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MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Brian Sears guided race-favorite Winndevie to a late-charging harness racing win in the $655,000 (CAD) Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday. The winning mile went in 1:53. Bet down early, Sears was in no hurry to leave quickly with Winndevie as Only Take Cash and When Dovescry sped to line up first and second with The Ice Dutchess following. Only Take Cash cut the first quarter in :26.2 as Asiago broke and galloped on the outside. Only Take Cash was overtaken by When Dovescry, who herself was passed in the shuffle by The Ice Dutchess as the half went in :56.3. Taking to the outside, the Joie De Vie LLC-bred Winndevie began to make up serious ground, going strongly after The Ice Dutchess to three-quarters in 1:25.3. From there, Winndevie was urged on by Sears and got to the wire first in full command of the field. Trained by Trond Smedshammer, Winndevie won in 1:53. When Dovescry took second and The Ice Dutchess held on for third. Winndevie is owned by Purple Haze Stables. The Credit Winner--Vida De Vie was a top performer in the New York Sires Stakes season. With this win, Winndevie has earned a little more than $865,000. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Manchego and driver Dexter Dunn put on a  harness racing show in capturing the $325,000 (US) Breeders Crown for Open Mares on Saturday night at Woodbine Mohawk Park in a scintillating 1:51 mile. The 4-year-old mare by Muscle Hill won for the fifth straight time in the process as the 1-2 betting choice. Plunge Blue Chip and Ice Attraction left inside Manchego and the early skirmish saw Plunge Blue Chip take control with two-time Breeders Crown champion Emoticon Hanover settling in second after leaving from the outside post. Dunn positioned Manchego in third and after a :26 1/5 quarter cut out by Plunge Blue Chip he sent her to the front. Manchego had control and looked a picture setting the tempo with fractions of :55 3/5 and 1:23 4/5 and upon turning for home the Nancy Johansson-trained mare hit high gear and left Plunge Blue Chip gasping for air. The rest chased in futility as Dunn checked the rear-view mirror and let her mare kick home in an impressive :27 1/5 final quarter. Emoticon Hanover would rally late for the place spot ahead of Plunge Blue Chip. Weslynn Dancer and Hannelore Hanover hit the wire together in a dead-heat for fourth. It was Manchego's seventh win in 15 starts this year for owner Black Horse Racing and the victory boost her career bankroll above the $2 million mark. Bred by Brittany Farms Manchego returned $3.10 as the public choice. "She's just exploded the last half of the season," said Dunn following the victory. "She felt great once again tonight." It was the second Breeders Crown victory for Manchego who captured the juvenile filly trot in 2017 at Hoosier Park.   From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 26 - Caviart Farms' Caviart Ally ($7.00) sustained a first-over push out of midfield to duel down harness racing divisional standout Shartin N en route to a going-away 1:49.3 score in the $300,000 (U.S.) Breeders Crown Mare Pace on Saturday night (Oct. 26) at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Caviart Ally stalked patiently in fourth while Kissin In The Sand (Yannick Gingras) and Shartin N (Tim Tetrick) dueled through a :25.4 first quarter. Odds-on favorite Shartin N vacated the pocket and brushed to the lead on the first turn before pulling the half back to :55.4. Andy McCarthy angled Caviart Ally out from fourth on approach to the final turn, and the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight motored alongside Shartin N nearing three-quarters in 1:22.3. Caviart Ally stuck a head in front past Shartin N with an eighth of a mile to go, and accelerated away to a clear 1:49.3 score. Shartin N was all-out to narrowly hold second over Kissin In The Sand. Brett Pelling trains 24-time winner Caviart Ally, who also defeated Shartin N in the Allerage at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. The Breeders Crown victory lifts Caviart Ally's career earnings to over $1.7 million. "It’s pretty awesome after last night," Brett Pelling said. "I was halfway across the track last night, so this time I’ve made it the whole way. It’s great. It’s an awesome event. Breeders Crown, it’s the ultimate for us in the game and I couldn’t be happier. She’s a great tough mare. She’s got a beautiful nature about her and is one tough girl."     From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - The $600,000 (US) Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace was expected to be a battle between elimination winner Papi Rob Hanover and Metro winner Tall Dark Stranger. That the two crossed the wire that way was just the beginning of a harness racing story that changed radically after the finish. Driver Yannick Gingras placed an objection on behalf of Tall Dark Stranger against David Miller on Papi Rob Hanover and after a long period the judges agreed, placing Tall Dark Stranger first and race-winner Papi Rob Hanover second in the final of four $600,000 juvenile Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night. Tall Dark Stranger left alertly going past Cattlewash into the first turn with 6-5 favorite Papi Rob Hanover settling in third for Miller. Tall Dark Stranger cut effective fractions of :27 3/5 and :55 1/5 for the opening half as the field was spread out with passing that station. Miller went on the offensive midway on the final turn with Papi Rob Hanover but by that time it appeared as if Gingras had gotten the fractions he needed crossing three quarters in 1:23 2/5 with Tall Dark Stranger. A bitter battled ensued in the homestretch as the two colts battled head to head right to the wire with Papi Rob Hanover getting his head in front at the wire in the 1:51 mile. The inquiry sign went up quickly and the judges determined that Papi Rob Hanover had made contact with Tall Dark Stranger causing that one to lose his momentum. "My colt was fighting back," said Gingras after the race. "I haven't made an objection since Yonkers in 2002." Sent off as the second choice in the field Tall Dark Stranger returned $5.80 while notching his eighth win in nine career starts for trainer Nancy Johansson. Marvin Katz, Crawford Farms, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor share ownership in Tall Dark Stranger who was bred by James Avritt Sr. Cattlewash finished third with original fourth place finisher Mayhem Hanover also getting disqualified for getting in the path of Capt Midnight in the late stages and causing that one to break. The judges placed Capt Midnight fourth with Mayhem Hanover revised back to fifth. A disqualification of a Breeders Crown race winner had only happened twice before (That Fabulous Face in 1998 and Corleone Kosmos in 2007) , with both being by trotters that made a break. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Entertainment/Hambletonian Society        

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - Harness racing trotter Amigo Volo (Dexter Dunn) was never challenged in a wire-to-wire mile of 1:54.3, taking the the $600,000 (USD) Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot Final on Friday at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A quartet of trotting colts left alertly but Amigo Volo soared to the top around the first turn and led commandingly by 2 lengths to cut the first quarter in :26.4. Leading the rest of the field from second was Third Shift, with Capricornus third. The huge favorite, Real Cool Sam, was rolling in seventh through a record-breaking half of :55.3 by Amigo Volo. Third Shift struggled following as Amigo Volo raided three-quarters in 1:24, drawing away into the stretch. As Amigo Hall put 5 lengths in front of the field, Real Cool Sam's attempt to make up ground was defied by sharp-closing longshot Rome Pays Off, who nipped Chestnut Hill for second. Amigo Volo (Father Patrick--Margarita Momma) crossed the wire 4 lengths the best in 1:54.3 for trainer Richard Norman. It was Dexter Dunn's first Breeders Crown-winning drive. Bred by Kentuckiana Farms, the $42,000 yearling is owned by Pinske Stables and David Miller. Amigo Volo paid $7.10 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society  

