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The richest harness racing Sire Stakes Championship series begins Saturday night.   The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono will host four $350,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship for three-year-olds.   Each of the four divisions will also have a $60,000 Consolation race; the total program on Saturday at Pocono will distribute purses of $1,770,000.   COLT PACERS $350,000 Championship - race 12 $60,000 Consolation - race 5   Championship record: 1:48.4, McWicked, 2014 (fastest Championship in PA history)   Defending champion from 2YO year: Yankee Bounty   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Lost For Words   Most of the attention in the "glamour division" will be focused on Wakizashi Hanover, already a winner of over $840,000 this year, including the North America Cup Final, and regarded as second-best on the North American scene to the amazing Wiggle It Jiggleit.   Wakizashi has driven post five for the Championship, and as usual trainer Joann Looney-King has tapped Tim Tetrick to drive the altered son of Dragon Again for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia.   The sophomore has experience over the track, winning a Hempt elimination and then finished fourth from a difficult draw, and following that outing up with a second to "Wiggle" in the Battle of the Brandywine.   It's unusual to see a defending champion and a leading prelim pointswinner regarded as "outsiders" in the field, but Yankee Bounty and Lost For Words, respectively, are not only figurative outsiders, but the literal outsiders as well in the field of eight.   Yankee Bounty, starting from post seven for all-time Sire Stakes driving champion Dave Palone,does come off a 1:49.3 win in a Sire Stakes prelim, while Lost For Words (post eight, David Miller) was the only three-time winner in the Sires prelims.   COLT TROTTERS   $350,000 Championship - race 11 $60,000 Consolation - race 4   Championship record: 1:52.4, Father Patrick, 2014   Defending champion from 2YO year: Billy Flynn (the only 3YO who did not qualify for these finals)   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Wicker Hanover   Wicker Hanover and Uncle Lasse were both three-time Sires prelim winners.   Wicker Hanover, an Explosive Matter colt who has done well on or off the pace, will start from post six for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Ross Croghan, and the Christer Haggstorm Racing Stable Inc., while the Donato Hanover colt Uncle Lasse, third in both the Hambletonian Final and the Colonial, drew post two for driver David Miller, trainer Jimmy Takter, and owners Solveig's Racing Partners and Goran Falk.   A horse conspicuous by his absence is Pinkman, #2 in the prelim pointstandings while achieving three victories, but when he won the Hambletonian trainer Takter chose the Triple Crown road for him, and he goes Saturday night at Yonkers in the Yonkers Trot, the second Crown leg.   But even with two recent losses to Crazy Wow, in the Colonial and Yonkers Trot elim, Pinkman likely would have been a big favorite here, and using the "glass is half full" theory, the race is much more competitive this way.   FILLY PACERS   $350,000 Championship - race 10 $60,000 Consolation - race 3   Championship record: 1:49, Economy Terror   Defending champion from 2YO year: Southwind Roulette   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Somewhere Sweet   Perhaps the best testimony to the contentiousness of this division all year, and in theory here Saturday, is the fact that prelim pointleader Somewhere Sweet won only once in the prelims.   But the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere, trained by Brian Brown for Miller's Stable, has been a very consistent miss, winning half her ten seasonal starts and never finishing worse than fourth, and she draws the favorable post two for driver David Miller.   There were two two-time prelim winners in this division, but for Saturday they had the misfortune of drawing the two outside spots on the gate: Serious Filly (PP7, also trained by Brown, Tim Tetrick listed) and Safe From Terror (PP8, trainer Ron Burke, also listing Tetrick on the early sheet).   FILLY TROTTERS   $350,000 Championship - race 9 $60,000 Consolation - race 14   Championship record: 1:51.3, Check Me Out, 2012 (fastest trot Champion ever)   Defending champion from 2YO year: Wild Honey   Leading pointwinner in four preliminaries: Sarcy (not entered), Smokinmombo #2   Last year's divisional champion Wild Honey has come back sharply in 2015, with a win in the Hambletonian Oaks Final and two Sire Stakes wins.   The Cantab Hall filly is likely to be held as the horse to beat despite drawing post eight for driver Dave Palone, trainer Jimmy Takter, and the ownership combine of Takter, Fielding, Liverman, and Fielding.   Jimmy Takter is also the trainer of Sarcy, who was #1 in the prelim points, but that filly has not raced since finishing fifth in the Oaks Final on August 8 and has not won since June 25, so she is not entered in the Championship.   But Wild Honey is certainly a fine "backup plan."   FINISHING LINES   Dave Palone has 38 career wins in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championships, and the driver in second needs a telescope to see him even though winning five Championships last year - Yannick Gingras, with a total of 12.   We know Yannick will not duplicate that output in 2015, as he will be driving Pinkman at Yonkers on Saturday.   Palone, however, has a call in three of the four Championships, and there are two to-be-resolved double calls in the race he currently is not listed on.   The PA Sire Stakes Championship series for two-year-olds will be held on Friday, September 11, at The Meadows, with the same $350,000/$60,000 purse structure. In between, Harrah's Philadelphia will host the eight $40,000 Championships of the PA Stallion Series - the three-year-olds on a special card this Monday, Labor Day, and the two-year-olds the following Thursday.   Jerry Connors

