JUNE 30, 2016 - North America Cup champion Betting Line makes his return to the Ontario Sires Stakes program on Saturday evening and if the talented three-year-old pacing colt can extend his four-race win streak one lucky Mohawk Racetrack fan could find themselves in the winner's circle with a champion. Trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, ON says the colt enjoyed an easy week following his June 18 North American Cup triumph and has been gearing back up for Saturday's test. "I gave him an easy week the week after the NA Cup. He just went about four or five miles a day jogging," said Coleman, who shares ownership of the Bettor's Delight colt with Ross Warriner and Mac Nichol of Burlington, and Christine Calhoun of Chatham, ON. "Then I trained him up a couple trips on Tuesday and he's in to go Saturday in the Gold." Betting Line and driver Jonathan Drury of Guelph, ON will start from Post 6 in the eighth race, which is the featured race for the Ontario Sires Stakes "Be A Winner" contest. Fans can place their "Be A Winner" ballot in the box representing Betting Line or one of his rivals (from the rail out) Carolina Hurricane, War N Munn, Gerries Sport, Nocturnal Bluechip, Cruise Patrol, Sintra and Piranha. One ballot will be selected from each horse's box and those "Be A Winner" finalists will be treated to an OSS t-shirt, ball cap and lanyard badge, and a $15 win-place-show wager on their chosen horse. After cheering their horses home the finalist representing the winning horse will be welcomed into the winner's circle where they will have their picture taken with the horse and his connections and receive a trophy, an OSS jacket and golf shirt, and a $50 wagering voucher. Should Betting Line prevail in his first OSS start of the season the lucky "Be A Winner" contestant could have a memorable souvenir of the colt's sophomore campaign. Just the third Ontario Sired colt to win the North America Cup, Betting Line has stakes engagements on both sides of the border this season after racing exclusively in Ontario as a two-year-old. "He actually has a three week break after Saturday and then he'll go to the Gold again - it's at Mohawk again - and then after that he has two in the States. He's invited to a race at Northfield Park, it's called the Milstein (Memorial) I believe, and then he goes to Pocono Downs the following week for the (Battle of) Brandywine," noted Coleman. "Then he comes home I believe there's another Gold, the Simcoe and then the (Little Brown) Jug. "Going his fifth start of the year in 1:47.4 there the other day, I think he's definitely ranking right up there with my best ones I've had," added Coleman, who also trained 2010 North America Cup winner Sportswriter. "We'll see what he does as the season keeps progressing, but he's pretty talented." Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday evening program begins at 7:30 pm and the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings will make their second Gold Series starts in Races 6 and 8. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Elkton, MD --- Post Time with Mike and Mike presented by BetAmerica has an action packed harness racing show lined up for Thursday night (June 23) starting at 7 p.m. Trainer Casie Coleman will join the program to talk about her Pepsi North America Cup win with Betting Line. Ocean Downs Director of Racetrack Operations Pete Szymanski will be on to talk about the summer meet at the ocean side oval. Also joining the show will be USTA contributor Bob Carson. He writes the monthly "Outside The Box" article about ideas to help expand the fan base of harness racing. Pocono Downs Track Announcer Jim Beviglia will also join the festivities to preview Sun Stakes eliminations this week at the 5/8ths oval. Plus, Post Time w/Mike & Mike will continue their series on Racing Under Saddle. Michele Kopiec joins the program to talk about some of the rules and regulations dealing with the sport. In another continuing series, Running Aces Track Announcer Darin Gagne sits down with Nick Roland to talk about his driving career. Post Time with Mike and Mike's mission is to positively promote the sport of harness racing. Every hoof that hits a racetrack has a story to tell, whether a claimer or a stakes horse, and we plan on telling those stories. You can listen to the show at www.posttimewithmikeandmike.com, or on demand at https://extra.betamerica.com/category/barn/.
CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18… Betting Line, driven by David Miller, demonstrated his off-the-pace talent by flying from fifth to first to win the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the richest harness racing pacing event in the world, Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, by one length in a stakes, track and Canadian record equalling score of 1:47.4. The stakes record was originally lowered at Mohawk by Thinking Out Loud in 2012. Betting Line’s win in the 33rd edition of the Cup is also 19th time that an elimination winner has also won the final. With the win, trainer Casie Coleman, who just celebrated her 36th birthday, earns her second career North America Cup title. “This was all I wanted for my birthday and Betting Line made it come true,” said the Cambridge, Ontario resident, who won her first Cup in 2010 with Sportswriter. Betting Line, the even-money favourite, settled into fifth, while driver Randy Waples marched Control The Moment off the gate from post nine towards the front. The Brad Maxwell trainee made the front ahead of Racing Hill to post a :26.4 opening-quarter. Heading to the half, driver Sylvain Filion took a shot at the lead with Lyons Snyder from third, but Waples kept the tempo hot and parked the first-over challenger to the half in :53.4. Around the final turn, Lyons Snyder began to fade away first-up while Control The Moment continued to power along on the lead. Racing Hill circled around the tiring Lyons Snyder as Betting Line was moving up into the action on the outside from fifth. After a three-quarter clocking of 1:20.3, Control The Moment brought the field into the lane with a pair of challengers ready to battle. Racing Hill overtook the lead with less than an eighth of a mile to go, but Betting Line was in striking range pacing powerful strides just a few lengths back. Betting Line surged by Racing Hill in deep stretch to win. Control The Moment faded to third. “I always said I wanted to see him get a trip from off-the-pace where he had cover and that worked,” said Coleman. “Dave drove him perfect and they were going all kinds of quick fractions. I was a little worried that he was a bit too far back, but I saw the clock pop up 1:20 and a piece so I was kind of happy.” After 16 attempts at Cup glory, Hall of Fame driver Miller can now say he has captured his first Cup. “The first time I drove a horse in this race was Falcons Future, I mean that was in ‘94 so, yes, this is very sweet,” said the Ohio native. “He has been very impressive both weeks and I like his never give in attitude.” The son of Bettor's Delight, notched his 10th victory in 17 career outings and earned $500,000 for the win. The brown colt lifted his lifetime purse earnings to $1,119,922 for owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun, of Chatham, and Mac Nichol, of Burlington. Betting Line paid $4.20, $2.90 and $2.40, combining with Racing Hill ($3.70, $3.30) for a $116.30 (3-6) exactor. A 3-6-9 (Control The Moment, $4.10) triactor was worth $77.60, while a $1 Superfecta [3-6-9-4 (Boston Red Rocks)] Superfecta came back $121.75. Mark McKelvie
