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Presiding Judge John Tomasello has informed Meadowlands Racetrack management Saturday evening that driver Brian Sears has been suspended for 15 days for "lack of judgment in his driving performance," pertaining to his drive of Bee A Magician in the second race on Friday night at The Meadowlands. No other details were made available at this time. The hearing had been scheduled for Saturday, regarding the drive of Bee A Magician in the 2nd race at The Meadowlands on Friday night. Meadowlands Chairman Jeff Gural was flabbergasted by what transpired and believes the betting public needs to be protected. The matter will be investigated and a course of action regarding this race will proceed accordingly. A hearing has been scheduled with Brian Sears for later today. After the conclusion of the hearing with , an update will be offered to our customers and the industry. In addition, a meeting of the drivers and trainers has been scheduled for 6:15 this evening where this matter will most certainly be spoken about. Mr. Gural made it clear to Bee A Magician's trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman that the effort put forth on the racetrack was unacceptable and to Mr. Norman's credit he understood and agreed that it was a mistake for Brian Sears to drive the horse so conservatively although because the horse had been tying up he did tell Brian to try not to race her on the front end. After consulting with and at the suggestion of several trainers that Mr. Gural spoke with, it has been decided that going forward every trainer will be obligated to give the race office an update on how the horse they are entering has been training so that information can be provided to our customers, who are the betting public. Without them, we would not exist and they must be protected. The information will be printed in our live program and will be available on our website as well. Effective immediately, all trainers that have entered horses to race at The Meadowlands will be required to supply a comment regarding how their horse trained a minimum of 72 hours prior to the race day and that report will be included in the live race program and will be accessible in the "race review" portion of The Meadowlands website. It is expected that all trainers with horses racing on Friday will submit an update on how their horse trained no later than 5:00 P.M. Tuesday and horses entered for Saturday are required to have their update submitted no later than 5:00 P.M. Wednesday. All trainers are to submit the update on how their horse trained to the email address In the event a trainer does not have e-mail access, he is asked to provide the update over the phone to The Meadowlands race office. If a trainer does not provide the necessary information, the race office will call the trainer until he/she is reached. This policy is being implemented to protect the betting public as they are the reason we are all here. We thank the horsemen for their anticipated cooperation in this matter. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

Kelvin Harrison's In The Arsenal won the fastest of the two splits for the $185,000 Bluegrass Stakes at the harness racing meeting in The Red Mile 3-year-old colt pace, winning in 1:52.3.   Sitting off a hot pace set by Paparazzi Hanover, including fractions of :27.4, :54.3, and 1:23, driver Brian Sears pulled the even-money choice off the pylons and around a tiring pocket sitter in National Seelster.   Catching Paparazzi Hanover at the top of the stretch, In The Arsenal progressed to the lead with Rock N' Roll World, following his move after the leader, beginning to challenge for control.   However, In The Arsenal dug in to the inside of Rock N' Roll World and held a half-length advantage in the end. Reggiano closed for third.   Getting the 13th win of his career and earning $885,973 in the process, the colt by American Ideal, out of the On The Road Again mare Ladyotra, returned $4.00 to win. He's owned by breeder White Birch Farms and In The Arsenal Racing, trained by Kelvin Harrison, and driven by Brian Sears.   "He raced well tonight," Kelvin Harrison said. "Like you said [to interviewer Gabe Prewitt], he was good here last year." " In the Messenger, he got it the way he likes it, and he got nailed."   "We had some sickness issues coming out of Tioga [in the Empire Breeders Classic], and still a little bit coming out of the Messenger, but I think we finally got him cleaned up."   "We'll be here next week for the Tattersalls Pace, and then hopefully everything's good because then we're going to the Breeders Crown," Harrison also said.   Flushing cover as he began his bid past the half, Split The House rallied down the center of the course and by speed-maker Penji Hanover to take the second split of the Bluegrass in 1:53.1.   Penji Hanover established fractions of :29.1, :57.1, and 1:25.3. Dude's The Man, flushed out by Split The House after the half, came up to challenge Penji Hanover at the top of the stretch.   Penji Hanover drifted off the pylons, allowing pocket-rider Blood Brother to sprint into contention through the stretch.   Off cover, Split The House managed to out sprint Blood Brother heading to the finish, doing so while besting third-place finisher Penji Hanover and fourth-place finisher Dude's The Man.   A recent purchase by owners Crawford Farms LLC and trainer Chris Oakes, the colt by Rocknroll Hanover out of the Camluck mare Shake That Junk claimed the eighth win of his career, and pushed his earnings to $241,481.   Driven to victory by Tim Tetrick, he paid $3.20 to win.   "It's really hard for these horses to go twice in one day," Chris Oakes said in regards to scratching Split The House from the Little Brown Jug final.   "He drew badly, and I hadn't had the horse that long, so not knowing him and his characteristics, I didn't want to put his future in jeopardy; I'd only had the horse a week at that point. He was good. You could see in the last turn, he was full of pace, and I figured he'd fire home pretty well, and he did."   "I kind of had my eye on him and I mentioned it to the Crawfords," Oakes also said in regards to purchasing Split The House. "I haven't even been with them that long and they knew all about this horse. As soon as he became available, they jumped on it."   "He wasn't paid in next week [to the Tattersalls], but he does have the Breeders Crown coming up and I'm pretty sure that's what we'll be pointing to," Oakes also said.   Ray Cotolo

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 19 - Bee A Magician became the first trotting mare since Peaceful Way in 2006 to win the $680,000 Maple Leaf Trot Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The five-year-old trotting mare and 2013 Horse of the Year turned in a furious final-quarter to capture the 64th edition of the Maple Leaf Trot over elimination winners Resolve and Natural Herbie. JL Cruze sprinted to the front for driver John Campbell, posting an opening-quarter of :26.4. From post two, Bee A Magician and driver Brian Sears got away third, behind Resolve, the 7/5 favourite. There was a little movement in the second-quarter and JL Cruze was able to take the field by the half in :55.3. Around the final turn, trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt came out of the two-hole to challenge JL Cruze, which allowed Sears to sit in a perfect second-over striking position turning for home. In the stretch, Resolve had the jump on Bee A Magician and the two trotters went toe-to-toe down the lane. Bee A Magician showed her heart by powering by in deep stretch to prevail by half a length over Resolve in 1:52.3. "We were following two of the best horses and the trip worked out great," said Sears following the race. "Ake's (Svanstedt) horse raced super, but she beat a stellar field tonight and I'm very proud of her no doubt about it." Trained by Richard 'Nifty' Norman, Bee A Magician scored her ninth victory of the season and 40th in 60 career starts Saturday night. Owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee, Bee A Magician increased her career bankroll to over $3.7 million with the Maple Leaf Trot victory. "Unbelievable. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Norman post-race. "I'm really happy for the owners, they are a bunch of great guys and she's just a champion and we are lucky to have her." Over the course of her remarkable career, Bee A Magician has won 17 of 20 starts at Mohawk Racetrack. Last season, Bee A Magician had a quiet season by her standards with four victories, but she has comeback at age five to win nine of 12 starts for earnings just shy of $900,000. "Just maturity, bigger, stronger," said Norman, regarding Bee A Magician's fantastic five-year-old season. "She sure loves coming here and we couldn't have got a better trip than that." Bee A Magician paid $6.20, $3.20 and $2.40. The $2 Exactor with Resolve paid $15.70, while the $1 Triactor with Natural Herbie finishing third paid $56. The 2-1-3-8 Superfecta with Whiskey Tax finishing fourth paid $108.22 for $0.20. Mark McKelvie

When Ontario Sired super mare Bee A Magician turns to the starting gate Saturday in the $680,000 final of 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack, her part-owner Mel Hartman will be biting his nails watching the race on TV from his Ottawa home. The five-year-old daughter of Kadabra out of Beehive has earned more than $3.3 million, but Hartman said he still gets nervous every time she races. "If she can beat the boys I think it is another feather in her hat," Hartman said. "It's an honour, in a way, because usually horses race in their own class, which is tough enough." Hartman shares ownership of Bee A Magician (New Image Media photo) with Montreal native and former Toronto resident Herb Liverman and David McDuffee of Florida. Bee A Magician finished a neck behind Natural Herbie Sept. 12 in their Maple Leaf Trot elimination. The mare drew post two in the final, which is race seven on a card that features four other rich stakes finals for trotters, including the $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for three-year-olds. "I feel more confident this week, because last week she hadn't raced in about three weeks and I thought she'd be short, but she raced very well," Hartman said. Earning a cheque would push Bee A Magician past Hall of Fame pacer Somebeachsomewhere on the all-time earnings list for Ontario-sired standardbreds into fourth place behind trotter Arch Madness ($4.3 million) and pacers Mister Big ($4.1 million) and Boulder Creek ($3.8 million). Hartman said Bee A Magician would be given every opportunity, health willing, to continue to climb the money list. On Oct. 10, she will represent Canada while taking on the boys again in the $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway in New York City. "I think we would like to race her as long as she's sound and healthy. If she can continue to race at this level I take a look at what Moni Maker made and there's been some comparisons of (Bee A Magician) to that horse," Hartman said of the late, great U.S. trotting mare that earned nearly $5.6 million lifetime and frequently beat the boys in stakes races on both sides of the Atlantic. "That horse was a hell of a horse. I don't know if (Bee A Magician) is in the same league or not, but she can be mentioned in the same paragraph, that's for sure." Two years after Bee A Magician was a perfect 17-for-17 and earned more than $1.57 million en route to the Horse of the Year Award in both Canada and the United States, the magic mare is still a model of incredible consistency. She's won eight of 12 starts this year and put more than $550,000 in the bank for driver Brian Sears and New Jersey based Richard "Nifty" Norman. "Honestly, every day I think about her I have to pinch myself that I own a horse like that," Hartman said. "She's just one hell of an athlete. She knows how to take care of herself and she's really something special... I can't say enough about her. She's just a special, special horse. It's more than a once-in-a-lifetime dream. It's an honour to own a piece of her." Hartman, the owner of the wholesale produce company Orleans Fresh Fruit based in Ottawa, said some of his customers get a kick out of seeing what trinkets he's added to the Bee A Magician display he has in his office. "It's nice to work away at my desk and look up and see her. It just gives me a warm feeling," he said. "I have Breeders Crown trophies, I have pictures. If I added more I'd have to build a bigger office and add more walls." He would dearly love to add a Maple Leaf Trot to the collection, despite no longer having the desire to make the long road trip from the nation's capital to Campbellville to see the race in person. "It would be a hell of an honour to win Canada's prestige trotting event and something that would be down in history forever. It's something they'd never be able to take away from her," Hartman said. By Dave Briggs, for Ontario Horse Racing  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 12 - The top older trotters in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack for the Maple Leaf Trot eliminations. A talented group of 13 older trotters, including two mares, were separated into two $40,000 eliminations. The top five finishers from each division punched their ticket to next week's $680,000 final. The underdog Natural Herbie came up with his best performance of the season, as he scored a 12/1 upset for owner/trainer/driver Verlin Yoder. Bee A Magician, the 3/5 favourite, was sent out to the front by driver Brian Sears and posted an opening-quarter of :27, while Natural Herbie dropped in fifth. JL Cruze made a second-quarter move to the front for driver John Campbell and took the field by the half in :56. Natural Herbie came first up for Yoder around the final turn and was 4¼ lengths off the lead, as JL Cruze reached the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Bee A Magician edged to the outside from the two-hole and trotted by the leader to take command with an eighth. It appeared that Bee A Magician was going to capture the first elimination, but Natural Herbie showed his determination trotting up a storm late to prevail in the final strides by a neck in 1:52.4. "I figured there would be enough speed on the front end," said Yoder following the race. "I was hoping I could be first up or second up, but it worked out pretty good and when I called on him he was ready." Lindys Tru Grit got up for third and Whiskey Tax finished fourth to round out the Superfecta. JL Cruze faded back to finish fifth, but did qualify for the final. A five-year-old gelded son of Here Comes Herbie, Natural Herbie burst onto the Grand Circuit scene last season and banked over $361,000. This season hasn't been nearly as productive for the Yoder trainee with just two wins from 14 starts, but the conditioner believes the horse gets better later in the season. "He's always been late showing up," said Yoder. "He's not trotting slower than he did last year, but he took his sweet time getting there." Natural Herbie now has 27 career wins and increased his earnings to over $849,000 with Saturday's victory. The Yoder trainee paid $27.70 to win. Natural Herbie In the second elimination, Resolve showed why his connections put up $45,000 to supplement the four-year-old to the Maple Leaf Trot. Trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, Resolve flashed