August 29, 2015 - Delicious (6f Cantab Hall-Ipsara LB-Lemon Dra) circled the field and drew off in the Sundsvall Open after gaining the lead mid-stretch for patient reinsman Orjan Kihlstrom. The Daniel Reden trained, Stall Zet owned import from the US now has a 17-9-7 slate from 41 career starts, with 4,916,572SEK earned. Clocked in 1.10kr (mile rate 1:52.63) the small athletic mare raced with shoes and trailed the field much of the way in this Gr. I International UET Masters Series Sundsvall Open (1SEK million to winner, 2140 meters autostart) during a quick pace set initially by Creatine driven by Johnny Takter. Creatine battled Royal Fighter early and then faded after several others including On Track Piraten (7g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) and teamster Torbjorn Jansson for trainer H-R Stromberg made a decisive move in the final turn and held second timed in 1.10.3kr. Third finishing Ringostarr Treb (5m Classic Photo-Farsolo Egral-Supergill) at 24/1 for Wilhelm Paal and trained Holger Ehlert, first engaged Creatine in the last bend and took over with Oasis Bi in the hunt along with rallying On Track Piraten. None of these could match the quick closing speed of Delicious. Oasis Bi finished fourth for Bjorn Goop about seven lengths behind the winner with Royal Fighter a distant fifth for Jennifer Tillman and Creatine sixth. Traveling Man, El Mago Pellini and Global Money completed the field after the scratching of Rocky Winner. As noted the fast fractions were illustrated by a time of 1.05.2kr for the first 500 meters and 1.07.9kr at the 1000 meter mark. The field was underway after one recall. Bergsaker’s Sundsvall Monte Open (60,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters autostart) went to Figaro Sanna with Jenny Brunzell aboard. Timed in 1.13.4kr this eight year-old gelded son of Spotlite Lobell-Strands Sparkling-Running Sea recorded his 12th career win in 50 starts for owner Happy People Racing AB. Also on the Bergsaker card was the Lars Lindsbergs (175,000SEK to winner, 2140 meters turning start distance handicap) and Ninepoints Lucy (5f Spotlite Lobell-Lucky Kelly-Coktail Jet) was the winner timed in 1.12.5kr for Oskar J. Andersson and trainer Jorgen Westholm. Unique Julia and Bethel Hanover were next to the line. The Silver Division (125,000SEK to winner, 2640 meters autostart) contest today was won by Aristocat Boko (8g From Above-Big Blue Kitten-Pine Chip) and teamster Johnny Takter timed in 1.12.6kr, his 15th lifetime win in 63 starts. Stall HGS owns this winner. Thomas H. Hicks

WILKES-BARRE PA -- Bigtown Hero, who already has two appearances on the harness racing sport's all-time list of "horse who have hit the 3/4s in 1:20 or better," missed by a tick becoming the only horse ever with three such appearances, winning the $24,000 featured pace at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Saturday night.   Bigtown Hero, an altered son of American Ideal, certainly didn't have it easy, either -- he was outside with cover until favored Bandolito cleared Bushwacker past a 26 opener, then rolled up raw to grab the top early on the second turn, en route to hitting the half in 53.1.   Driver Simon Allard, sulkysitting for trainer/brother/Pocono leader Rene, opened up lengths on Bandolito down the backstretch, with Bushwacker taking other crack outside, but both were well-behind when the timer tripped at 1:20.1 with a quarter to ago. Bandolito ate fractionally into the winner's lead late, but was still shy of him by 3/4 of a length at the finish, with Quick Jolt coming from the clouds for third, a half length behind Bandolito and a length ahead of Bushwacker.   Allard Racing Inc. and Yves Sarrazin own the speed merchant, who hit the 3/4 in 1:19.4 last September 20 here en route to taking his mark of 1:47.3, and then on November 8 posted the fastest half (52.2) and 3/4s (1:19.1) in 5/8-mile track history before tiring in a race where Mach It So beat State Treasurer in 1:48. Both of these miles were also at Pocono.   Also at Pocono Saturday were a pair of $24,000 trots. Wind Of The North, an altered son of Cantab Hall who equaled a division world record of 1:51 here last year, needed only 1:53.3 Saturday to report home first for trainer Daryl Bier, co-owner with Joann Dombeck; in the other division the Andover Hall filly Sistas, 3-for-3 in Stallion Series competition, handled a big class rise, a predominantly male field, and a predominantly older field in 1:55 for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Chris Oakes, and owners Albert and Michelle Crawford. (Napolitano, who had 100 wins in July, won three times here Saturday to put him at 98 for August, with sessions at both Philly and Pocono tomorrow possibly letting him achieve a rare "consecutive double century" of winners; the win with Sistas was also his 500th in 2015.)   FINISHING LINES -- The Sunday August 30 card of tomorrow/today is the last Sunday action for the year at The Downs ... Next Saturday night Pocono will be hosting the $1.7M Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship Night, with $350,000 Championship races for the four classes of sophomores, plus consolations and other features.   Pocono / PHHA  

August 26, 2015 - US-bred Volstead (4m Cantab Hall-Madame Volo-Yankee Glide-Missy’s Goal) rallied late for a nose win in tonight’s C Th Ericssons Memorial (100,000SEK to winner, 2640 meters autostart) for harness racing reinsman Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer/owner Stefan Melander. Clocked in 1.12.4kr the winner recorded victory ten in 20 career appearances, now for earnings of 2,073,250SEK. Volstead was bred in the US by Arden Homestead Stable and Adelaide J. Skoglund and exported by the US in October 2012. Today’s clocking was reported to be a new SWE record for the distance by a foreign-bred trotter. The winner’s dam Madame Volo has also produced High Bridge 1:52.3 ($271,910). Pacesetter Candor Hall (7g Adams Hall-Ava Crown-Super Arnie) was second for trainer/driver Bjorn Goop with third finishing veteran Spring Erom (10m Gentle Star-Springflickan-Prince Mystic), a 25 time career winner, another two lengths in arrears. Adams Hall, sire of Candor Hall, is a son of Garland Lobell-Amour Angus. US-breds Lucky Charm Hanover and Nato Dream were sixth and seventh in the field of seven. Thomas H. Hicks

DAYTON PA - To be a strong candidate for consideration into becoming a member of the sport's pinnacle, the Hall of Fame, a non-trainer/driver should have solid credentials, such as not only continuing but enhancing the credentials of a major breeding farm, consistently having top horses in the top ranks in the sport, and performing respected committee work on many of the sport's most elite committees and boards.   It also doesn't hurt to have the hottest horse in the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes circuit. And Charles Keller III, who will be on the Hall of Fame ballots that should be distributed starting next week, can tick off all of the above boxes.   Keller is the co-owner of Connie Jean, a two-year-old trotting filly by Cantab Hall-Eclat Hanover, and on Thursday she kept her PA fair record perfect after five starts with a victory at the Dayton (PA) Fair. The time of 2:09.3 wasn't as important as the fact that Connie Jean is still looking for a conqueror as she rolls along for trainer/driver Todd Schadel and Keller's co-owners Charles Keller IV, Dan Bittle, and Brett Bittle.   Other babies with impressive records who raced at Dayton were the pacers Well Lets See (Well Said-Lioness Hanover), taking a colt event in 2:03.3, fastest freshman mile and running his record to 8-6-0-2, and filly Devious Behavior (Dragon Again-Ideal Sign), now 8-7-1-0 after a 2:06.4 win. Both sidewheelers are campaigned by Team Delaware - driver Brandon Givens, trainer Kevin Lare, and owner Frank Chick - who are having a tremendous first year at the Keystone twicearounds.   The sophomores took to the Dayton track Wednesday, and a 2:00 mile was rung up by Slick Rain, an altered son of Quik Pulse Mindale, who took a quick liking to "country cookin'" after a steady diet of city food at Harrah's, for trainer/driver Wayne Long and owner Janice Hertzog.   Other horses continuing impressive form sprees Wednesday were pacing gelding Royaltyhasarrived, now 8-7-1-0 after a 2:01 tally for driver Brady Brown and trainer Steve Schoeffel; Betterthanrevenge, a pacing filly who is now six for six on the fair circuit after a 2:02.4 victory for hot trainer/driver Harold Brocklehurst; and the trotting gelding Wimborne Hanover, last year's 2YO champion who is now 7 for 9 after winning in 2:02 (top trotting time) for driver Schoeffel and trainer Bill Daugherty Jr.   Brandon Givens led the drivers standings at the two-day meet with four victories, one more than Dave Brickell, Wayne Long, and Chris Shaw. On the trainers side, they had to put sideboards on the trophy, as no fewer than eight horsemen harnessed two winners to tie for the top of that category: Dave Brickell, Harold Brocklehurst, Mike Gillock, Roger Hammer (season's leader in both driving and training), Kevin Lare, Todd Schadel, Steve Schoeffel, and Jason Shaw.   Pennsylvania fair legend Walter "Boots" Dunn will be the genial host for four days of racing at the Crawford County oval at Meadville starting on Monday; high noon will find the first race going to the gate each day.   Publicity Office, PA Fair Harness Horsemen's Association

After the cancellation of the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes program for three-year-olds yesterday, harness fans got to see some talented two-year-olds on the track today (Thursday) at the Wayne County Fair.   Roger Hammer had two geldings run their fair records to 7-6-1-0 in the racing for the freshmen. He posted the fastest time on the pace with the Nuclear Breeze - B T Falcon gelding Billy's Falcon, whom he owns, trains, drives, and bred.    (We should note, though, that despite that lofty record, Billy's Falcon is fractionally behind in the seasonal pointstandings to the McArdle-Timeless Classic gelding Mclassic, who has an 8-4-3-1 tally after winning at Waynesburg Monday.)   Also 7-6-1-0 on his tour of Pennsylvania is the Donato Hanover-Gaytanes gelding High Octane, this time home in 2:08.2 for owner/trainer/driver Hammer.   Hammer's A Little Laid Back, the leader among baby trotting fillies, lost a four-race winning streak when she ran into the Cantab Hall-Eclat Hanover buzzsaw miss Connie Jean, now four-for-four at the country twicearounds after a 2:10 win for trainer/driver Todd Schadel and owners Charles Keller III (the Hall of Fame nominee), Charles Keller IV, and Dan and Brett Bittle.   Trainer/driver Schadel also posted the fastest trot time in the FFA event with the SJ's Caviar mare Caviar Call Girl, a 2:07.3-29.3 winner for himself and wife Christine, also the breeders.   It seems only appropriate, five days after the tenth anniversary of their Vivid Photo winning the Hambletonian, that Hammer and Schadel both sat atop the training and driving lists with three winners during the abbreviated session.   Brandon Givens drove a pair of winners as he continues his comeback, with his seasonal totals 59-20-9-7-.463, and he sits fourth in the sulky statistics behind Hammer (44), Chris Shaw (37), and Brady Brown (24).   Next week the Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes circuit makes two stops.   First will come the action at the Washington County Fairgrounds, the site known as Arden Downs during its Grand Circuit days, where sophomores will go Monday and freshmen Tuesday, both days at 10.   The circuit then moves on to the (relatively) nearby Dayton Fair, for action starting at high noon on Wednesday (three-year-olds) and Thursday (two-year-olds).   Jerry Connors

Owner/driver Jackie Ingrassia was ready for war in Stallion Series action at the harness racing meeting on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 12) at Harrah's Philadelphia. She hit the board with all 3 entrants out of 6 divisions for 2-year-old filly trotters, including a win with 48-1 long shot Turn The Paige ($98.40). It was the first career win for the daughter of Cantab Hall, as she was able to hold off a furious stretch rally from Loveable Grace (Dave Miller) to prevail. Ingrassia also had a second with Ardwyn Hanover (131-1), and a third place finish with Sun Catcher (57-1). The fastest of the six divisions was in race 7, where Purple Haze Stable's Ameliosi (Dave Miller) won easily in 1:59. Other division winners included Ron Burke trainee Rule Of Hall (Yannick Gingras), who paid $58.00 to win, Pete Foley trainee Global Inspiration (Corey Callahan), Brett Bittle trainee High Beam Hanover (Tim Tetrick), and Mary Martin's Wishicouldfish (Dave Miller). Each event carried a purse of $20,000. Live racing returns to Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon with 3 divisions of PASS action featuring 2-year-old filly trotters in action. Post Time is 12:40 PM. Mike Bozich

The Pure Ivory series continued Monday night at the harness racing meeting at  Mohawk Racetrack with two $12,000 divisions. The rookie trotting fillies had to deal with fog and a track rated two seconds off due to showers that started in the afternoon and carried into the evening's races. In the first division, Safekeeping went gate to wire to win her career debut for driver Jack Moiseyev and trainer Charalambos Christoforou. The daughter of Muscle Hill was sent to the front by Mosieyev to grab the early lead in the field of six. Rose Run Reanna, who finished second in the first leg, was pressing at the leader around the first turn, but made a break and left the ball in the court of Safekeeping. The Christoforou trainee posted fractions of :31.1, 1:03.1 and 1:33, over the track rated as "Good", before trotting home comfortably in :29 for the 1 ¼ length victory in 2:02. Hills Angel, who was third turning for home, trotted home in :28 to finish second, while Crazy Wild Desire sprinted home in :27.3 to get up for third. Safekeeping, who is owned and bred by Banjo Farms and Christoforou, had qualified twice before making her career debut Monday. The victory earned her a $6,000 pay day in her career debut, while the clocking of 2:02 was a fifth slower than her mark of 2:01.4 taken in a baby race. A $2 win ticket on Safekeeping returned $4.90. The second division featured Thisladysdynamite, the opening leg winner, in a scratched down field of five. Despite finishing third in the opening leg, the public made Dustin Jones trainee Pennies From Above the 3/5 favourite over Thisladysdynamite. Driven by Jones, Pennies From Above got away in third just behind Thisladysdynamite, but the opening leg winner made a quick move in the second-quarter to the front for driver Doug McNair. After posting panels of 1:01.2 and 1:32.1, Thisladysdynamite led the field into the lane with Pennies From Above coming to the far outside to take a shot at the leader. The Jones trainee powered her way up beside Thisladysdynamite in mid-stretch and pulled ahead in the final eighth to win by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.1. Sound Of Music finished third. A daughter of Cantab Hall, Pennies From Above is owned by Jean Pierre Barjon of Vanves, France. The rookie trotting filly is a full-sister to O'Brien Award winner Wheeling N Dealin and was purchased for $120,000 as a yearling at last year's Harrisburg Sale. Monday's maiden breaking victory came in just the second career start for Pennies From above and increases her earnings to $7,440. She paid $3.40 to win. The $35,400 Pure Ivory series final will take place next Monday (August 17). Mark McKelvie

East Rutherford, NJ --- Wild Honey came up big in the Hambletonian Oaks. Driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed up to win the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for the second consecutive year as Wild Honey captured the race for 3-year-old female trotters by 1-3/4 lengths over Rules Of The Road in 1:52.2 on Saturday (Aug. 8) at Meadowlands Racetrack. Bright Baby Blues finished third and Livininthefastlane was fourth. It was Takter’s fifth Hambletonian Oaks victory. It was Gingras’ fifth win of the day. This duo won the 2014 edition of the Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit. “This is fantastic,” Takter said. “This little filly, she overcomes her size. She’s not a very big filly, but she’s got a big heart and she gives her all every time and I’m just so happy and proud of her. I’m so happy to be here, especially with John Fielding who has been with me so many years.” Rules Of The Road (Corey Callahan) and Sarcy (Johnny Takter) battled for the early lead, with Rules Of The Road emerging on top in an opening quarter-mile of :27. Gingras and Wild Honey then made their move, taking the lead on the backstretch and trotting middle fractions of :56.1 and 1:25.1 before holding off a first-over challenge from Bright Baby Blues coming off the final turn. Lock Down Lindy, who won her Hambletonian Oaks elimination by two lengths over Wild Honey last weekend, went off stride on the backstretch and was not a factor. Wild Honey, who was the 6-5 favorite, is a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy. She has won 13 of 19 career races and earned $838,488. She is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Jim Fielding. “Emotion is a huge part of the game, especially when you win a race like this,” John Fielding said. “I just said to Jimmy and my brother Jimmy and my friends here from Toronto, I’ve been trying to win this race for 20 or 25 years. Finally, after a lot of perseverance we got the job done here, so I’m pretty happy and pretty emotional.” Wild Honey by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

All eyes were on the heavy 1/9 favourite L A Delight in Thursday night's final of the Whenuwishuponastar Series at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Raceway and she did not disappoint. The Bob McIntosh trainee cruised to victory over five other rookie pacing fillies in 1:53.4 to take the $36,800 series finale. Driven by Randy Waples, L A Delight, who won the second leg of the series, made a second-quarter move to the lead to grab the front from round one winner Shes Lights Out. After posting a half of :58, L A Delight was challenged first up around the final turn by 24/1 shot Bad Lightning and the fillies dueled by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Bad Lightning was no match for the heavy favourite, as L A Delight pulled away from her challenger and cruised home easily in :27.3 for the 4 ¼ length victory. Bad Lightning turned in a good effort to finish second, while Shes Lights Out was third. "It looked like that (a training mile), but you take them however you get them," said Al McIntosh, co-owner of L A Delight following the race. "We are very pleased with the way she's coming now and it looks like better things could be ahead." A daughter of Bettors Delight, L A Delight is owned by Robert McIntosh Stables Inc, C S X Stables and Al McIntosh Holdings. The rookie pacing filly now has four wins from five starts this season for earnings of $70,080 L A Delight is eligible to the upcoming Eternal Camnation and Shes A Great Lady Stakes and McIntosh indicated that both are likely on the horizon for the filly along with Ontario Sires Stakes action. A $2 win ticket on L A Delight returned $2.10.   Also on Thursday night, the first round of the Define The World series was contested for two-year-old trotters. A field of eight competed in the $12,000 first leg of the three-week series event. Blenheim was sent off as the 3/5 favourite for trainer/driver Per Henriksen and the veteran conditioner sent the son of Yankee Glide to the front. The public's choice got to call the shots in the middle-half posting panels of :59 and 1:28.1. In the stretch, Brad Maxwell trainee Bucketlist Hanover and driver Randy Waples shot up the rail from fourth to overtake the lead from the heavy favourite. Stablemate Deep Impact also had plenty of trot on the far outside to set up a tight finish between the Maxwell trainees. At the wire, Bucketlist Hanover prevailed by half a length over Deep Impact for an 11/1 upset. Lean Hanover rallied for third, while Blenheim finished fourth. A son of Cantab Hall, Bucketlist Hanover was making his career debut Thursday evening and is now one for one for owners Van Camp Trotting Corp. and Maxwell. The rookie trotter was purchased for $11,000 as a yearling at last year's Harrisburg Sale. A $2 win ticket on Bucketlist Hanover returned $24.60. The second leg of the Define The World will take place next Thursday (August 13). Mark McKelvie  

Harbor Racing's Newcastle (Corey Callahan) was dominate in the featured event on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 5) at Harrah's Philadelphia.   It was a trot for non-winners of 5 races of $50,000 lifetime going for a purse of $16,000.   Starting from post 4, the 3-year-old son of Cantab Hall came away an early 3rd, before brushing to the top shortly after the quarter-pole.   From that point, he was able to maintain the advantage, winning b a length stopping the clock in 1:55.3.   Special Action (Scott Zeron) finished second, while Ralph R (And Miller) was third.   It was the 6th win out of 12 starts for the Jenny Melander trainee, all coming this season,   Driver Core Callahan and George Napolitano Jr. each had 4 wins on the card.   Live racing continues Thursday, with a first post of 12:40 PM.   Harrah's Philadelphia

Columbus, OH --- Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner Spirit To Win died Monday in a jogging accident, according to a tweet posted by All American Harnessbreds, which is headed by Spirit To Win’s breeder and co-owner Fred Hertrich III. "We are extremely sad to announce that our filly and 2015 Hambo Oaks elim winner Spirit to Win died this morning in a jogging accident," tweeted Hertrich. Hertrich shared ownership on Spirit To Win (Cantab Hall-Celebrity Spirit) with Noblock Racing Stable. Trained by Dustin Jones, she had five wins in 11 career starts with $185,630 in earnings. Spirit To Win and driver Brett Miller scored in 1:52.2 to win the second Hambletonian Oaks elimination this past Saturday.  Additional information will be posted when available. The post position draw for the Oaks will take place on Monday afternoon and the Hambletonian Society is expected to make a statement at that time. USTA Communications Department

Freehold, NJ --- Fred Hertrich III was disappointed Spirit To Win failed to sell at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale, but the harness racing breeder-turned-owner of the 3-year-old trotting filly has been nothing but pleased with her performance on the racetrack. Spirit To Win, who in her most recent start defeated Mission Brief by a nose at 48-1 odds to capture the Delvin Miller Memorial, was among 16 horses entered Monday for the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. The field was split into two eight-horse $35,000 eliminations Saturday at the Big M, with Spirit To Win drawing post eight in the second division. The top five finishers in each elimination advance to the Hambletonian Oaks final Aug 8. Posts for the final will be drawn Monday (Aug. 3), with elimination winners drawing for posts one through five while all other finalists are part of an open draw. Posts for the $1 million Hambletonian, open to 3-year-old trotters regardless of gender, also will be drawn that day. Stakes-winners Smokinmombo from the stable of trainer Chris Beaver and Wild Honey from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter are this year’s top money-earners in the first Oaks elimination. Spirit To Win’s division includes Julie Miller-trained stake-winner Livininthefastlane and Takter’s Sarcy. Spirit To Win is a daughter of stallion Cantab Hall and first foal out of the mare Celebrity Spirit, who is a half-sister to Dan Patch Award winners Master Lavec and Housethatruthbuilt. Spirit To Win, who saw her 2-year-old campaign abbreviated by a fractured pastern bone that required four months of stall rest, has won four of 10 races in her career, hitting the board a total of nine times, and earned $168,130. “We were kind of disappointed that we didn’t get her sold,” said Hertrich, who shares ownership of the filly with the Noblock Racing Stable of Ontario. “She was the first foal out of one of our mares and we thought she would bring substantially more than what ended up being the final bid on her ($35,000). We’re always happy to take fillies out of our good mares or our new mares. If we have to race them, we’ll race them. “She was such a good foal. You like the ones that never have a problem. We were more than happy to retain her at that number. She’s gone out and done very well.” Dustin Jones liked Spirit To Win as a yearling and approached Hertrich about training the filly. Hertrich sent Spirit To Win home with the Ontario-based conditioner. Last season, Spirit To Win won the Pure Ivory Series and finished second to Stubborn Belle in a division of the Champlain in a stakes-record 1:54.2 mile. “As a 2-year-old we were really high on her,” Jones said. “I expect her to race good (Saturday). She’s raced good every race this year. She came out of her last race good and I’m happy with the way she is right now.” Spirit To Win’s victory in the Delvin Miller Memorial was her first win in four starts this season. She finished second by a neck against older rivals in her seasonal debut and then was third by a neck in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. She entered the Miller off a third-place finish in another division of the PaSS, this time at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “If she had gotten through in the passing lane (at Pocono) I think she would have won,” Jones said. “At Philly, she just wasn’t handling the track good. But if she’s close, she always wants to pass another horse.” Her desire to pass horses was on display in the Miller, where Spirit To Win rallied from third place with a :26 final quarter-mile to nip Mission Brief at the wire. It was the first time in her career that Mission Brief was defeated in a start in which she did not go off stride. “She’s got an awful lot of ability, which everyone was able to see,” Hertrich said. “Now it’s just a case of going forward with that. Dustin seems to think we’re in a very good place. It should be a lot of fun. “When you can get a trotting filly that can finish in a mile in 26 (seconds) flat, that’s pretty special. She can kick to another gear and accelerate through the wire. It’s going to take a good filly to beat her. You better be able to come at the end of the mile or she’s going to come and get her.” Spirit To Win will not have to face Mission Brief in the Hambletonian Oaks. Mission Brief, who was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and trotted the fastest mile in history by a 2-year-old when she won in 1:50.3 at the Red Mile, will be entered in the Hambletonian. She will try to become the first female trotter to capture the grand prize since Continentalvictory in 1996. Mission Brief, trained by Ron Burke, was making her first start in seven weeks in the Miller Memorial and rebounded from that setback with a 1:51.4 triumph Sunday in the Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial Filly Trot at Vernon Downs. “We all have watched Mission Brief,” Hertrich said. “The Burke team has done a great job getting her back. She was so good last year at 2 it was scary. If she keeps progressing she’s going to give the boys all they want. It’s great for the sport. “Kudos to Ron Burke and the other owners, they’ve done something great for the game. They understand this could be something special.” Following are the elimination fields in post order for the Hambletonian Oaks with listed drivers and trainers: Race 6-HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Lady Winona by Credit Winner -Andy Miller-Julie Miller  2-Cocoacabana by Chocolatier -John Campbell-Frank Ingrassia  3-Lock Down Lindy by Lucky Chucky -Tim Tetrick-Tony Alagna  4-Smexi by Explosive Matter -Corey Callahan-Jimmy Takter  5-Bright Baby Blues by Andover Hall -David Miller-Bob Stewart  6-Gatka Hanover by Muscle Massive -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke  7-Wild Honey by Cantab Hall -John Campbell-Jimmy Takter  8-Smokinmombo by Explosive Matter -Aaron Merriman-Christopher Beaver  Race 7-HN-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Rules Of The Road by Muscle Hill -Corey Callahan-Janice Connor  2-Sarcy by Donato Hanover -Johnny Takter-Jimmy Takter  3-Speak To Me by Muscle Massive -Scott Zeron-Jimmy Takter  4-Magic Marker by Andover Hall -David Miller-R. Nifty Norman  5-Katniss by Credit Winner -Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt  6-Livininthefastlane by Donato Hanover -Andy Miller-Julie Miller  7-Classical Annie by Andover Hall -Aaron Merriman-Jim Arledge Jr.  8-Spirit To Win by Cantab Hall -Brett Miller-R. Dustin Jones Spirit To Win by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications

There were six divisions of PA Stallion Series races for 2-year-old colt and gelding trotters contested at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon (July 22), each going for a purse of $20,000. The first division went to the front-stepping Moneycounts De Vie (Tim Tetrick). The son of Andover Hall took the lead shortly after the quarter pole, going on to win in a time of 1:59.1. It was the first career win for the Dirk Simpson trainee, who was coming off of a double digit length qualifying romp. He is owned by Desyllas Racing, Bill Beck, and James Bafia. Division two saw TNT Rusty (John Campbell) make every call a winning one. The son of Explosive Matter is now a perfect two for two in his young career, trotting the mile in 1:58.4, which was the fastest of the day in the series. He is owned by trainer George Ducharme, Paul Fontaine, and Alfred Ross. In the third division, it was Raymer, Moss, and Solomon's, Mr Right (Vic Kirby) scoring on the front end. The son of Donato Hanover was able to hold of a late surge from Desert Runner (Ake Svanstedt) to pick up the victory in a time of 2:00. It was the first career win for Mr Right, who is trained by Leigh Raymer. Division four went to Mahlon Martin's Twin B Ammunition (Geo. Napolitano Jr.). The son of Explosive Matter swept on by past the quarter pole and never looked back, completing the mile in 1:59.2. It was the second straight win for the Bennie Magliochetti trainee, in his fifth career start. In the fifth division, Frank Antonacci trainee Elysium Lindy (Scott Zeron) scored the upset win. The son of Cantab Hall sat in the pocket behind another long shot Cloud Nine Hanover (Charlie Norris) until the stretch, when he sprinted past to win in a final time of 1:59.3. The heavily-favored Yes Sir Officer (John Campbell) broke at three-quarters. It was the first career win for Elysium Lindy, who is owned by K R Breeding. Another upset took place in the last, as Courant A B's Dollar Grin (Lucas Wallin) closed in time to pick up the win. The son of Cantab Hall was perfectly positioned second over, bailing off that cover in the lane to narrowly gun down favorite Shady McCoy (David Wade) in 2:00.2. It was the first pair-mutuel start for Dollar Grin, who is trained by Ake Svanstedt. Michael Bozich

Seeing that next month will be the 10th anniversary of Vivid Photo's winning of The Hambletonian, it seems correct that his owners, Roger Hammer and hometown hero Todd Schadel, would tie atop the horsemen's standings for the harness racing meetings on Saturday/Sunday in Pennsylvania Fair Sire Stakes action here at the central Pennsylvania oval, perhaps the local circuit's fastest, with four wins each as trainer and driver.   Schadel posted the fastest mile of the young Keystone fair season, 1:58.1, with the Art Official filly Keystone I Wish, last year's 2PF Fair Championship winner, whom he owns with his wife Christine.   Another highlight for Todd came when he swept the two-year-old trotting filly divisions in the first two races of the meet, with the Explosive Matter miss, home in 2:03.3 for Todd and Christine, and Connie Jean, a Cantab Hall miss who clocked in 2:03 for Charles Keller III (Hall of Fame nominees race at the Pennsylvania fairs!), Charles Keller IV, E. Dan Bittle, and Brett Bittle. Keystone I Wish and Connie Jean, like their fellow six horses who were the fastest divisional winner in their respective Gratz events, also became PA Fairs season's leaders in notching their winning clockings.   Hammer's highlight was the 1:59.4 victory with the two-year-old ( on a fair half-mile track in mid-July!) pacing gelding Billy's Falcon, who in his only other fair start went 2:00.1 at Bloomsburg.   The Nuclear Breeze gelding is owned by Hammer, as were his other three weekend winners, giving him 16 victories in just six fairs as both trainer and driver, leading both sets of statistics.   The other sub-2:00 mile of the weekend was notched by Royaltyhasarrived, a sophomore Western Breeze gelding who had set a divisional track record at Butler in his last start.   On Sunday he covered the Gratz twicearound in 1:59.1 for driver Brady Brown, trainer Steve Schoeffel, and owners Virginia and Kathy Schoeffel and Michael Munn.   Special mention must be made of two drivers named Brandon, especially Brandon Givens, who had been away from the races over five years putting his life back together.   Now working for fellow "comeback kid" Kevin Lare, Brandon, a career winner of over 1000 races who had not driven for 1917 days, fashioned a sulky triple on Saturday, two of them for trainer Lare.   The other Brandon, Brandon Henley, made his first Pennsylvania fair appearance Sunday - in fact, it was the first time he had raced at a fair since the very first start of his career, in the summer of 2010 at The Great Pocomoke City (MD) Fair.   He was also quick to find the winners circle, rounding out the weekend's action by guiding the Tom Ridge 3TG Oregon Ridge to a 2:04 victory for lessee/trainer Syl King Jr.   Jerry Connors

July 11, 2015 - The Saturday July 11 Arjang SWE feature was the Arjang Stora Sprinterlopp (600,000SEK to winner, 1640 meters autostart, Gr. II International - UET Masters Series) with a solid field battling before a huge on-track audience: Global Money, Robert Bergh Repay Merci, Knud Monster Maven, Johnny Takter BBS Sugarlight, Peter Untersteiner Mosaique Face, Lutfi Kolgjini Reven d’Amour, Ulf Olsson Royal Fighter, Jennifer Tillman Arazi Boko, Christoffer Eriksson Delicious, Orjan Kihlstrom On Track Piraten - scratched Delicious (6f Cantab Hall-Ipsara LB-Lemon Dra) rallied off cover in the stretch to score comfortably for Orjan Kihlstrom and trainer Daniel Reden, clocked in a sharp 1.10kr. Off at 5.2/1 odds, the winner, a 2012 US import bred by Lindy Farms and developed by Ron Gurfein, defeated fast closing Repay Merci (7m Offshore Dream-News From Heaven-Super News) and Knud Monster that was off at 47/1. Repay Merci came from last with a huge four wide move off the final bend to just catch third place Mosaique Face (6m Classic Photo-Iona LB-Supergill) that, at 5.3/1 odds, was three-wide early and then positioned in the death seat for Lutfi Kolgjini with Delicious behind and US-owned and bred Maven behind her for Johnny Takter. Maven made a three wide move mid-way on the backstretch at the 5/8 mile market but she made a miscue and interfered with Royal Fighter and Jennifer Tillman. Thomas H. Hicks  

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