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25, 2019 - The trainer-driver harness racing team of Tony Alagna and Andrew McCarthy put forth a second-straight shocker when Reflect With Me, sent off at odds of 27-1 shocked the field in capturing the $600,000 (US) final of the Breeders Crown for juvenile pacing fillies at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday night. Unlike the victory with Ramona Hill a race earlier McCarthy chose to sit back from post eight and let others do the work. He got exactly what he was looking for when Priceless and driver Brandon Bates cut the opening quarter in :26 4/5 and then made even money favorite Lyons Sentinel with driver Tim Tetrick work a bit extra hard before releasing her to the tune of a :53 3/5 first half clocking. The race got more interesting when elimination winner New Year took up the offensive without cover past the half towing Alicorn into the race. McCarthy for his trouble had managed to work out a fourth over trip with the Captaintreacherous-sired filly and once the field passed three quarters in 1:22 1/5 McCarthy sent his filly three and then four wide to begin the long trek towards the leaders. Lyons Sentinel was hanging in determinedly as New Year flattened out from her first-over challenge but the field was closing in on the leaders and Reflect With Me had the most energy and McCarthy kept her to her task getting there in the final strides in the 1:50 3/5 mile. The clocking was a fifth off the Crown record. Lyons Sentinel held the place spot with Marloe Hanover slipping between fillies for third. New Year and Looksgoodinaromper rounded out the top five. Reflect With Me, was bred by Brittany Farms who share ownership in the filly with Bradley Grant. It was the second straight trophy for Grant as well on the evening. It was the fifth victory in 11 starts on the season for Reflect With Me who returned a healthy $56.20 for the win mutual ticket. "She got a little tired near the wire but she kept on coming," said McCarthy following the victory. "I spoke with Andy before the race and we both felt there was a lot of speed inside," said Tony Alagna. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society      

MILTON, ONTARIO, October 25 - Leaving from the farther-most post 10, Andrew McCarthy made two big moves with harness racing trotter Ramona Hill to easily win the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Filly Trot Final at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Friday (October 25) over favorite Hypnotic AM by 2 ½ lengths in 153.2. McCarthy wasted no time as the field left the gate, firing Ramona Hill to the top confidently with Sister Sledge directly behind her, followed by Ms Savannah Belle and Hypnotic AM, cutting the first quarter in :27. Keeping the field chasing, Ramona Hill, at 14-1, drew away a few lengths, getting to the half in :56 when Brian Sears charged first over with Hypnotic AM to get the lead. May Baby inherited the first-over spot while Tim Tetrick kept Ms Savannah Belle third on the inside. Hypnotic AM cut the three-quarters mark in a fiery 1:23.4 but it did not take long for McCarthy to pull from second and easily take over Hypnotic AM's lead. Ramona Hill shot away from the field to win in 1:53.2. Sister Sledge (Yannick Gingras) closed on Hypnotic AM to take second. Madame Sherry (Matt Kakaley) finished in fourth at 99-1. Tony Alagna trains Ramona Hill for owners Bradley Grant and Robert Leblanc and as bred by Crawford Farms. "She's so talented and she was so slick tonight," said McCarthy. "Leaving from the 10 hole I said I'm going to step her out to the front and I was not surprised she could leave so quickly." Co-owner Robert Leblanc, in the Breeders Crown winners circle for the first time, said, "When we got the 10 hole we were still positive, we thought she could still get it. We think she is just goint to get better." Romana Hill (Muscle Hill--Lock Down Lindy) paid $31.80 to win. To watch the race replay, click here. From Woodbine Communications/Hambletonian Society

Milton, ON - It hardly seems like 14 years has elapsed since Rocknroll Hanover captured the Breeders Crown sophomore pace at The Meadowlands in what at the time seemed like the final chapter in the ultra-successful North American harness racing training career of Brett Pelling. Pelling was a dominant force on the East Coast and beyond from 1998 through 2005, the year Rocknroll Hanover held the spotlight in the premier division. In the Crown alone he captured 10 trophies and more than $3.8 million in earnings, ranking him high on the all-time trainers list. That the New Zealand native chose to retire and return Down Under after that season caught some by surprise, but those that knew him and entrusted their horses to Pelling were not caught off guard. "About a year before I made the move I let all of the owners know my intentions," Pelling said, recalling the lead-up to his early retirement. "It was the right thing to do and Nifty (Norman) and Noel (Daley) ended up with a lot of the horses." When Pelling decided to return to North America in 2017 and re-launch his training career in New Jersey, he expected to find familiar faces and a reasonable opportunity to succeed. When that didn't immediately happen, Pelling was put in the position to purchase horses on his own or with minor partnerships to get up and running. That was two years ago and heading into this weekend's Breeders Crown finals Pelling may not be quite where he was when his stable averaged $5 million in earnings each year, but he still seems content. "It's about quality, not quantity," Pelling said this week. "When the stable was at full strength we had about 50 horses racing and I would say another 15 possible horses that people were looking to give me." Right now, Pelling trains 15 horses while hoping to add some yearlings in Harrisburg and perhaps lose a few at the mixed sale. "A lot of the owners that were with me back then have moved on and invested with others in partnerships. I understand that completely," said Pelling. One longtime owner, David McDuffee, won a Breeders Crown 3-year-old event some 23 years ago and hopes to again be in the winner's circle with Pelling this weekend. "We go way back to Armbro Operative," said Pelling. "He's just a great guy and someone who really appreciates what it's like to have a top horse." The top horse Pelling is referring to is Papi Rob Hanover. The Somebeachsomewhere-Panera Hanover colt captured the lone Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old male pacers last Friday, and in the process ended the unbeaten streak of Metro Pace winner Tall Dark Stranger. The victory, a mild upset for the bettors, offered Pelling and driver David Miller the results they were looking for. "We had a bad post in the Metro final," said Pelling. "I could have taken the bye (in the Breeders Crown) but I didn't want that to happen again." Papi Rob Hanover drew inside and landed post three for the final and that suits his trainer just fine. "He's just the perfect horse," Pelling said of Papi Rob Hanover. "He's now gone every kind of trip and just performs to the highest level. A lot of people don't realize how difficult it is for a horse to make the kind of move he made last week. You're going a second quarter in :26 and change and there's really no way to slow down. The turn doesn't save you." Papi Rob Hanover did continue at a torrid clip through three-quarters but unlike his Metro elimination race where Tall Dark Stranger sat in the pocket and rolled by, in the Crown elimination Papi Rob Hanover prevailed without being threatened in a career-best-equaling 1:50.2 clocking. While many in the division were chasing some of the early stakes races, Pelling had a plan for Papi Rob Hanover - to have him ready for the Metro and beyond for this year. "He's a good eater and was carrying a bit too much weight, I think, heading into the Metro. A lot of people were surprised when I shipped him home (to New Jersey) after the Metro elimination and then back for the final. The truth is I didn't want to have to work him very hard and I thought the ship would help him drop some weight," said Pelling. The routine was not repeated after last week's victory, with Papi Rob Hanover remaining in Canada. Rocknroll Hanover sired the dam of Papi Rob Hanover, and while there are some similarities between the two as juveniles, Papi Rob Hanover has been easier to deal with claims Pelling. "I think if the horse has been on