racing Ltd. of Delaware, Ohio, Fair Island Farm Inc. of Versailles, Kentucky and Kenneth Solomon of Coral Springs, Florida share ownership of Bettors Wish, who was a $20,000 US purchase at the 2017 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Better Moonon Over paced to one of the fastest miles of the eight Grassroots divisions, rolling out of the pocket in the stretch and pulling away from pacesetter Moonshine Kisses to a three-quarter length victory in 1:52.4. Face the Challenge finished two more lengths back in third. Campbellville resident Chris Christoforou, Jr. crafted the win for trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, and MacIntosh admitted he was pleasantly surprised with the Betterthancheddar son's effort. "He was in the second group (training down) and he was a nice colt, but he just didn't show the speed," said the trainer. "I was as shocked as anybody today when he win in 1:52.4, that was a good mile out there for a two-year-old. "I'm really happy for Dan and Kim, they've had some rough luck the last couple years and this colt looks like he's going to be a nice little colt for them," MacIntosh added, referring to the gelding's owner-breeders Kim and Dan Sergeant of Straffordville, Ontario. "He does everything right, and he tries every time, and he's just one of those little colts that keeps improving every start." Better Moonon Over will make his fourth lifetime start in the Battle of Waterloo eliminations at Grand River Raceway on July 30, along with his stablemates Sports Hero, Da Delightful and Fast N First, who finished second, third and fifth in their respective Grassroots divisions on Monday. The other Grassroots divisions were captured by Prairie Midnight in 1:54.1, Quickstar Bluechip in 1:55.3, JMs Delight in 1:52.4, Battle Strong in 1:53, Machdavid in 1:53.3, Cliffhanger in 1:54 and Keystone Concrete in 1:53.1. The two-year-old pacing colts and gelding will make their third Grassroots start on August 14 at Georgian Downs, while the Gold Series competitors make their third start on August 15 at Grand River Raceway. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Tuesday evening with three Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old trotting fillies. The fillies will open the program at 7:30 pm in the first race and will also compete in Races 2 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

Plainville, MA---Just as his size dwarfed his harness racing competitors, Big Cal's performance did as well today as he easily won the $12,000 conditioned pacing feature at Plainridge Park on Tuesday afternoon (June 20). Leaving from the pylons, Big Cal (Greg Merton) went right for the front while everyone else took a seat behind him. Motoring on a loose-lead under a snug hold, Big Cal tripped the timers at :26.4 and :56.1 before Riproy (Ron Cushing) pulled from third to get even with the leader. That encounter lasted about halfway through the last turn when Merton fed Big Cal some line and he started to rebuff the challenge. With two taps in the lane, Big Cal paced away to a four-length win in 1:53.1. It was the first win of the year for Big Cal ($9.80) but it produced a new lifetime mark for the 4-year-old son of Big Jim who is owned by Robert Pelc Jr. and trained by Shawn Answeeney. There were also two $10,000 filly and mares conditioned paces that produced opposing mutuals. After being locked in and shuffled back to last, driver Michael Stevenson was able to find a crack in a wall of parked horses with Cameo Delight and snuck out fifth before tipping four-wide down the lane to unleash a torrid brush by his mare that blew by everyone to win by a length in 1:54. It was the second consecutive victory for Cameo Delight ($19.80) who is owned by Deborah Espinosa and Bruce Espinosa, that also trains the winner. In the other scratch-shortened co-feature, I'm Saving Myself (Greg Merton) did just that; she sat third at the rail until the three-quarter pole when she pulled and brushed to the lead. Down the lane I'm Saving Myself turned it on and opened up two lengths under a Merton hand drive to win in 1:55.4. I'm Saving Myself ($4.80) was a first-time winner this year but also took a new lifetime mark in the process. The 4-year-old daughter of Always A Virgin is owned by Raymond Rogers and trained by Brian Lamb. Plainridge Park leading driver Greg Merton had the hot hand in the bike Tuesday winning three races on the afternoon while second place dash driver Kevin Switzer Jr. captured two. Trainer Scott Rollins moved into sixth place among resident conditioners for wins as he sent three of his students to the winners circle today while Brian Lamb and Shawn Answeeney each captured two victories apiece. Racing resumes on Thursday afternoon (June 22) with post time set at 4 p.m. Thursday's feature race is the $17,000 Open Handicap trot which has the Spirit of Massachusetts Trot eligible Mambo Lindy installed as the 6-5 morning line favorite.   By Tim Bojarski, for the Standardbred Owners of Massachusetts  

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