good early speed to trot out to the front and post an opening-quarter of :27.4. Swedish trotting mare D'One, the 7/5 favourite, made a move in the second-quarter from fourth, but made a break taking her out of the race. After a half-mile time of :56.4, Resolve took the field around the final turn with Daylon Magician pressing first up. Obrigado, who trotted along second-over, put in a couple bumpy strides going to three-quarters, but quickly recovered to remain close. In the stretch, Resolve would not surrender his lead and trotted home in :27.3 for a 3¼ length 1:52.4 victory. Intimidate, who got a pocket trip, finished second, while Obrigado split horses late for third. Flanagan Memory and Daylon Magician finished fourth and fifth to advance to the final. A son of Muscle Hill, Resolve is owned by Hans Enggren and now has two wins from nine starts this season. The Svanstedt trainee has only missed the board once this season and has compiled earnings of over $243,000. Resolve's victory Saturday night was his eighth career score and pushed his earnings to over $457,000. The Svanstedt trainee paid $5.60 to win. Resolve Following the eliminations, the post positions were drawn for next week's $680,000 final with the elimination winners selecting their post. The $680,000 Maple Leaf Trot will be the co-feature next Saturday (September 19) along with the $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic. Here is how the trotters will line up for next week's Maple Leaf Trot. $680,000 Maple Leaf Trot 1. Resolve 2. Bee A Magician 3. Natural Herbie 4. Flanagan Memory 5. Lindys Tru Grit 6. JL Cruze 7. Daylon Magician 8. Whiskey Tax 9. Intimidate 10. Obrigado AE: Market Share Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 12 - Jimmy Takter trainees Uncle Lasse and Pinkman were victorious Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack in the eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic. A group of 13 three-year-old trotters were split into two $40,000 eliminations for the Canadian Trotting Classic. The top five finishers from each division advanced to next week's $700,000 final. In the first elimination, Uncle Lasse prevailed in a tight win photo over Crazy Wow in 1:52.3. Driven by Brian Sears, Uncle Lasse was able to get away in the two-hole on the back of Crazy Wow, who was sent off as the 1/2 favourite. The field of six sat lined up for the majority of the opening three-quarters, as Crazy Wow cut out fractions of :27.4, :56.2 and 1:25.2. In the stretch, Uncle Lasse came to the outside for Sears to try and track down Crazy Wow, who turned the race into a final-quarter sprint. Uncle Lasse was able sprint home in :26.4 to get up in the final strides and defeat Crazy Wow by a head. "The trip worked out perfect," said Sears following the race. "I was real happy with that and the horse responded off the trip." Muscle Up The Goal finished third, while Dont Rush and French Laundry rounded out the top five to secure a spot in the final. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Uncle Lasse scored his fifth win of the season Saturday night. The son of Donato Hanover has hit the board in nine of 11 starts and has banked just shy of $500,000. Sears noted that Uncle Lasse might be ready to break through and win a big one. "He's been knocking on the door all year and hopefully he has a good one next week." Uncle Lasse is owned by Solveigs Racing Partners and Goran Falk. Saturday was the ninth career victory for the winner of over $860,000. Uncle Lasse paid $7.80 to win. Uncle Lasse Hambletonian champion Pinkman was an easy winner in the second split to give Takter a sweep of this Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations. Pinkman and driver Yannick Gingras trotted out to the front, but gave way at the quarter to stablemate The Bank. Gingras wasted little time retaking the lead in the second-quarter and the 4/5 favourite led the field by the half in :56.1. After a third quarter in :28.3, Pinkman sprinted home comfortably in :27.3 to win by two-lengths in 1:52.2 over The Bank. Muscle Diamond finished third, while Centurion Atm, who had a poor start, and Iron grabbed the last two spots in the final. A son of Explosive Matter, Pinkman's victory Saturday was his first win since capturing the Hambletonian on August 8. "He sure was really good tonight," said Gingras following the race. "(I) kicked the plugs out half way down the stretch and he got into another gear and was trotting real strong through the wire." Pinkman came into the Canadian Trotting Classic eliminations off a pair of subpar efforts at Yonkers, but Gingras said the gelding just didn't enjoy the half-mile surface. "He struggled on the half and was running in hard and pretty bumpy gaited. It was pretty amazing that he stayed at it both weeks," Gingras said. "He's a really game horse, but the half-mile track wasn't what he likes." Pinkman is owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. The Takter trainee now has 9 wins from 13 starts and earnings of over $1.2 million this season. Pinkman's career totals sit at 15 wins and a bankroll of $1.8 million. He paid $3.70 to win. Pinkman Both elimination winners earned the right to select their post for next week's $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic final. The Canadian Trotting Classic will be the co-feature next Saturday (September 19) along with the $680,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Here is how the three-year-olds will lineup for the Canadian Trotting Classic final. $700,000 Canadian Trotting Classic 1. French Laundry 2. Dont Rush 3. Uncle Lasse 4. Pinkman 5. Iron 6. Muscle Up The Goal 7. Muscle Diamond 8. Crazy Wow 9. Centurion Atm 10. The Bank AE: Jetpedia   Mark McKelvie

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, September 5, 2015-The fact that 7-10 favorite Habitat (Brian Sears, $3.40, part of entry) easily won Yonkers Raceway's 61st Yonkers Trot Saturday night is the lead, but there were so many sidebars, where do we begin? Let's not gloss over the champion, however. Habitat-from post position No. 5-made short work of his seven rivals in the half-million-dollar second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. After his entrymate, Crazy Wow (George Brennan) broke early directly outside of him, Habitat worked the lead around pole-sitting Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer). Hambletonian winner Pinkman (Yannick Gingras), in play from post No. 7, found a very predictable seat in front of stablemate/entrymate French Laundry (Corey Callahan). The early fractions (:27.4, :57) played into the hooves of the leader. First to move (from fifth) was Southwind Mozart (Dan Dube), and when he did, out came French Laundry. That one was just trotting in place, dutifully waited for Pinkman to extricate himself from cones. He did, going after Habitat toward the 1:26 three-quarters. Habitat, for his part, said good-bye to everyone soon after, opening a four-length lead entering the lane. The final margin was 3½ lengths in 1:54.4...second-fastest Trot contested here (Archangel's 1:54.1 in 2012 remains the local 3-year-old trotting colt record). Pinkman crossed the line second, with Southwind Mozart third. As for Pinkman-gingerly-handled late in his elimination a week ago-he bore in during the final turn here, getting too close with Buen Camino (Trond Smedshammer). That forced Billy Flynn (Jason Bartlett) off-stride and inside the cones. It took Smedshammer to lodge an objection, leading to a prolonged review. After which, Pinkman was set down from second to fifth for interference, while French Laundry (his betting buddy), who crossed the line fourth, was, by rule, placed sixth (behind the affected Billy Flynn). That moved Southwind Mozart up to second and Buen Camino up from fifth to third. Billy Flynn was placed fourth, with misbehavers Workout Wonder (Mark Macdonald) and Crazy Wow rounding out the order. For Habitat, a elimination-winning 3-year-old son of Conway Hall, co-owned (as Burke Racing) by Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Our Horse Cents Stables, it was his seventh win 14 seasonal starts ($570,434). The exacta paid $30.40, with the triple returning $74.50. "I was able to get Pinkman behind me. I knew he struggled a bit last week," Sears said. "My horse is a handy horse. I had driven four of the eight horses in the race, so I knew the competition very well, which always helps." Sears won his second Trot, but his first here (Strong Yankee, 2005 [Freehold]). After winning the Hambo catch-driving Pinkman, he has the distinction of taking the first two-thirds of the Crown with two different horses. As for the chances a completing a Sears-driven Triple Crown in the Oct. 10 Kentucky Futurity, "Nope. I plan to be here with Bee a Magician in the International Trot." Frank Drucker

Royalty For Life Tr 3, 1:51.6 ($1,620,166), the 2013 Hambletonian champion, Canadian Trotting Classic winner and USA 3YO Trotting Colt of the Year, will be available for breeders in Australia and New Zealand for the first time this year. He is a striking individual in every respect. The frozen semen of the exciting, young sire – he was foaled in 2010 – is available through Stallions Australasia Pty Ltd whose lineup includes former champion racehorse and now highly successful sire Muscle Hill and international trotting star Wishing Stone. Royalty For Life recently completed his first northern hemisphere season at the prestige Tara Hills Stud, Ontario where he was fully booked for a fee of $6,000. His service fee in Australia will be $4,950 incl. GST and in NZ $4,500 plus GST. Royalty For Life raced only at 2 and 3 years, compiling the excellent record of 14 wins and seven placings from 30 starts for $1,620,166 – an average of $54,000 per start! As a two-year-old he displayed tremendous early speed, winning seven and being four times placed from 14 starts. He captured the $328,000 International Stallion Stakes at Lexington in 1:54.4, five New Jersey Sire Stakes event and finished runner-up in both the elimination and $600,000 final of the Breeders Crown. Royalty For Life really came into his own as a three-year-old, winning seven of his 14 starts and a whopping $1,277,130 in stakes. His victories included the $1.2-million Hambletonian in straight heats of 1:52 and 1:52.2, the $686,000 Canadian Trotting Classic in a stakes record equalling 1:54.4, the $360,000 Zweig Memorial, the $294,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial in 1:52 and an elimination of the $527,000 Kentucky Futurity. Champion USA driver Brian Sears, who handled Royalty For Life in all his major triumphs was high in his praise for the horse “He’s a beautiful horse, he just covers the ground." "He lets you know when he’s good." "He’s just so talented," Brian said. Royalty For Life is a most interestingly bred horse. He is the richest son of the former top young trotter RC Royalty (Tr 3, 1:55.2), one of the best of the progeny left by the champion American sire Credit Winner (Tr 1:54). Sons of Credit Winner are now coming to the forefront as sires in America such as Chocolatier and Crazed. Bourbon N Grits, the dam of Royalty For Life, has left three winners from four foals, while the grand-dam, Texas Winner ($128,323), produced six winners from six foals and the third dam, Texas Starlette, nine winners from 14 foals. Royalty For Life is a Super Bowl line horse – that which produced the leading Australian trotting sire RC’s Dee Jay – from a prolific winning family of trotters, and boasts a 3x3 cross to American Winner and three strains of Super Bowl blood. He should prove an ideal outcross to the host of mares by Sundon, Earl, Armbro Invasion, Dream Vacation, Keystone Salute and others. For further information contact Stallions Australasia manager Peter O’Rourke on phone 0011 64 21 346 401. Peter Wharton

Harness racing at Yonkers Raceway bid adieu to August Monday night, hosting $165,375 New York Sire Stakes Bruce Hamilton Pace for 3-year-old pacing fillies.   The event, neatly divided into a trio of $55,125 divisions, honored the memory of a certified mover and shaker (as well as a fairly decent soul) in the state's racing and breeding program. Bruce's family was on hand for winner's circle presentations, which were dutifully given to... First division-Devil Child (Jimmy Whittemore, $8.60), from post position No. 6, rallied from sixth turning for home to pick off sire-stakes debuting Mark MacDonald) by a head in 1:54.2. Bosser's Joy (Jason Bartlett) finished third, beaten a neck. For third choice Devil Child, a daughter of American Ideal co-owned by (trainer) Homer Hochstetler, James Michaels and South of the Tracks Racing, it was her fourth win in 15 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $109, with the triple returning $680. "She's had a tough season, bad posts and some bad luck," Whittemore said of Devil Child. "This was a good win for her." Second division-Odds-on Sassa Hanover (Yannick Gingras, $2.70) methodically disposed of her six foes, essentially going the distance-from post No, 5-in 1:52.1. The margin was a length-and-a-half, with Luck Be a Lindy (Scott Zeron) second and Heart Major (Brian Sears) third. For "Sassa," a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi, Panhellenic Stable and Larry Karr, she's now 4-for-12 this season. The exacta (two wagering favorites) paid $4.90, with the triple returning $14.60. "Much better the last couple of starts," was Gingras' assessment of career winner of more than $700,000. Third division-Pole-sitting Bedroomconfessions ( Brian Sears, $13.80) was gifted with the passing lane, and she passed, whipping pace-setting Band of Angels (Gingras) by three-quarters of a length in 1:52.1. Divine Caroline (Dave Miller), as the 6-5 choice, was another who pulled pocket and flattened, settling for third. Second choice Mosquito Blue Chip (Morrill Jr.) broke leaving. For Bedroomconfessions, an American Ideal lass co-owned (as Alagna Racing) by trainer Tony Alagna and Riverview Racing, it was her third win in 12 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $72, with the triple returning $169. Frank Drucker

 Friday night at the harness racing meeting at Vernon Downs, Grand Circuit racing comes to town as the Free For All trotters and pacing mares invade the venerable Upstate New York oval.   The $200,000 Crawford Farms Open (race 9) fields ten top trotting horses with combined earnings of more than $10 million along with an international flair.   Quebec owned Ontario-bred star Flanagan's Memory is currently the hot horse in the division, having won his last two including the John Cashman Memorial at The Meadowlands.   Vernon favorite son Brian Sears was aboard for the Cashman win and will come in to drive the Kadabra horse for owner/trainer Rene Dion and partner Liette Flanagan.   American-bred 2015 Elitlopp winner Magic Tonight is making his second start since returning stateside for Swedish connections following what has to be considered a disappointing performance in the Cashman.   Quebec stalwart and 2014 TVG champ Intimidate was the winner of this race in 2013 and returns for the third time while still searching for his top form this season.   Obrigado and Market Share are a pair of talented Americans with the former emerging as a bona-fide star and the latter a Hambletonian champion closing out what has been a stellar $3.7 million winning career.   The top trotting mares are in for the $177,000 Muscle Hill (race 7) as Bee A Magician seeks revenge against D'One, the Swedish invader that tracked Queen Bee down in the final strides of the Fresh Yankee on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands.   Bee A Magician had seemed invincible within her division and was valiant in defeat, used hard early and pressured late before succumbing to D'One in the shadow of the wire.   Sears has this mount as well for Nifty Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and Dave McDuffee.   D'One was largely unknown to the local fans despite winning more than half her European starts and her royal pedigree.   Her sire Donato Hanover and dam Giant Diablo trotted to identical World Record 1:50.1 miles on the same epic afternoon at The Red Mile in 2007.   D'One was reserved off the demanding Fresh Yankee fractions by driver Orjan Kihlstrom and flashed brilliant late trot to dethrone the "Queen".   She races for trainer Roger Waldmann's Stall Kenny 23 of Sweden.   They'll both have to contend with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry and defending Dan Patch divisional winner Classic Martine.   A deep and competitive field of ten pacing mares will meet in the $194,000 Artiscape (race 8).   The inimitable Anndrovette has taken on the mantle of division leader lately as she campaigns for yet another Dan Patch tiara to add to her unequalled collection of four.   The path to the winner's circle is fraught with peril as the competition is fierce led by her stablemate Venus Delight, last year's sophomore leader Color's A Virgin, Ontario terror Lady Shadow, queen of the Delaware valley Table Talk and the iron-tough Radar Contact.   Anndrovette is making her fifth appearance in the Artiscape and was the winner of the stake back in 2011.   A win this year would vault her past the $3.5 million earnings mark in her quest to eclipse the career record held by the great Eternal Camnation.   Tim Tetrick has been aboard for most of Anndrovette's career highlights and will be again on Friday for trainer Jeff Bamond, Jr and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino.   Supporting the above stakes will be several divisions of the New York Sires Stakes two-year-old filly pace. Entries for Friday's races may be viewed here.   Vernon Downs Racing  

The harness racing meeting at Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $150,224 New York Sire Stakes Lew Barasch Trot for 2-year-old colts and geldings. The event, honoring the memory of "Tootie," the man who help turn Roosevelt Raceway into a household word(s) during the sport's golden age and made the International Trot a world-class happening. Whether this group of plebes eventually becomes world class is to be determined, but 1-5 favorite Dayson (Jeff Gregory, $2.40) has proven to be the leader of the gang thus far. Starting from the pole in the second of two, $75,112 divisions, the Conway Hall gelding had to work for it. He took the best shots from second-choice Reve Royale (Brian Sears), then spurted away to a 2¼-length win in a zippy, life-best 1:57.4 (author's aside...the Gregory-driven Dejarmbro owns the 2-year-old colt local record (1:57 in 2010), while the Sears-escorted Tirade Hanover has the gelding standard (1:57.3 in 2012). Dog Gone Cupid (Tyler Buter), put in play early, did get second, with Reve Royale third. For Dayson, trained by Howard Okusko for co-owners Margaret & Amy Butler, it was his fifth win in as many seasonal starts. The exacta paid $28.60, with the triple returning $60. "He was tested tonight, and he was up to it," Gregory said, referring to Reve Royale first stringing Dayson out to get the lead in turn 2, then pulling pocket early in the final turn. The opening Barasch event saw Sears and second choice Allerage Echo ($6.10)-leaving from post position No. 6--go from first lead to first home. In between, he surrendered the front to Credevie (Trond Smedshammer), before blowing by in the lane. The final margin was 2¼ lengths (same as Dayson) in a life-best 1:59.4, with Master Class (George Brennan) a first-up second and Royal Bachelor (Jason Bartlett) third. Credevie, the favorite at just over even-money, faded to fourth. For Allerage Echo, a Crazed gelded trained by George Ducharme for owner Ken Jacobs, he's now 3-for-5 to begin his career after a third consecutive win The exacta paid $55, with the triple returning $221. "I bought him off his first two qualifiers," Jacobs said. "He impressed me, but I thought his gait was too high. "George (Ducharme) said he has some talent, and we're looking forward to the rest of the sire stakes season." Frank Drucker

As the day started, on Tuesday August 11, the harness racing track was listed as fast with sunny skies with a slight head wind in the stretch as the first group of 2 Year Old Pacing Fillies went to post. After a deluge during the 7th race, the judges called for a rain delay, the track was then downgraded to sloppy. Three races later after the sun came out again the track was upgraded to good. In spite of the adverse weather conditions, Brian Sears went on to have a stellar afternoon, winning 6 of the cards 13 races, local trainer Ed Hart also harnessed 3 winners on the afternoon. The Sears win streak started in the first race, as they often do, in the first division of the New York Sires Stakes, going for a purse of $35,866 The initial small field of 6 was whittled down to 5 as Amazon Ideal was scratched. American Ivy was first out from the gate, in the middle of the first turn she made a break but driver mark MacDonald quickly got her back on stride to take the lead past the ¼ in 28:4 and the ½ 58:4. No Clouds Bluechip grabbed the lead down the back side and took her contemporaries to the ¾ in 1:28:3. American Ivy was tiring and Dime A Dance was charging hard, but Sear and No Clouds Blue scored a measured win in 1:56:3, the fastest mile of the afternoon, giving trainer John Berger a special Birthday present. The daughter of American Ideal garnered her 2nd win of her young career. After winning the first 2 races Sears scored with the 1-5 favorite Time On My Hands (PP1) in race 5. Soft Idea had the lead at the quarter, with Time On My Hands parked, she then cleared and stayed there the rest of the mile, tripping the timer at 29.0, 58:1, 1:28:2 to win in 1:57:2 for trainer Chris Ryder. The daughter of American Ideal gave Sears his 3rd win of the card. Soft Ideal (PP6) was a fast closing 2nd for Jim Morrill Jr. the winner returned $3.50 for win for owners Robinson, Mondillo, Cheatham and the BFJ Stable. Prior to the 8th race, the Judges called for a rain delay and the track was downgraded to sloppy. Vino and Formaggio took the lead as the gate sprung, Killing Em Softly also left hard but was rough gaited, Jim Morrill settled her down and she dropped in the 3 hole. Vino and Formaggio was in control and showed the lead with fractions of 29 , 59, at the 5/8 pole Morrill came first over with the now composed Killing Em Softly to range into contention, as the pair sweep past the ¾ in 1:29. Vino and Formaggio was not to be denied as the Art Major colt won his first pari mutual win in 1:57:1 over a sloppy track. Brian garnered his 6th win of the afternoon, winning by 6 lengths, giving Trainer Ed Hart a hat trick. Excelsior A - $15,000 Rolling Going Home (PP3) gave Brain Sears wins in both half of the daily double, the sharp looking Roll With Joe filly took the overland route to score a new lifetime mark of 1:57:4 for owner Ross Bonafield of West Edmeston NY and trainer Ray Van Dreason, returning $6.00. In the 6th race Ed Hart started his own win skein as Family Roll Call scored in a wire to wire win in 1:58:4. The Roll With Joe filly is owned by Winbak Farms, giving Sears win #4. Major Millie tried in vain to catch Family Roll Call, even with her last quarter in 28, she settled for 2nd money. Last division of the "B" class saw Roll of Dream take the lead followed by Angels Rockn Pink, the pair raced in tandem to the 5/8's marker. Scott Zeron came first over with LYRA, Roll of Dream still had the lead taking the field past the ¾ in 1:29. At the top of the lane LYRA who at this point had taken a lot of air, raced tough to score a gritty win in 1:57:2 for trainer Jean Drolet. She was driven by Scot Zeron to take her 3rd win a row in this company. Excelsior B - $6,800 Boniello scored in the first division (Race 4) of the Excelsior B series for trainer Roland Mallar in 1:58. Mike Simmons drove the Roll With Joe offspring for winning owner Anatolia Racing Stable of Hopewell Junction NY, winning by 4 lengths to get the better of the favorite Rocknroll Shamayin. The Sears/Hart combination was successful as Seafood Linda (PP 5) scored her second consecutive win in this company in 1:58:2 ($4.70) After an auspicious start where she made a quick miscue going off stride, the filly quickly regained her composure and minded her manners to eventually overtake Milky Way Rae and Glow Boat. The win was Sears 5th visit to the winners and the 2nd for Ed Hart. The Daughters of Blue Chip Farms Stallion, Roll with Joe won 4 races, American Ideal sired 2 winners for the afternoon, and Art Major and Rock N Roll Heaven each had 1 daughter in the winners circle. Shawn Wiles

Zanesville's Richard and Joyce McClelland have owned harness racing horses for decades and can usually be found at one of the Buckeye State's county fair ovals, or in the Scioto Downs or Northfield Park winner's circle. On August 8 however, the McClellands saw their years of dedication and love for the Standardbred come to fruition when their 3-year-old trotter Pinkman stepped into the winner's circle at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ. The sophomore gelding had just won harness racing's greatest trotting event-the $1 million Hambletonian-with Brian Sears driving for renowned trainer Jimmy Takter. "We've been in the horse business for 35 years and we've never had anything like this," Joyce admitted. "We're just overwhelmed right now." While this is not the McClelland's first foray into the national spotlight-they owned two-time Breeders Crown champion Call For Rain 4, 1:49.3M ($1,065,919) and have a slice of the great trotting mare Maven 4, 1:51.4H ($1,756,996)-the Hambletonian is, in harness racing's circles, the trotting race everyone strives to win. "It hasn't really sunk in yet," acknowledged Richard, Chairman of the Ohio Standardbred Development Fund. "Winning the Hambletonian is great for Ohio people like us who don't have a big stable on a national level." Pinkman's Ohio connections run deep and his story actually began in the fall of 2011, when Midland Acres' Jake Mossbarger was looking for a few, well-bred trotting broodmares. A Capitol University graduate who had spent several years working at Woodland Run Equine Facility in Grove City, Ohio, Jake had a keen eye for horseflesh, and he liked what he saw in the Angus Hall mare Margie Seelster (6, 1:55.1s $247,483). "The fact that she was an Angus Hall meant that you could breed to any Valley Victory line; that was something we were looking for," said Midland's Jay Mossbarger, Jake's father. "There are good horses in her maternal line and she was a mare I thought we could make money with, so we contacted her breeder and bought her for $25,000, in foal, in November 2011." When the bay colt arrived into this world on March 20, 2012, he was the first foal out of his dam. His sire, the Cantab Hall stallion Explosive Matter, earned $1,510,542 with a 3-year-old record of 1:52.3 and had finished second in the 2009 edition of the Hambletonian, which curiously, was won by Muscle Hill with Brian Sears driving. Interestingly, Muscle Hill is by Muscles Yankee, who is also Explosive Matter's maternal grandsire. Pinkman-then known as "Traffic Jam," spent his early days romping through Midland's lush paddocks in Bloomingburg, Ohio. He was definitely a colt with a mind of his own, Jay recalled. "He was a sharp foal and turned into a much better horse as a yearling," Jay stated. "He had certain quirks-if you went to trim his foretop, for instance, he wanted no part of it, and he would rear up and strike at you. "He was a horse who always had his head up and had that look about him," Jay continued. "He could get aggressive, but basically was very laid back until you wanted him to do something he didn't want to do. He always took care of himself, and spent a lot of time relaxing in his stall. He'd lie down, get up to eat and then go lay down again." Ever crafty, Jay never underestimated the youngster's pedigree, which was certainly an indication of Pinkman's hidden talent. Fast forward to October 2, 2013, and the colt-now a sturdy yearling-is purchased by the McClellands and four partners for $77,000 at the famed Lexington Selected Sale in Kentucky, selling as hip number 207. "To sell for $77,000 as a yearling was a big surprise for us," Jay admitted. "I thought he'd bring around $45,000 or $50,000. Having Dick and Joyce McClelland owning part of this horse makes the Hambletonian all that more special." Renamed after a character in the hit TV program Breaking Bad-Pinkman was a bit cantankerous early in his training, but not in a mean way, Richard explained. He simply didn't seem that excited about training or racing. "Jimmy (trainer Takter) only called me twice with, shall we say-not so good-reports about the horse," Richard revealed. "The first time he called me was to tell me he thought it was best we geld him. With these well-bred colts it's not always what you really want to do, but he thought it best, so I said go ahead." Unfortunately for the young Pinkman, the gelding process hit a snag, resulting in an infection that caused him to lose both weight and his fitness level. "He became a horse that wasn't real high on Jimmy's list of those to continue with and he suggested we sell him," Richard noted. "But then he took him to Lexington for one last try, and he raced alright and was second." That was the beginning of a dramatic change in Pinkman's racing style. He went from trotting languid miles in 2:00 or slower to a determined 1:57 clocking in that Red Mile overnight on Sept. 11, 2014. And therein, began a journey for the McClellands and their partners that culminated in last Saturday's stunning victory in harness racing's biggest event. "After that Lexington performance, I asked Jimmy if he'd bring the horse to Delaware during Little Brown Jug week and he did," Richard offered. Pinkman rattled off another 1:57 performance, breaking his maiden in the $59,445 Standardbred Stake for freshman trotters over the Delaware half-miler. "Jimmy laughed after that win and said, 'let's step him up a bit now and race him in a Grand Circuit event at Lexington,'" McClelland recalled. "So we took him to the Red Mile and he won, and then we took him to Canada and he won there too." Pinkman captured a $77,120 International Stallion Stake division on Oct. 3, 2014 in a heart-stopping 1:53.3, then shipped to Woodbine Raceway where he captured the $463,690 Valley Victory Final in 1:55.4 on Oct. 24, 2014. He followed that up with a victory in the $500,000 Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Trot Final, timed in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2 at The Meadowlands. For his efforts, the durable gelding was honored with a Dan Patch Award as 2-Year-Old Trotting Colt of 2014 after earning $566,960. "He's a very durable horse, easy to get along with and he doesn't win by much but he's always there," Richard said. Pinkman's sophomore