the racetrack 100 times this year I've probably only sat behind him 15 times," said Pelling. "I sit behind the horses that are having problems or need changes." Winning this Crown is no doubt a big thing for the trainer. "It's something you look forward to and no doubt a race that means a lot to me to win," said Pelling. "But to be honest, I hope he wins it for Dave McDuffee." When Pelling left after 2005 many of his horses went to Norman and Daley. Last year when Noel Daley decided to go back home, he returned the favor in part and thus Pelling took over the training of Caviart Ally, second choice in Saturday's $300,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It's been a solid season for the 5-year-old daughter of Bettor's Delight with seven wins and seven seconds in 16 trips to post. Caviart Ally has ended up on the short end of the stick against division leader and Horse of the Year contender Shartin N for most of the year. Pelling obviously doesn't see that much separating the two in talent, and recalls the battle the two waged in the Betsy Ross back in May at Harrah's Philadelphia as an epic struggle that perhaps left him and his mare frustrated for quite some time. Driver Andrew McCarthy left out aggressively in the Betsy Ross to the tune of a :25.2 opening quarter forcing Shartin N to tuck in behind. With that accomplished, Caviart Ally was able to back peddle the second quarter in :30 and put the pocket sitter in a tough position. Tim Tetrick vacated the pocket with Shartin N and the two mares kicked a third quarter in :26.1, with neither giving ground. The war continued right to the finish wire with Shartin N winning by a neck in a 1:49.2 mile. While Pelling always believed in Caviart Ally, the results week in and week out painted her as a bridesmaid until the two met again in the Allerage Farms Mare Pace at The Red Mile on Oct. 6. This time Caviart Ally drove past the pacesetting Shartin N to win in a 1:48.3 clocking. "I wouldn't call it getting a monkey off my back," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's victory. "It was a gorilla." Pelling has enormous respect for Shartin N and recognized the favorite on Saturday (post one) had not raced competitively in five weeks prior to the Allerage. Ironically the two mares met last Friday in a qualifier at The Meadowlands. Pelling didn't seem too concerned that Shartin N won that event. "I was happy with her qualifier," said Pelling of Caviart Ally's 1:51.2 clocking. "It just worked out well for me logistically to have her down here and get work in. I'll go with her and ship up on Thursday (Oct. 24)." Pelling hopes that it won't just be a two-mare battle in the Crown final. "I think Youaremycandygirl and Kissin In The Sand are both top mares that will want to get involved," Pelling said. Caviart Ally's last start at Woodbine Mohawk Park was a command performance victory in the Milton Stakes, where she scored in 1:48.3 with a final half in an eye-popping :53.3. A lot has changed in harness racing since Brett Pelling last trained a Breeders Crown winner. One thing that has not is his dedication to the details and preparation. He's come to the Crown with quality. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown  

Milton, ON -- Harness racing super star Bold Eagle basked in the afternoon sunlight on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport last Saturday (Oct. 19) led by longtime caretaker and groom Hugues Monthule, who donned a neon-yellow safety vest. Despite a flashy black-and-red cooler draped over the trotter's back and bright red wraps around all four legs up to his knees, it was Bold Eagle's presence that proved eye-catching. Bold Eagle carried his head low and ears straight up under a gray hood. His eyes wide and gleaming, the French trotter took long, languid strides over the pavement. Despite emerging from an eight-hour journey over the North Atlantic Ocean, the French champion looked regal. After clearing customs, Bold Eagle and Monthule boarded a trailer bound for the Woodbine Mohawk Park backstretch. The track's backside would be Bold Eagle's home for the next week as the trotter prepares for his start in Saturday's $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot. The race has been years in the making for owners Pierre Pilarski and Thomas Bernereau. "It dates from 2017 during our first participation in Elitloppet and our meeting with John Campbell. I promised him to come to the Breeders Crown as soon as it was possible," Pilarski said. "It has been two years since John Campbell has invited us to come and compete in this great event with Bold Eagle in North America," Bernereau said. "We had the opportunity between Pocono and Mohawk, and we decided on Mohawk because this race was very well-placed in the program of Bold Eagle. If we come to play this great event with Bold Eagle, it is largely thanks to John Campbell, who convinced us to come and who organized everything so that everything went well." Despite Pilarski's promise, Bold Eagle's voyage seemed unlikely to most until the jumbo jet carrying him lifted into the skies over Frankfurt, Germany bound for Canada. In 67 races, Bold Eagle has only competed outside of his home country six times. He won the Group 1 Grand Prix de l'U.E.T. at the Netherlands' Victoria Park Wolvega in 2015, captured an elimination of Elitloppet in 1:50 before finishing fourth in the Group 1 final in 2017, won the Group 1 Grand Prix de Wallonie in Mons, Belgium in 2017, made a break shortly after the start of the first Elitloppet elimination in 2018, and repeated in the Grand Prix de Wallonie this year. Despite his 4-for-6 record outside France, critics of Bold Eagle cite his Elitloppet defeats as evidence the trotter is not as strong abroad as at home. However, Pilarski and Bernereau reject the notion. "Bold Eagle's win that impressed me the most was his elimination from Elitloppet when he won over his opponents in (1:50). This performance is the most impressive in my eyes," Bernereau said. Bold Eagle's 2018 Elitloppet bid proved disastrous. Travel delays may have doomed the trotter's trip before it even began. However, a recall before the race and a long delay on the track saw Bold Eagle come unraveled. His connections could only look on in dismay as Bold Eagle galloped in the first 200 meters and failed to advance to the final. "In 2018, the plane had been sitting long hours on the tarmac and all the horses of this trip raced badly at Solvalla," Pilarski said. "And then there were these incidents with the autostart. He was not bad because we cannot say that he had a fair chance." "This day was the worst moment of my career as an owner. Everything that could happen to destabilize our champion did happen," Bernereau said. "Bold Eagle is a very nice horse, but when he is in competition mode, he is impatient to start and can quickly go up in pressure. That day, he stayed 20 minutes on the track after a false start, which completely destabilized our champion. Now it's the nature of the races and you have to accept it, but that day everything was against Bold Eagle." Bold Eagle's record in France remains impeccable. The Ready Cash son's career began in the stable of Jean Dubois, where he won eight of his first 10 starts in 2013 and 2014, including the Group 2 Prix Victor Regis. As Dubois looked to retire, Pilarski, Bernereau, and Encurie Fouquette purchased Bold Eagle. "When we bought Bold Eagle, he had shown great potential, he had an exceptional pedigree, but we did not think to buy such a champion," Bernereau said. "I did not think he would be so good, but I sensed he had a special character," Pilarski echoed. Bold Eagle joined the ranks of trainer Sébastien Guarato and his new connections quickly discovered the special horse they had purchased. In his third start for Guarato, Bold Eagle captured his first Group 1 in the Criterium des 3 Ans Dec. 7, 2014. In 2015, Bold Eagle added another three Group 1 successes in the Prix de Selection, Grand Prix de l'U.E.T., and the Criterium Continental. Bold Eagle's career reached new heights in the 2016 Grand Prix d'Amérique. With Franck Nivard in the sulky, Bold Eagle defeated Timoko in the 1,000,000€ French classic and became a household name among harness racing fans worldwide. "The biggest emotion with Bold Eagle was in his first win in the Grand Prix d'Amérique," Bernereau said. "The horse was the favorite, we were very stressed, and Sébastien had lost his father four days before the race, which added a lot of emotion to this great victory." Bold Eagle's Group 1 wins continued to pile up after the 2016 Prix d'Amérique. Entering his Breeders Crown bid, Bold Eagle is 45-for-67 with 21 Group 1 successes and $5,365,180 earned. His resume includes two wins and a second in four Prix d'Amérique appearances, two Grand Prix de France triumphs, and a win in the 2017 Grand Prix de Paris over 4,150 meters that capped a French Trotting Triple Crown. Now, Bold Eagle's connections seek North American success. "Bold Eagle has nothing to prove to us, he has won so many great events and we have so much joy that now all the races we play with him are for fun," Bernereau said. "We come to Mohawk to present him to the North American public. Bold Eagle is very good, but whatever the result, we are here for the pleasure of playing a big test with our great champion. "If we want Bold Eagle's popularity to cross the borders of Europe, it's important to come up against American champions like Une de Mai or Varenne did at their time." A Breeders Crown bid fit perfectly into Bold Eagle's 8-year-old campaign. Lightly raced, he finished sixth in the Prix d'Amérique to start the year before placing third in the Prix de France. However, after being parked the mile by Dijon and being eased to a distant finish in the Group 1 Grand Criterium de Vitesse at Cagnes sur Mer March 10, Pilarski doubted his champion. "After the performance in Cagnes sur Mer, I thought to stop racing him, and I was wrong," Pilarski said. "He was ill and was opposed by the future winner of the 2019 Elitloppet." Bold Eagle returned to the races May 5 and finished second in the Group 2 Prix des Ducs de Normandie with Björn Goop taking over the lines from Nivard. Bold Eagle and Goop earned their first victory together in their next start June 23, as Bold Eagle took the Group 1 Prix René Ballière at Vincennes for the fourth consecutive year. "For an old horse that has raced a lot in Vincennes, it is very difficult to be still very efficient on the racecourse of Paris Vincennes," Pilarski said. "Even the great Timoko could not win at the end of his career. This fourth Ballière was important. No horse, not even Ourasi and Bellino II had reached it." "It is always important to win a Group 1 at Vincennes, but this one was important to us because many people already announced the retirement of Bold Eagle while we knew he was very good, but we had to prove it in competition," Bernereau said. Bold Eagle earned another win on the season in the Grand Prix de Wallonie with Tony le Beller in the bike Aug. 4 before finishing third with Goop in the UET Trotting Masters Series Final Sept. 7. Bold Eagle enters the Breeders Crown off a troubled second-place finish in the Group 3 Grand Prix de la Fédération Régionale du Nord Sept. 18. In that start, Bold Eagle squeezed through a narrow opening in the stretch, briefly brushing with rival Anzi des Liards while stablemate Tony Gio stormed to victory with a clear path in the center of the track. After just nine seasonal starts, Bold Eagle shipped to Canada for his attempt at North American glory. His connections feel this is the right time to try it. "This year we have not been to Scandinavia, which allows us to have a fresh horse and in great shape at this time of the year," Bernereau explained. "In other years, Bold Eagle was resting in October after a busy spring and summer." "This year we did not make a great trip by plane because Bold Eagle has had problems with repetitive foot abscess which has prevented us from presenting him in Scandinavia as originally planned," Pilarski said. "Bold Eagle has raced very little this year, his foot problems are over, so let's say the planets are aligned." Bold Eagle trucked from Guarato's stable in Normandy to Frankfurt before flying to Toronto. It is the longest trip of Bold Eagle's life, but he took the journey well according to his connections. "Everything has been very well managed very professionally by (Global Horse Transport's) Christian Rakshys and his teams," Bernereau said. "During this trip, Bold Eagle has always been accompanied by Hugues Monthule, his lad who knows him by heart. "I was in contact with John Campbell and his team who took care of everything. It's really a pleasure to work with people who are available, professional, and listening to horses." While Bold Eagle's biggest victories have come over 2,700 meters from a standing start around the Grande Piste at Vincennes, his start in the Breeders Crown will be one mile behind a mobile starting gate. "Bold Eagle knows how to race all the distances, but I prefer him on the mile," Pilarski said. "He has raced a lot over 2,700 meters and I think he's better going shorter." "To compare Vincennes and Mohawk is very difficult because the races do not run at all the same way," Bernereau said. "I think that on the mile, we cannot make a mistake because you have little time to give your horse a breather." Bold Eagle drew post one and will have Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears in the sulky. The pair are 4-1 on the morning line. Bold Eagle's 10 rivals are Will Take Charge, Mission Accepted, Fiftydallarbill, Guardian Angel AS, Atlanta, Lindy The Great, Dunbar Hall, Southwind Chrome, Six Pack, and Marion Marauder. "It's great to have in the sulky a crack driver who knows the track and the opponents," Pilarski said. "Regardless of what happens, it's going to be a great sporting moment." "It is essential to have one of the best drivers in North America to be competitive," Bernereau said. "In France John Campbell is seen as a legend of the American races. He advised me Brian, who has a lot of experience, who is calm, and who adapts to all the horses. "It would be wonderful, a great moment of joy to present Bold Eagle in his best light to the North American public," Bernereau continued. "Bold Eagle is part of the family and at every race I have a lot of stress and emotion. I hope to be able to share all my emotions with the public that I hope will be present in number." Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Brandon Valvo, for the Breeders Crown  

Harnesslink’s North America and Europe editor, Hall of Famer Steve Wolf, is putting his handicapping abilities on the line for the Breeders Crown weekend at Mohawk Park. Here are Steve’s selections with comments for both Friday and Saturday night’s Breeders Crown races. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 25 6th race $786,000 2YO Filly Trot #1 HYPNOTIC AM – Unbeaten streak came to an end last week in elimination division. Chapter Seven daughter had been flawless before that and feel she can avenge her defeat and wire the field in Breeders Crown final. #2 SISTER SLEDGE – Gingras gave her perfect trip last week and she beat Hypnotic AM. She should get same kind of trip again Friday and could well beat top choice in stretch battle. #5 MS SAVAHHAH BELLE – Gets first time Tim Tetrick, but filly has been so good winning four of last five starts that she figures to get a good trip and should hit the board. 7th race $786,000 2YO Filly Pace #4 NEW YEAR – Going against the big favorite here. This colt has been super for Corey Callahan/Ross Croghan and showed me plenty of true grit to win. Late bloomer has won four of his five lifetime starts and in perfect spot to score from. #1 LYONS SENTINEL – Won with ease in BC elim in 1:50.3. Currently on impressive seven-race win streak and all handicapping logic says this is the top choice. Has won from on and off the pace. #3 PRICELESS – On a four-race win streak and came to Mohawk last week from Hoosier Park and won by over four lengths. In tougher here but should be a contender all the way. 8th race $786,000 2YO Colt Trot #9 REAL COOL SAM – Undefeated with a dead heat score last start. Checking back shows he had the nine post before and won with ease in a Peter Haughton elim. Needs only to overcome outside post to win again. #8 CAPRICORNUS – Has been really competitive in Grand Circuit and needs only to work out live cover from outside post and will close at the finish. #4 AMIGO VOLO – Has been making breaks last two starts, one of which he won the race. As long as this one minds it manners it will have a shot to hit the board. 9th race $786,000 2YO Colt Pace                          #3 PAPI ROB HANOVER – First or second last six starts and has never been off the board. Won BC elim last week with authority. The kind of authority that makes him a repeat winner. #7 TALL DARK STRANGER – Saw unbeaten streak come to an end last week in BC elim. Will be gunning for the lead again and might be able to go all the way. Has been great all season. #4 CATTLEWASH – Raced well for first-time Louis Philippe Roy last week and needs only to get some live cover to be very close in here. SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26 2nd Race $393,000 Older Mare Pace #1 SHARTIN N – The Queen of Harness Racing saw her 14-race win streak come to a close two weeks ago. Then she wins qualifier with ease in 1:51.1. She is in fit form and ready to blow away this field as she has done all season long. #3 CAVIART ALLY – Was at her best in beating Shartin N two weeks ago. Now she faces her again and should get the trip but as most of the season she just can’t catch her every week. #4 YOUAREMYCANDYGIRL – Raced last week against some great older horses and held her own for third place finish. I see her being able to do the same here. 3rd Race $425,750 Older Mare Trot #4 MANCHEGO – Here is a 99.9% winner. Tough mare has been at her best and on a four-race win streak. She has beaten most of the mares she faces tonight and will do it again. #3 PLUNGE BLUE CHIP – First, second or third every start except when against top pick. Can race well from on or off the pace for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, just can’t seem to be able to beat Manchego. #10 EMOTICON HANOVER – Far outside post may just force this mare to leave, which she shows doing well every week. Has to get into the fray early to have any shot of getting a good check from post 10. 4th Race $655,000 3YO Filly Trot #9 ONLY TAKE CASH – Liked her last week but was beaten by another good filly. Has no choice but to leave from post nine and force her to press the front. From there she can surprise everyone with a big score. #1 THE ICE DUTCHESS – Logical top choice here after what looked like an easy score. Figures to try and wire the field again but too much on the line and will get pressed hard for control of the lead. #5 WHEN DOVESCRY – Hambletonian Oakes winner keeps racing her heart out all season with good results, just not winning all the time. May cut the mile here but at a price. Can hold on for a check. 5th Race $720,000 3YO Filly Pace #5 WARRAWEE UBEAUT – Last year’s top 2yo filly has reached peak form this year with seven straight wins. She crushed the field last week in BC elim. In case of early speed duel for the lead, this filly can also race from off the pace. #2 SUNNY DEE – This filly can be hot for the lead or sit the pocket trip to try and score form. In perfect post position for a big effort. #3 TREACHEROUS REIGN – Put in poor effort in last start at Red Mile. Rested and should be ready for strong mile in BC Final. Also, can do well from on or off the pace. 6th Race $655,000 Open Horse Pace #8 McWICKED – Last two starts for this world class pacers have been tremendous wins despite hoof problems. He seems to be able to get parked out first-over and grind his opponents down and get his nose up before the wire. Amazing $5 million winner takes another Breeders Crown. #7 DORSODURO HANOVER – Has been seeing the heels of McWicked for most of the season. Seems only to be able to win when McWicked is not in the field. That’s not the case today for this fast class top horse. Second best in here. #2 JIMMY FREIGHT – Gives it his all every week but comes up short at the wire in post cases. Game performer is in front of his home crowd and with good inside post will be heard from in this race as he always is. 7th Race $655,000 3YO Colt Trot #4 GREENSHOE – The horse to beat in here for sure. Top son of Father Patrick is on a five-race winning streak, having beaten most in this field throughout the season. As long as he minds his manners, he will be tough to beat one he gets rolling along. #8 FORBIDDEN TRADE – Hambletonian winner has done OK since big triumph, racing mainly in Ontario Sire Stakes, but tonight he faces the best in the country again. Needs to overcome outside post and get dream trip to have a chance against top choice. #2 DON’T LET’EM – Coming off big score last week in BC elim division and draws very well in here. With gate speed and post two he should cut the mile and may hold on a long way against tough opponents. 8th Race $786,000 3YO Colt Pace #5 BETTOR’S WISH – With 12 wins in his 16 starts, $1,367,000 in earning this season and on a four-race winning streak, Bettor’s Wish is heading towards Dan Patch Award honors and needs only to win tonight to seal it up. He can do it from on or off the pace as he has done most of the season for driver Dexter Dunn. #6 BEST IN SHOW – Meadowlands Pace winner has yet to win since big score in July but seems to be always in the hunt no matter what post he starts from. I see Bob McClure doing it again in here with dramatic race finish. #4 DANCIN LOU – Sports ten wins this year and last two have been super strong. Showed last week how great a closer he is with BC elim win in 1:50.1. 9th Race $655,000 Horse Open Trot #1 BOLD EAGLE – Race fans will now get to see one of the all-time great trotters from Europe here in North America. I have followed Bold Eagle’s career since he was a two-year-old and saw what great speed and ability he has. Should be a like a sprint for him going just one mile in distance and look for him to blow away the field. #6 ATLANTA – Provided this great mare does not quit by the three-quarters, she can be a real tigress in against male opposition. May not be good enough to beat Bold Eagle, but certainly second best. #10 SIX PACK – Game horse needs only to overcome far outside post to be a factor in here. Ake Svanstedt knows what to do to get his horse in the hunt despite starting from post 10 and can be on the board with some racing luck. We know Ake will be gunning him at some point in the mile. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink  

In August there were five active harness racing Hambletonian winners in training and racing throughout North America and in Europe, probably the first time that has occurred in the 94-history of the race. It's an astounding number when you consider the factors involved in just reaching the Hambletonian.   As the stage turns to Saturday's Breeders Crown finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park, three of those horses have been entered, along with a host of past Dan Patch winners and returning Breeders Crown champions.   The Standardbreds may be going much faster than they once did but the idea that they have become less durable over time is just not the case. In fact longevity comes with the breed and the fact that our horses not only race for many years but they race at a high level is a testament to their resilience.   Trainer Mike Keeling who along with his wife Paula Wellwood have campaigned 2016 Hambletonian winner and Triple Crown champion Marion Marauder speaks with nothing but adulation about the son of Muscle Hill.   "He knows how to take care of himself," said Keeling giving part of the reason Marion Marauder, now a 6-year-old, is still at the top of his game.   "He's the type of horse that could be going along at 35 second clip and then shift gears and be going 27. His gait doesn't change."   While there have been stops and starts along the way after a spectacular 3-year-old campaign Keeling thinks the one constant that has kept Marion Marauder at this level is soundness.   "For a horse to race at this level they've got to be sound," Keeling said. "I think with him it all starts with his gait. He's easy on himself."   Marion Marauder was not at his sharpest earlier in the campaign but after a bout with sickness following the Maple Leaf Trot Keeling believes he's reached peak form.   "He's the kind of horse that you can tell by his demeanor if he's going to have a good race," said Keeling about an hour before the $1 million International Trot.   "He felt really good out there warming up today." Keeling was right on the money as Marion Marauder was a solid closing third in the 1 and ¼ mile contest.   Marion Marauder's longevity also may have something to do with racing style. Unlike so many of today's premier performers Marion Marauder is at his best when raced off the lead and not asked to make multiple moves. It's something that Keeling is acutely aware of.   "He just can't go those 27 quarters back-to-back," said Keeling. "We've been thinking about racing him in Europe for a while and we may end up doing it next year. The style of racing may suit him better than in North America."   Marion Marauder went up against Atlanta in the International and will again be racing against last year's Hambletonian winner in the Breeders Crown Trot. As a 4-year-old Atlanta has managed to exhibit the brilliance she displayed as a sophomore once again defeating male competition on her way to a fabulous campaign. Though blessed with flashy speed it is no accident that driver Yannick Gingras has often said that Atlanta is a much better horse when coming from behind. Perhaps that's the long-term strategy that could keep Atlanta at the top of this division for a long time.   Just recently the 2015 Hambletonian winner Pinkman was retired after a splendid career, following a successful sophomore season that ended in divisional honors. Though the son of Explosive Matter would only win three races in the years that followed he was always raced at the highest level and was generally competitive no matter the circumstances.   Perfect Spirit, the 2017 Hambo winner is currently campaigning in Europe two years after his greatest victory. The durability of the breed is not top weighted just to trotters as shown most admirably by the defending Horse of the Year McWicked. His trainer Casie Coleman is a staunch defender against "age" discrimination and rejects those who even attempt to suggest the 8-year-old has lost a step.   "The mile he went in the mile and an eighth distance race at The Meadowlands against Lather Up was the fastest he's ever paced," said Coleman in reference to the Sam McKee at The Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day where McWicked finished third in a 1:59 2/5 clocking for the added distance.   McWicked looks to go over the $5 million mark in career earnings on Saturday night in his seventh year on the racetrack.   "He's just an extremely smart horse," said Coleman of McWicked. "You go out there and jog him and he knows when it's the last lap. He's a bit lazy but you don't want to be easy on him."   Coleman says that McWicked is of course well taken care of with monthly trips to the vet to keep him healthy. She also suggests McWicked benefits from regular sea salt spa treatments.   "He has no major lameness issues," Coleman said.   McWicked in some ways like Marion Marauder has survived this long by predominantly going against the grain. He's able to race on the front but that's not where he generally races. In winning for the second straight year in the Dan Rooney at Yonkers McWicked came first up without cover and was put to a decided disadvantage of pace and position by the pace-setter Jimmy Freight.   While appearing to struggle to keep up with the leader heading down the backstretch McWicked did what he's done so many times before-found another gear. Brian Sears called on the son of McArdle on the final turn and McWicked took over as if he knew it was time to go. That intelligence Coleman speaks to kicks in for this horse as they approach the finish wire.   If a replay needs to be shown to illustrate the definition of class in a Standardbred then rerun the footage from the September 7 $440,000 Jim Ewart Memorial at Scioto Downs. That seven of the nine horses finished within a length and a half of the winner can explain how competitive the race was. In reviewing the race it's impossible not to notice just how McWicked was having trouble keeping up with cover as the field rolled to the three quarters in a remarkably quick 1:20 clocking.   At that point the casual viewer may have concluded that it wasn't going to be his night. In the final quarter mile McWicked not only picked himself up off the canvas but he managed to squeeze between every horse and put his nose in front of an extremely crowded win photo.   You don't reach $5 million in career earnings without a desire to win, no matter the journey.   The Breeders Crown brings out the best of the breed and the fact that nine of last year's Dan Patch year-end award winners will be in the line-up this Saturday night is astounding. Perhaps even more incredible is that nearly a year after some great performances many of the same horses arrive at Woodbine Mohawk Park in peak form.   Dorsoduro Hanover, a 4-year-old that captured the Dan Patch for 3-year-old male pacers in 2018, enters Saturday Breeders Crown Open event after his best effort of the year, a 1:49 4/5 first-over victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park last week. With nearly $1.5 million in career earnings he's had difficulty making the transition from sophomore to Open class but appears ready now.   Dan Patch winner Shartin N has obviously gotten better with age and is deservedly the odds-on choice to capture her division title as well as a strong contender for Horse of the Year. Her consistency and will to win are a rare combination but durability has been a major attribute.   The 4-year-olds Atlanta and Six Pack will meet in the Open Trot with Six Pack entering the contest off a sparkling 1:49 2/5 mile at The Red Mile. He's the only trotter with sub-1:50 efforts as a 3 and 4-year-old.   Gimpanzee went undefeated as a Dan Patch and Breeders Crown champion in 2018 and though somewhat overshadowed by his stablemate Greenshoe has managed an impressive streak of victories this year including the Yonkers Trot. Gimpanzee won't be favored in Saturday's Crown finale for 3-year-old male trotters but anyone that watched his elimination effort last Saturday would expect him to be in the hunt once again.   Durability defines many of our top horses and with many of the two-year-olds that turned three comes maturity. Warrawee Ubeaut has made a name for herself and her sire Sweet Lou over the last two months and looks for back-to-back Crowns on Saturday. Whether Nancy Johansson's pair of 2018 Dan Patch winners Captain Crunch and Kissin In The Sand win Crowns this weekend or not, the fact that they have come back and been able to tough out a grueling campaign is befitting champions whether crowned or un-crowned.   Just the numbers alone that we see in the Breeders Crown this week tell the story. It's a powerful tale of horses that were meant to race and those surrounding them doing everything possible to see them excel. What we have witnessed is truly incredible and can only happen on a racetrack. The desire to race and win does not only come in human form. It is there for all to see on the hearts of our champion Standardbreds.   By Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown

Milton, ON - Thursday, October 24, 2019 - Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of donors who raised significantly more money than anticipated through the recent breedings sales at the Fasig-Tipton Sales, Woodbine Entertainment and its donors are proud to deliver larger donation amounts to the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge participants and their charities. Presented by Woodbine Entertainment and Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge donation total now stands at more than $200,000, making it the largest single amount donated by Woodbine Cares. The funds raised will be distributed as follows: First Place Team - 1% of their earnings + $100,000 Second Place Team - 1% of their earnings + $75,000 Third Place Team - 1% of their earnings + $25,000 Fourth Place Team - 1% of their earnings (minimum of $5,000) The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge features four teams consisting of a celebrity, a charity of their choosing, and an award-winning three-year-old Standardbred. Each charity is receiving one per cent of their horse's earnings from June 1 through Oct. 26. The challenge portion of the initiative features the teams competing to garner the most votes in a Facebook poll. The poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 24, and the team with the most votes will receive the largest portion of the funds raised in Wednesday's breeding auction. Votes can be submitted by visiting www.BCCharityChallenge.com. The four teams for the Charity Challenge are listed below: Michael 'Pinball' Clemons - Warrawee Ubeaut - Pinball Clemons Foundation Kim MacDonald - Woodside Charm - Breast Cancer Society of Canada Eddie Olczyk - Gimpanzee - Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Dan Pleasac - Captain Crunch - Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge would not be possible without the support and generosity of the following individuals and groups: Captaintreacherous The Captaintreacherous Syndicate, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky, Hanover Shoe Farms Always B Miki, Father Patrick and Sweet Lou Adam Bowden, Diamond Creek Farms Muscle Hill Michael Klau, Southwind Farms Chapter Seven Tom Grossman, Blue Chip Farms Tactical Landing Kevin Greenfield, Southwind Farms Gimpanzee Courant Inc, SRF Stable, Marcus Melander Warrawee Ubeaut Burke Racing Stable, Phillip Collura, J & T Silva-Purnel & Libby, Weaver Bruscemi Captain Crunch 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, Caviart Farms, Nancy Johansson Woodside Charm Verlin Yoder Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Hightstown, NJ - McWicked's accomplishments have already put him in rarefied air, and the 8-year-old harness racing pacing stallion has a chance this weekend to add to his achievements. On Saturday, McWicked competes in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Woodbine Mohawk Park, where he is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. With a victory, he would join Jenna's Beach Boy as the only male pacers with three Breeders Crown trophies. The only other horses with three Crowns are female pacers Eternal Camnation and My Little Dragon as well as male trotter Mack Lobell and female trotter Grades Singing. Female trotter Peace Corps holds the record with four. In addition, McWicked is on the verge of surpassing $1 million in purses for a third time in his career. The only pacer with three million-dollar seasons is Foiled Again. McWicked will enter Saturday with C$990,198 (US$981,466). For his career, McWicked has earned C$5.03 million (US$4.87 million) and is second to only gelding Foiled Again among all pacers in history. Last year at age 7, McWicked became the oldest pacer in history to receive Horse of the Year honors from the U.S. Harness Writers Association. He led the sport in earnings, with $1.57 million, and became the oldest horse in 43 years to top the money standings. He also broke Foiled Again's earnings record for a 7-year-old, which was $1.40 million in 2011. Foiled Again holds the record for an 8-year-old with $1.20 million. "He's an amazing horse, no doubt," said Casie Coleman, who trains McWicked for Ed James' S S G Stables. "There are not too many horses that have done what he's done, and to keep doing it at his age. You really wouldn't know this horse is 8 years old. "And he's got a lot of big, tough miles under his belt; it's not too often he has an easy race. Every time he goes behind the gate, they're pacing (1):47, (1):48, (1):49. He's definitely an unbelievable horse." McWicked won his first Breeders Crown at the age of 3 in 2014. When he won his second in 2018, he became the first pacer to ever win Crowns separated by four years. He will try Saturday to become the first repeat Open Pace winner since Always B Miki in 2015 and 2016. He starts Saturday from post eight with regular driver Brian Sears. Jimmy Freight is the 4-1 second choice. "Everything has been great," Coleman said about the horse's preparation for the race. "I trained him (Tuesday) and he was awesome. He's sharp, sound, healthy. I'm very happy with how he is coming in. "I obviously would have liked a little bit better (post) but it's better than the nine and it's better than the 10. The way this horse has been racing, I'm not too concerned about it. Everybody wants to draw the inside more but it's a big track and the eight-hole at Mohawk really isn't terrible." McWicked, who has battled throat and foot issues throughout his career, has won 40 of 108 races lifetime. He has won six of 15 this year, hitting the board a dozen times, and enters the Breeders Crown final with back-to-back victories in the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace. McWicked is one of three horses attempting to win a third Breeders Crown. The others are trotting mares Hannelore Hanover and Emoticon Hanover. Hannelore Hanover, from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, won her first Crown in 2016 in the Mare Trot. She came back the following year and won the Open Trot, becoming the first mare to knock off the boys since Moni Maker in 1998. Emoticon Hanover, a Luc Blais trainee, has won the past two editions of the Mare Trot. She was the first to accomplish that feat since Buck I St Pat in 2009-2010. Manchego, the fastest female trotter in history, is the 7-5 morning-line favorite in the $325,000 Mare Trot. The Nancy Johansson-trained Manchego is a past Breeders Crown champion, having won the 2-year-old filly division in 2017. Johansson's Captain Crunch was a Crown winner in 2018 in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding pace. He is the 5-2 second choice behind 9-5 Bettor's Wish in the $600,000 event for 3-year-old male pacers. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at both 2 and 3 was Artiscape in 1997-1998. Burke trained three past champions in addition to Hannelore Hanover that are in action this weekend: Warrawee Ubeaut, Youaremycandygirl, and Dorsoduro Hanover. Warrawee Ubeaut won last year's 2-year-old filly pace and is the 4-5 favorite in the $550,000 3-year-old filly pace. The most recent filly pacer to win at Crown at both 2 and 3 was My Little Dragon in 2005-2006. Dorsoduro Hanover won last year's 3-year-old colt-and-gelding pace and is 6-1 in the $500,000 Open Pace. The most recent male pacer to win a Crown at ages 3 and 4 was Art Major in 2002-2003. Youaremycandygirl was a Breeders Crown champion at age 2 in 2017. Now trained by Richard Moreau, she is 6-1 in the $300,000 Mare Pace, where returning champion Shartin N is the 4-5 chalk. Shartin N, trained by Jim King Jr. and ranked No. 1 in the sport's Top 10 poll, is looking to be the first repeat winner since Shelliscape in 2013-2014. Marcus Melander-trained Gimpanzee is back after winning last year's 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot. He is 8-1 in the $500,000 race for 3-year-old male trotters, where stablemate Greenshoe is the 3-5 favorite. There is one other past champion competing this weekend, Fiftydallarbill, who claimed his title in the 2-year-old colt-and-gelding trot in 2017. He is in the $500,000 Open Trot. Lindy The Great is the 3-1 favorite, followed by Guardian Angel AS at 7-2 and French star Bold Eagle at 4-1. Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. For Friday's entries, click here. For Saturday's entries, click here. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

MILTON, ON - October 23, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment has announced the addition of several guaranteed pools and multi-leg wagers for this weekend's harness racing Breeders Crown cards at Mohawk Park. A special $100,000 guaranteed pool Pick-5 has been added to both Friday and Saturday's cards, beginning in Race 6. This special Pick-5 will include all four of Friday's Crown events and Saturday's final four Crown races. The regular Pick-5 (starting Race 1) has been guaranteed at $100,000 for both Friday and Saturday, while the Early Pick-4 for Saturday has also been guaranteed at $100,000. The full list of multi-leg wagers for this weekend's Breeders Crown cards is listed below. Friday: $100,000 Pick-5 (starts Race 1) $50,000 Early Pick-4 (starts Race 4) $100,000 Pick-5 (starts Race 6) Late Pick-4 (starts Race 9) Saturday: $100,000 Pick-5 (starts Race 1) $100,000 Early Pick-4 (starts Race 4) $100,000 Pick-5 (starts Race 6) $50,000 Late Pick-4 (starts Race 9) Post time for the Breeders Crown cards on Friday and Saturday is set for 7 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment  

Capt Midnight trainer Tony Alagna and Catch The Fire owner Charles Taylor were both happy their horses got byes into Friday's $600,000 Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old harness racing male pacers, but it was Alagna who kept smiling after Tuesday's draw came out. Capt Midnight drew post five while Catch The Fire will start out of the nine hole. Ironically, Alagna's second horse in the final - Put To Right - drew the only spot outside Catch The Fire. "With Capt Midnight, we wanted to take the bye," Alagna said. "I've had bad luck; one time I (didn't take) a bye, had to beat one horse, and she made a break going to the gate. I said I'll never do that again and we'll just have to wait and see what the draw does. We got lucky enough to get the five hole." By the time the gate folds at Woodbine Mohawk Park, it will be 20 days between starts for the Captaintreacherous-It Was Fascination colt, but Alagna feels he will be ready. "On Saturday I brought Treacherous Reign, American History and Capt Midnight (to Mohawk) to train to the bike; it was a beautiful day and a great day to be able to do it," Alagna said, adding with grin, "The hardest part was getting (drivers) Dexter Dunn and Andy McCarthy out of bed to do it. "Once we got here, we trained them a pretty good mile and were very happy with all of them. I think it sets him up good for the final." Capt Midnight, who has earned C$328,194 this year, owns five wins at Woodbine Mohawk Park, including the Dream Maker Series final, Champlain, and Nassagaweya. He heads to the Breeders Crown final off a win in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Red Mile and is 3-1 on the morning line. Elimination winner Papi Rob Hanover is the 8-5 favorite followed by Tall Dark Stranger, who suffered his first defeat in the elim, at 2-1. "I thought he was a little flat the last eighth (of a mile)," Tall Dark Stranger's trainer, Nancy Johansson, said. "His blood work didn't come back perfectly, unfortunately; he's battling a little bit of sickness. Hopefully we can get that squared away. I changed his front shoes for the final, so hopefully we get a little more speed out of him. I think that he will be fine. He's a good horse. The way his blood work looked after the race, he actually put in a pretty good performance. "He trained a little bit (Tuesday) morning and he was just fine with the new shoes and everything. Hopefully he's going to have his best performance on Friday." Catch The Fire, a Captaintreacherous-Dream Outloud colt, was purchased for $15,000 as a yearling at Lexington and "showed talent right from the start," according to Taylor. Although the draw is not great, Taylor feels his horse is right in the mix. "I think we have a good shot," he said. "I think the top five or six in the class are so close with talent. I think it's going to come down to who gets the best trip. And if we can work out a good trip we've got just as good a shot as anybody in the race. "He's been a little tired the last couple starts so this extra week off getting the bye is going to help us quite a bit. It gives him a few extra days off." Catch The Fire has four firsts, three seconds and two thirds in 11 starts, good for C$252,547 in earnings. He won the Kentucky Sire Stakes final at Red Mile in 1:49.4. He also won a Kentucky Sire Stakes leg and a Pennsylvania All-Stars division. Trainer John Ackley is making his Breeders Crown debut. "Very rarely would you want to start a 2-year-old 12 times, but he (will have) 12 starts," said Taylor, who is seeking his first Breeders Crown win. "We said all year if he shows that he doesn't want to do it any more we'd shut him down. He's had a tough season and he just hasn't shown any signs. He hasn't lost any weight, his appetite is great. "There's very little training for him. He kind of maintains himself, he's easy on himself so we don't have to train him hard. He's just been all-around great. No ailments. He's a little smaller than the rest of them, I think that's actually worked to his advantage, that's why we were able to get 12 starts out of him, because he's a little smaller and not carrying as much weight as the rest of them." And while Taylor feels it's anybody's race, if he had to pick a favorite, it would be Papi Rob Hanover out of the three hole. "I just think he's raced tough throughout the year and he's raced against every single one of us and he's been first or second against every single one of us," Taylor said. "Whereas the rest of us have tended to race sporadically against each other, he's taken on all of us and the worst he's finished is second. He's just a tough horse." Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-olds are Friday at Mohawk. The finals for 3-year-olds and older horses are Saturday. Racing begins at 7 p.m. (EDT) both nights. The Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership is the presenting sponsor of this year's Breeders Crown. Following is the field for the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-Mayhem Hanover-Doug McNair-Gregg McNair-20/1 2-Allywag Hanover-Tim Tetrick-Casie Coleman-15/1 3-Papi Rob Hanover-David Miller-Brett Pelling-8/5 4-Cattlewash-Louis Roy-Ron Burke-8/1 5-Capt Midnight-Andy McCarthy-Tony Alagna-3/1 6-Major Betts-Dexter Dunn-Mark Harder-15/1 7-Tall Dark Stranger-Yannick Gingras-Nancy Johansson-2/1 8-Freedom Warrior-Brian Sears-Kevin Lare-15/1 9-Catch The Fire-Mike Wilder-John Ackley-15/1 10-Put To Right-Bob McClure-Tony Alagna-20/1 By Rich Fisher, for the Breeders Crown  

This Week: Breeders Crown finals, Woodbine Mohawk Park, Milton, Ont.; Circle City and Madison County, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Kindergarten Series, The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The 12 Breeders Crown championship harness racing events at Woodbine Mohawk Park will be front and center in the Grand Circuit spotlight this weekend. The four Breeders Crown championship races for 2-year-olds will be contested on Friday (Oct. 25) while the eight events for 3-year-olds and older Standardbreds will be contested on Saturday (Oct. 26). On Friday Hoosier Park will host the Circle City for 3-year-old pacers and trotters and the Madison County for 2-year-old male pacers. A total of nine events will be raced on Friday. The Saturday Hoosier program will feature Madison County races for 2-year-old filly pacers and trotters of both sexes. Also on Friday, The Meadowlands will offer the final preliminary leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. There will be a pair of $10,000 divisions in the filly pace and single $10,000 divisions for the filly trotters, colt trotters and colt pacers. Complete entries for the Mohawk Park races are available at this link. Entries for the Hoosier Park and Meadowlands races are available at this link. Last time: Breeders Crown eliminations were in the spotlight this past weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Yannick Gingras drove Don't Let'em to a 1:51.3 win in the 3-year-old colt trot elimination on Saturday night (Oct. 19). Don't Let'em cruised to a 1:51.3 score in his Breeders Crown elimination on Saturday night (Oct. 19). New Image Media photo. A field of 10 competed with the top eight finishers advancing to this Saturday's $600,000 final. Forbidden Trade and Greenshoe received byes to the final. The Nancy Johansson-trained Don't Let'em fired early for the lead and made the rest of the field chase him through fractions of :28.1, :56.4, and 1:24.2 and matched the track record for sophomore trotters with a 1:51.3 mile. Green Manalishi S (Tim Tetrick) sat in second for three panels and Chin Chin Hall (Peter Wrenn) rolled along in third. Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn) came out to lead a second tier that stalled down the stretch. Chin Chin Hall took his best steps late to get second, with Green Manalishi S holding third, those three a few lengths ahead of the rest of the pack. Gimpanzee (David Miller) closed strongly to pick up fourth. "They all left so slow out of the gate," said Yannick Gingras. "I had to take him to the front." Don't Let'em (Muscle Hill-Passageway) was bred by Brittany Farms, which co-owns with Christina Takter, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. His win price was $9.10. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 1,266.5; 2. Yannick Gingras - 1,118; 3. Dexter Dunn - 894; 4. David Miller - 845; 5. Andrew McCarthy - 678. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,142; 2. Tony Alagna - 725; 3 Ake Svanstedt - 582; 4. Marcus Melander - 558; 5. Nancy Johansson - 545. Owners: 1. Courant Inc. - 257; 2. Brad Grant - 234.5; 3. Fashion Farms - 224.5; 4. Burke Racing Stable - 218.6; 5. Robert Key - 201. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Hoosier Park and Meadowlands Racetrack. Hoosier has the Monument Circle, Carl Erskine, Crossroads of America and USS Indianapolis on Nov. 1, while the Meadowlands will race the four Kindergarten Series finals on Nov. 2. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

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