Harness racing driver Doug McNair will be making his NA Cup driving debut and trainer Casie Coleman will be looking for her second Cup triumph when they send out Ontario Sired pacers Magnum J and morning line favourite Betting Line, respectively, in the $1 million race. Casie Coleman said she isn't the least surprised there are two Ontario Sired horses in Saturday's (June 18) $1 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack, including her trainee Betting Line, the 5-2 morning line favourite, and Magnum J trained by Gregg McNair. "We've got great stallions, we've got great broodmares. We've got a really good program," Coleman said of the Ontario Sires Stakes program. "Here we are with two Ontario Sired horses in the final of the $1 million North America Cup -- two out of 10 with all those Somebeachsomewheres and other American sires that are very, very expensive... Hopefully, they show themselves well and people are wanting to buy Ontario Sired more." Betting Line, a son of Bettor's Delight out of Heather's Western, won the faster of the two NA Cup eliminations on Saturday, June 11 with a 1:49.1 victory that was three-quarters-of-a-length better than Lyons Snyder. Winning the elimination gave Coleman the right to pick her post for the final. She selected the post three on behalf of driver David Miller and her fellow owners Ross Warriner, Christine Calhoun and Mac Nichol, all from Ontario. They purchased Betting Line for $60,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sales Company's 2014 yearling sale in Harrisburg, PA. Coleman, a resident of Cambridge ON, won the 2010 Pepsi North America Cup with Sportswriter, now a leading stallion in Ontario that stands at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON. "I'm lucky enough that I've been in enough of these big races now that it's just another race," she said when asked about the pressure a trainer feels the week of a big race. "Obviously, it's a million-dollar race, so it's a big one and we want to make sure we don't mess anything up, but it's the same daily routine that we always go through." Coleman said Betting Line, the winner of his Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Super Final a year ago, is primed and ready for Saturday's $1 million final. "He had a really good week," she said Thursday. "I trained him on Tuesday a couple of trips. He trained great and I went into the vet after he trained and everything looked really good. Blood was good and he's sharp, sound and healthy. Everything seems A1 right now." Magnum J will have a tougher assignment for the father-son training and driving team of Gregg and Doug McNair of Guelph, ON. The son of Big Jim out of Jamirotoy will start from post 10 in the 10-horse field. Doug will be making his North America Cup driving debut. "First or last it's going to be a good experience," Doug said. Even though the pressure's off having the outside post, Doug said he would "rather have had the pressure of having the one or two or three hole... than to have to come from the outside. But, I guess, it's only where you're starting from." Magnum J was purchased for $10,000 by Gregg McNair and Hanover, ON residents Tony Lawrence and William Brown at the 2014 Forest City Yearling Sale in London, ON. In 2015, the gelding won one of the premier events for Ontario Sired horses when he captured the $200,000 Battle of Waterloo at Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The pacer was saddled with the seven-hole in that race and Doug said Magnum J has been particularly unlucky with post positions. In Magnum J's last two starts, Doug has had to craft money-winning trips from far outside starting spots. Magnum J was fourth in his $75,000 Somebeachsomewhere division at Mohawk on June 4 from the 10-hole. A week ago, he started in the closed from eighth at the top of the stretch to be fourth in his $50,000 NA Cup elimination. "He couldn't race any better than he did the last two starts. He came home in :25.4 one day and he was probably six, seven wide in the stretch. Then last week he came home in:26.2 into a big, strong headwind," Doug said. As for working out a winning strategy in the $1 million final, Doug said he'll have to see how things unfold off the gate. "He can leave as fast as you want him to leave, but going for a million dollars you know they won't leave you alone on the front end. Everything is different behind the gate. It would be nice to get away at the back and have them go big fractions, but sometimes that's not the way it goes either. Play it by ear and hopefully we get lucky," he said. "It's just a bad post. He's as good as any horse in there, I think." Regardless, Doug said he's determined to make his first NA Cup drive a good experience. "I've got a bunch of my buddies coming out to watch. I still have a lot of high school buddies around. They don't understand racing, but they'll have fun being there. The race is on TSN2 and (Magnum J) is in the race. You've got no shot if you're not in it. It's the 10-hole, but it's better than being also eligible." Doug said he's also looking forward to driving Ontario Sired four-year-old pacing mare Solar Sister (Mach Three--Cabrini Hanover) in the $370,000 Roses Are Red final for owners and breeders David Willmot of King City, ON and Clay Horner of Toronto. Solar Sister won her Roses Are Red elimination on Saturday (June 11). "She's been really good, but that's a tough race. There's some good mares in there, but I got lucky and won it last year (with Lady Shadow) so it would be nice two years in a row," Doug said. As for Coleman, she said she is relishing Betting Line's success even more after deciding to downsize her stable. "Right now these smaller numbers are working for me. I'm actually making more money on my bottom line with smaller numbers. It's a lot less stress, less staff, fewer owners and fewer horses. I'm really enjoying how I'm doing it now," she said, adding she will enjoy herself even more if Betting Line wins the big one on Saturday. "Now he just needs the trip to work out and we'll see if we can get out picture taken," she said. by Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Racing
CAMPBELLVILLE, June 11... Betting Line and Boston Red Rocks head into Saturday's $1-million Pepsi North America Cup final after defeating the finest harness racing three-year-old pacers on the continent in a pair of eliminations, Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Betting Line used a first-over trip to capture the first $50,000 elimination in 1:49.1. The Casie Coleman-trainee, who was the 8-5 second choice, tracked from fifth in the early going then made a bid for lead at the midway point as Lyons Snyder took the field to the quarter in :27.2, half in :55.2 and three-quarters in 1:22.2. Into the stretch, Lyons Snyder veered off the rail and gave a pocket-sitting Racing Hill room to sneak up the inside, but Betting Line was on the outside and used a :26.2 final quarter kick to breeze by his rivals and score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Lyons Snyder finished second, while Racing Hill was third. Also advancing is fourth-place finisher Control The Moment and Beast Mode, who finished fifth. "I have been fortunate enough to have some unbelievably great horses over the years, but he never usually gets a good trip," Coleman added. "I don't know why, but he always seems to not be in the right place and he just keeps digging--first-over, on front with tough fractions from way off, like he's done it every way. I can't wait to get that second-over toe into it coming down the lane." Betting Line notches his third victory of the season from four outings and ninth lifetime triumph. With the win, the son of Bettor's Delight and Heathers Western lifts his career earnings to $619,922 for owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham and Mac Nichol of Burlington. Betting Line paid $5, $3.20 and $2.40, combining with Lyons Synder ($4.10, $3.50) for a $15.10 (6-4) exactor. A 6-4-9 (Racing Hill, $8) triactor returned a $120.40, while a $1 Superfecta [6-4-9-3 (Control The Moment)] was worth $205.40. Betting Line In the second elimination, the Steve Elliott pupil Boston Red Rocks used an off-the-pace trip to win by half a length in 1:50.3. Boston Red Rocks and driver Tim Tetrick followed from fourth as Nvestment Bluechip posted the opening panel in :26.4 and Nocturnal Bluechip clocked the half in :54.4. While the sophomores were passing the three-quarter marker in 1:22.4, Boston Red Rocks had advanced first-up and was stalking Nocturnal Bluechip from second. When the pacers entered the stretch, Boston Red Rocks, the 3-5 favourite, struck the front and held off a late surge from Big Top Hanover, who finished second and third-place finisher Michaels Victory. Magnum J, who went from last to fourth and fifth-place finisher Manhattan Beach also advance to the final. "I'm a firm believer in this horse," said Tetrick. "I know he's a nice horse. Every time he got beat, he got beat by a head, a nose. He got beat, but he raced good enough to win. Just horses sitting in the pocket beat him. He's a little lazy and he kind of loses focus sometimes and you got to stay after him, but he got the job done. He finds ways to win so that's what I like about him." Boston Red Rocks scored his second triumph of the season from four outings and sixth career victory. With the win, the son of the late Rocknroll Hanover and McGibson lifts his career earnings to $735,418 for Floridinans Peter Blood and Rick Berks. Boston Red Rocks paid $3.50, $2.80 and $2.10, combining with Big Top Hanover ($5.60, $3.10) for a $15.70 (2-6) exactor. A 2-6-5 (Michaels Victory, $3.20) triactor returned a $53, while a $1 Superfecta [2-6-5-9 (Magnum J)] was worth $221.60. Boston Red Rocks The top five finishers in each $50,000 elimination advance to the 33rd edition of the $1-million final on Saturday, June 18. Each winner earns his connections the right to select a post position before the balance of field is drawn at a press conference on Tuesday. $1-million Pepsi North America Cup starters in no particular order; Betting Line by Bettor's Delight Boston Red Rocks by Rocknroll Hanover Big Top Hanover by Western Ideal Lyons Snyder by Well Said Michaels Victory by Rocknroll Hanover Racing Hill by Roll With Joe Magnum J by Big Jim Control The Moment by Well Said Manhatten Beach by Somebeachsomewhere Beast Mode by Rock N Roll Heaven Mark McKelvie
