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Unbeaten two-year-old pacing colt, Artspeak, stamped himself as the top freshman colt in harness racing as he strolled to a five length triumph in capturing the $667,000 final of the Metro Pace at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. The race began with Lone Survivor (David Miller) left from post nine and was able to get to the lead with Lyons Again (Yannick Gingras) also leaving from post eight and getting the two-hole trip as they went to the opening quarter mile in :26.3. They raced that way to the half mile marker in :55.3 and that was when the action began to heat up as John Campbell came first-over with Go Daddy Go and following their outside cover was the 1/9 race favorite Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron. To the three-quarters in 1:23.3 Lone Survivor was still in command but coming off the final turn, Zeron tipped three-wide with Artspeak and without raising his whip nor lifting his lines for encouragement, Artspeak took off and left the field in his wake, winning in a romp in 1:50.2. Lyons Levi Lewis (Sylvain Filion) was second with Lyons Again third. “When we had Captaintreacherous and his career and he was such an amazing horse and to come back right after that with this colt is amazing,” said winning trainer Tony Alagna. “I talked to Scott (Zeron) last fall and talked with him about making the change and coming to the United States to drive. I told him if he was willing to come down and drive that I was willing to give him a shot. He’s made the commitment. He comes to the farm to train, baby racing and training before qualifiers and he deserved this win.” Sired by Western Ideal, bred and co-owned by Brittany Farms with Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and The Gym Partners, it was the sixth straight win for Artspeak. He paid $2.30 to win. “The primary ownership group for this horse is the same as Captaintreacherous,” said co-owner Marvin Katz, who has won the Metro final three times now, “Tony had trained the mare (The Art Museum, dam of Artspeak) and he loved the family and thought the mare would throw a good one. He selected the colt in Lexington and we put together the same partnership as Captaintreacherous. This never gets old I was telling Tony (Alagna). When you can win these types of races, this is a thrill and to be enjoyed.” “I really stuck my neck out going all by myself to New Jersey,” said winning driver Scott Zeron, “I worked as hard as I could this year. It’s Tony Alagna and Myron Bell. The two of them together made it happen. They helped me with the move. And this is reason I did it. To come back home and win a race like this with a great horse like this. This is once in a lifetime. “To be second over was a perfect trip for this horse,” Zeron said. “He follows horses so well. I have always had to put him on the front because he is 1/9. Today I was able to trip him out behind this really good horse of John’s (Campbell) and coming down the lane he was game. He is a freak of nature. He probably came home in :26.2 and I didn’t even chirp to him.” By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

Trainer Tony Alagna is best known for his skill as a trainer of pacers thanks to the exploits of champion Captaintreacherous who was scheduled to compete in an elimination tonight at Mohawk for the Canadian Pacing Derby, Canada’s oldest harness stake race, but was scratched earlier today due to sickness. However, Alagna still has eight starters into go at the Campbellville oval this evening, all pacers. He has two starters in the eliminations for the Metro Pace, including the undefeated colt Artspeak, and four fillies competing in the Shes A Great Lady eliminations. To switch things up, tomorrow night, Alagna sends out a trotter in the form of Mystical Wishes who has been rounding into form since shifting to his stable last month. The Muscle Mass lass has won all three starts since Alagna took over her conditioning, two overnights at Mohawk and an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event at the same track on August 12 which she won by more than three lengths in 1:55.1, her life mark to date. Mystical Wishes has drawn the rail in the second of five $18,000 OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Mario Baillargeon will catch drive for Alagna and owners Mystical Marker Farms, who also bred the filly, and Peggy Hood of Indiana. Among her competition is locally owned Diamonds For Life, a daughter of Angus Hall who will leave from post four with one of Rideau’s top pilots, Gord Brown, in the bike. Mark Steacy trains the filly who had some issues with breaks earlier this season but seems to have that resolved and finished third in the Grassroots event at Mohawk on August 12. Owned by Frank Spagnolo and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, Ontario, Diamonds For Life was bred by Tom Porchak of Woodstock Ontario. She is the first foal of his $116,000 winning mare Jayportcashforlife, a full sister to $743,000 winner Susies Magic. Porchak also bred another starter in the same division, Jayport Princess who has post eight with Anthony MacDonald slated to steer. Trained by Chris Beaver who co-owns with Synerco Ventures Inc., of Toronto and Glenview Livestock, Ltd., of Guelph, Ontario, the daughter of Kadabra is making her first 2014 OSS appearance. She’s raced exclusively at Scioto Downs this year but competed in the OSS last year at two. Jayport Princess is the first foal from $172,000 winner Jayport Sweetheart, by Balanced Image, an OSS winner at three. This division’s leading point earner, Torches Star, has post one in race eight. Steve Condren has the driving assignment behind the Angus Hall filly owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario and trained by Ben Wallace. Torches Star has accumulated 105 points in this division to lead the way. The second placed filly, Love Detective, has drawn into the same division on Sunday night. She’ll leave from post three with MacDonald up for trainer Jimmy Takter. Racing at Rideau gets underway at 6:30 Sunday night with the OSS gals features in races one, four, six, eight and nine. The full card may be viewed through this link Rideau Entries - August 24. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 23 - Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner and two-time Pacer of the Year, has been scratched from tonight's Canadian Pacing Derby elimination. Trainer Tony Alagna confirmed to the WEG media department Saturday morning that Captaintreacherous has been removed from Saturday night's race due to sickness. "After jogging yesterday, we ran a scope down him because he was off his feed and he had a lot of mucus," said Alagna. "We pulled the blood on him, he is fighting off an infection and we just didn't think it was in his best interest to race him if he's not a hundred percent." A four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere - Worldly Treasure, Captaintreacherous raced last Saturday night at Mohawk, winning the Preferred pace in preparation for the Canadian Pacing Derby elimination. Alagna noted it's disappointing to have to pull out of the race as 'The Captain' is undefeated is six career starts at Mohawk. "Disappointing, but we don't want to compromise the rest of the year or the horse if he isn't a hundred percent," Owned by Captaintreacherous Racing and bred by the White Birch Farm, 'The Captain' has 23 career victories and career earnings of over $3.1 million. Captaintreacherous glamorous resume includes victories in the Woodbine Entertainment Group's signature races for two and three-year-olds. As a freshman in 2012, Captaintreacherous won the $1 million Metro Pace in a stakes recording equaling 1:49.2. Last year as a three-year-old, 'The Captain' returned to Mohawk to capture the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup. Alagna did confirm what the next move will be for 'The Captain'. "We are going to ship him to Lexington and get him ready for the Winbak Pace at Delaware (September 18)." by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

I had to wait until the very last race of Saturday night, the Gold Cup & Saucer, to give me my fourth straight winning weekend. The Bigtown Hero/Wazzup Wazzup exacta box saved it in what was a super dramatic race. There is not one race for more than $100,000 this weekend, but it isn’t always the purse that counts as there are some great races in store for fans at Mohawk with their eliminations for the Metro, Canadian Pacing Classic and She’s A Great Lady plus solid action Friday at Yonkers and Sunday at Harrah’s and Tioga. Good Luck! $44,000 Trot Open Yonkers Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – What a great race with world champion’s Bee A Magician and Arch Madness in the lineup. She may be the only mare in the field and shows just one win in seven starts this year, but Bee A Magician should be able to surprise this field having drawn the rail. This is just her third time ever on a half mile track but I see her wiring the field. Use Arch Madness and Somebody AS in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – He shows nothing but 1’s on his race program lines and Sweet Lou is no question the top pacer in the world this year. He is going for his ninth straight win and sixth straight mile in under 1:48. He is simply amazing for the Ron Burke Stable. Use Foiled Again and Sunshine Beach in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – As the lone return winners in this preliminary round, I think Shakai Hanover is also the one who can repeat. She has won two of her last three starts for Jamieson Stable and should be at her best again. Use Bedroomconfessions and Aria Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – After showing everyone he has the gate speed to overcome post eight and get a perfect trip to win off of last week, Sports Bettor should be able to do it again from post seven this week. He gets slim call in very wide open race. Use Go Daddy Go and Lone Survivor in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – When it is your home track it means a lot and that is why I am going with State Treasurer. He has seven wins this year and nearly everyone was either at Mohawk or Woodbine. He never got into the hunt last start in Dan Patch at Hoosier Park and should come back with a vengeance in here. Use Captaintreacherous and Ellis Park in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – When you are as well-bred as JK Shesalady is and are on a four-race unbeaten streak to start off your career, you can’t go against such success. As long as she does not get into any road trouble she should win once again. Use Cashaway and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – Here is another undefeated young filly who has a passion for racing on the front end and not getting caught from behind. Band Of Angels could be tested well in here but I think she will still emerge as the winner. Use Happy Becky and Dancin Caroll in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Not much to speak of in here EXCEPT for Artspeak. Unbeaten in four career starts this colt has been ranked with Yankee Bounty as the two best colts in the nation and rightly so. He has been hot racing on the front end but shows he can come from behind too. Use Pierce Hanover and Traceur Hanover in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace winners-over $25,000 Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – I really tried to pick against P H Supercam in here. I don’t think he will like being away from Yonkers (as he showed last week) and racing in the daylight too. Just have a feeling but then I could not really put my hand on anyone else in the field that could beat. Thus with the rail for the first time in months I guess P H Supercam is the best. Use Great Vintage and Adventure Bound in exotic plays. $10,000 Trot Kindergarten Series Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – What a great match up between Mission Brief and Allerage Star, two of the top young trotting fillies in racing. But I think that Mission Brief has too much front end speed to anyone to keep close enough to her the entire mile and she should win in here. Use Allerage Star and Josie’s Joy in exotic plays. 

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 19 - The spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday night as two Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, two Metro Pace eliminations and three She's A Great Lady eliminations will take centre stage. The Canadian Pacing Derby has a rich history as the oldest stakes race in Canada for standardbred racehorses and on Saturday night the sport's top stars will bring their talents north for a pair of six-horse eliminations. 2013 Pepsi North America Winner Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick will start from post five in the second $40,000 elimination. A two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous has had to make the tough transition from age three to four this season, but has still shown his grit and determination facing the big boys. Last Saturday night, 'The Captain' won the $34,000 Preferred in prep for the Canadian Pacing Derby and trainer Tony Alagna was delighted with his performance. "I was happy with his effort, it was a confidence builder he needed going into this week's elimination," said Alagna. "We drew away from Sweet Lou, but we caught Bettors Edge who has been racing really well, so hopefully the short field helps and he gets a fair shot again." 'The Captain' is a big fan of Mohawk Racetrack as he has never lost in six career starts over the Campbellville oval. "He's always been his best up here," said Alagna. "We've had him up here for major races, so he's always been on his game when he came up here. He likes the atmosphere and he seems happy up here." 'The Captain' has two wins in seven starts this season and has never finished out of the money for seasonal earnings topping $176,000 The top horse this season on the WEG circuit, State Treasurer, will line up two spots inside Captaintreacherous. State Treasurer has won the WEG Preferred six times this season and has won seven of his 12 starts for earnings of over $296,000. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer will be driven by WEG's leading driver Chris Christoforou. The hottest horse in harness racing headlines the first elimination. The Ron Burke trainee, Sweet Lou, enters his elimination on a nine-race win streak and having won his last seven starts in 1:47.4 or better Sweet Lou has drawn post two in his elimination and will have his regular pilot Ron Pierce in the sulky. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser, Sweet Lou has made over $3 million in his career, but joining him in his elimination is the richest standardbred in the history of the sport, Foiled Again. Also trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again has earned over $6.3 million and continues to compete at the top level at the age of ten. Foiled Again, who will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras, is also a previous Canadian Pacing Derby winner having won the 2012 edition. The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $650,000 final on Saturday, August 30. Elimination winners may choose their post position for the final. 15 of the sport's brightest freshman pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of eliminations for the chance to race in the $685,000 Metro Pace Final on Saturday August 30. Leading the group of 15 is the Alagna trainee, Artspeak, who is undefeated in four career starts and enters the Metro elim fresh off a victory in the Nassagaweya Stakes last Saturday night. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron will start from post position five in the first $40,000 elimination. Alagna said he was happy with how Artspeak came out of the Nassagaweya Stakes. "Artspeak jogged back super, everything checks out good," said Alagna. "We are really happy with the way he drew and hopefully he has another good shot this week and takes another step towards the Metro final." The son of Western Ideal - The Art Museum was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase and is owned by the Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The GYM Partners. One of the top local rookies, Traceur Hanover, will meet up with Artspeak for the first time. Trained by Normand Bardier Jr., Traceur Hanover enters this weekend's elimination with three wins in four starts and is also coming off a victory in his Nassagaweya split. Randy Waples sits behind the son of Western Ideal - Transference for owner Richard Berthiaume, who bought Traceur Hanover for the same price as Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The other $40,000 elimination appears to be a wide-open affair, with seven rookie pacers looking to be in the top five to secure a spot in the rich final. Sports Bettor, who will start from post position seven, is coming off a 69-1 upset victory in his division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday night. Trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile, Sports Bettor broke his maiden in style with the Nassagaweya upset. Before his breakthrough in the Nassagaweya, Sports Bettor had finished second in three of his five career starts. Randy Waples will drive the son of Sportswriter - Shellys Delight. Also in the field of seven is this year's Battle of Waterloo winner, Go Daddy Go, who will start from post three for the Hall of Fame connections of driver John Campbell and trained Bob McIntosh. The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $685,000 final on August 30, with elimination winners earning the right to select their post position for the final. The She's A Great Lady has attracted 25 rookie pacing fillies that have been split into three eliminations. Shakai Hanover, a division winner of last Saturday' Eternal Camnation Stakes, headlines the first $35,000 elimination. Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover will start from post position three and has won twice in four career starts. The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan set a new career mark with her Eternal Camnation victory of 1:52.4 and has earned just under $83,000. The second elimination features undefeated filly Band Of Angels from the Ron Burke barn. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven - Time N Again, Band Of Angels has won her first five starts of her career, with all five victories coming in New York Sires Stakes events. She will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras and ships north with over $133,000 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.3. The final elimination stars another undefeated filly that will have Yannick Gingras in the bike. JK Shesalady won her division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes last Saturday to improve her record to four for four. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners the 3 Brothers Stable, JK Shesalady has a speed badge of 1:52 and earnings exceeding $68,000. The top three finishers from each elimination and one third place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the $450,000 final on Saturday, August 30. All three rich finals will take place Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack. The party will start at 6 p.m. and first race post time is 7:25 p.m. Here are the fields for Saturday night's stakes eliminations. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell 2. Sweet Lou - Ron Pierce 3. Captive Audience - James MacDonald 4. Domethatagain - Ron Pierce 5. Sunshine Beach - Chris Christoforou 6. Foiled Again - Yannick Gingras Race 8 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. Ellis Park - Steve Condren 2. Bettors Edge - Matt Kakaley 3. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 4. Modern Legend - James MacDonald 5. Captaintreacherous - Tim Tetrick 6. Clear Vision - Brett Miller Race 6 - Metro Pace Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras 2. Trading Up - Scott Zeron 3. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell 4. Lone Survivor - David Miller 5. Dudes The Man - David Miller 6. Asap Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Sports Bettor - Randy Waples Race 11 - Metro Pace Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. The Wayfaring Man - Jack Moiseyev 2. Pierce Hanover - Paul Macdonell 3. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick 4. Some Power - David Miller 5. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 6. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 7. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples 8. Rollin Ring Afire - Matt Kakaley Race 4 - She's A Great Lady Elimination One - Purse: $35,000 1. The Show Returns - Tim Tetrick 2. Bedroomconfessions - Scott Zeron 3. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson 4. Strut My Stuff - John Campbell 5. Palette Tina - Yannick Gingras 6. Aria Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Bettor Be Steppin - Corey Callahan 8. Kays Dragon Lady - Matt Kakaley Race 9 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Two - Purse: $35,000 1. Solar Sister - Doug McNair 2. Divine Caroline - Corey Callahan 3. Missy Tap Tina - Tim Tetrick 4. Cashaway - Tim Tetrick 5. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 6. Well Hello There - Matt Kakaley 7. Southwind Mischief - Chris Christoforou 8. Shesastarreporter - Jonathan Drury 9. Ideal Nuggets - John Campbell Race 10 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Three - Purse: $35,000 1. Float On By - Tim Tetrick 2. Macarena Mama - Chris Christoforou 3. A Plus - Scott Zeron 4. Bin N Heaven - Doug McNair 5. Betty And The Jets - Doug McNair 6. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 7. Happy Becky - David Miller 8. Dancin Caroll - Jack Moiseyev by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications.

Sorry that I had to skip a week due to my trip to Canada and Ireland but we are back in action once again. Hambletonian Day was my third straight winning weekend so as I am on a roll we will lay it all on the line for this weekend. Plenty of top flight racing around the country starting Friday with the Milstein Memorial and consolation Friday at Northfield Park, then Saturday’s action is mainly at Mohawk Raceway for their two-year-old stakes plus some top Preferred events. Saratoga has their Gerrity Memorial and to cap it all off is the Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park. Good Luck! $100,000 Pace Carl Milstein 3YO Consolation Northfield Park 8th race FRIDAY – National Debt was an undefeated early season sensation who seems to be coming back to life again. Off his last two starts he shows game finishes and should be able to take advantage of inside position to win in here. Use Limelight Beach and Western Vintage in exotic plays.  $400,000 Pace Carl Milstein Memorial 3YO Northfield Park 11th race FRIDAY – With his five-race winning streak on the line, McWicked is in prime form and has beaten most of this field in the past. He is super sharp for trainer Casie Coleman, draws the rail on a half mile and should wire the field once again. Use All Bets Off and Tellitlikeitis in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Undefeated in her early career with four straight wins Happy Becky should have things her own way against this field. She has yet to be defeated on the front end and last start she romped by more than six lengths with ease. Use Bedroomconfessions and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Super well-bred JK Shesalady is undefeated in three starts and two back saw her win with ease in 1:52. She has drawn an outside post but that should hinder her ability to win once again. Use Cashaway and Wicked Little Minx in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - This is the weakest of the three divisions but A Plus should be able to take full advantage of that fact despite making only her second pari-mutuel start. She has already shown she can win from on and off the pace and will be tested well in here. Use Ideal Nuggets and Moonlit Dance in exotic plays. $89,924 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – The Wayfaring Man nearly made it a clean sweep in the Dream Maker series, winning last leg and the final. Logical choice in here provided he can continue to improve as they will be flying in here. Use ASAP Hanover and Edison in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Here we have the top two three-year-olds of last year going head and head. Both have had it rough going against seasoned stars but now face each other one again. I am giving the slight edge to Sunshine Beach over Captaintreacherous mainly because Sunshine Beach finally won a couple of starts and that should game him up for big mile. Use Captaintreacherous and Bestofbest Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Saratoga Harness 9th race SATURDAY – A great slugfest here with top horses going to post. While the Burke Stable has their big guns in Foiled Again and Clear Vision, I am going with Dancin Yankee. He suffered his first loss in six starts last out against Sweet Lou but should be able to come right back with good inside post to beginning winning streak again. Use entry of Foiled Again/Clear Vision and entry of Fat Man’s Alley and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race pace SATURDAY – Despite having finished second in his last four starts Amora Beach still looms as the betting favorite in here and rightly so. He is a game performer and should be able to take this division either from on or off the pace. Use Traceur Hanover and American Legend in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – If anyone can wire the field in this race it will be Daylon Magician. He did it in his last start with a sharp 1:52.1 triumph, last quarter mile in :27.2. He is facing some tough local foes but can get the job done again. Use Mister Herbie and Wheeling N Dealin in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Even drawing the outside post eight should not stop Artspeak from remaining undefeated. Talented son of Western Ideal has been perfect in his first three starts and last time out scorched the track at the Meadowlands in 1:50.4 for trainer Tony Alagna. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Gold Cup & Saucer Charlottetown Driving Park 14th race SATURDAY – This is really the place to be in North America. It’s the Little Brown Jug of Canada and after last year it looks like the Ron Burke Stable wants to win it again. Aracache Hanover was super strong on the front end in his elim win last week and with post two I see him wiring the field and not looking back. Use Wazzup Hanover and Bigtown Hero in exotic plays.  

The third time's a charm for The Art Museum. At least that's how it's shaping up for the harness racing pacing broodmare. Her third foal is Artspeak, who has started his career with three consecutive wins, including the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Artspeak, a son of stallion Western Ideal, races in the third of three Nassagaweya Stakes divisions for 2-year-old pacers Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. He heads to Canada off a 2-1/2 length win in 1:50.4 in a conditioned race Aug. 1 at the Meadowlands. No 2-year-old pacer has gone faster this season. "The mare's been knocking on the door and maybe this is the one that's going to make her a little more prolific," said Tony Alagna, who trains Artspeak. "It's too early to tell, but he's done everything we asked him to do so far. Now he'll go from the Jersey breds to open company, but he was very good in his last start at the Meadowlands. Saturday night we'll know more." Alagna is quite familiar with The Art Museum and her racing-aged offspring. The Art Museum was in the stable of trainer Erv Miller, where Alagna worked prior to starting his own barn, but never made it to the races because of an injury. Yet she made an impression. "She was a great gaited mare with a great pedigree and I had a feeling at some point she was going to throw something decent," Alagna said. "The first two foals were close, but not what this one has been. He seems like he'll be the best one the mare's had so far." The Art Museum's first foal, the filly Acquavella, at age 2 won a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished second in a division of the Reynolds Memorial, but struggled with health issues. Her second foal, the now 3-year-old colt Fort Knox, last season finished second to Luck Be Withyou in a Champlain Stakes division and has earned $65,241. "Acquavella was meant to be a top filly," Alagna said. "She had some health problems and never reached her full potential. I thought she was meant to be a really good filly, so I went back the next year and bought Fort Knox. He's a nice horse, but just couldn't go to the next level. Artspeak looks like he's got all the tools to be a top horse." Purchased for $100,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale, Artspeak's family also includes 2007 Meadowlands Pace winner Southwind Lynx. Artspeak is owned by co-breeder Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. Artspeak is the 4-5 morning line favorite in his division of the Nassagaweya, starting from post eight with driver Scott Zeron. His division includes Battle of Waterloo runner-up Sporting The Look, plus Some Power, Read The Proposal, and Pierce Hanover. Some Power sold for $270,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale under the name Way Bay Hanover. His family includes Dan Patch Award winner Popcorn Penny and he is a half-brother to stakes-winners Westwardho Hanover and Woodstock Hanover. Read The Proposal is a full brother to stakes-winners Lucky Bettor, Bettor B Lucky, and Bet On Luck. Pierce Hanover is a full brother to stakes-winner Passmaster Hanover and top open performer Philos Hanover in addition to being a half-brother to stakes-winner Panther Hanover. Artspeak is among four horses from Alagna's stable competing in the Nassagaweya divisions. Edison -- whose family includes millionaires Delinquent Account, Artiscape, and Western Shore -- is in the first division while Trading Up and Rock On The Hill are in the second split. For many of the horses in the Nassagaweya, it is either a final prep for the upcoming Metro Pace at Mohawk, or an audition. "Myron Bell picked (Edison) out of the catalog because he's got a phenomenal pedigree and he's really started to come into himself his last couple starts," Alagna said, referring to co-owner Brittany Farms' racing manager. "Rock On The Hill was much improved his last start. I want to give him a shot to see if he's ready to go in the Metro, and if he's not, we'll skip it. But he's a horse on the improve. Trading Up was very sick his last start at The Meadows. He was loaded with mucous. We'll see if he fits in, as well. "It's a lot better to spend the $1,500 starting fee in the Nassagaweya to see how you fit compared to the starting fee in the Metro." The first Nassagaweya division also features Dream Maker Series champion The Wayfaring Man, as well as Late Night, who is a half-brother to millionaire Real Nice, and Asap Hanover, whose family includes multiple Dan Patch Award winner Eternal Camnation. Mohawk hosts a stakes event in Eternal Camnation's honor earlier on Saturday's card. Battle of Waterloo winner Go Daddy Go is in the second division, which also includes Badix Hanover, who is a full brother to millionaire Big Jim. Alagna also has three horses in Saturday's Eternal Camnation divisions for 2-year-old female pacers - Bedroomconfessions, Cashaway, and A Plus. In addition, two-time defending Pacer of the Year Captaintreacherous is in the preferred pace. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 1 - All eyes in harness racing will be on the Meadowlands this Saturday for the Hambletonian and local standout Harper Blue Chip will be one of eleven trotters vying for harness racing's highest profile trotting title. Trained by local conditioner Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip will start from post position nine with driver Brian Sears in the $1,006,125 Hambletonaian, which is carded as Race 13 on Saturday afternoon. Harper Blue Chip races for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable of Kingston, David McDonald of Cornwall, David Reid of Glenburnie and George Judson of Athens, Ontario. The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin is coming off a 3 ¾ length victory in the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 19. In six starts this season, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle twice and has only missed the board once when he finished fourth to the Father Patrick in the $500,000 Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs on June 28. Just like the Beal Memorial, Harper Blue Chip and the rest of the field will be gunning for Father Patrick, who enters the Hambletonian on a 15 race win streak. Father Patrick is just one of three starters (Nuncio and Trixton) sent out by trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's trio are the top three choices on the morning line. Harper Blue Chip is the fourth choice in the early odds of 12-1. Steacy admits that it will be a tough task defeating Takter's trio, but that his horse is on top of his game. "We've got our work cut out for us," said Steacy. "I was quite disappointed drawing the nine, it kind of made things a lot more difficult, but our horse is going into the race really good and healthy, so I expect a good effort from him as long as we have some race luck." Since the fourth place effort in the Beal, Harper Blue Chip has dominated locally and Steacy believes Harper Blue Chip is a better horse than the last time he faced the continent's very best. "I think with the trio of Jimmy Takter's it's a big step up, but he's raced against these horses before, never been able to beat them, but he's gone against them and he's been respectable," said Steacy. "I think my horse is better than the last time he raced against these horses and I think he's improved with every start and again a lot of racing luck and you never what might happen." Steacy has an idea of the trip he would like for his charge, but will leave the strategy up to defending and two-time Hambletonian winning driver Brian Sears. "It's going to be up to Brian Sears, but I'm hoping he will try to charge off the gate...obviously you want to be as close to Father Patrick or Trixton or one of those horses that you can be." Defeating Takter's trio will be a tough task for the Mark Steacy trainee, but Steacy knows what it takes to win a million dollar race with a three-year-old trotter. In 2006, Steacy captured the million dollar Canadian Trotting Classic with Majestic Son, the sire of Harper Blue Chip, overcoming favourites Chocolatier and Trotting Triple Crown winner Glidemaster. On Saturday afternoon, Steacy will be looking to recreate that million dollar magic with Harper Blue Chip. No horse has been hotter on the WEG circuit this season than State Treasurer and the Dr. Ian Moore trainee will take his talents south to the Meadowlands to battle with the sport's top free-for-all pacers on Saturday. State Treasurer will start from post two with driver David Miller in a field of nine for the $257,700 US Pacing Championship. The five-year-old son of Real Desire - Ideal Tresurer has won seven times in ten starts this season, including a victory last Saturday night in the Preferred at Mohawk in 1:48.3. State Treasurer has started in the WEG Preferred seven times this season and is currently riding a six race win streak in the circuit's top class. All six of those wins have been sub-1:50 miles. His biggest victory of the season was on May 30 in the $150,000 Molson Pace at Western Fair. State Treasurer's rivals on Saturday include Sweet Lou, who is currently on a seven race win streak, and Captaintreacherous, the 2013 Pepsi North America Cup winner. Two starts back, State Treasurer tackled this group in the $463,000 William Haughton Memorial at the Meadowlands and finished fourth, while only beaten 2 ½ lengths. This Saturday, State Treasurer will need to bring his top game and the speed he has been putting on display. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

We have been on a roll as of late with winning weekends the last two weeks. I am confident we can make it three straight winning weeks and never have to leave the Meadowlands. It’s their closing weekend and that mean’s Hambletonian Day, one of the best days of racing in the sport of harness racing this Saturday, headlined of course by the Hambletonian Trot. The card is jamming with top stakes action. The only problem is something we have no control over and that is Mother Nature. I handicapped based on a fast track so here’s hoping the rain either ends early or does not stop until late in the day. Good Luck! $52,000 Trot Ima Lula Final 4YO Mares Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – With a serious case of seconditis after her championship season last year, we keep hoping for Bee A Magician to return to her unbeaten form of 2013 but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps they will change tactics here and go back to racing her off the pace and that she will be able take this field. Use Classic Martine and Ma Chere Hall in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace Miss New Jersey 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 3rd race SATURDAY – Seems that trainer Jimmy Takter may have solved the previous breaking problems of Gettingreadytoroll off her lifetime mark last week in 1:49.3 and that she is settled down to keeping her mind on business. Repeat of last winning effort will bring home the bacon in here. Use Act Now and Bliztra in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace New Jersey Classic 3YO Colts Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Western Vintage has had a rough 3YO season after many thought he would be one of the leaders in this division after his great two-year-old season. Seems he has not lived up to expectations but should go off the favorite here after decent qualifying win. I’m going with Doo Wop Hanover. He has had good success when not racing against the best in the country, drew well for this and could get the dream two-hole trip to score off of. Use Western Vintage and Bushwacker in exotic plays. $257,700 Pace FFA US Pacing Championship Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Too tough to even consider going against the best pacer in the sport. Sweet Lou is on a seven-race winning streak, last four in less than 1:48 and he is just a pacing machine. He is facing a strong field but he has beaten all of them before and can do it again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $352,050 Trot Merrie Annabelle 2YO Filly Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – This will be an interesting matchup as both Mission Brief and Gatka Hanover have yet to meet and both are hot fillies that race on the front end. Mission Brief gets the call with her blinding early speed but you never know how Gatka Hanover will handle getting a two-hole trip. Use Gatka Hanover and Lock Down Lindy in exotic plays. $355,500 Trot Peter Haughton 2YO Colt Final Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – It’s interesting that in this final there are four return winners of the ten starters. Ake Svanstedt’s Centurion ATM showed he is the horse to beat after coming off the pace in his elimination race last week and strolling to a 1:54.2 win in just his third lifetime start. Repeat of that mile will make him an easy winner once again. Use Canepa Hanover and Guess Who’s Back in exotic plays. $75,000 Trot FFA Vincennes Invitational Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – All the talk was that after Master Of Law won his qualifying race that he was on his way to taking on the best in the country. He lived up to performance with a 1:52 win last time out and now gets really tested against a good field and having to start from post nine. Use Wishing Stone and D’Orsay in exotic plays. $300,650 Trot John Cashman Memorial FFA Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – Whether it rains or not I think Sebastian K and Ake Svanstedt are too tough to get caught again at the wire. No one can out leave him and unless every horse in the field tries to go first-over against him, he has too much stamina to not hold them off. Use Uncle Peter and Market Share in exotic plays. $500,000 Trot Hambletonian Oaks 3YO Fillies Meadowlands 12th race – Last week in prep race, Ron Pierce and Shake It Cerry held Designed To Be and Brian Sears at bay and were able to win. Now Shake It Cerry starts from second tier in post 11 and won’t be able to dictate early fractions to anyone. I still think that Shake It Cerry will “shake it loose” somehow and find a different way to beat Designed To Be once again. Use Designed To Be and Lifetime Pursuit in exotic plays. $1,066,125 Trot Hambletonian Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 13th race SATURDAY – Trainer Jimmy Takter has his heart set on finishing one, two, three in harness racing’s most prestigious race and he very well should get what wants as he has the best colts in racing. Father Patrick needs to just overcome starting from post ten as he is seconds faster than the rest of the field. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $177,750 Pace Lady Liberty Final Older Mares Meadowlands 14th race SATURDAY – Was super impressed with the three moves Drop The Ball made for driver Corey Callahan last week in winning elimination race. She will need that gusty performance once again to win the final as Rocklamation will be in the hunt this week. Drop The Ball gets the slim call in here. Use Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow in exotic plays.

East Rutherford, NJ - The $257,700 United States Pacing Championship (USPC) will provide the stage for nine of the finest in the aged pacing division to do battle on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. A testament to the quality of the group is the fact that the combined career earnings of these nine pacers is in excess of $20 million. Among the chief contenders in Saturday's race is Captaintreacherous who dominated his division and was subsequently named "Pacer of the Year" as a freshman and sophomore, a distinction he shares with only the immortal Niatross. Faced this season at age four with graduation into the open ranks to battle the best of the older set was expected to be a daunting task and the competition has been fierce. Captaintreacherous was born to be a star with the pedigree and presence to demand $250,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He came from the greatly anticipated first crop of champion racehorse Somebeachsomewhere and boasts a very accomplished maternal line. White Birch Farm bred and raised the colt and when Myron Bell and Tony Alagna saw him during their annual farm canvass they agreed he was priority one. The winning bid was made by Bell on behalf of a partnership that included George Segal's Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and Myron and Stephanie Bell's Riverview Farm. White Birch proprietor Michael Parisi was offered a stake and remained a partner on the horse as well. They would choose the nom de course Captaintreacherous Racing for this endeavor. Myron Bell has been the racing manager for George Segal's Brittany Farms for more than thirty years. Throughout their relationship many of the sport's stars both on the track and in the breeding shed have campaigned under the Brittany banner. Over the past decade, Myron has managed a number of partnerships that include several high-profile Standardbred owners and breeders with remarkable results. Captaintreacherous represents the culmination of a lifetime spent breeding, buying and racing the best. "My groups, such as Captaintreacherous Racing, are looking for that top horse that we can race successfully at the highest level and then hopefully have a future in the breeding shed. I could not do any of this without their confidence and support," said Bell. "We bought just one colt from Somebeachsomewhere's first crop and our aim was to buy the best one. "Captaintreacherous was the number one colt from that crop, in our opinion. He showed beautifully and offered the best pedigree that I'd seen for years. He had all of the attributes that we seek; conformation, attitude, ability...and he had no weaknesses." Things began well for Captaintreacherous. He seared through his two-year-old campaign with Tim Tetrick joining the team as his regular driver, listing the Wilson and Metro among eight wins in ten starts for over $900,000 and his first "Pacer of the Year" title. Brought back at three with great expectations, "The Captain" exceeded even those lofty ambitions and ran the table with the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown among his thirteen triumphs and $2 million in seasonal earnings. Along the way Captaintreacherous captured the hearts of racing fans with his grit and determination, often appearing on the brink of defeat only to battle back and get to the wire first. His talent and will; coupled with his breeding and imposing presence, drew the attention of several suitors for his services as a stallion. Ultimately it would be industry leader Hanover Shoe Farms whose participation in a syndication agreement led to a decision to stand Captaintreacherous at their Pennsylvania nursery when he goes to stud in 2015. "It is absolutely imperative that you have a strong syndicate when the horse goes to stud," Bell opined. "You need breeders with the right mares to want the horse to succeed and support him with those mares. If they are shareholders they are enhancing their own interests as well as that of the horse. After the first two seasons in the shed, when a new star retires to stud, if you don't have that support, interest wanes and you have a few down years even if the horse hits. "We sold a few shares of the horse to serious breeders after his freshman season to establish value. There was understandably great interest in "Captain" last year and by Lexington we had a few serious offers to stand him. Hanover bought a significant interest in him and they have the type of mares we seek to give him a chance to be his best. We will syndicate him further at the end of this racing season and he will go to stud at Hanover." For his career, Captaintreacherous has won 22 of 31 starts and over $3.1 million, averaging a remarkable $100,000 per start. He won the Meadowlands Maturity his first race this season, but is winless in his last four starts. In Saturday's USPC as "The Captain" looks to move forward off a wicked tune-up in last week's prep, he finds himself starting from post eight, just outside Sweet Lou who has won seven straight and been the star of this division thus far in 2014. "We had no illusions that he was going to go through this season against these types of horses without getting beat. I think he has raced well in each of his starts this year and was fantastic last week, pacing his last half in :52 flat. Sweet Lou has been very good, but I don't fear him. My feeling is that "Captain" is improving in each race and will continue to improve. He needs to get lucky at the draw and you always need racing luck, that's a given. "Tony Alagna and Tim Tetrick have done a marvelous job racing Captaintreacherous. To campaign a horse at that level over three seasons, keep him fit, healthy and sound is a testament to Tony and his crew. Tim handles the pressure that comes with the job beautifully and deserves tremendous credit for his body of work driving "Captain". It truly "takes a village" to campaign a horse like this and I really feel that we have yet to see his best. "One of the most gratifying elements of this ride has been the response to Captaintreacherous by the harness community and particularly the racing fans," Myron said in closing. "He has given the ownership group many thrills and the enthusiasm shown by his fans is right at the top of that list." The complete field: UNITED STATES PACING CHAMPIONSHIP - $257,700 1. GOLDEN RECEIVER CoCallahan JaHuff 2. STATE TREASURER DaMiller IaMoore 3. THINKING OUT LOUD JCampbell RoMcintosh 4. SUNFIRE BLUE CHIP ScZeron JiTakter 5. FOILED AGAIN YaGingras RoBurke 6. BETTOR'S EDGE MaKakaley RoBurke 7. SWEET LOU RoPierce RoBurke 8. CAPTAINTREACHEROUS TiTetrick ToAlagna 9. CLEAR VISION BrAMiller RoBurke   The US Pacing Championship is race five on Saturday's All-Star Hambletonian card and clearly one of the most anticipated races of the day. The fifteen-race program begins at noon, gates open at 10:00am with the annual Hambo hat giveaway. The Hambletonian may be viewed on CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30pm. Find more information including access to a free Hambo Day program by visiting The Meadowlands website. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands  

Sweet Lou and driver Ron Pierce have teamed to win seven consecutive races, but Pierce believes he deserves none of the credit for the hot streak. He also believes the best is yet to come. Sweet Lou, who has won 29 of 65 lifetime races and $2.78 million in purses, is enjoying the best stretch of his award-winning career as he heads into Saturday’s $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship at Meadowlands Racetrack. Sweet Lou, who starts from post seven, faces eight foes, including Captaintreacherous, State Treasurer, Golden Receiver, and Ron Burke-trained stablemates Foiled Again, Bettor’s Edge, and Clear Vision. The race is part of a stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card at the Big M. Among the other highlights are the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. Coverage of the card will air throughout the afternoon on TVG and from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. “It’s just unbelievable how good they have him right now,” Pierce said about Sweet Lou. “The Burke crew really has him sharp. “It’s not me, believe me, it’s the horse. The horse is doing everything pretty much on his own. I’m just a passenger. I think if any of the top guys would’ve gotten on this horse he’d be doing the same thing. I’m giving all the credit to the Burkes and their crew. They’re doing all the work. All I do is sit there.” Pierce started driving Sweet Lou in May and the two have teamed to win the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, and Roll With Joe stakes during their seven races together. It is Sweet Lou’s longest win streak, topping his six consecutive victories bridging his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sweet Lou was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer and earned more than $1 million at age 3, but endured a stretch of just four wins in 31 starts prior to his recent surge. “I wasn’t sure [what to expect],” Pierce said, looking back to when he started driving Sweet Lou. “I’d raced against him plenty, but no I didn’t really think he was going to be winning these kinds of races so easily. I just happened to get on him at the right time. “It’s such a pleasure to race this horse because he’s so good. You can do anything you want to do. If you want to take back, you take back; if you want to go forward, all you have to do is feed him racetrack. And then he’ll come right back to you once he gets to the top. It’s just a pleasure. It’s a thrill.” Sweet Lou, owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, still holds the world record of 1:49 for a 2-year-old pacer and this season became the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track when he captured the Ben Franklin in 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The fastest race mile in history is 1:46.4, a mark shared by Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy, and He’s Watching. But Pierce thinks Sweet Lou could take down that mark sometime in the future. “If Ronnie tells me to shatter the world record, I will,” Pierce said. “He could do it, no problem. But I want to keep him within himself for as long as I can. It’s better for him. The longer I can go without stretching him out, the better off he’s going to be in the long run. I’m not going to be showboating or anything like that. “But I’m sure Ronnie is going to come to me one of these days under the right conditions and say to go ahead and shatter the world record. And then I will.” Following is the U.S. Pacing Championship field in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Golden Receiver, Corey Callahan, Jake Huff; 2. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore; 3. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh; 4. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 7. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 9. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Is there anyone who can keep up with Sweet Lou? It does not look likely as the five-year-old stallion once again showed his heels to his rivals in winning the $40,000 FFA Pace at the Meadowlands Saturday. Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou waited in third place as Golden Receiver and driver Corey Callahan led the field to the opening quarter mile in :26.4. But once the field reached the backstretch, Pierce sent Sweet Lou to the front and he was firmly in command by the half mile in :54.1. Then it was Thinking Out Loud and driver John Campbell who was first to challenge and they came flying up first-over and nearly collared Sweet Lou by the three-quarters in 1:21.3. He had come up so fast that Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick was gapping second-over until the top of the stretch. But it was too little too late for everyone else in the field as once they started down the stretch, Pierce and Sweet Lou skipped away from the field and won by two open lengths in 1:47.3 with Captaintreacherous second and Thinking Out Loud third. Not only was it the seventh straight win for Sweet Lou, but it was also his fourth straight win in 1:47.4 and no harness horse has ever done that before. Trained by Ron Burke and owned by the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver-Bruscemi, L. Karr and P. Collura, it was the seventh win in ten starts this year for Sweet Lou. He paid $2.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the best 3-year-old female pacer of 2013 in both the U.S. and Canada, is ready to return to action after being sidelined last November because of a fractured knee. She will compete in a qualifier Saturday morning at the Meadowlands, with the hopes of returning to stakes action in September. "Swim and train, that's been her program," said trainer Chris Ryder, adding happily, "Now we get to swim and race. That's better than training." I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million for Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette and Mistletoe Shalee. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a 3-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track. For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 25 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in history has won more money at ages 2 and 3. Ryder hopes to have I Luv The Nitelife, who suffered a minor setback because of atrial fibrillation in early June, ready for the Milton Stakes in mid-September. "She's going to qualify a couple times and then we'll look for an overnight or two," Ryder said. "She's training very well. Everything is good with her. "It's exciting. It's tough to get a horse like this. It's a little crushing when they go down. You get a little used to winning those big races; you can't take it for granted. When it's gone, you realize there's a hole there. And it's near impossible to fill." Father Patrick, who is 6-for-6 this year and will bring a 15-race win streak to the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands, also is entered to qualify on Saturday morning at the Big M. Other Hambletonian eligibles in the qualifier are Billy Ruffian, DD's Hitman, and Uva Hanover. On the pacing side, North America Cup winner JK Endofanera and Fan Hanover winner Uffizi Hanover are among 3-year-olds entered to qualify. Sweet Lou, the winner of six consecutive starts including the Ben Franklin Pace and William Haughton Memorial, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $40,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for pacers at the Meadowlands. The seven-horse field also includes Captaintreacherous, Thinking Out Loud, and Golden Receiver. Maven, the sport's top older female trotter in 2013, is the 2-1 favorite in Friday's $30,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands. Coraggioso is the 3-1 second choice in the field of seven, which also includes Maven's stablemate D'Orsay. Maven and D'Orsay are the only females in the race. Dancin Yankee, who sits just outside the Top 10 in harness racing's weekly poll, goes for his sixth win in a row Saturday night in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He is the 5-2 morning line choice; Bolt The Duer is the 3-1 second pick. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

He is the top pacer in harness racing right now as Sweet Lou rolled to his sixth consecutive victory with a two length triumph in the $463,300 William Haughton Memorial Pace for older horses. Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou benefited from a perfect second-over trip and used that to his advantage, sweeping by pacesetter Captaintreacherous (Tim Tetrick) and stable mate Bettor’s Edge in the stretch for the victory in 1:47.1. Bettor’s Edge edged Captaintreacherous for second place at the wire. “I am very happy with his win tonight,” said trainer Ron Burke. “He has been brushing to the lead every week and I thought what might happen if was to get a trip for once. What I liked best was that at the end of the mile he was full of speed and that was great.” Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) had left and took early command with Bold The Duer (Mark MacDonald) second to the opening quarter in :25.3. Then Tetrick came at the quarter with Captaintreachous and they took the lead before the half in :53. Then Thinking Out Loud (John Campbell) came first-over and that was the time that Peirce moved Sweet Lou and grabbed the outside over. They went by the three-quarters in 1:21 and as they turned for home was when Pierce came three-wide with Sweet Lou and it took him a few steps to gather up the speed needed to collar the race leaders and pass them by. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruise, Sweet Lou posted his sixth straight win in nine starts this year for trainer Ron Burke. He is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and L P Collura. Sweet Lou paid $4.00 to win as the wagering favorite. Sweet Lou By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

I love to take credit when I do something right. Those of you that read my column last week or saw me at the Meadowlands knew how much I thought that Your So Vain could win the Hambo Matturity and he did at 7-1 and that Bee A Magician was the play in exacta’s and that came back a very nice $71.00. Now the action is almost all at the Meadowlands on Saturday headed by the Meadowlands Pace and other top stakes event, but Friday there are eliminations for the Maple Leaf Trot and thus we must see what magic Ake and Sebastian K can wow the crowd with. Good Luck! $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 3rd race FRIDAY – No place or show wagering and rightly so as Sebastian K is the premier trotting star in the world of harness racing this year. After his amazing 1:49 world record victory in his last start everyone will be wondering if he can surpass that at Mohawk. Maybe not this week but perhaps next week. Use Flanagan Memory and Wishing Stone in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Maple Leaf Eliminations Mohawk Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – Without Sebastian K in this field it becomes very competitive. Only Modern Family has been able to stay somewhat close to him so look for this good trotter to get out early to the lead and not look back. He usually can win when Sebastian K is not in the race. Use Market Share and Intimidate in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 1st race SATURDAY – Tough to go against a trotting colt from the Jimmy Takter Stable that has yet to face defeat and drops a few seconds every time he races. That’s the case in here with French Laundry who has been perfect early on and should reap some big rewards in here. Use Stonebridge Force and Canepa Hanover in exotic plays. $100,000 Trot NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands 2nd race SATURDAY – Surprised at such a short field going for $100,000. Going with Mission Brief over Saturday Mornings as last week Mission Brief put on a trotting clinic for Ron Burke Stable in posting a ten length romp in 1:55.1. What a mile in only her second lifetime start! Use Saturday Mornings and Demons N Diamonds in exotic plays. $317,000 Trot Stanley Dancer Memorial Meadowlands 4th race SATURDAY – Let’s see if this will be an early prep for the finish of the Hambletonian as Jimmy Takter has all three of his top colts in the race. I nearly selected Trixton as he is not a great leaver but once he gets going he is too tough to beat. But after Father Patrick’s world record mile I think he may be in a class by himself. Going to be a great race. Use Trixton and Nuncio in exotic plays. $213,500 Trot Del Miller Memorial Meadowlands 5th race SATURDAY – Going to take a shot in here that trainer Ake Svanstedt has Heaven’s Door primed and ready to take on Shake It Cerry. Last two starts this filly has been awesome with a lifetime mark of 1:52. A repeat of that mile will make her a winner again. Use Shake It Cerry and Designed To Be in exotic plays. $212,150 Pace Mistletoe Shalee Final Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Last week Sandbetweenurtoes showed true grit in grinding out a very impressive elimination division victory in 1:49.3. She is unbeaten in her five starts this year and same effort will get her back in the winner’s circle. Use Table Talk and Uffizi Hanover in exotic plays. $178,450 Pace Golden Girls FFA Mares Meadowlands 7th race SATURDAY – Another classic match-up of the best open mares in racing. I am going with Shebestingin as she has seemed to return to her winning ways and last week popped a 1:50.3 score against lesser competition but sometimes a win like that will wake a horse up. Use Anndrovette and Somwherorainbow in exotic plays. $463,300 Pace William Haughton Memorial Meadowlands 8th race SATURDAY – Here comes the best open pacers in all the land and heading the lineup is none other than Sweet Lou. He has been unbeaten in his last five starts against the very best and once he gets rolling I don’t think anyone will be able to catch him once again. Use Captaintreacherous and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $776,000 Meadowlands Pace Final 3YO Colts Meadowlands 9th race SATURDAY – Gentlemen, start your engines! This will be a classic race as it always is. JK Endofanera is the favorite and rightly so after his impressive win last week but He’s Watching impressed me the most. He showed that with any live cover he can beat the best and I think that is what is going to happen tonight. Either way it will be a great race. Use JK Endofanera and Lyonssomewhere in exotic plays. $40,000 Trot Miss Versatility Older Mares Meadowlands 10th race SATURDAY – What a great group of world class trotting mares in this race. I have to go with Bee A Magician after she wove her way around the best older trotters in the world last week and came away with a strong second place finish showed me she is back to winning form. Use Perfect Alliance and Maven in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Colts Meadowlands 11th race SATURDAY – If Artspeaks continues to improve over his last two starts he will mop up this field once again. His late moves have been pretty sharp, especially last week when he scored in 1:53.3 for Scott Zeron. Use Dealt A Winner and Weapons Dealer in exotic plays. $100,000 Pace NJSS Final 2YO Fillies Meadowlands  13th race SATURDAY – When you show last quarters in :27.4 and :25.4 in just your first two pari-mutuel starts, then you are a force to be reckoned with. That’s what Stacia Hanover has done and she is undefeated in her early career and looks to stay that way for a while. Use Cashaway and Ideal Nuggets in exotic plays. 

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