campaign began in mid-May of this year, as he began a three-race win streak in Pennsylvania Sires Stakes competition. The only blemish on his otherwise spotless 3-year-old season came in a $25,000 Beal elimination on June 27 when he finished second by half a length to Wicker Hanover at Pocono Downs. "His blood count was a little low after that race," Richard explained. "It wasn't anything serious but enough to take the edge of him." Pinkman rebounded one week later to capture the $500,000 Beal Final in front-stepping style, timed in 1:51.3. He won the $157,250 Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands in 1:52.2 on July 18, then stormed to a 1:52 triumph in the $370,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs on July 26. Then came August 8 at The Meadowlands and trotting's biggest event of the year. The McClellands, along with Pinkman partners Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ, John & Jim Fielding of Toronto, ON, and Herb Liverman of Miami Beach, FL watched the Hambletonian eliminations with nervous excitement, never doubting their trainer's confidence in the young gelding. "We have the majority of our horses with Jimmy or his daughter Nancy," Richard acknowledged. "We've been with them nearly nine years and currently have 12 horses in training with them." The McClellands did have one previous Hambletonian contender-the Cantab Hall colt High Bridge-who finished third in his elimination but a disappointing seventh in the 2013 final to the Brian Sears-driven winner Royalty For Life. Saddled with post ten in his elimination, Pinkman, with Yannick Gingras in the sulky, left hard from the outside, took the lead and then settled into second position behind stablemate The Bank (Johnny Takter), following him through fractional splits of :26.2, :54.3 and 1:23.1 before posting a :28 final brush. The final time of 1:51.3 equaled the world record for a 3-year-old gelding on a mile oval. The second Hambletonian elimination saw Gingras pilot the Ron Burke-conditioned filly Mission Brief to victory in a front-stepping 1:51.3, besting her rivals by nearly five lengths, with apparent ease. That triumph put Gingras in an enviable, yet frustrating position of having to choose between his two elimination winners. When he chose to drive Mission Brief in the final, it opened the door for Brian Sears to climb aboard Pinkman. "I tried to tell Yannick he was making a great mistake," Takter said. "Pinkman is such a fighter. He's not impressive, but he gets the job done every time. And I thought the filly didn't look as strong finishing as my horse did." Takter knows horseflesh and he obviously knew what Pinkman was capable of that steamy afternoon in East Rutherford, as the gelding easily held off the hard-trying Mission Brief in the final by three-quarters of a length-preventing her from becoming the first distaff to win the Hambletonian since Continentalvictory accomplished that feat in 1996. Pinkman's time of 1:51 in the final was also the third fastest clocking in Hambletonian history. The win gave Takter his fourth Hambletonian victory and his second straight-he won this race last year as both the driver and trainer of Trixton. The Hambletonian victory pushed Pinkman's lifetime earnings to $1,737,925 and gave the gelding his eighth win of 2015. He now has 14 wins and two seconds in 17 career trips postward for his Ohio, New Jersey and Canadian connections. "We'll have to wait and see what's next on his plate," Richard said of Pinkman. "The fact that he's a gelding does allow us to contemplate a lot more years of racing than if he was a colt. Right now we're just enjoying the ride." By Kimberly Rinker

East Rutherford, NJ --- Pinkman and Brian Sears, who got the drive on the horse less than an hour before the race, took control of the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-olds at the half and never gave it up as they cruised under the wire to be the 90th winners of the trotting classic in a world record time of 1:51 on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack. Pinkman (Explosive Matter-Margie Seelster) is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. His winning time was the fastest ever by a sophomore trotting gelding on a mile track. The filly Mission Brief, who Yannick Gingras chose to drive after her win in the second elimination, gave futile chase in deep stretch and made up ground, but not enough to win. Uncle Lasse, also trained by Takter, was third after adding trotting hobbles between the elimination and the final. As the field trotted off the starting gate, it was Uncle Lasse (David Miller) who was first to the lead from post seven, hitting the quarter-mile mark in :27.2, with The Bank (Johnny Takter) outside and behind him and Pinkman in third. The Bank was on the move just past the quarter-mile mark, with Pinkman behind him. By the time they reached the half-mile marker in :55.2, Pinkman had the lead on the outside and The Bank was second. Mission Brief, who had been fourth, a few lengths from the leaders most of the way to the half, hustled to join the crowd and bore down on the leader, Pinkman, around the final turn, getting to his wheel as the field turned for home. She lost contact when they straightened out, but re-engaged under urging from Gingras as the wire drew closer. She got close, but not close enough, three-quarters of a length back. Uncle Lasse was third, The Bank fourth and Jacksons Minion got the final purse check. Trainer Jimmy Takter won both the Hambletonian and the Hambletonian Oaks for the second straight year. He won last year with Trixton in the Hambo and Lifetime Pursuit in the Oaks. “I was looking forward to try in the final with a couple that I did have (Habitat and Wings Of Royalty) and I managed to do that,” said winning driver Brian Sears. “But opportunity knocked and it’s just great that they gave me the call. “I didn’t hear much (about the chance to drive Pinkman if necessary). I heard a little bit from Herb (Liverman). I talked to Herb a little bit, but I’m very grateful for the opportunity. He (Pinkman) was pretty much push button and it was a pleasure.” Pinkman has now won eight times in nine season's starts, with earnings of $1,170,965. Lifetime he has been a winner in 14 of 17, with $1,737,925. “It’s very emotional and I just want to thank all the connections that were involved,” said co-owner John Fielding. “Brian Sears stepped in and did a great job and of course, my friend and partner Jimmy Takter and Christina, have done again an amazing job. We’ve been at this for 30 years trying to win this trophy and I’ll tell you, this is the greatest thrill you could ever want in this sport and I’m just blown away, very honored and happy to be in this situation. I’ve got a plane I’ve got to catch to go back to a party in Toronto tonight, but we’re going to have to stop at the windows (to cash bets). “We leave these decisions (about drivers) up to Jimmy and he always seems to make the right decisions. We’ve had Brian Sears, who everybody knows is a fantastic, great driver, one of the best there ever was when the money is on the line, so I wasn’t worried at all, very confident in Jimmy.” Of the filly runner-up Mission Brief, trainer and co-owner Ron Burke said, “She raced really good and I think if things would have shook out a little differently the result would have been different. She was the only one still going forward at the wire. She really gave it her all and at the wire she was still coming. I would never change anything that I did and I don’t regret anything about the conditioning. She’s still a super horse, some day we will be back and we are not going to give up. We are going to win the Hambletonian.” Mission Brief’s driver, Yannick Gingras, who picked her over the eventual race winner, said, “I’m still young and I’m blessed to have two great chances at the Hambo like I’ve had the last few years. I will have plenty more chances I hope. Everyone ignores Pinkman because he isn’t flashy, they want to talk about Uncle Lasse and Canepa Hanover, but Pinkman beats them every week, he was just a flat out winner. You have to give the horse all the credit in the world. “I’m not disappointed in her effort at all. She wasn’t quite as strong as the first heat. She wasn’t quite as good gaited as before, so I couldn’t make the moves I wanted to with her. I knew I didn’t have enough at the top of the stretch. You have to give it to Pinkman. He’s a great horse and he’s a winner. “I was happy with how the race went. Takter’s horses were being used and if she went her A1 effort, she might have won. My son joked with me this week and said don’t make a break (as with Father Patrick in 2014), Well, I got that accomplished at least and it’s still been a great day. Pinkman is Brian’s horse now, of course.” Hambletonian eliminations East Rutherford, NJ --- Pinkman (Yannick Gingras) won the first $100,000 elimination race for the Hambletonian for 3-year-old harness racing  trotters by a half-length in 1:51.2 over The Bank (Johnny Takter) on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack. Donatomite (Trond Smedhammer) was third. The other two spots for the final went to Habitat (Brian Sears) and Jacksons Minion (Tom Jackson). Pinkman is trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Gingras and Pinkman made it quite clear they wanted the lead from post ten as the two charged off the starting gate and went straight for the front, getting past the rail horse, Donatomite, to get to the lead just past the :26.2 first quarter. The Bank was out and moving at the three-eighths to get the lead and held it to the :54.3 half with Pinkman tucked in behind him. Jacksons Minion was on the move for the top when the field passed the half, while the lead horses remained unchanged at the 1:23.2 three-quarters. With the finish line in sight, Gingras went to work on Pinkman and they passed The Bank for the win and a chance to draw for posts one through five in the final. “I figured (Smedshammer) was going to try to get position and sit behind me,” said winning driver Gingras. “His horse (Donatomite) has got good gate speed. He’s not had much luck with his horse, but he’s a nice horse too. “It kind of worked out. I was hoping to cut it, but The Bank is a very good horse. If I was going to follow anybody, he was the horse to follow. “(Winning) is exactly what he does. In this race I had to get after him pretty hard in the stretch, but that’s Pinkman. All he does is win.” Trainer Ron Burke's filly Mission Brief set up the anticipated Hambletonian showdown against male rival Pinkman, winning her elimination by 4-3/4 lengths over Aldebaran Eagle in 1:51.3. French Laundry, Uncle Lasse and Wings Of Royalty also advanced to the $1 million Hambletonian final. Mission Brief is trying to become the first filly since Continentalvictory in 1996 to win the Hambletonian. Uncle Lasse (David Miller) led to the quarter in :26.3, with Mission Brief in fifth place. Yannick Gingras then moved Mission Brief to the front, hitting the half in :54.2 and three-quarters in 1:23. She drew off in the stretch for the easy win in 1:51.3. Gingras will drive Mission Brief (6-5 morning line) in the final and Brian Sears will take over behind Pinkman (5-2). “In the first turn it got a little crowded, she wasn’t anxious, I was,” Gingras said. “There were a lot of horses around us and she’s not used to that. But she acted very professionally. At the top of the stretch, I could hear Brett (Miller driving French Laundry) on my back and it sounded like he had some trot. I kicked the earplugs but she did it on her own.” Gingras added prior to making his decision, “It’s going to be a tough one. It’s two guys (Jimmy Takter and Ron Burke) that really helped my career, two horses that I started with from the beginning, so it’s very tough.” Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill-Southwind Serena, is owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. Pinkman Mission Brief by Ellen Harvey and Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

East Rutherford, NJ --- Flanagan Memory and driver Brian Sears won Saturday’s (Aug. 8) $301,500 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older harness racing trotters by three lengths over Gural Hanover in 2:05.4 for 1-1/8 miles at Meadowlands Racetrack. Obrigado finished third and Natural Herbie was fourth. There were multiple lead changes in the race’s early goings, with Melady’s Monet, Magic Tonight, Intimidate and Market Share all occupying the top spot as the 12-horse field raced through fractions of :26.1, :55 and 1:23 to three-quarters. Flanagan Memory, who was sent off at 9-1 odds, followed Obrigado in the outside flow around the final turn before trotting through the stretch to victory. It was his second consecutive triumph at the Meadowlands, following his 1:51.4 triumph in the TVG Open last weekend. “I watched him race last year at (age) 4 and he’s a really nice horse and he’s come a long ways,” Sears said. “We got the kind of trip he likes. We got some good flow and it worked out well.” Flanagan Memory (Kadabra-Classy Stacy) has won 13 of 44 career races and earned $808,678. He is trained by Rene Dion, who owns the horse with Liette Flanagan. Flanagan Memory by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness racing trainer George Ducharme knows that Wings Of Royalty is not the same horse as 2013 Hambletonian champion Royalty For Life. The affable conditioner nonetheless is rather pleased with the progress the son of R C Royalty has made entering the 90th edition of the Hambletonian on Saturday at the Meadowlands. “I’m very happy with the way he trained this week,” said Ducharme from his Vernon Downs base on Thursday. “I thought he raced well in the Zweig (fourth place behind Pinkman),” said Ducharme. “After the race I talked to Tim (Tetrick) and we both agreed that he needed a race over the big track to get stretched out and acclimate to the speed of the race." "He’d been racing so much over the half mile tracks.” Royalty For Life will have Brian Sears in the bike in the second of two elimination heats on Saturday afternoon. “I was very happy with the draw,” said Ducharme of post five in the nine-horse field. Wings Of Royalty, a homebred of Raymond Campbell Jr., has earned $237,599 during his career racing primarily in New York. The colt prepped for the Hambletonian with a victory at Vernon Downs last Saturday coming from off the pace in 1:54 3/5. “I think he’s as good as he’s ever been,” said Ducharme of Wings Of Royalty. “I was happy with the division he got into." I think the first division is tougher but we do have Mission Brief and she’ll be tough if she behaves.” Royalty For Life was a favorite going into the Hambletonian in 2013 and Wings Of Royalty is a decided longshot. But trainer George Ducharme wouldn’t have entered the colt had he not thought he belonged with this group. Wings Of Royalty has been quite consistent throughout his career and has the dual capacity to race near or from off the pace and still finish his miles with strength. Without question having Hambletonian experience is a major factor in getting to the race again and succeeding. Both Ducharme and Sears have been here before which in a sense takes some of the pressure off. Wings Of Royalty is as good as he’s going to be, whether that’s good enough won’t be known until sometime late on Saturday afternoon. Jay Bergman

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