The following is a summary of local winning horses and/or harness racing people during the races on the date below Sept 21st - 2015 The top local horse it for Monday night at Grand River Raceway was Casie Coleman. She picked up the training double, winning the 3rd and 8th races. The 8th race was one of two $105 000 Ontario Sires Stakes divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies. Twin B Thong was able to edge out the victory at the wire with another local horseman at the reins, Chris Christoforou. The victory was Twin B Thong's 3rd of the season and pushed her earnings to $168 000 for her rookie campaign. Casie is enjoying another very successful season with her stable already amassing over $1.5 million in purse earnings. The Cambridge native posted a career year in 2012 with over $6.5 million in purse earnings. That season saw the emergence of Michaels Power, the three-year-old Grand River Raceway features live harness racing on Monday and Wednesday nights throughout September. Complete schedule info at www.grandriverraceway.com . Kelly Spencer
Southwind Indy finished the Grassroots regular season atop the division standings and trainer Casie Coleman says everything looks positive for the three-year-old pacing gelding's bid for a top five finish in Friday's Semi-Final at Mohawk Raceway. "I like the way the draw come out; he's in the middle of the gate. The six-hole is like my favourite hole at Mohawk/Woodbine," said Coleman. "He drew good, and he trained real good this week, and everything seems good, so we'll hope for the best that he can get into the final." Southwind Indy will line up at Post 6 in the second sophomore pacing colt Semi-Final at Mohawk Racetrack on Friday, taking on a field of nine challengers also hoping to extend their Ontario Sires Stakes season through the Sept. 26 Grassroots Championship. A son of Sportswriter and Its Only Rocknroll, Southwind Indy earned top spot in the division standings with three wins, one second and one third in five Grassroots starts. The gelding heads into Friday's test off back-to-back Grassroots wins - at Mohawk on Aug. 21 and Grand River Raceway on Sept. 2 - and recorded a personal best 1:51.3 in the Mohawk event. "I've been real happy with him each week lately, so we'll hope he keeps getting a little better each time," said Cambridge, ON resident Coleman. "Every time I put him behind the gate he just impresses me a little more, so if he keeps doing that I'll be pretty happy." At two Southwind Indy was a two-time Gold Leg winner, but after testing the Gold Series waters in the season opener Coleman and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and breeders Southwind Farms LLC of Pennington, NJ decided the Grassroots program was the best choice for the gelding's sophomore campaign. Milton, ON resident Steve Condren will pilot Southwind Indy in Friday's eighth race, looking to extend the gelding's win streak to three. The first $20,000 pacing colt Semi-Final goes postward as Race 7. Trainer Bill Budd was also pleased to land Post 6 with sophomore trotting filly Meadow Seelster, who makes her bid for a top five finish in the third race. "That's the best post there for her. She can follow the car, she can get spotted," said the Waterdown, ON resident. "She's a nice filly, a real nice filly." Like Southwind Indy, Meadow Seelster made one start at the Gold Series level, finishing sixth in the June 18 season opener at Mohawk before moving into the Grassroots program. In three Grassroots starts the daughter of Holiday Road and Must Sold Dream scored two wins and one third, ranking her ninth among the three-year-old trotting fillies. Meadow Seelster heads into Friday's Semi-Final off a 1:56.2 win in the Aug. 25 Grassroots event at Mohawk. Following that effort, the filly's fourth win of the campaign, Budd opted to give her a week off rather than head to the regular season finale at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5. "I gave her a week off and then I took her over and schooled her there (Mohawk) Friday; ready to go," said Budd, who trains the filly for Bill Dixon of Caledon, ON. "She's a good filly. She does everything you know, she's a trier." While Budd is hopeful that the winner of $102,135 delivers a top five effort in Friday's Semi-Final, the trainer is also looking forward to the end of the Ontario Sires Stakes season. Once her Grassroots career wraps up, Budd plans to remove a piece of equipment that has been a critical part of Meadow Seelster's attire since last August. "I'm actually going to take the trotting hopples off her," he explained. "I schooled her in 1:55 over there the other day without them. We're going to try her anyway. Probably give her a week off after the stakes and then qualify her without the hopples. "She used to be pretty rammy, she was tough," he added. "She'd push the gate out and then just couldn't handle it you know, the trotting hopples kept her together." Regular reinsman Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON will guide Meadow Seelster from Post 6 in the first $20,000 trotting filly Semi-Final on Friday. The second trotting filly Semi-Final is slated as Race 9. The three-year-old trotting colts kick off the Grassroots Semi-Final action in Race 1, and are also featured in Race 6. The three-year-old pacing fillies wage their Semi-Final battles in Races 5 and 11. Post time for Mohawk Racetrack's Friday evening program is 7:25 pm. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
SEPT. 9, 2015 - Southwind Shania clocked the quickest mile in a quartet of harness racing Grassroots divisions for the two-year-old pacing fillies at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday evening. In rein to Arthur, ON resident Trevor Henry, favourite Southwind Shania fired straight to the front from Post 4 and sailed through fractions of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:26.3 on her way to a 1:56.3 clocking. Dancin Inthe Nude and Northern Prima were three lengths back in second and third. "Hopefully tonight is a step in the right direction for her," said trainer Casie Coleman. "She trained down like a real good filly, I thought like a Gold and maybe open calibre, and things haven't panned out. She's been disappointing so far." Coleman shares ownership of Southwind Shania with her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, ON, Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL and Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON. Wednesday's victory was the Sportswriter daughter's first in nine starts, with three of them coming in the Grassroots program and two at the Gold Series level. With just one win, one third and one fourth in her Grassroots appearances, Southwind Shania finished short of the cut off for the Grassroots post season. Coleman said the filly will have an opportunity to maintain her forward progress in a few more overnight events before being sold in November. "She is a nice filly, but I don't believe Grand Circuit, so she will be sold in Harrisburg," said the Cambridge resident. Driver Trevor Henry also piloted St Lads Smokin Hot to a win in the final Grassroots division of the evening. Also starting from Post 4, Henry settled St Lads Smokin Hot into third as Noone To Depend On rolled out to a :28.3 opening quarter. Heading for the :58.2 half Henry tipped the fan favourite into the outer lane and St Lads Smokin Hot had taken control before the 1:27.3 three-quarters. From there the filly cruised home to a two length victory in 1:57.2, besting Endless Legacy and Buttermilk Hanover. Richard Moreau of Puslinch, ON conditions St Lads Smokin Hot for Holland Racing Stable of Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON. In five Grassroots starts the No Pan Intended daughter posted two wins, two thirds and one sixth for a point total of 127, good enough for fifth spot in the division standings. "She's a big filly that only gives as much as she has to, but she is game and they will know she is there next week," said Henry, who will steer the filly in one of two $20,000 Semi-finals at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17. The largest margin of victory on the evening went to Divas Image, who hit the wire 10 and one-half lengths ahead of the third division field in a sharp 1:56.4. Stonebridge Pearl and Tempus Seelster followed the fan favourite down the stretch into second and third. Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell crafted the win, the filly's second of the season, for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and his partners Bannon Stables of Napanee, ON and Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB. The partners also bred and raised the daughter of Bettor's Delight and Rocknroll Diva. "She is a real sweetheart of a filly that we bred because we really believed in her mother, but she was injured badly at two," explained Steacy. "Although she's small, Diva has a great gait and lots of brains," the trainer continued. "We have raced her from off the pace in most of her races and I think it has allowed her to develop into a very nice filly who should go into the Semi-final very brave." Divas Image finished the regular season with one win, two seconds, two thirds and one fifth in six Grassroots starts, earning 129 points and putting her in fourth spot in the standings. The other $18,000 Grassroots division was captured by Im In Luv who tipped out of the outer lane turning for home and paced under the wire a one length victor in 1:58.1. Pocket-sitter Glorious Delight finished second and the leader of the outer lane parade, Specialcelebration, finished third. "She got a perfect trip and she responded well," said Moffat, ON resident Jody Jamieson, who guided the filly to her second Grassroots victory. "Semi-finals next." Jamieson's father Carl of Rockwood, ON trains Im In Luv and shares ownership of the Badlands Hanover daughter with Thomas Kyron of Toronto, ON and George Harrison of Preston, England. In six Grassroots outings the filly posted two wins, two fourths and two fifths for a total of 126 points and sixth spot in the standings. Wednesday's event completed the regular season events for all eight Grassroots divisions. The top 20 point earners from each two-year-old division will battle in Semi-final action at Mohawk Racetrack on Sept. 17 and the three-year-olds on Sept. 18. The top five finishers from each Semi-final will make their way back to Mohawk on Sept. 26 for the Grassroots Championships. The Ontario Sires Stakes program makes one more stop at Grand River Raceway, a Gold leg for the two-year-old pacing fillies on Monday, Sept. 21. Ontario Horse Racing
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 4 - The Metro Pace has consistently been the biggest race for harness racing two-year-old pacers in the sport. Each Labour Day weekend, the top two-year-old pacers from different states and provinces converge on Mohawk Racetrack for the richest race for freshmen. Over the years, the Metro Pace champion has quickly stamped himself as the top rookie pacer. This year, the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) has a big chance to be home of the top rookie pacer in harness racing. A group of four OSS competitors will compete in the ten-horse $685,000 Metro Pace Saturday night. Voracity and Betting Line have both won multiple OSS Gold events this season and last Saturday both proved to be Grand Circuit contenders with victories in their respective Metro eliminations. A son of Sportswriter, Voracity won divisions of the first two Gold events, before finishing second by a nose at Rideau. The Tony Alagna trainee rebounded with a victory in the Nassagaweya heading into his Metro elimination. Through the first five starts of his career, Voracity has shown versatility that has impressed his conditioner. "I think that's the true test of any great horse is that they have versatility where they can leave off the switch and they can come right back off the next week," said Alagna, following Voracity's Metro elimination. "These horses have to be versatile now a days because it's a speed game and they have to be able to start and stop at a seconds notice." Voracity is out of the second-crop of Sportswriter, who cleaned up last season in the OSS and appears to be on pace for another solid season thanks in large part to the Alagna trainee. Voracity will be looking for his fifth win from six starts Saturday and he enters the Metro the highest earning two-year-old pacing colt in the sport with over $170,000 banked. Casie Coleman trainee Betting Line also has two victories this season in Gold events. The son of Bettor's Delight has four victories from six starts and will be meeting Voracity for the first time in the Metro Pace. Coleman, who trained Sportswriter, is excited to see his offspring performing at the highest level, but she is confident in her son of Bettors Delight. "(Voracity) is a Sportswriter colt and I was real excited to see a Sportswriter win a Metro elim and he was very impressive," said Coleman, last Saturday. "I've been real happy with everything (Betting Line's) done so far, he's a really talented colt." Bettors Delight is currently in his first season in the OSS after many years as one of the top sires in New York. Betting Line's early-season success has made a major impact for Bettors Delight in the Ontario market. Bettors Delight will also be represented by Jimmy Takter trainee Cruise Patrol in Saturday's rich contest. Cruise Patrol has yet to win a race in seven starts, but Takter is no stranger to a Metro upset, having won the 2011 edition with Simply Business at 20/1. Nvestment Bluechip, a son of Shadow Play, is the fourth and final OSS competitor in the field. The Dave Menary trainee won a division of the first Gold event this season and finished third by just half a length in his Metro elimination. Nvestment Bluechip, who has a record of two wins from five starts, impressed his conditioner training down, convincing his connections to pay him up to the Metro and other Grand Circuit events. "He was kind of my favourite colt all winter," said Menary. "His schedule he doesn't have to leave Canada, but it still gives him a little bit of opportunity to step up." Although Nvestment Bluechip will face his toughest challenge this Saturday, Menary believes the tasks will be tough all season in the OSS. "It is (a deep group). He's been lucky so far, but there are a lot of good colts and hopefully he can have a little more luck going to the end of the year." Voracity and Betting Line have been installed as the second and third choice on the morning line for Saturday's final at 3/1 and 7/2, respectively. Nvestment Bluechip and Cruise Patrol may be long shots on the morning line, but it was just a few years ago that Ontario sired colt Boomboom Ballykeel scored a 10/1 upset in the 2013 Metro. The 2015 Metro Pace will go forward as the Seventh Race Saturday evening at approximately 9:17 p.m. Here is the full field for the Metro Pace. 1. The Catamount Kid by Well Said, Jody Jamieson, Carl Jamieson, 10-1 2. Betting Line by Bettor's Delight, Steve Condren, Casie Coleman, 7-2 3. Voracity by Sportswriter, Sylvain Filion, Tony Alagna, 3-1 4. Control The Moment by Well Said, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell, 9-5 5. Racing Hill by Roll With Joe, Doug McNair, Tony Alagna, 8-1 6. Nvestment Bluechip by Shadow Play, James MacDonald, Dave Menary, 15-1 7. Pretty Boy Hill by Somebeachsomewhere, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 15-1 8. Ideal Rocky by Rocknroll Hanover, John Campbell, John Butenschoen, 12-1 9. Cruise Patrol by Bettor's Delight, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 20-1 10. American Passport by American Ideal, Scott Zeron, Tony Alagna, 15-1 Mark McKelvie -30- Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred Work - (416) 675-7223) x4367 Cell - (905) 864-9110 @MohawkMarkM P Please consider the environment before printing this email. - Proud Member of Imagine Canada, achieving Caring Company Status - Recycling Council of Ontario's Platinum Waste Minimization Award - Quality ERA Gold Award winner for continuous improvements This e-mail and any attachments may contain confidential and privileged information. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately by return e-mail, delete this e-mail and destroy any copies. Any dissemination or use of this information by a person other than the intended recipient is unauthorized and may be illegal.
