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MILTON, ON - August 23, 2019 - Woodbine Entertainment and Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership are pleased to announce a harness racing breeding auction for Wednesday, October 4 in Lexington, Kentucky to raise funds for the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge. The auction will take place prior to the second session of the 2019 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale at the Fasig-Tipton Sales Pavilion and features the opportunity to acquire a 2020 breeding to one of harness racing's most-notable stallions. A group of prominent owners and breeders have graciously donated the breedings to raise funds for the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge. A single 2020 breeding to the following stallions will be available: Always B Miki Captaintreacherous Chapter Seven Father Patrick Muscle Hill Sweet Lou Tactical Landing 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, 2019 through October 26, 2019. The challenge portion of this initiative features the teams competing to garner the most votes in a Facebook poll. The poll closes on October 26, 2019 and the team with the most votes will receive a significant donation from the funds raised by the breeding auction. The funds raised for the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge are expected to exceed $100,000, which will mark the single largest donation by Woodbine Cares. 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 Each charity is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $5,000. Fans can submit one vote per day for the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge by visiting The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge would not be possible without the support and generosity of the following individuals and groups: Marvin Katz, Libfeld/Katz Breeding Partnership Blue Chip Farm, Tom Grossman: Chapter Seven Burke Racing Stable LLC: Warrawee Ubeaut Hanover Shoe Farm, Dr. Bridgette Jablonsky: Captaintreacherous & The Captaintreacherous Syndicate Diamond Creek Farm, Adam Bowden: Father Patrick, Always B Miki & Sweet Lou Southwind Farm, Kevin Greenfield: Tactical Landing Southwind Farm, Michael Klau: Muscle Hill Trainer, Verlin Yoder: Woodside Charm Trainer, Nancy Johansson: Captain Crunch Trainer, Marcus Melander: Gimpanzee The 2019 Breeders Crown, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership, will take place Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. For more information, visit by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment              

Hurricane Harley's advance from the naughty corner to good books was brisk and the brilliant three-year-old is well placed for TAB Breeders Crown glory, says trainer Emma Stewart. Friday night's extraordinary all-the-way win at Ballarat, when Hurricane Harley set an age track record mile rate of 1:54.2, had left Stewart encouraged the Lauriston Bloodstock colt could defend his Breeders Crown two-year-old win. "He can be a little bit naughty, your hearts in your mouth with him a fair a bit of the time," Stewart told RSN 927's Gait Speed program. "His run in the heat was super, when he's right he's real good, but I wouldn't count out (stablemate) Out To Play and also Demon Delight, I thought they were terrific as well." Stewart's stable produced seven of last week's nine heat winners and looks particularly well-placed in the showcase IRT three-year-old colts and geldings' division after Hurricane Harley held out highly-rated Lochinvar Art. It was a poignant return to form for the Bettors Delight colt, who had finished 7.7 metres off the pace in the Betterthancheddar Vicbred Super Series final just a month prior. "He wasn't 100 per cent going into the Vicbred final, we had a lot of trouble with his feet, he had a little issue right before the final," Stewart said. "His work since then has been terrific and his run last week showed that, so I think he's definitely on the improve. He handles the racing well, he holds his condition good, so out of the three that I like in that division he's probably coming through the best at the moment." Hurricane Harley has drawn gate nine for Saturday night's Breeders Crown semi-finals at Bendigo. Click here for fields.   HRV Trots Media

It has been a case of as you were for trainer Emma Stewart’s stable, which has swept the first two nights of the TAB Breeders Crown pacing heats including unearthing another top liner. There were few surprises when Maajida and Jemstone carried their Vicbred Super Series form into the Always B Miki two-year-old fillies' heats at Bendigo last night. And it was a similar tale when Breeders Challenge winner Be Happy Mach saluted in the first Downbytheseaside heat at Shepparton tonight, but the second Stewart colt to win delivered an eye-opener. Pacifico Dream (pictured) was dominant in Kate Gath’s hands, advancing to the front and cruising to the line an eight-metre winner in only his second career start, outpointing well regarded Kiwi Perfect Stride. “Super impressive,” Gath told Trots Vision post-race. “I was impressed by his trial at Melton a couple of weeks ago and when I got the opportunity to drive him tonight I was pretty happy.” The pair marched to the front from gate five and controlled proceedings, closing out in 27.7 and 27.9-second third and final quarters for an impressive showing by the Mach Three colt, whose only other start was a second in a $7000 pace at Cranbourne on March 26. “I didn’t know where we’d end up in the run or how much gate speed he had, he just come out under his own steam and got out pretty good,” Gath said. “Once he led I thought he’d be pretty hard to beat on what I’d seen at the trial. I eased up on the line, because there was nothing near me. It’s scarily good. You’d think he’s going to have a really good hope throughout the rest of the series.” On the back of that run Pacifico Dream shortened from $21 to $6.50 for the series with, with Be Happy Mach $1.50 into $1.40 favourite having lost no friends when recording his 6.3-metre win in the first heat ahead of Kiwi Zeuss Bromac. The victory brought up reinsman Chris Alford’s 400th win, an extraordinary achievement. “I’m very fortunate that I get to drive a lot of (Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s) horses," Alford told Trots Vision. “This one, he’d nearly be the pick of the two-year-olds going forward and he’s had a great year and hopefully he can top it off in the Breeders Crown.” For more on Alford’s achievement click here. Maajida is a clear front runner in the Always B Miki two-year-old fillies' Crown, shortening from $2.50 to $2 today with in the wake of last night’s win. It was a golden night not just for Stewart but also reinsman Greg Sugars, who piloted both of the stable’s Breeders Crown heat winners. “(Maajida’s) a lovely filly to drive,” Sugars told Trots Vision. “I wouldn’t swap her for any other horse in the series. She’s a very leggy filly. You think looking at her she’s only going to get better with age as she matures and develops. That’s exciting to see what she’s doing on the track at the moment.” Maajida led from her favourable draw and when challenged late by well regarded stablemate Treasure she lifted, getting home in 26.6 seconds. The 1:57.4 mile rate was shaded by two-tenths by the following heat, when leader Jemstone applied pressure for much of the running ahead of Michael Stanley’s Iolanta and held on for a 2.3-metre win. “I had the good fortune to draw better than (Iolanta),” Sugars said. “Got the first lap pretty comfortably. As soon as I heard Mick (Stanley) coming I decided to make him chase, that was probably the difference in winning and losing tonight. She’s pretty tough this one, probably not as quick as a few of the stablemates, but she’s very game, very tough.” The TAB Breeders Crown heats continue with the Woodlands Stud three-year-old fillies heats tomorrow night at Kilmore, when host Paul Campbell will be on track to capture the first words from the winning drivers for Trots Vision. The following night the heats move to Ballarat for the IRT three-year-old colts and geldings' heats. Dave Brehaut will take the microphone to give trots fans and punters the inside word throughout the night.   Michael Howard HRV Trots Media

Champion expat reinsman Anthony Butt has a word of warning for Kiwi punters as our interest in the Breeders Crown heats ramps up at Shepparton tonight. Talented juveniles Zeuss Bromac and Perfect Stride contest different heats of the male series, which has a A$300,000 final at Melton on August 24, with Butt to partner Perfect Stride. Regular reinsman Zachary Butcher is actually in Victoria and will drive Zeuss Bromac, who he trains, but Butt will drive Perfect Stride as he has become the go-to man for big-money NSW owner Emilio Rosati. Butt partnered Ultimate Stride, owned by Rosati, to win the A$50,000 Redwood Trot at Maryborough on Sunday and is engaged to partner four of the eight New Zealand reps in the Breeders Crown. “It works well for me and I hope well for the horses connections,” says Butt mater-of-factly. “Obviously I watch the racing back home very close but also do the form for over here. And I have been thrilled by the support I am getting.” While former Canterbury-based Butt rates Perfect Stride a real speedster who can shock the Aussies in his heat tonight he does say changes to the series suggest punters on horses not drawn to lead should be careful. “With the changes to the series (all heats now in Victoria) all the horses starting in those two heats are guaranteed a place in the semi final next week. “So they could be tame races because those drawn to get back might not be able to win. “A horse like Perfect Stride follows out a good beginner and should be handy on the outer but he looks best driven with a sit. “And with this heat and semi make-up and maybe not much pressure in the heats I can see him having a hard job to win, unless somebody goes hard up front.” The usual leader bias of Breeders Crown heats, and often semis, could aid Zeuss Bromac tonight because while he is in by far the stronger heat he should settle handy from a front line draw Butt will also partner Pukekohe filly Best Western in her three-year-old fillies heat at Kilmore on tomorrow night but she also faces a second line draw but more importantly series hot favourite Princess Tiffany, who has drawn barrier one.   Michael Guerin

MILTON, June 13, 2019 - Sports and entertainment collides for the inaugural harness racing Breeders Crown Charity Challenge, presented by Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership and Woodbine Entertainment. The Breeders Crown Charity Challenge will team four award-winning Standardbreds with four celebrities, and a charity of their choosing, for a unique social media challenge building towards the 2019 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The four celebrities participating are Eddie Olczyk (Former NHL player/coach, current NBC Sports analyst), Dan Pleasac (former MLB pitcher, current MLB Network analyst), Michael "Pinball" Clemons (former CFL player/coach) and Kim MacDonald (Weather Network personality). Each celebrity will be paired with a star three-year-old Standardbred. The connections of Dan Patch Award winners Captain Crunch, Gimpanzee, Warrawee Ubeaut and Woodside Charm have pledged one per cent of their earnings from June 1, 2019 to October 26, 2019 to go towards the charity of their celebrity. Performance on the racetrack is only a small portion of success in the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge. Each celebrity will attempt to gain the biggest fanbase for their horse by directing fans to Woodbine Mohawk Park's Facebook page. Fans will be able to vote once a day for their favourite team. The team that acquires the most votes during the challenge will receive additional funds raised through an auction. To vote, visit and click on the Breeders Crown Charity Challenge Tab. Fans can vote once a day for the team of their choosing. Through generous donations from several industry participants, Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership has secured a series of stallion shares that will be auctioned off at this October's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The proceeds (estimated at $100,000) will be donated to the winning celebrity's charity. Each charity is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $5,000. The teams and charities for the challenge are listed below. Team Clemons - Warrawee Ubeaut - Pinball Clemons Foundation Team MacDonald - Woodside Charm - Breast Cancer Society of Canada Team Olczyk - Gimpanzee - Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Team Pleasac - Captain Crunch - Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society All four Standardbreds are expected to race at Woodbine Mohawk Park in stakes races ahead of the Breeders Crown in October. All celebrities (depending on availability) and charities will host a night at the races throughout the season. Eddie Olczyk Born in Chicago, Illinois, Eddie Olczyk played 16 seasons in the National Hockey League, suiting up for six different organizations. Olczyk played in 1,031 regular season games, recording 342 goals and 794 points. Following his playing career, Olczyk moved into the broadcast booth as an analyst before taking over as Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins for a season and a half. Olczyk is the current color analyst for the Chicago Blackhawks and the lead analyst for the NHL on NBC. Olczyk has gained critical acclaim for his analysis, winning Emmy Awards in 2009 and 2012, and has worked multiple Olympic games. Dan Plesac Born in Gary, Indiana, Dan Plesac made his Major League debut on April 11, 1986 to begin a nearly two-decade long career. A pitcher, Plesac started his career with the Milwaukee Brewers and spent time with six different organizations, including two stints with the Toronto Blue Jays. The lefty was elected to the MLB All-Star game three-times during his career and never spent a day on the Disabled List during 18 years in the Majors. Following his playing career, Plesac moved to broadcasting and has been a regular analyst on MLB Network since 2009. Plesac is a fan and harness racing participant. The pitcher spent time training Standardbreds in Chicago from 2004 to 2009 and is a current owner. Michael "Pinball" Clemons Born in Dunedin, Florida, Michael Clemons played 14 seasons of Professional Football and is best known for his time as a member of the Toronto Argonauts. Clemons time in the CFL saw him break many league and franchise records, including most all-purpose yard in CFL history with 25,396. Following his playing career, Clemons became the President and Head Coach of the Argonauts for eight seasons before moving to the Vice-Chairman position in 2008, a position he still holds. Clemons has won six Grey Cups (three as a player, one as a coach and two as an executive.) Known for his smile and positive attitude, Clemons is a motivational speaker and the founder of the "Michael 'Pinball' Clemons Foundation", which is dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth. Kim MacDonald A proud resident of Hamilton, Ontario, Kim MacDonald has been a national television host on The Weather Network for over 20 years. MacDonald was diagnosed with breast cancer in December of 2016. Throughout her treatments, MacDonald publicly shared her breast cancer journey. Now cancer-free, MacDonald returned to television in October 2017. MacDonald is involved in numerous charitable ventures and uses her platform to raise awareness for breast cancer. Mark McKelvie

ANDERSON, Ind.--May 1, 2019--The $6 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's richest and most prestigious year-end divisional championship series, is set to return to Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in October 2020. Harrah's Hoosier Park was formally awarded all 12 year-end championship races by the Hambletonian Society, which oversees the Breeders Crown Series. This will be the second time that Harrah's Hoosier Park, home of harness racing in the state of Indiana, will serve as the event's host site. "On behalf of all the members of the Indiana Standardbred Association I want to express how delighted we are to again partner in bringing the Breeders Crown back to Indiana," Indiana Standardbred Association president, Joe Putnam said. "This showcase of the best talent in harness racing saw Indiana shine on the national stage and we are hopeful to equal or surpass that fete in 2020." "Hoosier Park hosted one of our most successful Breeders Crown events in 2017 and we are thrilled they are back in host track rotation again in 2020," said Hambletonian Society president John Campbell. "We look forward to working with Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing & Casino and the Indiana Standardbred Association in raising the bar on hospitality, championship racing and showcasing another world class event." Harrah's Hoosier Park hosted Indiana's debut of the Breeders Crown in October of 2017, creating a week-long Festival that culminated in two nights of Breeders Crown finals. More than $4 million was bet on the events, with a track lifetime record of $2.1 million wagered in one single night. "Record wagering handles, a sold-out grandstand, entrants and winners from all over North America, a first class staff and tremendous economic impact for the Anderson community all made the decision to return to Hoosier an easy one," continued Campbell. "The Society is grateful and acknowledges the efforts of everyone involved in the Standardbred industry in Indiana who worked hard to make their state synonymous with world class racing." In addition to record-setting handle at Harrah's Hoosier Park's inaugural Breeders Crown, a tremendous showing was made by local representatives, who took home three of the 12 crystal Crown trophies. "Dan Patch Horse of the Year Award winners Hannelore Hanover and Always B Miki are just two Indiana-bred performers who have received accolades at the highest level and we look forward to providing the stage again in 2020," added Campbell. The 35-year-old series has typically crowned champions in every division for trotters and pacers and has been the deciding factor in Horse of the Year honors since 1984. More than $250 million in purse money has been disbursed over 406 events. Originally conceived and executed as a traveling series, the Crown has been contested at racetracks across North America and been raced as a single night as well as multiple night events. Much like the Super Bowl, the season-culminating Breeders Crown series does not have a fixed venue. The Breeders Crown races were held at The Mohegan Sun Pocono Downs in Pennsylvania in 2018 and will be hosted at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Canada in 2019 before heading to Harrah's Hoosier Park in 2020. "Our team at Harrah's Hoosier Park could not be more thrilled to have harness racing's premier event returning to the Hoosier State in 2020," said Rick Moore, vice president and general manager of racing for Harrah's Hoosier Park. "Our team rose to the occasion with great pride in 2017, and without a doubt will do so again next year." Harrah's Hoosier Park was purchased by Caesars Entertainment in July of 2018, and the 2020 Breeders Crown will be the first championship event hosted under the Caesars Entertainment umbrella. "Caesars Entertainment and our team at Harrah's Hoosier Park are honored to host the 2020 Breeders Crown and once again showcase our team, community, our horses, and state of Indiana," said Trent McIntosh, senior vice president and general manager of Harrah's Hoosier Park. "We look forward to working with the Hambletonian Society and the Indiana Standardbred Association in making next year's event our biggest and best championship racing event yet." Emily Gaskin

MILTON, December 20, 2018 - The $6 million Breeders Crown, harness racing's richest and most prestigious year-end divisional championship series, will be raced over two nights when the events return to the newly renovated Woodbine Mohawk Park in Campbellville, Ontario, Canada. The Hambletonian Society and Woodbine Entertainment management have chosen the last weekend in October for the Crown showcase, with the four freshman Crown races held Friday, October 25 and the eight three-year-old and open events raced Saturday, October 26. Crown eliminations, if necessary would be raced the prior weekend, with two-year-olds on Friday, October 18 and sophomore and opens eliminations scheduled for Saturday, October 19. "We're thrilled to officially be on the road to the 2019 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park," said Jessica Buckley, President of Woodbine Mohawk Park. "Hosting the Breeders Crown over two nights allows us to provide all participants and fans with a highly memorable weekend experience showcasing our upgraded facility and providing an expanded spotlight on the very best in harness racing." In addition, Woodbine Mohawk Park announced their first sponsorship for the Breeders Crown, which will be presented by the Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership. "Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz are two of the most well-respected and successful owner/breeders in our industry. Bringing in the Libfeld-Katz Breeding Partnership as our presenting sponsor for the 2019 Breeders Crown delivers an enormous boost to our event." The Breeders Crown was held at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto in 2015. The $5,758,950 handle was the highest Crown handle in the last 10 years and a Canadian handle record. "Woodbine Entertainment has been an excellent host partner for more than 30 years," said John Campbell, president of the Hambletonian Society, which owns and administers the events. "We look forward to working with the new management team in making this weekend of events a world-class experience for horsemen, owners, fans and sponsors." The Mohawk Park seven-eighths mile oval last staged four Breeders Crown Open divisions in 2008. For news and updates on the Breeders Crown at Woodbine Mohawk Park, visit and follow @WoodbineSB on Social Media. Mark McKelvie

A Celebration of Life  is planned for Mary Lou Dondarski, Assistant Treasurer of the Hambletonian Society. Mary Lou Dondarski, 74, of Jackson, NJ, passed away after a brief illness, Thursday, Nov. 8 at Centrastate Hospital in Freehold, NJ. A native of New Jersey, Ms. Dondarski was an accomplished artist, a skilled racing operations manager, and a creative force dedicated to preserving and enhancing harness racing history. Her friends and family are invited to join in a memorial celebration of her life on Dec. 8, from 1-4 p.m. at the American Hotel, 18 E Main St, Freehold, NJ 07728. Without her contributions over the past 30 years, the Dan Patch Museum in Savage, Minnesota, the Round Barn/Stable of Memories in Lexington, Kentucky, the Greyhound exhibit at the Harness Racing Museum in Goshen, New York, and the offices of the Hambletonian Society would be lacking in their scope and depth of harness racing history. Ms. Dondarski began her career in harness racing when she transitioned from a local insurance office to the stable, working as a groom for entrepreneur and horse owner Bill Brooks and the Benny Webster Stable. She cared for open pacer Afella Rainbow (p, 4, 1:55.4M, $323,860) among many others in the late '70s. She then returned "frontside," working in the race office at Freehold Raceway, at Los Alamitos Racecourse and at the Daily Racing Form before being hired at the Hambletonian Society in New Jersey in 1993, where she remained until her passing. She was also the assistant race secretary for the NJ Sire Stakes Fair program when New Jersey-breds had a flourishing state-bred program. Though she started as an accounts payable manager, there was very little that she didn't help expedite or execute at the Society, from stakes payments to sponsorships. She was a detailed and thorough financial manager, but what she loved the most and was perhaps best recognized for was her tremendous creativity. "I know it's said that nobody is irreplaceable," said Tom Charters, former president of the Hambletonian Society. "But the precision, talent and imagination that Mary Lou brought to the Society over the past 25 years may be just that - irreplaceable. She never failed to surprise us and we will miss her dearly." One of her most popular projects was the Hambletonian buttons, which she started designing in 1998. Months before the race she took the list of Hambo eligibles and pored over clip art and illustrations to create buttons specific to each horse that might enter the race. They were an instant tradition, and can be seen in every Hambletonian winner circle photo through 2018, adorning owners and fans lapel pins. An accomplished equine artist, Ms. Dondarski's portraits were highly sought after, and grace the walls of racetracks and homes of Hall of Famers as well as those who were simply fans of her portraits of champion Standardbreds, favorite racehorses, pets and glimpses of all facets of racetrack life. She was also an expert and dogged collector, spending weekends scouring flea markets and auctions for memorabilia, and when a fledgling site for collectors called was created, Ms. Dondarski quickly had the internet at her mercy. Once she set her sights on a genre, harness racing postcards, or advertising, or cigar box labels, buttons, or matchbooks, she would soon have a museum quality collection. Legendary Hall of Fame horses Dan Patch and Greyhound were her favorites, and her beautifully decorated office at the Hambletonian Society resembled a mini-museum of two of the most famous harness horses in history. Ms. Dondarski was a seemingly endless source of unique donations and often offered her own paintings for every charity auction, horse rescue group, museum event, fundraiser, retirement ceremony or any important event that followed her life's work of supporting harness racing or marking harness racing's historical importance. For her selfless and benevolent efforts, she was recognized by the U.S. Harness Writers in 2006 with the sport's LeeAnne Pooler Memorial Unsung Hero award; in 2013 with a President's Award for support of the organization; and again as one of only 50 honorary USHWA members inducted since the organization was started in 1947 an honor that comprises 20 Hall of Famers past and present such as John Campbell, Delvin Miller, E. Roland Harriman and George Morton Levy. Despite failing health that made everyday tasks difficult, Ms. Dondarski spent her last weeks assembling and shipping a large collection of memorabilia and art to the Round Barn in Lexington, KY, for their Fall Stable of Memories fundraiser. She cherished her vacations in Lexington, and felt a personal responsibility to preserve the legacy and history of the Round Barn. She is survived by sons Anthony Dias, (and granddaughters Morgan, Jessica and Courtney Dias), Raymond Dias (and grandsons Quentin and Jake) and William "BJ" Richards and was preceded in death by her son Kevin Dias. Mary Lou will be sorely missed by her family, many friends and large network of passionate and like-minded collectors. Ms. Dondarski did not like the limelight and never sought credit or attention for her many, many acts of kindness and benevolence. Nonetheless her harness racing family is determined to honor her memory with sadness but mostly joy for having known her. Please join us at the American Hotel in Freehold, NJ on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 1-4:00pm. All those who knew her, or were the recipient of her unending largesse, or simply appreciate harness racing history, are welcome to attend. Donations can be made to her favorite causes: Stable of Memories PO Box 11073 Lexington KY 40512-1073 Or Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame 240 Main Street Goshen, NY 10924 by Moira Fanning, for the Hambletonian Society

From the moment Ella Johansson saw him, there was a connection. The colt's name was Captain Bean and Ella spotted him as soon as she and her parents, harness racing trainer Nancy and driver Marcus Johansson, arrived in Harrisburg to look at yearlings the day before the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale. Ella, who accompanied her parents only because it seemed a better option to sitting at her brother's baseball tournament, implored her mother to buy him. Nancy also liked the colt, but knew acquiring him might be easier said than done. She put together a group of owners interested in buying the horse, set a budget, and on the opening day of the sale waited for Captain Bean to enter the auction ring. Ella, watching the live stream of the sale at home in New Jersey, waited too. Ella knew what the group was prepared to spend and when Captain Bean eventually sold for $85,000 she knew who had the winning bid. "We got him!" she exclaimed to Marcus in the kitchen. And a year later, her enthusiasm for the colt, now known as Captain Crunch, is undiminished. "He was the first horse that I saw," 13-year-old Ella said, recounting her initial moments with Captain Crunch. "We walked in and he was there. He was big, he was pretty; a very sweet horse. I petted him. "He's sweet and he's nice. He's just fun to be around." Said Nancy, "He's big, but he's gentle with her. He lets her pet him and he plays with you. He's as nice as a 2-year-old colt can be. If you spend a couple minutes with him you can't help but to like him. He's got unbelievable charisma." Captain Crunch, who was renamed by Ella and Nancy's mom Christina Takter, has won five of eight races this year. His most recent start came Oct. 27 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he won the $600,000 Breeders Crown championship for 2-year-old male pacers on a cold, rainy night. Ella greeted him in the winner's circle with a kiss. "He stood like a perfect gentleman, like he always does," Nancy said. Captain Crunch's next start is Saturday at the Meadowlands in the sole $20,000 elimination for the Governor's Cup, which is one of the Fall Final Four stakes for 2-year-olds at the Big M. The top-seven finishers will join bye recipients Blood Money, Semi Tough, and Sugar Factory in the $469,300 final on Nov. 24. The elimination winner will draw from posts one through six for the final. Scott Zeron will drive Captain Crunch, who starts from post eight in the field of 10. Prior to each race, Ella offers words of encouragement to Captain Crunch via FaceTime. "I just tell him good luck," Ella said. "Win." "When they FaceTime he's paying attention to what she's saying, like he's listening," Marcus added. "It's kind of funny." Captain Crunch is a son of Captaintreacherous out of Sweet Paprika, from the family of Dan Patch Award-winner Sweet Lou and $2.78-million-earner Bettor Sweet. In addition to the Breeders Crown, his wins include divisions of the Nassagaweya and International Stallion Stakes (in a career-best 1:49.1). His only off-the-board finish was in his Metro Pace elimination in September, when he came up sick. The colt is owned by 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables, and Caviart Farms. "He's a good-looking horse," Marcus said. "He's got a great personality. He's happy all the time. He's always in a good mood. I like horses like that. If you walk into work and see someone who is miserable, you become miserable even if you were happy. He's the first horse on the end (of the stable). I park my car there so I can go and see him. It starts out the day good." And while one might expect Ella to be a horse-crazy kid given her environment, it is not the case. "As much of a horse girl that I am, she's not," Nancy said, laughing. "She doesn't care about the horses much at all." Captain Crunch is the exception, which has made his season all the more special. "We live a crazy life, on the road a lot," Nancy said. "It's almost like joining the circus. So it's nice when (our kids) see we're working hard and it's paying off and they feel involved in that." For the record, Ella's brother, Marcus Jr., has a favorite horse as well. His is also a 2-year-old colt pacer, Caviart Rockland. "They each have a horse that they follow," Marcus said. "It's 'their' horse. It makes it fun for all of us." The stakes in addition to the Governor's Cup that make up the Fall Final Four are the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers, Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, and Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters. Eliminations were unnecessary for the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds. There will be two eliminations Saturday for the Valley Victory. For Saturday's complete Meadowlands entries, click here. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EST). by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

Verlin Yoder raced the best horse of his career this season, the undefeated Breeders Crown champion Woodside Charm, but the filly was not alone in helping the 45-year-old owner/trainer/driver to the best season of his career. Yoder established highs of 31 wins and $1.38 million in purses as a trainer to go with a career-best $1.15 million as a driver. His 26 victories in the sulky were two shy of his career mark of 28 set last season. And while 2-year-old female trotter Woodside Charm contributed $521,658 in purses to this year's totals, Yoder still would have surpassed his previous highs of $571,162 as a trainer and $571,903 as a driver without her. "We just had the right horses in the right classes," Yoder said. "It worked out great." Yoder had three Indiana Sire Stakes champions: 2-year-old male trotter It's A Herbie, 2-year-old female trotter Kissesforall, and 4-year-old female trotter Compelling. Three-year-old male trotter Katkin American finished second to Fiftydallarbill in his Indiana Sire Stakes final. Those four horses combined for 18 wins, hitting the board 43 times in 50 starts, and $749,440. Compelling, claimed by Yoder last year, came back from a suspensory injury to find success. Katkin American was unraced at 2, but showed potential last winter while training with Yoder's millionaire trotter Natural Herbie. Driven by Yoder's son James, Katkin American was a Hoosier Park track-record-setter and finished worse than second only once in 12 starts. "I knew we had some decent ones coming out of Florida," said Yoder, who lives in the Sunshine State during the offseason and returns to Indiana to race. "We knew (Katkin American) was pretty nice. It was nice to have him and watch my son do well with him. "The Herbie colt, about the middle of March he showed me he had some real talent. We just took our time with him. He's a big growthy colt and I stuck to my guns and kept on trying to teach him. Every start, he got smarter about things. I was really excited about him. "Compelling was a very nice addition. I was going for a Hail Mary (when I claimed her last year) because I was kind of soft in the 3-year-old fillies. I took the gamble of keeping her and rehabbing her. I tried to do all the right things and she came back a hundred percent. It was the middle of February and the boys kept on telling me they're going to read about her. The farther we got down, the stronger she got." And then there was Woodside Charm, who on Oct. 27 capped a 7-for-7 campaign with her win in the Breeders Crown final for 2-year-old female trotters at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. It was Yoder's first trip to the Breeders Crown. She joined Manchego as the only 2-year-old filly trotters to be undefeated Breeders Crown champions. "The way she did it is what impressed me about her," Yoder said about the filly's season. "She went to so many tracks and shipped all over, and every time I went to a different track she adjusted. She let me do what I had to do. "She's a fast, smart horse." Woodside Charm won her Breeders Crown final by 1-3/4 lengths over Simon Allard-driven When Dovescry, covering the mile distance in 1:54.1 on a cold rainy night. "I was going up the backside and she was cruising and I'm thinking, man, it can't be this easy," Yoder said. "I thought I better grab into her a little bit to make sure I had plenty left. Then when Simon pulled, I was waiting on him, I squawked at her and she was gone. "You're pinching yourself in the race. And then when you get done and get home and start thinking about what you did in the last couple weeks, it's pretty amazing. "It takes a lot of focus and a lot of hard work to pull something like that off. The biggest thing is staying focused on your work. To stay focused and do your job every day, and stay religious about it, that's the tough part. You set up a plan to lead to one direction. I wouldn't say that I'm proud of myself, but I was happy with myself to stay focused." Yoder also credited his wife, Rachel, with being instrumental to the stable's success. "This was the first year that my wife was able to help me in Indiana and it made a big difference," Yoder said. "We've always been a team, but the boys always went to school and she had to be in Florida and I was always trying to do it myself. When you have somebody that thinks the same way that you do and it's a team, it just works better." Yoder is already resettled in Florida, giving his horses some time off and contemplating next season. "Things went right; we did the right things and stuck to the plan," Yoder said. "Now we have to go back through the motions again. Hopefully we come back and do all right again." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

Elkton, MD - Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica, is excited to announce their line-up for Thursday morning (October 31) at 10:30 a.m. They will be joined by Matt Kakaley, who scored his first career Breeders Crown victory; Tim Tetrick, regular driver of Shartin N; Ryan Clements, from Catch Driver; and Derrick Giwner, from the Daily Racing Form. Kakaley, who scored his first ever Breeders Crown win, joins to talk about the emotions of winning his first Crown. Kakaley who had two victories on Saturday night (Percy Bluechip & Dorsoduro Hanover) discusses both trips and what the wins meant to him follow a near career-ending injury earlier in 2018. Tetrick, regular driver of Shartin N, will join to talk about the storied mare pacer who dominated her Breeders Crown Final. Shartin N scored her 18th win in 23 starts since coming to the United States and is trained by Jim King Jr. Clements, who created Catch Driver, joins to talk about his experience at EGLX, the largest gaming expo in Canada. He will discuss his experience and some of the new ideas he learned from the expo. Giwner, from Daily Racing Form, will appear to talk about some of the highlights from the great weekend of racing and help interact some fan questions following an eventful Breeders Crown. Also, Mike and Mike have a big announcement on Thursday regarding the 2018 Post Time with Mike and Mike Awards. Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica can be heard live every Thursday at 10:30 a.m. via their website or on the archive at By Michael Carter, for Post Time with Mike and Mike

For the third consecutive year, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program has offered the Breeders Crown Pledge to the industry's leading owners, trainers and drivers as a way to give to back to the horses that are no longer racing by pledging a percentage of their earnings to New Vocations. Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi LLC graciously were the first trainer and ownership group to join, and they had a stellar evening winning three Breeders Crown championships with Dorsoduro Hanover, Warrawee Ubeaut and Percy Blue Chip. "As a group we feel it is so important to give back to the horses as they are obviously the true stars of the sport," stated Mark Weaver. Diamond Creek Racing joined for the first time this year pledging all four of their horses, with Proof coming in a strong second in the 2-Year-Old Colt Pace and Pure Country finishing third in the Mare Pace. "We applaud the efforts of New Vocations, who with the support of others is able to directly contribute to the successful futures of many of these horses," said Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Racing. Owner Howard Taylor pledged his Breeders Crown winner Tactical Landing in the 3-Year-Old Colt Trot and Hambletonian winner Atlanta, who was a close second in the 3-Year-Old Filly Trot. The team behind Breeders Crown Mare Pace winner Shartin N was on board as the husband-wife training combination of Jim King, Jr. and Jo Ann Looney-King along with driver Tim Tetrick. "It really is exciting to see the industry's leading professionals giving back through their horses' success via this pledge," said Standardbred Program Director Winnie Morgan Nemeth. "We are very grateful for each and every horse that raced for us last Saturday night." New Vocations would like to thank all pledge supporters including first-time pledgers Dandy Farms, Odds on Racing and Holland Racing Stables. "This pledge helps us rehab, retrain and rehome over 100 retired Standardbreds annually through our proven adoption model. It is truly win-win for all involved," said Morgan-Nemeth. To learn more about New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, visit From New Vocations

Matt Kakaley's drive to his first Breeders Crown winner's circle was as memorable as the stretch drive to victory, and even more emotional. Kakaley entered last Saturday's Breeders Crown finals at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in search of his first trophy. He ended the night with two. The second, not unexpectedly, came with favorite Dorsoduro Hanover in the 3-year-old colt and gelding pace. The first, though, was something of a surprise. It came six races earlier with 52-1 longshot Percy Bluechip in the 3-year-old filly pace. As the 30-year-old Kakaley returned to the winner's circle with Percy Bluechip, he could not help but think back to last March when he was injured in an accident at Yonkers. Kakaley was sidelined for two months and required three surgeries, including one for a broken orbital bone and another for a fractured collarbone. "The winner's circle was a little overwhelming for me, just full of emotion," Kakaley said. "Coming back, I was just thinking, man, seven months ago I was on the sidelines not even sure if I was going to be able to drive anymore. My eye was really bad. I don't think people really understand how bad it really was. The people that were around me were a great support system. Obviously everything came back and I'm OK, but at the time I was really worried. "It was a rush of emotions going back to the winner's circle. My grandparents were there, my parents, my daughter, my girlfriend, all my friends that I've hung around with that live here. It meant a lot." Kakaley, who has competed regularly at Pocono for the past eight years and won a driving title there in 2011, was winless in 42 Breeders Crown finals prior to breaking through with Percy Bluechip. Kakaley positioned the filly second on the outside behind favorite Kissin In The Sand, who was engaged in a battle with Youaremycandygirl through torrid early fractions. As the field turned for home, Kakaley dropped his whip but was still able to sweep by the leaders in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length over Kissin In The Sand. "Everything went perfect for that filly," Kakaley said. "It's nice for the horse when things go the right way for them to get the job done in the big race. They were rolling up front, big numbers, and she felt strong down the backstretch. In the last turn I had a lot of go. I thought I could get there. I lost my whip, but she just powered through and got up. She raced super." It was somewhat fitting Kakaley's first Breeders Crown win came with a longshot. Of his 42 previous drives in finals, 27 were at odds of 40-1 or longer and nine of his 11 on-the-board finishes were at odds of at least 27-1. Of course, the odds mattered little to Kakaley. "It's unexpected, so a little bit of a surprise factor maybe makes it a little bit better, but just winning a Breeders Crown race is amazing," Kakaley said. "I'm just so thankful for the opportunities I've gotten. It happened. Thank God. I finally got one." And then he got two. Dorsoduro Hanover, Kakaley's first favorite in a final, took the lead after three-eighths of a mile and cruised to victory by 3-1/2 lengths over Lather Up. The gelding has finished no worse than second in seven consecutive races, winning five. His victories in addition to the Breeders Crown include the Adios and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. He was second in the Meadowlands Pace and Little Brown Jug. "I was very confident with him," Kakaley said. "That was as good as he's been all year. Ronnie has done an amazing job keeping that horse fresh. He's danced every dance and showed up every time. He's a gamer, that's for sure." Ronnie is trainer Ron Burke, for whom Kakaley drives on a regular basis. Kakaley's two wins were part of a three-Crown night for the Burke Brigade. "I was fortunate to pick up the right horses at the right time and the horses were sharp going into the Breeders Crown," Kakaley said. "I was confident coming in. Ronnie has put me in these big races. I'm happy to get a couple tonight." And as the rain-soaked and mud-covered Kakaley turned to walk away on a 41-degree Pocono night, he flashed a big smile. "I can tell you this much," he said. "I'm not cold anymore." by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA  

The Breeders Crown Team Handicapping Contest on last Saturday's (Oct. 27) Breeders Crown championship card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono was over before the half. When Garnet Barnsdale turned his total $360 in wagers on the 3-Year-Old Colt Trot (Race 7) into a cash of $2,895, it propelled Team Gallo Blue Chip to an easy victory. As a result, New Vocations will receive the first-place prize of $1,000 from the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown, which sponsored the contest that included 12 of harness racing's top handicappers. The 12 players were divided into three teams of four members each, playing for three designated charities: Harness Horse Youth Foundation, New Vocations and Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Each team member handicapped three Crown finals. All wagers were mythical and players were limited to $100 maximum win or win/place combination, $100 maximum in total exacta wagers, and $120 maximum in total trifecta wagers. Barnsdale, the Woodbine Mohawk Park handicapper for DRF Harness, took full advantage of altering his selections when morning-line favorite Six Pack was an early scratch. While Barnsdale already had a $100 win bet on eventual champ Tactical Landing, he switched his exacta and trifecta selections and was able to nail both. While his win wager resulted in a cash of just $140, Barnsdale had a $100 straight exacta ticket that returned $1,250 and a $10 trifecta ticket that was worth $1,505. Barnsdale's total cash of $2,895 was actually more than each of the other two teams had in total. With teammates Gordon Waterstone cashing for a total of $1,158.50, Gabe Prewitt for $692.50, and Ellie Sarama for $578, Team Gallo Blue Chip's total cash was $5,324. Finishing second with a total of $2,730 and earning $500 for the Harness Horse Youth Foundation was Team Foiled Again, which consisted of Allan Schott, Dave Brower, Derick Giwner and Dave Weaver. Slightly more than half the team's bankroll came from Weaver, who was the only handicapper in the contest to cash in all three of his designated races. Weaver, a host on the TVG network, saw his biggest return come in the Open Pace, where he had a $50 place wager on Filibuster Hanover, the runner-up to McWicked, as well as a two-horse $50 exacta box and a $5 trifecta box that in all totaled $868.50 and brought his overall total to $1,403.50. Finishing third with a total of $2,346.90 and earning $250 for the Standardbred Retirement Foundation was Team Moni Maker, which consisted of Mark McKelvie, Megan Maccario, Michael Carter and Sally Hinckley. It was Hinckley, a longtime oddsmaker and handicapper, who led the team with a final bankroll of $1,522.50. Hinckley's biggest cash of $1,070 came in the 3-Year-Old Colt Pace, where she had a $50 place wager on Lather Up, who was second to Dorsoduro Hanover, and a $50 two-horse exacta box that returned $965. "Great job by all the Breeders Crown handicappers," said Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown COO Moira Fanning. "The 12 championships from The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono had a little something for everyone, from favorites to longshots. The Hambletonian Society is happy to sponsor this contest which results in real dollars for some very special charities --- Standardbred aftercare and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation. Thanks to all for the efforts." From the Breeders Crown

Wilkes-Barre, PA - Favored McWicked ($3.80) moved to the lead at the five-eighths pole, easily putting away Lazarus N and then opening to win by four comfortable lengths in 1:49.3. Brian Sears drove McWicked for trainer Casie Coleman, as he won his second Breeders Crown trophy. Early leader Filibuster Hanover rallied for second, while Donttellmeagain finished third. Mcwicked has now earned over $3.7 million in his career after posting his 24th career win. "He's real easy to drive and he does everything you want. It's great to have the opportunity to drive such nice horses," said Sears, who won three Breeders Crown races Saturday night. "I always think he's gonna be good, but to think he is going to do what he did this year... I think he is better now than he was at three. He is a big team effort no doubt. I hope he is going to race next year, but that is not my call. It is up to Mr. James (owner Edward James of the SSG Stables.) I think he will be at stud, but I hope he will race, our team would really like that," explained trainer Casie Coleman. Filibuster Hanover took the field to the quarter in 26.1, but Lazarus N was immediately out and winging, taking the field past the half in 55.2. McWicked pulled up the backside and easily disposed of his challenger, rolling past three-quarters in 1:21.2 before Sears took his foot off the gas in the stretch. McWicked is a seven-year-old bay horse by McArdle, out of the Western Ideal mare Western Sahara. He was bred by Andray Farm of Punxutawney, Pennsylvania. By Keith Gisser, For The Breeders Crown      

Emoticon Hanover (Daniel Dube) went back to back with Breeders Crown trophies to win the $250,000 race on a sloppy track by three-quarters of a length on Saturday night. Caprice Hill (Brian Sears) was on the lead at the first :27.1 quarter, before being quickly overtaken by Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) just past that milestone. Ariana G held the lead to the :56.4 half, trailed by Emoticon Hanover and Broadway Donna. Broadway Donna was up to engage her on the outside just past the half, but Ariana G held that lead to the 1:25.2 three quarters before Ice Attraction came up on the outside to make a try for the lead. While those two were looking for the finish line, Emoticon Hanover came charging on the outside to pass them both for the win in 1:54.1 The winner is trained by Luc Blais and owned by Determination. Ice Attraction was second, and Caprice Hill was third. "She's nice right now, she's good," said winning trainer Daniel Dube. "We went to the passing lane last week, we went to the outside today. She does everything right, she is more relaxed. She is a special mare." By Ellen Harvey, For The Breeders Crown

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