Four years after being diagnosed with colon cancer, the Hall of Fame harness racing driver is on a roll on Canada’s top circuit and has a shot to win the $685,000 Metro Pace Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren said winning his first Metro Pace Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack would be nice, especially at this stage of his career, but he counts being able to drive horses at all as a bonus after his 2011 battle with colon cancer. “After going through what I went through, just being here is a beautiful thing,” Condren said. The 58-year-old Milton, Ont. resident will pilot Betting Line for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, Ont. in the $685,000 stakes race for two-year-old pacers. Ken Middleton, Jr., the standardbred race caller for the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) that includes Mohawk and her sister track, Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, said it is amazing Condren still is driving on Canada’s top loop. “He’s a survivor,” Middleton said. “This is the toughest circuit anywhere for guys to survive on. Take a look at Doug Brown, Dave Wall. Those guys were kingpins the same time Steve Condren was in his prime. Steve has kind of reinvented himself and he shows up and he’s still here. Why those other guys aren’t still here, I don’t know. They’re talented guys, too.” Condren worked with Coleman’s stable in Florida over the winter to keep busy and stepped in to drive for her a little over a month ago when her regular driver, Chris Christoforou, suffered a broken collarbone in a race accident July 24 at Mohawk. “I didn’t really know Steve all that well over the years until he asked me if I wanted him to jog and train some horses just for something to do in the winter in Florida,” Coleman said. “He helped me out a lot this winter. He’s very knowledgeable. Besides being a very, very good driver, he’s very, very good at training one and hanging one up and going really good, proper fractions with training miles. He was, obviously, a big improvement for my barn this year. He told me right from the get-go that he wasn’t looking to get any drives. He just wanted something to do in the winter and he really enjoyed training. After Chris got hurt I was kind of stuck and needed somebody. So, I’ve been using (Condren) and he’s been doing a really good job for me.” Condren has started 22 times for Coleman in a little more than a month, posting a 6-3-4 record and earnings just a few dollars shy of $100,000. “Lately, it’s been fun. No complaints, that’s for sure,” Condren said. One of Condren’s biggest wins so far for Coleman came Aug. 29 when he drove Betting Line to a 1:52.2, two-and-a-quarter length victory in the last of three $40,000 Metro Pace eliminations. Betting Line has post two in the Metro final (race seven) that is part of a stakes-rich card that includes the 72nd edition of the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers (race eight, $685,000) and the $455,000 final of the Shes A Great Lady for two-year-old pacing fillies (race 10). First-race post time is 7:05 p.m. Betting Line, an Ontario-sired son of Bettors Delight out of Heathers Western that was purchased for $60,000 at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sales Company’s yearling sale in Harrisburg, Pa., has won four of his six starts for Coleman and Ross Warriner’s West Wins Stable, Christine Calhoun of Chatham, Ont. and Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ont. Condren also was driving when Betting Line posted his career-best mile of 1:51.4 in an overnight race Aug. 6 at Mohawk. “He was one of (Coleman’s) better colts all winter down there,” Condren said. “He’s progressing well. This is a big test for him. So far, he’s stepped up to the plate and looks pretty good doing it.” Considering Condren has spent virtually his entire 38-year career at WEG and has crafted out a specialty driving young horses, it is surprising he has never won the Metro Pace. “Working with the young horses is something I like to do,” Condren said. “That’s kept me in this business this long.” “At this time of year, people love Steve Condren on young horses,” Middleton said. Coleman said Condren, “never hurts one, but, yet, he’s always got them in play… He’s very good with the young ones. Besides how good he drives them and always brings you a horse back for next week, he’s also really good at helping you if you have issues and need to change the equipment. He’s a very smart horseman.” The Metro Pace is part of a busy weekend for Condren. Friday night, he will drive Deep Impact in the second of two $118,907 Champlain divisions at Mohawk for trainer Brad Maxwell of Guelph, Ont. On Aug. 20, Condren drove the two-year-old gelded trotter to victory in the $35,600 final of the Define The World stakes at Mohawk. Maxwell and Condren previously teamed up on such stars as Elegantimage (nearly $1 million lifetime) and Pure Ivory (nearly $1.5 million lifetime). On Saturday, Condren will also drive Reverend Hanover for Coleman in a $25,000 three-year-old conditioned race. Reverend Hanover was a top two-year-old that has earned more than $275,000 lifetime. Sunday afternoon, Condren will meet fans, sign autographs and drive in the $15,000 Legends Day Trot at Clinton Raceway (www.clintonraceway.com) against seven other Hall of Fame drivers. It will be the second time Condren has appeared at the biannual Legends Day since being inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, not long after he was diagnosed with cancer. Condren drove just a handful of times in 2011, but was in the sulky nearly 200 times in 2012 and has slowly increased his workload each year since. In 2014, he drove over 600 times and earned over $1.5 million, the first time he has topped seven figures since 2010 and the 31st time he’s done it in a career in which he’s won 6,784 races and driven the winners of more than $113 million. He said his last medical checkup went well, and “everything is going in the right direction still, so far, which is good… I put a lot of effort into keeping in good shape. What I went through, and at my age, you have to be in decent shape to compete out there now. So, I put a big effort into that.” An avid golfer, Condren said he plays four to six rounds a week. “I’m still walking and carrying as part of my keeping-in-shape routine… That’s a nice walk every day.” As for his driving career, Condren is big on perspective. “I’m happy to be around, never mind driving horses,” he said. “I always said to myself that if I start getting in people’s way out there I’ll give it up. So far, I haven’t been doing too much of that.” Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing firstname.lastname@example.org
AUGUST 25, 2015 - After coming close in each of his previous Gold Series starts, three-year-old pacing gelding Mr Carrotts scored a narrow victory in front of a hometown crowd at Georgian Downs on Tuesday evening. Owned and bred by Melvyn Varcoe of Thornton, Mr Carrotts trailed fan favourite Go Daddy Go in the outer lane for much of the mile and then sprinted down the stretch to get a whisker in front of Sportsmanship for his first Gold Series win. It was also a close contest for third, with pacesetter Star Cover holding off Robert Hill. Mr Carrotts and driver Paul MacKenzie of Puslinch, ON stopped the Georgian Downs teletimer at 1:53.2 over a "Good" track rated one second slower than normal. "He always showed talent, but he's lazy," said Murray Brethour, who conditions the Mach Three gelding for Thornton resident Melvyn Varcoe and actually sold the horse's dam, Cueless, to Varcoe's father Clarence in 2001. "I bought the mother as a yearling and then I got out of racing and I sold her," explained the Sunderland resident. "She was a good mare." Cueless earned $466,638 in her racing career and produced $240,028 winner Card Hustler in her first mating. Mr Carrotts is her fourth foal and to date he has banked $116,318, with all but $10,000 coming this season. Through 13 sophomore starts the gelding has tallied two wins, three seconds, five thirds and three fifths. With a five and one-half week break before the fifth and final Gold Leg, Brethour says Mr Carrotts will likely enjoy a mini-vacation before beginning preparations for the regular season finale and, hopefully, the Super Final. The top 10 point earners from the regular season advance to the Super Final and Tuesday's victory boosted the gelding up the point standings from thirteenth to fifth. "We'll give him a couple of weeks off, freshen him up," said Brethour. "He's very laid back. It takes a little while to jog him, he don't get too excited, you're out there for half an hour. "Only bad thing about him - I don't own him," concluded Brethour, with a chuckle. In addition to Mr Carrotts' hometown win, Tuesday's Gold Series contest also featured the return of 2014 freshman pacing colt champion Reverend Hanover. Sidelined by an injury in May, the son of Sportswriter missed the first three Gold Legs and was looking to make up for lost time from Post 2 in the second $105,000 division. With Hall of Famer Steve Condren in the race bike, Reverend Hanover controlled the race from start to finish, sailing home two and three-quarter lengths the best in 1:51.4. Pocket-sitter Drachan Hanover earned the second-place share and early challenger J Js Delivery was third. Milton, ON resident Condren crafted the win for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, ON and owners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON and Anthony Beaton of Waterdown, ON. With Tuesday's victory under his belt, Coleman said the winner of $224,500 has a number of open stakes engagements on his calendar before the next Gold Leg. "He is fully staked up, and there are still enough dances on his plate to rack up some money," said the trainer. "The next big one would be Sept. 12 at Mohawk, the Simcoe, and I wouldn't mind a three-year-old open next Saturday (at Mohawk) if they can fill one." Through three starts in his two-year-old campaign and Tuesday's triumph, Reverend Hanover remains undefeated in Gold Series action. The three-year-old pacing colts and geldings make their final regular season Gold Series start at Woodbine Racetrack on Oct. 2 and the $250,000 Super Final will also be contested at Woodbine on Oct. 10. Georgian Downs wraps up its 2015 Ontario Sires Stakes schedule on Saturday, Aug. 29 with the fifth Grassroots event for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
JULY 18, 2015 - Back at Mohawk Racetrack for their second Gold Leg on Saturday, Ontario's elite harness racing two-year-old pacing colts looked every bit as sharp as they had in their debut. Two division winners from the season opener went head-to-head in the first $105,000 division and it was Voracity that came out on top with a 1:53.1 score over Heavymetal Hanover, Stonebridge Beach and July 11 division winner Nvestment Bluechip. Milton, ON resident Randy Waples piloted Voracity to the one and one-half length victory for trainer Tony Alagna of Manalapan, NJ and his partners Brad Grant of Milton and John Fodera of Staten Island, NY. The partners acquired the son of Sportswriter from last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $47,000. "I sold Brad Sandbetweenurtoes and we discussed buying a few yearlings together last fall, and Voracity was one of our purchases," said Alagna of his new partnership with Milton resident Grant. "Brad is a fantastic owner and partner because he understands the ups and downs of the business and we have had some good success in a short amount of time together." In just two starts Voracity has already banked $87,500 for the partners and will have ample opportunity to add to that tally in the remaining Ontario Sires Stakes and open stake events. "Voracity is heavily staked," noted Alagna. "The Metro Pace, Breeders Crown, Governors Cup and all the major events at three as well." Voracity and his peers make their third Gold Series start at Rideau Carleton Raceway on August 13. Voracity Betting Line earned his second Gold Series trophy with an impressive 1:51.4 triumph in the other division. The Bettor's Delight son and driver Chris Christoforou took command of the race heading for the halfway marker and pulled away to a three length victory over Carolina Hurricane and Semi Automatic. Campbellville, ON resident Christoforou - who won three freshman pacing colt Grassroots events at Mohawk on Friday - was in the race bike for trainer Casie Coleman of Cambridge, her partners in the West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Christine Calhoun of Chatham, ON and Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON. "He won very handy again, Chris never spoke to him," said Coleman, who was captivated by the colt the first time she saw him at Fair Winds Farm in Cream Ridge, NJ. "When I first saw him at Fair Winds Farm, about a month before the sale, he was a jaw dropper and I knew I had to have him," recalled Coleman, who anted up $60,000 for the youngster at the Harrisburg Yearling Sale. "He was one of the best colts I have ever seen in a field." Like Voracity, Betting Line will have the opportunity to race against North America's best if he continues to perform the way he has in the first two Gold Series events. "I believe and hope he is a Grand Circuit colt," said Coleman. Betting Line Mohawk Racetrack fans will get their second look at the colts' feminine counterparts on Monday evening as the 2-year-old pacing fillies return to the Campbellville oval for their second Gold Series event. The fillies are featured in Races 1, 2 and 9 on the 7:25 pm program, with Ontario Sires Stakes record holder Thatsoveryverynice getting Post 1 in the second $70,000 division. Ontario Horse Racing
Mohawk Racetrack hosted the first harness racing two-year-old Ontario Sires Stakes event of the season on Monday and the pacing fillies set the bar extremely high for the other three freshman divisions. In the very first $70,000 Gold split, Thatsoveryverynice emerged not just as the fastest filly in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, but the fastest two-year-old filly in North America with a record setting 1:51.2 performance. Starting from Post 5 Thatsoveryverynice and driver Jody Jamieson landed in fourth on the rail and watched as fan favourite Thisorthat Hanover rocketed to a :26.1 opening quarter and :55.4 half. Stepping into the outer lane going by the 1:23.4 three-quarters Thatsoveryverynice showed off her own turn of speed, sprinting home in :26.2 to score a three length victory in the Ontario Sires Stakes record clocking. The mile eclipsed the previous two-year-old pacing filly all-time record of 1:51.3 set by Voelz Hanover at Hiawatha Horse Park in 2007. Pocket sitter Golden Idol finished second and pacesetter Thisorthat Hanover settled for third. Moffat, ON resident Jamieson crafted the record setting win for trainer Tony Alagna and owner Alagna Racing LLC of Manalapan, NJ. Alagna prepped Thatsoveryverynice with a pair of qualifiers at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, where the Vintage Master daughter recorded one win and one third. In the third division Twin B Thong delivered another impressive performance, taking control of the race before the half and sailing home unchallenged in 1:52.1. Free Show and Betty Hill finished one and one-half lengths back in second and third. Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou piloted Twin B Thong to the win for trainer Casie Coleman, and while Coleman had confidence in the Sportswriter filly's ability to win her Gold Series debut, she did have a few anxious moments in the winner's circle. "I actually was kind of scared tonight in the winner's circle," said Coleman. "I thought she might do a flipper when she had to stand still for a picture, but she was actually really good." "I warned everybody to be careful because I think she's going to do a flipper, but she behaved herself." Behaving herself was something that did not come naturally to Twin B Thong, who Coleman says was one of the toughest young horses she ever had to work with. After the trainer and her partners West Wins Stable of Cambridge, Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON and Steve Calhoun of Chatham, ON acquired the $65,000 yearling from last fall's Harrisburg Yearling sale, Coleman spent several months wishing she could send her back. "Probably for about the first month to two months I was wishing I didn't buy her." "I've got to thank Anthony Deacon and Jay Harris, that work for me; the job that they did on her getting her broke is absolutely unbelievable, because I'm telling you this filly wouldn't even go," recalled the trainer. "She'd just plant her feet and didn't want to do anything." "We couldn't get her to go, could not get her to go." Fortunately, after several months of patience and a few hair-raising experiences - including a sprint through the woods at Coleman's winter training base in Florida that only came to an end when the jog cart Twin B Thong was trailing behind her got wedged between two trees - the filly decided to channel her energy into moving forward. "Once she got training and got going and realised that she wasn't going to get hurt or anything like that she trained very, very good," said Coleman. "She trained down good after we got by that first two month period of breaking her." The only quirk still remaining in Twin B Thong's repertoire is a reluctance to hang around with a race bike or jog cart attached to her harness, which is why Coleman was a bit worried about the filly's winner's circle behaviour. "Once she's on the track her manners are perfect, but going out of the barn and coming in there's got to be a person there ready to clip each side of the bike and get it off her, and you've got to keep her moving," said the trainer. "And she won't stand there with a bike hooked on her, once you're going to hook the bike you've got to kind of hook it on the fly." To Coleman's relief, Twin B Thong kept her composure during the blanket and trophy presentation in the Mohawk winner's circle and her owners are hoping the filly has a few more opportunities to practice her post-race manners through the Ontario and open stakes season. The other Gold Series trophy went home with the connections of Keystone Paula, who powered up the inside to a two length victory over favourite Kays Shadow and Stonebridge Pearl. Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion drove the Bettors Delight daughter to the 1:54.1 win for trainer Ervin Miller and owners Greg Gillis of Alliston, Paymaq Racing of Long Grove, IL, Louis Willinger of Louisville, KY and George Golemes of Oak Brook, IL. All three winners will be hoping to maintain their position at the top of the division standings when the two-year-old pacing fillies make their second Gold Series start at Mohawk Racetrack on July 20. Mohawk Racetrack has a full weekend of freshman Ontario Sires Stakes action coming up, starting with the two-year-old pacing filly Grassroots season opener on Thursday, followed by the first two-year-old pacing colt Grassroots on Friday and the two-year-old pacing colt Gold Leg on Saturday. Ontario Horse Racing
MANALAPAN, NJ - July 3, 2015 - Veteran harness racing driver John Campbell expertly guided a trio of first-time starters to victory in first round New Jersey Sire Stakes for two-year-olds on Friday night, July 3, 2015 at the Meadowlands. Hall of Famer Campbell won with filly pacer Rock My Girl in the $25,000 first race, colt trotter Jack Vernon in the $20,000 fourth race and colt pacer Boston Red Rocks in the $25,000 fifth race. Rock My Girl [$9.20] was a length and a half winner over Blue Moon Stride. It was three and a half lengths to Show Time Hill in third. All three fillies are daughters of Rocknroll Hanover. Trained by Casie Coleman, Rock My Girl paced the mile in 1:53.3, tossing in a last quarter in 27.1. Owned by West Wins Stable, Adriano Sorella and Ron Broadstone, she was a $20,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase. Jack Vernon [$6.60], a Muscle Hill son of Vernon Blue Chip, trotted his mile in 1:57.2, finishing a half-length ahead of Dominion Beach [Muscle Hill]. Southwind Flash [Muscle Hill], who won both of his baby races and was the betting favorite, was third by three quarters of a length. Racing in the name of Miller's Stable Inc. of Leburn, KY, Jack Vernon is trained by Randy Beeckman and was purchased out of the Lexington Selected Sale for $50,000. Boston Red Rocks [$5.80] was a two and a quarter length winner over Katies Rocker. It was two and three-quarter lengths to Ideal Rocky in third. All three are sons of Rocknroll Hanover. The Steve Elliott-trainee paced the mile in 1:53.2. Purchased for $50,000 out of the Harrisburg Sale, Boston Red Rocks races in the name of Rick Berks of Boca Raton, FL. In other New Jersey Sire Stakes divisions for trotters, Southwind Frank [$3.00] won the $20,000 second race for colts and Hollywood Hill [$14.40] captured the $20,000 sixth race for fillies. Southwind Frank, driven by Yannick Gingras and trained by Ron Burke, prevailed by a head over Brooklyn Hill in a stretch duel that featured a 26.3 final panel in a 1:56.3 mile. It was two and a half lengths to Bar Hopping in third. All three are sons of Muscle Hill. Southwind Frank, a $100,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, belongs to the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables and J&T Silva Stables. Hollywood Hill, driven and trained by Jimmy Takter, coasted to a two and a half-length tally over Southwind Adele. It was three and three-quarter lengths to Silvia in third. The three fillies are all daughters of Muscle Hill. The mile was timed in 1:56.2. The winner is owned by breeder Goran Falk of Allentown, NJ. In the last division, the $20,000 ninth race for trotting fillies, Gifted Lady [$4.40] was a length winner over Dream Child in 1:57.4. Skara Brae was third by five and a half lengths. All three fillies are daughters of Muscle Hill. Jimmy Takter drives and traines Gifted Lady, for owner-breeder Silver Linden Farms of Woodburn, IN. The two-year-olds have another week of prelims before meeting in $100,000 finals on July 17, 2015 at the Meadowlands. By Carol Hodes for the SBOANJ
Doesn’t it seem like a disproportionate number of last year’s better horses are either missing in action or performing at a level far below that of 2014? I took a look at the top 25 on last year’s All-Horse earnings list, and wasn’t surprised at what I found: Just about every one of them is either not racing at all, for one reason or another, or they’re failing to meet expectations. Father Patrick topped the list in 2014 with more than $1.6 million on his card. He won 12 of his 17 starts, including the Breeders Crown and the CTC, and set a 1:50.2 world record for a sophomore trotter on a 5/8 track at Pocono Downs. This year he’s one and two, having dropped his last two starts to J L Cruze in legs of the Graduate Series. Division winner McWicked, who set a world record of 1:47.3 at Pocono and won the BC, Hempt and Adios, was second on the list, and he hasn’t started yet. Nuncio, who won the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot, is racing in Europe. Sweet Lou, the only pacer ever to win his division at two and five, has been retired to stud in Pennsylvania. Trotting mare Shake It Cerry, a division winner at two and three, who took the KY Filly Futurity and the Elegantimage last year, has lost four times in 7 tries. The Armbro Flight, Meadows Maturity and Miami Valley Distaff are a few of her high profile losses. Bee A Magician, who didn’t have the sort of four-year-old season many expected, is dominating that division in a big way. That’s the top five from last year; it’s not a pretty picture. North America Cup winner JK Endofanera has had a problem handling late bloomers Doo Wop Hanover and Rockeyed Optimist in the Graduate Series. He’s one and two on the season. Ron Burke’s All Bets Off, who took the Messenger, Milstein and Rooney in 2014, won the Confederation Cup and his elimination for that one, but he lost his other five starts, including the Van Rose and the Molson. Hambletonian winner Trixton has been retired to stud. The 2014 Horse of the Year, JK She’salady, has fallen off the earth. She kicked her season off with a win in the NYSS at Tioga, but subsequently lost her Fan Hanover elimination, and the final, as well as her Lynch elimination. She finished a washed out fifth in the latter and won’t be a part of Saturday’s final. And number ten from last year’s money list is the venerable aged pacer, Foiled Again. In 2014 He earned $863,000 on six wins and lots of board finishes. This year Foiled has one win—the Battle of Lake Erie—in seven starts. He was shut out in the Levy, which he owned for a few years. Obviously numbers six through ten are no better in 2015 than numbers one through five. He’s Watching occupies slot number eleven. The diminutive son of American Ideal achieved a share of the all-age record for the fastest race mile ever on a mile track—1:46.4—in the Pace. He hasn’t started yet. Oaks winner Lifetime Pursuit is also a no show. The speedy Always A Virgin pacer, Always B Miki, who won the Tattersalls Pace, Bluegrass and Monument Circle, in addition to cleaning up in the ISS, had a setback and is expected back by fall. Two-year-old division winner Artspeak won his elimination and final for the NJSS, as well as last week’s Hempt elimination. However, he finished second in his Cup elimination and fifth in the final. Burke’s FFA mainstay Bettor’s Edge, who banked $674,000 last year, winning the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, has one win in nine starts. He was eighth in his Franklin elimination. Number 16 Sebastian K, who set his 1:49 world record this time last year at Pocono, opens his season there on Saturday against new kid, J L Cruze. Harper Blue Chip? Intimidate looks awful. Last year’s MLT and TVG final winner is 0 for 3 in the Mohawk preferred. Little Brown Jug winner Limelight Beach has been no factor in the Confederation Cup and the Graduate series. P H Supercam, the only millionaire by Million Dollar Cam, didn’t win the Levy like he did last year, but he took four preliminary legs, and is in sync with last year’s numbers. So numbers 11 through 20 give us P H Supercam in line with what he did in 2014, while the rest either haven’t started or are disappointments. Mission Brief, number 21, took her elimination and final in the NJSS, but has been a project in qualifiers ever since. Market Share is 0 for 3—no factor in the Cutler or the Maxie Lee. Clear Vision is 0 for 12, while Commander Crowe, who won the Yonkers International preview, and took the BC in his last start, has been retired. No wonder the racing seems soft this year; one would expect that there would be a mix of horses that improve their performance, and some that stay the same and others that show a decline. Eight haven’t started at all while Nuncio is in Europe. Trixton and Sweet Lou have been retired; Miki and He’s Watching are dealing with physical issues; McWicked, Lifetime Pursuit and Harper Blue Chip are mysteries to me; Sebastian will get it on this week. The faltering superstars from 2014, Father Patrick, JK She’salady, Mission Brief and Shake It Cerry, create the most apprehension. We need them back on track. And the old reliable types like Foiled, Bettor’s Edge and Clear Vision are making way for new blood, but where is it. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
Five years after harness racing trainer Casie Coleman won the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup and set Sportswriter on track to become the leading stallion in the Ontario Sires Stakes program, the trainer is back in the NA Cup with Arque Hanover. Casie Coleman of Cambridge remembers Sportswriter’s 2010 victory in the $1.5 million Pepsi North America Cup at Mohawk Racetrack as if it was yesterday, not five years ago. “Saying that, I’ve got three-year-olds of his in the barn,” she said, laughing. “Time flies.” Sportswriter, now based at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry, ON, is the leading stallion in the Ontario Sires Stakes program. Coleman said it all started with his Pepsi North America Cup win. “We had a rough Cup week with Sportswriter. I wasn’t even sure we were going to be able to race in the final that week (due to serious feet problems). He ended up winning it and it was pretty special,” Coleman said. “Obviously that sealed the deal to take him to stud which was going to be a huge stepping stone. So far, he’s proven himself as a sire.” Saturday night, Coleman will try to win the NA Cup for the second time in her career. She sends out Arque Hanover from post seven with Hall of Famer John Campbell in the bike on behalf of part-owner and fellow trainer Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh, ON. Earlier this year, Gillis sent Arque Hanover to Coleman’s U.S. stable to race in a stakes event at Yonkers Raceway in New York City. Coleman maintains stables in Canada and New Jersey. When Arque Hanover returned to Canada, Gillis and fellow owners Mac Nichol of Burlington, ON, Big Als Stable of Woodbridge, ON and Gerald Stay of Buffalo, NY opted to keep the son of Rock N Roll Heaven with Coleman for the North America Cup run. “Switching barns back and forth so many times wasn’t going to make much sense for the horse. So, they just decided they would keep him with me for the Cup. Then after the Cup he’s going back to the States and he’s pretty fully staked through the summer in the U.S.” Coleman said she was impressed with Arque Hanover’s second-place finish in his NA Cup elimination on June 13, despite finishing six lengths behind morning line Cup favourite Wiggle It Jiggleit, an opponent Coleman calls “an absolute creature. No one’s beaten him, yet, and he’s just been awesome.” Arque Hanover, winless in five starts this year, has been pegged at 25-1 in the morning line. “Hopefully, they can go some speed duels up front. I don’t believe mine will be part of the speed duel, but you never know. He can leave lots if (John) Campbell decides to do that. But, in a perfect world, I’d love to somehow be second over. That would be sweet, but I’m a realist… Not many people can beat Wiggle It Jiggleit, especially the way he looked last week. But, it’s a horse race. You never know and I think my horse is as good as any of the other ones.” “He’s just a sweetheart. He’s good-gaited, he’s a nice horse in the barn. Everything we’ve asked of him, he does it. He just wants to do his job. He digs hard right to the wire and he definitely doesn’t want to be beaten. We’ve only had the horse about a month or so, but, so far, I haven’t found many bad qualities on him.” The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup is race 12 on a gangbusters 15-race, stakes-rich Mohawk card that starts with a 6:30 p.m. first-race post. The Pepsi North America Cup will also be televised live on TSN. The show begins at 10 p.m. For more information about the Pepsi North America Cup, including a long list of fan promotions, please visit: www.northamericacup.com Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing