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MILTON, August 28, 2020 - Sorella set a Canadian record in her Woodbine Mohawk Park debut Friday to headline a quartet of stakes events for harness racing three-year-old trotters. A pair $81,405 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $30,000 Goodtimes eliminations for three-year-old trotting fillies took place Friday. Sorella kicked the night off in style in the opening Casual Breeze split, crushing rivals by nine lengths in 1:51.3 for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Nancy Takter. The clocking of 1:51.3 broke the previous Canadian and Track mark of 1:51.4 set by Ariana G and Manchego. A daughter of Muscle Hill, Sorella moved to the lead in the second-quarter and posted panels of :55.3 and 1:24.1 before saying goodbye to her competition with a :27.2 kicker. Whose Blues finished second, while Princesspartypants edged out She Rocks Kemp for third. Sorella is now five for seven on the season after going two for nine as a rookie. The Hambletonian Oaks champion has now made over $400,000 this season to bring her career total over $550,000 for owners Elmer Fannin, Crawford Farms Racing and Brent Fannin. The Takter trained Sorella is eligible to the upcoming Simcoe and Elegantimage. She paid $2.20 to win. Sorella McKees Angel rebounded from some recent miscues to win the second Casual Breeze division in 1:54.2 for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Ben Baillargeon. Early action and movement settled down when McKees Angel and Filion powered to the top in the second-quarter from fifth, clearing just after a :56.4 half. Race-favourite Wine Rack Hanover sat in the two-hole, as McKees Angel led by three-quarters in 1:25.2. In the stretch, 'Wine Rack' took a shot at McKees Angel, but the Baillargeon turned her aside and trotted off to a 1:54.2 score. Susies Lady rallied from well back to finish a flying second, beat a length. Modern Mass was third, while Wine Rack Hanover was fourth. A daughter of Archangel, McKees Angel was making just her second start in the Baillargeon barn. She made a break in her debut on August 13 before qualifying on August 18. The Casual Breeze victory was her first in seven starts this season. McKees Angel now has three wins and $79,656 earned in 15 career starts for owner/breeders Legendary Standardbred Fa. of Mt. Morris, New York. Trainer Baillargeon confirmed that she'll now head towards the Simcoe and Elegantimage. A $2 win ticket on McKees Angel returned $10.20. McKees Angel > Rescheduled from mid-June, the Goodtimes for three-year-old trotters had a pair of eliminations contested to determine the field for next Saturday's (September 5) final and the winners came from the same barn as the Casual Breeze. Fresh off a win in the Zweig Memorial, Ready For Moni posted a 1:51.4 victory for the team of Gingras and Takter. The son of Ready Cash moved to the lead in the second-quarter and hung up panels of :56.1 and 1:24.3 before closing out the victory with a :27.1 final-quarter. Play Trix On Me finished up in :26.4 to grab second, beat three-quarters of a length. Hayek was third, while Jula Trix Treasure and Hollywood Story completed the top-five to make next week's final. Ready For Moni is now four for five this season with his only loss being a runner-up finish in the Hambletonian. He now sits at nearly $500,000 earned this season and sports career numbers of eight wins and $779,020 earned in 13 starts for owners John Fielding, Lindy Farms of Conn., Herb Liverman and Bud Hatfield. The betting public sent Ready For Moni off at odds of 1/9. Ready For Moni Hp Royal Theo made the front in the second-quarter and trotted off to a 1:53.1 score in the other elimination for driver Louis-Philippe Roy and trainer Ben Baillargeon. The gelded son of Royalty For Life overcame the outside post-nine to score his fourth win in seven starts this season. Capricornus rallied for second, beat a length and three-quarters. Hot Wheelz, Lovedbythemasses and Stravinsky, also from the Baillargeon barn, rounded out the top-five. Hp Royal Theo came through last season in the William Wellwood Memorial final and could be set for more Grand Circuit success for owners Claude Hamel and Michel Damphousse. His career numbers now sit at seven wins and $424,040 earned. A $2 win ticket on Hp Royal Theo returned $8.90. Hp Royal Theo The $215,000 Goodtimes final will take place next Saturday (September 5) as part of a stakes-filled card. The post positions for the final were drawn following the eliminations. Friday's elimination winners earned the right to select their post for the final. 1 Capricornus (Cantab Hall - Oh My Darlin - Glidemaster) 2 Hayek (EL Titan - Hold Her Tight - Kadabra) 3 Play Trix On Me (Trixton - Lima Playmate - Credit Winner) 4 Hp Royal Theo (Royalty For Life - Mikas Mazurka - SJ's Caviar) 5 Ready For Moni (Ready Cash - Nothing But Moni - Credit Winner) 6 Hollywood Story (Muscle Hill - Counter Pointe - Striking Sahbra) 7 Jula Trix Treasure (Trixton - Victory Treasure - Enjoy Lavec) 8 Lovedbythemasses (Muscle Mass - Incredibility - Northern Bailey) 9 Stravinsky (Sebastian K - Frisky Magic - Kadabra) 10 Hot Wheelz (Wheelin N Dealin - Affair Hall - Deweycheatumnhowe) AE Threefiftytwo (Royalty For Life - Four Damsals - Cr Excalibur)   Mark McKelvie        

MILTON, ON - August 23, 2019 - Only Take Cash and Evident Beauty scored harness racing Grand Circuit victories in Friday night's Casual Breeze Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Casual Breeze for three-year-old fillies saw a pair of $83,123 divisions contested. Ohio Sires Stakes star Only Take Cash returned to the track where she won her career debut to collect a comfortable 1:54.4 victory in the first split. The Bob McIntosh trainee and driver Trevor Henry circled to the top in the second-quarter from the two-hole and never had an anxious moment en route to a 2¼ length score. Only Take Cash took the top spot heading to the half and posted fractions of :56.4 and 1:26 before a final-quarter of :28.4. Special Honor finished second, while Dark As A Pocket was third. A daughter of Cash Hall, Only Take Cash now has five wins and $158,811 earned in seven starts this season. The McIntosh trainee has won 13 of 16 career starts and amassed an impressive $434,311 in earnings for Robert McIntosh Stables, Dave Boyle and Mardon Stables. The Casual Breeze Stakes was Only Take Cash's Grand Circuit debut after racing in strictly Ohio sired events this season. A $2 win ticket on Only Take Cash returned $3.10. Evident Beauty scored a blowout win in the second division for driver David Miller and trainer 'Nifty' Norman. The landscape of the second split took a hit when race-favourite The Ice Dutchess made a break early in the second-quarter when tracking Evident Beauty. The eventual winner was parked around the first-turn seeking the top, clearing shortly after her rival's miscue.       Evident Beauty reached the half in :57.2 and three-quarters in 1:26.3 before trotting away from rivals with a 27.4 last-quarter to win by 6 lengths. Angies Luckeylady finished second, while Sonnet Grace was third. A daughter of Trixton, Evident Beauty is putting together a strong sophomore campaign with five wins and $281,444 earned in nine starts. The Norman trainee came into Friday's start off a second-place finish to The Ice Dutchess in last Saturday's Zweig Memorial at Vernon. Evident Beauty's career numbers now sit at eight wins and $555,260 earned for owners Mel Hartman, Little E LLC and R A W Equine Inc. She paid $5.60 to win. The Nancy Johansson barn might have had a miscue from The Ice Dutchess, but they did find the winner's circle in Friday's $30,000 Mares Preferred with star Kissin In the Sand. The four-year-old daughter of Somebeachsomewhere moved to the lead in the second-quarter for driver Yannick Gingras and took off on rivals with a :27 third-quarter (1:22.2). Kissin In The Sand finished the job with a :27.4 kicker to hold off a push from a drifting Double A Mint to win in 1:50.1. Windsun Glory finished third. The victory for Kissin In The Sand is her second consecutive at Mohawk Park and her second in 11 starts this season. The career winner of more than $1.1 million now has 19 victories to her name. Kissin In The Sand paid $3.70. Live racing continues Saturday evening with the Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes on tap. Post time is 7:10 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Entertainment

MILTON, ON - August 21, 2018 - Hambletonian champion Atlanta is set to return to action following her Hambletonian victory in this Friday's (August 24) $136,000 Casual Breeze Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The Rick Zeron trained three-year-old filly won't be able to ease back into competition, as she will dance with nine rivals, including Hambletonian Oaks champion Manchego. The Casual Breeze will be the first meeting of the season between Atlanta and Manchego, a matchup racing fans have been anxiously waiting to see. Atlanta has been enjoying well-earned relaxation since becoming the first filly in 22 years to capture the Hambletonian. The daughter of Chapter Seven had an adventurous Hambletonian experience, finishing second in the first-heat after setting unheard of fractions and then coming back to go coast to coast and win the $1 million final. Capturing the Hambletonian guarantees a trotter's place in history, but Atlanta's bounce back performance following her draining first-heat will go down as one of the most memorable performances in the history of the event. "She came out of the Hambletonian really good," said Zeron Monday evening ahead of the Casual Breeze draw. "She dove right into her feedbox the night we brought her back home from The Meadowlands. She's Atlanta, she just does her own thing and we just jogged her up for a week and gave her a little down time." The magnitude of winning the Hambletonian has been striking Zeron in stages and he expects it'll continue to sink in over time. "It's there, but it hasn't really sat me down in the chair yet. It's a big feat for the girls to beat the boys, so I was very happy about that." Atlanta returned to Zeron's Ontario barn on August 12 to prepare for a stretch of stakes action at Mohawk Park, beginning with Friday's Casual Breeze. "We trained her up pretty good last Saturday and we'll train her again on Wednesday morning," said Zeron. "I'll go with her myself and see how she is. We're expecting Atlanta to show up like she always does." The return to Grand Circuit action at Mohawk Park is full-circle for Atlanta, who's first stakes victory came nearly a year ago on August 31, 2017, kicking off a tremendous run that continues today. "I always saw something in her as a two-year-old," recalled Zeron. "Courtney Hanover was always better than (Atlanta) was, but as the year progressed Atlanta stepped over Courtney. "When she won the Champlain she was really good and then we sent her over to Vernon Downs and she won in 1:54 out of the eight-hole, mile in front, and that's when I said, 'She's got it now, she understands what she has to do.'" Atlanta's two-year-old season saw her win four of 10 starts and earn $135,075. Her sophomore campaign has been nearly perfect with six wins in seven starts and earnings of $703,234. The ownership group of Atlanta consists of Rick Zeron, Crawford Farms, Holland Racing Stable, Howard Taylor and Brad Grant. Zeron has the Elegantimage Stakes on September 15 as his next big target and isn't lacking opportunities to race Atlanta at Mohawk Park over the next four weeks. "We got the Casual Breeze, the week after the Simcoe and then the Elegantimage elimination and final," said Zeron. "We'll probably go week by week. I'll speak to Scott about it and we'll make a decision where will race her for four-weeks or we'll give her a week off in between." Atlanta will start from post-three in Friday's Casual Breeze, while Manchego has drawn post-eight. Zeron doesn't have any plans currently to face the boys again. This year's group of three-year-old trotting fillies has been deemed the deepest in years and many intriguing battles appear ahead for Atlanta, beginning with Friday's start against Manchego. "I don't think I have to go back against the boys," said Zeron. "She's beat the boys and won the holy grail. There is nothing bigger than the Hambletonian." Zeron has full confidence in Atlanta to continue her outstanding season. The veteran trainer is excited for the battles ahead and isn't worried about any outside noise. "I don't really criticize or comment or boast up on Atlanta or whatever it is. I just let Atlanta do her talking on the racetrack and everybody else in the newspapers." by Mark McKelvie, for Woodbine Communications

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 25 - On A Sunny Day and Southwind Tesla each picked up a Grand Circuit harness racing victory in Friday's Casual Breeze Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 16 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into a pair of $81,412 Casual Breeze divisions. The opening split saw On A Sunny Day take full advantage of an easy opening-half to win in 1:54.2. The Luc Blais trained filly was driven by Sylvain Filion, who opted to put the Ontario Sires Stakes star on the front from post-two. On A Sunny Day cut an opening-quarter of :28.2 before getting a second-quarter breather of :29.4. On A Sunny Day ramped up the tempo with a :28 third-quarter and then proceeded to step home in :28.1 to hold off two-hole challenger The Erm by three-quarters of a length. Winter Sweet Frost finished third, while Highland Top Hill was fourth. "I was just trying to see what unfolded from the gate and only the one horse was leaving, so I thought I would give myself a chance on the front end," Filion said post-race. "She's just a sweetheart. She's not very big, but she's all heart and tonight we got soft fractions and it was pretty easy for her." Owned by Determination of Montreal, Quebec, On A Sunny Day has been a consistent performer for trainer Blais. The daughter of Muscle Mass now has four wins in seven starts this season to improve her career record to eight wins in 13 outings. On A Sunny Day has $179,736 banked this season to increase her career earnings to $363,486. The Blais trainee paid $5 to win. On A Sunny Day The second division featured overwhelming favourite Magic Presto, but it was another filly that would grab the spotlight. Southwind Tesla and driver Phil Hudon came through with a 13-1 upset victory in a career-best 1:54. Magic Presto got away third, but was quickly moved to the lead by Trevor Henry just after an opening-quarter of :28.1. The 1-5 favourite found the front and led through middle-half fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.2. Around the final turn, Hudon came first-up from fifth with Southwind Tesla and that would turn out to be a winning move. Magic Presto was not her usual self and gave way to the challenger in the lane and finished fifth. Southwind Tesla seized the lead and proceeded to hold off a blocked Dream Together and a flying Dream Baby Dream to win by half a length. "I figured that Trevor (Henry) would be going to the front, so I let James (MacDonald - Sweet Of My Heart) in front of me and was hoping to get a second-over maybe," Hudon said post-race. "I ended up grinding up slowly and she felt good when I touched her on the tail coming out of the turn and then it just worked out that Sylvain (Filion - Dream Together) didn't get out until late." Southwind Tesla is co-owned and trained by Rene Dion. The Chapter Seven filly is now three for 11 this season with all three victories coming in her last five starts, including a New York Sires Stakes score on July 20. The Casual Breeze victory puts Southwind Tesla over $100,000 in seasonal earnings and up to $154,739 in career earnings for owners Dion, Suzie Kerwood and David Nicol. The Dion trainee paid $28.10 to win. Southwind Tesla Grand Circuit action continues Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack with the Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, Nassagaweya and Eternal Camnation Stakes. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 26 - Emoticon Hanover and Caprice Hill made their sire Kadabra proud with impressive harness racing victories in the Casual Breeze Stakes Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 20 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into a pair of $97,000 divisions. Emoticon Hanover was a gate to wire winner in the first division for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. The daughter of Kadabra left alertly from post two to grab the lead and it was lights out from there. Emoticon Hanover posted fractions of :28, :57.1 and 1:26.2 before firing home in :28 for the victory. Double Exposure left hard from post eight, landed the two-hole and ultimately finished a length and a quarter back in second. Jangone finished third, while Worldclass Hanover was fourth. Following the race, Filion was very pleased with the Emoticon Hanover's effort in the Casual Breeze and her progression as a three-year-old. "I wanted to get to the front and control the pace, which we did, and she did it pretty handy," said Filion following the race. "Last year she was a little tough to drive, but this year she is way handier, so that makes her much better." Owned by Determination of Montreal, Quebec, Emoticon Hanover scored her fourth victory of the season Friday in her eighth outing. She now has eight career victories and a bankroll of $436,658. The Blais trainee paid $2.80 to win. Emoticon Hanover Caprice Hill continued her fantastic season by overcoming the ten-hole to win the second division in 1:53.3. The Tony Alagna trained filly was unhurried at the start by driver Randy Waples and eventually found a spot along the rail in sixth just after the opening-quarter. Side Bet Hanover led the field to the half in :57.3, but was quickly confronted entering the far turn by a charging Caprice Hill, who took the lead before five-eighths. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:26, Caprice Hill trotted home strongly in :27.3 to win by 3 ¼ lengths. Side Bet Hanover held on to second over a charging Flowers N Songs. Also a daughter of Kadabra, Caprice Hill now has five wins in 2016 and has yet to finish outside the top two in eight starts this season. Following the race, Alagna passed along much of the credit for Caprice Hill's excellent season to his mother, Donna Lee. "Everybody who knows the filly knows that this is my Mom's pride and joy and she's done a great job with her," he said. "(Caprice Hill) is just very easy on herself, rests, does all the right things, good eater and that's why she looks as great now as she has all year." Owned by Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ontario, Caprice Hill is nearing millionaire status with $980,377 in lifetime earnings following the Casual Breeze victory. She paid $2.90 to win. Caprice Hill Up next for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the Simcoe Stakes next Friday (September 2) followed by the Elegantimage eliminations. Emoticon Hanover and Caprice Hill are both eligible to those upcoming events. Live racing continues Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack with the eliminations of the Metro Pace and Shes A Great Lady headlining the card. Post time is 7:30 p.m. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - Many of harness racings finest three-year-old trotting fillies took centre-stage at Mohawk Racetrack Friday night for the Casual Breeze Stakes. A total of 15 sophomore trotting fillies were split into two divisions of the Grand Circuit event. In the $91,475 first division, Doug Millard's homebred, Elegant Serenity, went gate to wire for 3½ length victory. Starting from post position six, trainer/driver Roger Mayotte immediately took the filly to the lead, opening up by as much as two lengths by the half. Elegant Serenity controlled the tempo throughout, posting fractions of 27:4, 57:2, and 1.25:4. She opened up her lead down the stretch by up to five lengths, being chased late by Lilu Hanover to close the gap. Smokinmombo, the odds on favourite, stalked the pace to the half, made a brief bid at the top of the stretch and eased out to a sixth place finish. Second place finisher Lilu Hanover trailed the field down the stretch, making a late surge in the final eighth to pass Piscean three wide. Juanitas Fury was fourth by 5¼ lengths. "She had no real races over the last month" said Mayotte, following the race. "We knew she has a big plate ahead of her over the next six weeks, so we thought it was a good chance to give her a freshener". Owner/breeder Doug Millard later added that Elegant Serenity will likely be aimed towards the Elegantimage Stakes, which is fittingly named in honour of her dam. Friday's score was Elegant Serenity's fourth out of her six starts in 2015. She has now bumped her lifetime earnings to over $150,000 after Friday's stakes victory. Elegant Serenity paid $4.90 to win. Elegant Serenity Ontario Sires Stakes star Muscle Baby Doll scored her sixth consecutive victory with another dominating effort in the $92,475 second Casual Breeze split. Muscle Baby Doll, the 2/5 favourite, and driver Doug McNair left from the rail and got situated third, before making a quick second-quarter move to overtake the lead from Danielle Hall. The public's choice posted a half-mile time of :56.3 to take the field into the final turn. Lock Down Lindy, a Hambletonian Oaks elimination winner, picked up cover around the final turn and was placed second-over. After trotting by the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, Muscle Baby Doll waved goodbye to her rivals and quickly extended her lead. Lock Down Lindy was unable to fire off her cover in the lane, leaving Danielle Hall to chase the favourite and finish second by two-lengths, as Muscle Baby Doll stopped the timer in 1:53.3. Speak To Me trotted up to get third, while Tymal Illbthere was fourth. A daughter of Muscle Mass, Muscle Baby Doll is trained by Tony O'Sullivan for owner F Bellino And Sons Llc. The sophomore trotting filly was making her first start since a 6¾ length victory in the Duenna Stakes at The Meadowlands on August 7. "What she did at The Meadowlands was pretty spectacular and she was good again tonight," said O'Sullivan, following the race. "She's a beautiful filly, she's a professional and she does everything good and she just wants to win." Muscle Baby Doll improved her record to seven wins from eight starts in 2015 with her 11th career victory Friday. The Casual Breeze score increases her earnings to over $390,000. Following the race, O'Sullivan confirmed that Muscle Baby Doll is being pointed towards the Elegantimage eliminations in two weeks. Muscle Baby Doll paid $2.90 to win. Muscle Baby Doll   The sophomore trotting fillies will have a final opportunity to prep for the Elegantimage Stakes next Friday (September 4) in the Simcoe Stakes. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27 - Harness racing's finest is taking over Mohawk Racetrack. The annual Grand Circuit week begins tomorrow evening (August 28) with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies and wraps up next Saturday (September 6). The Champlain Stakes for two-year-olds and Simcoe Stakes for three-year-olds are staples on the Grand Circuit schedule every year. "Having North America's top two and three-year-olds come to Mohawk is exciting and something we all look forward to," said Scott McKelvie, WEG's Racing Secretary and Director of Racing. "The Grand Circuit's annual visit is always a highlight of the racing season." Thursday night three Champlain divisions for more than $83,000 will take place for the freshman trotting fillies. Spirit To Win (PP3), the winner of this year's Pure Ivory Series, leads the group of eight in the first division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Celebrity Spirit, Spirit To Win has won three times in four career starts for trainer Dustin Jones. The second division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Danielle Hall (PP6) for the trainer/driver duo of Carl and Jody Jamieson. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall has won four of her five career starts for earnings of over $137,000. Jolene Jolene (PP1) is the 4-5 morning line favourite in the third and final division. Trained by Jonas Czernyson, Jolene Jolene is a daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie and has one win in four career starts. She was the runner-up in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands on August 2. The stakes action will continue on Friday night with two divisions of more than $103,000 of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $124,621 divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters. World champion Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks, headlines the group of 13 three-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit will start from post six in the second Simcoe Stakes division (Race 9) with driver Brett Miller. She is coming off a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the Casual Breeze Stakes last Friday at Mohawk. Miller and Takter will also team up in the second Champlain Stakes division with freshmen trotting colt French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi, French Laundry has won three of his five career starts and will start from post three. On Saturday evening, the $207,689 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters will take place as part of the massive Canadian Pacing Derby card. Precocious Beauty leads a group of nine three-year-old pacing fillies in the Simcoe Stakes. Last year's She's A Great Lady Stakes winner, Precocious Beauty will start from post four for the trainer/driver team of Gregg and Doug McNair. A large field of 12 three-year-old trotters starring this year's Hambletonian winner Trixton will meet in their Simcoe Stakes division. Trixton, who has drawn post eleven in the second tier, will be making his first start since capturing the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on August 2. Trixton will also be making his first start at Mohawk since he set the track record of 1:51.3 in the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take his usual position in the bike behind Trixton on Saturday evening. After a busy weekend, the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes action will resume next Saturday (September 6) with the $260,000 Champlain Stakes for two-year-old pacers, the $240,000 Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the $240,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. Racing fans can stay up to date with the Grand Circuit by visiting their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/TheGrandCircuit and all of Mohawk's racing action at www.MohawkRacetrack.com by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 22 - A full weekend of Grand Circuit racing action at Mohawk got underway Friday night with two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies. Lifetime Pursuit, this year's Hambletonian Oaks winner, cruised to a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the second division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace, Lifetime Pursuit and driver Yannick Gingras got away third and followed along as Cantabs Fortune and Rick Zeron set fractions of :27.4 and :56.4. As the field made their way around the final turn, Gingras sent Lifetime Pursuit first up and she immediately blew by Cantabs Fortune to trot by the three-quarter station in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit put on a show as she separated herself from her rivals and trotted effortlessly to a 3 ¾ length stakes record victory. The old stakes mark of 1:52.4 was set by Action Broadway in 2010. Designed To Be finished second, while Cantabs Fortune held on for third. The clocking of 1:52.1 was not only a stakes record, but it also equaled the track and Canadian record co-held by Check Me Out and Bee A Magician. "She can really scoot," Gingras said following the race. "She's been good all year, but she's really stepped it up since Hambletonian Oaks day and she was scary good that day and she's just as sharp now as she was then." Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit was coming into the Casual Breeze off World Record setting miles in the Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands and a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at the Meadows. While Lifetime Pursuit has really come into her own over the last month, Gingras said she was starting to show her true talent leading up to the 'Oaks'. "No doubt she's got better in the last three starts, but also a couple starts leading up to the 'Oaks' it was just the trip wasn't working out," said Gingras. "Maybe she was getting a little bit sharp then and the trip just wasn't working out, maybe it's a combination of both, but obviously on paper it looks like her last three starts have been vicious, but she's been good all along." Lifetime Pursuit is owned by the Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky. The Casual Breeze Stakes victory was the eleventh win of her career, fifth win in ten starts this season, and it boosted her career earnings to more than $700,000. Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.90 to win. The first division of the Casual Breeze Stakes saw Sweetie Hearts pull off a 45-1 upset. Sweetie Hearts and driver Randy Waples grabbed the early lead and led the field into the backstretch. On the way to the half, My Inspiration came first up and overtook the lead to reach the half way point in :56.3. Donatella Hanover, the 6/5 favourite, was sent to the outside and came up to challenge My Inspiration as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. In the stretch, Donatella Hanover took the lead, but Waples brought Sweetie Hearts off the rail from the two-hole to go around a fading My Inspiration and trotted up the inside by Donatella Hanover to win by a quarter of a length in 1:54.2. Danica, who made a charge on the far outside, finished third by only three-quarters of a length. Trained by Ron Parsons, Sweetie Hearts was coming into the Casual Breeze off a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg at Grand River on August 13. Following the race, Parsons said the daughter of Angus Hall - Sweetheart K has been getting better as the season goes on. "She's a great mare and she gets stronger as the year goes and I think you're going to get a lot cheaper price on her in the next few weeks," said Parsons. Owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Sweetie Hearts was moved during her two-year-old season from Paul Reid's barn to Ron Parsons stable. "When I got her from Paul Reid (last year), he told me 'you're getting a nice filly, but just take your time, put the right driver on her and she'll be good and that's what she did. She went a big race in the Goldsmith Maid and then we shut her down and then we brought her back and she's just starting to get her mojo about her." The mile time of 1:54.2 is a new career best for Sweetie Hearts and the victory was her third win in eleven starts this season. She has now visited the winner's circle seven times in her career and has earnings exceeding $210,000. Sweetie Hearts paid $100.70 to win. Next up for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the $215,000 Simcoe Stakes next Friday night at Mohawk. The following week, eliminations will be held for the $365,000 Elegantimage Stakes. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG 

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 21 - Homen Dry had the Define The World series title fall into his lap Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A field of nine lined up Thursday night to contest the $46,600 series finale for two-year-old trotters. Jetpedia, the leg one winner, sprinted off the gate to grab the lead, while Homen Dry, the leg two winner, got away in third. Jetpedia and driver Mike Saftic trotted by the quarter pole in :29.2 and then slowed the tempo down considerably to reach the half way point in 1:00.4. In the third quarter, Homen Dry and driver Chris Christoforou advanced from third into second, while Saftic picked up the speed with Jetpedia to reach the three-quarter pole in 1:29.4. As the field entered the stretch, it appeared Homen Dry was in for a sprint to get by Jetpedia, but Jetpedia made a costly break a few strides into the stretch allowing Homen Dry to inherit the lead and cruise to a 1:58.2 victory. Trained by Brad Maxwell, Homen Dry won by three quarters of a length over stablemate Southwind Stryker, while Lookslikeachpndale took the show spot. Following the race, Christoforou said the trip didn't exactly work out as planned. "It really wasn't where I wanted to be, but because of his habits he will tend to pull up on the front and I didn't really want to be there even though the fractions were slow" said Christoforou. "I had to sit back, but I didn't want to be too far back because the fractions were slow, so I was close as I could be without being on the front." The series finale victory for the son of Credit Winner - Beyond Blue Chip was the second win in a row after finishing second in his first two career starts. "He (Homen Dry) has done quite well," said Christoforou. "He's a bit of tricky little guy to drive at times, but he's got lots of speed." Owned by Paul Van Camp, Ben Mudry and Tim Murray, Homen Dry was a $19,000 yearling purchase at last November's Harrisburg Sale. The winner's share of the purse increases Homen Dry's career earnings to over $35,000. He paid $4.40 to win. Stakes action continues tomorrow night at Mohawk as the three-year-old trotting fillies will be on display in two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions. Headlining the second division is Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks. She will start from post seven with regular driver Yannick Gingras. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

Eighteen of harness racing’s leading ladies are scheduled to assemble Friday evening at Mohawk Racetrack in a rich set of divisions of the Casual Breeze Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. The event, which in previous years was a lead-up to the Elegantimage Stake, features two $101,296 divisions which will be carded as Races 7 and 9. Headlining the event is this year’s Hambletonian Oaks winner, Lifetime Pursuit. The three-year-old trotting daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace enters the Friday evening assignment following a 1:51.3 world record-setting performance in a PASS event at The Meadows on August 12. Jimmy Takter trains the 10-time winner and Yannick Gingras will handle career winner of $516,672 from Post 7. To read the rest of this story click here.

Lori Ferguson, a Standardbred breeder from Woodville, Ont., puts a great deal of thought into the names she selects for her colts and fillies. Her most recognizable moniker was Billyjojimbob, whose name came from the closing sequence of the television show 'The Waltons.' Billyjojimbob would go on to become one of the most successful Ontario-bred trotters of all time, and is still the only Canadian-bred to win the prestigious Elitlopp, having accomplished the feat in 1992. The latest trotter bred and named by Ferguson is the Angus Hall lass Galbraith, who will start in the first of six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots events for two-year-old trotting fillies tonight at Mohawk Racetrack. “Her dam, Dream Inspired, is from one of Harry Rutherford’s good trotting families,” Ferguson said, referring to the owner of Cool Creek Farm which has produced many good trotters over the years, including the $1.3-million winner Casual Breeze, who hails from the same family as Galbraith. “We try to have a theme for the names of the foals of each of our mares. I decided with Dream Inspired’s foals to go with a Scottish surname. I wanted to name her first foal (a filly by Kadabra) Rutherford, but that was already taken, so I called her Rutherford Lass,” explained Ferguson, who operates her farm with her husband, Richard, and notes that Ferguson also fits into that category. Rutherford Lass earned $18,700 in the OSS last year at two and has finished second in her most recent outings, overnights at Georgian Downs and Grand River Raceway for trainer Wayne Henry. When Dream Inspired foaled a filly by Angus Hall in 2012, Ferguson selected the name Galbraith for her. “It’s a name well known in the harness racing world, so I thought it was appropriate,” she explained. Likely the most famous Galbraith in harness racing is Ontario native Clint Galbraith, a member of harness racing’s hall of fame and the developer of the great Niatross. The filly was purchased privately as a weanling by Brad Duplisea of Quebec, who has two mares boarded at Ferguson’s farm. “We met through Twitter. He contacted me and asked if I would board some mares for him and it’s worked out very well. He’s an excellent owner and adores his horses.” Duplisea grew up in P.E.I., right across the street from the Charlottetown Driving Park, and sent Galbraith there to receive her early training from Ron Matheson. She was then shipped to another P.E.I. native, Ronnie MacLean, to race in Ontario. Tonight’s Grassroots event marks the first OSS outing for Galbraith and her second lifetime start. She’ll be driven by James MacDonald from Post 7. The fillies are featured in Race 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9 on the program. To view the harness racing entries for Thursday at Mohawk, click the following link: Thursday Entries – Mohawk Racetrack. From the Ontario Sire Stakes

TORONTO, April 30 - After winning in her first start of the season last week at 50-1, harness racing trainer and co-owner Frank O'Reilly can only hope Magic Feeling is ready to pull another disappearing trick on the field in Thursday night's Celias Counsel final, at Woodbine. The daughter of Kadabra scored an eye-catching 1:57 victory in last week's second round of the Celias Counsel and now advances to the rich $34,400 final, slated for race six. "We'll take the long bombs along with the short ones," O'Reilly chuckled about the major upset. "Her winning didn't really catch me by surprise because she trotted a :57 back half in her qualifier. The speed was there." O'Reilly first laid eyes on Magic Feeling two years ago at the 2012 Harrisburg Yearling sale where he purchased the bay filly for $30,000. "She was a big, strong, raw boned filly that came from a good family," O'Reilly said. "Her brother is doing quite well right now (Nowucit Nowudont - $215,518) and she was within the price range." After numerous qualifying attempts last season and one start, O'Reilly elected to pull the plug on Magic Feeling's rookie campaign. "She was immature and had some aches and pains, so we had to do what was best by her," he said. "We raced her once and could have continued, but the year was pretty much over. We brought her along far enough to find out that she was well worth keeping. She has a lot of talent to her." Looking ahead to this year's final of the Celias Counsel, O'Reilly remains optimistic about his chances. "I think she has as good of a shot as any of them in there," he said. "She's paid into the Casual Breeze and Elegantimage so I do think enough of her. If she's on her game, she will be just fine." John Fielding and Isidoro Russo also own the bay filly who has stashed away $7,500 in earnings. This year's final of the Celias Counsel will begin in race six on Thursday evening's 10-race programme. The field will line up as follows: 1. Serendipitous 2. Magic Feeling 3. Flexible Woman 4. K D Bella 5. Fashion Goddess 6. Tosca 7. Kadabra Lavictoire 8. Wings Of Ballykeel 9. Miss Everything 10. Just Call Me Lady Greg Gangle WEG Communications

Standardbred Canada has announced the winners of the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the event, the annual Black Tie Gala was held in Charlottetown, PEI, at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel and PEI Convention Centre. The awards are named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. O’Brien was born in Alberton, PEI. Bee A Magician who was perfect in her 2013 season, was the unanimous choice in the Three-Year -Old Trotting Filly division and was also voted Canada’s Horse of The Year. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her races last season and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore campaign. The daughter of Hall of Fame sire Kadabra took a mark of 1:51 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The invincible filly’s stakes victories included the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Sylvain Filion successfully defended his Driver of The Year title. In 2013 he led all reinsmen in the nation in terms of purse earnings, as his mounts banked $6,111,736. Filion finished as the leading money-winning driver on the Woodbine Entertainment Group circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk Racetrack and Woodbine Racetrack. The resident of Milton, Ont. earned the Lampman Cup for the second straight year, as he topped the Ontario Sires Stakes standings for drivers. Filion celebrated his richest win of the season while steering Boomboom Ballykeel to a 10-1 upset victory in the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Richard Moreau was voted Trainer of The Year following an impressive season that saw his stable win 279 races and earn $3,623,805 in purses. The resident of Puslinch, Ont. earned training titles across Ontario at Georgian Downs, Grand River Raceway, Mohawk Racetrack, The Raceway at Western Fair District and Woodbine Racetrack. Moreau topped the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. The 2013 season marked the 14th consecutive year that his stable has surpassed the $1-million mark in purse earnings. Alberta’s Kelly Hoerdt won the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship. Hoerdt is a successful driver/trainer who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. The 2013 season was another productive year for Hoerdt, as he trained 82 winners and horses to $623,000, and drove 66 winners and horses that earned over $490,000. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in terms of earnings at Alberta Downs. His stable was led by sophomore pacing colt Premium Attaction, a multiple stakes winner that rattled off six wins in 11 races and over $111,000 Precocious Beauty was honoured as Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, $462,912 in purses and took a mark of 1:50.1 which tied a world record for a one-mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. The two-year-old pacing colt title went to Arthur Blue Chip, who scored six wins in 11 starts and bankrolled $400,120 for his connections. The son of Shadow Play took a mark of 1:51.2 in his Metro Pace elimination at Mohawk before being scratched ‘sick’ from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore in 2013 and added another O’Brien (Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of The Year) to her trophy case. The talented filly boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner up finish in the American National. Little Brown Jug winner Vegas Vacation took the hardware home as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt of The Year. Vegas Vacation gave his connections the ride of a lifetime in 2013. Conditioned by Casie Coleman, the son of Bettors Delight put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 from 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses. He wheeled off victories in his first four races which included the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes and an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup. On September 19 he captured the Little Brown Jug in straight heats – both timed in 1:50. ‘Vegas’ finished his sophomore season with a win in the Matron Stakes to put his bankroll at just over $976,000. Anndrovette continued to dominate the pacing mare ranks in 2013, and, for the third consecutive year, was crowned Canada’s Older Pacing Mare of The Year. The daughter of Riverboat King was on the board in all but three of her 21 races. Some of her major wins included three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway along with the Roses Are Red and Breeders Crown eliminations. On July 20 at Mohawk Racetrack she captured the Roses Are Red final in a career best 1:48. The talented mare now has 35 lifetime wins and a career bankroll of almost $2.6 million. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again was voted Canada’s Older Pacing Horse of The Year. Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season, as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final, as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final for his third straight million-dollar campaign. He entered the year within reach of the all-time earnings record for pacers, and he managed to obliterate that mark by adding $1.4 million to his bank account while visiting 11 different racetracks along the way. He closed the season by sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at the Meadowlands. Riveting Rosie was the winner in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Riveting Rosie closed out her rookie campaign with six wins in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Her major victories included the Peaceful Way Final, her Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain Stakes. In the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division, it was Father Patrick who took the O’Brien trophy. He topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Series. Flanagan Memory was voted Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year after a productive season which saw him win seven of 11 races and $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning his Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Maven was voted Canada’s Older Trotting Mare of The Year. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She added wins in the Miss Versatility Trotting Series, an elimination and final of the Armbro Flight, and the Allerage. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her bankroll. For the second consecutive year, Mister Herbie captured the title as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse of The Year. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in stakes competition, including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067 in purses. Seelster Farms, of Lucan, Ont. was honoured as the Armstrong Breeder of The Year. In 2013, Seelster-bred horses scored 248 wins and $2.1 million in earnings. In the Future Star category, the winner of this first-time award was trainer/driver Travis Cullen. The 21-year-old Alberta-based horseman closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the final card of the meet while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. The complete list of winners follows. 2013 O’BRIEN AWARD WINNERS PACERS Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer - Precocious Beauty owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Arthur Blue Chip owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer - I Luv The Nitelife owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer - Vegas Vacation owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare - Anndrovette owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Older Pacing Horse - Foiled Again owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL TROTTERS Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Riveting Rosie owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Father Patrick owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter - Bee A Magician owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter - Flanagan Memory owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Older Trotting Mare - Maven owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse - Mister Herbie owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY PEOPLE AWARDS O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Armstrong Breeder of The Year Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of The Year Sylvain Filion, Milton, ON Trainer of The Year Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB STANDARDBRED CANADA MEDIA EXCELLENCE AWARDS The Media Excellence Awards program, established by Standardbred Canada in 2008, is aimed at honouring exceptional work that covers Canadian harness racing in a manner that is extraordinary and of broad national appeal. Outstanding Written Work Paul Delean ’Reaching Improbable Heights’ 'Reaching Improbable Heights', written by Paul Delean, was published in the December, 2012 issue of Trot Magazine. It tells the story of trotter Intimidate’s incredible journey from obscurity to harness racing’s biggest stage and the ride of a lifetime that two smalltime owners from Quebec are still pinching themselves over. Outstanding Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group North America Cup HD Broadcast Woodbine Entertainment Group’s North America Cup broadcast aired across Canada on The Score television network on Saturday, June 26, 2013. The one-hour special of the $1-million North America Cup was the first live high definition broadcast of a standardbred race in Canada. The show featured live race coverage of the main event, a feature on Marvin Katz (co-owner of eventual winner Captaintreacherous) and a profile of a very special racing fan – Sydney Weaver. The broadcast was a production of WEG’s broadcast department, produced by Rob Platts and directed by Kris Platts. Outstanding Photography Clive Cohen Clive Cohen captured the sunset behind trainer Rene Dion warming up Ocean Mist Beauty on September 19, 2013 at Mohawk Racetrack. The image was published on WEG’s Facebook page later that night. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca

One of Canada’s harness racing greats is coming ‘Down Under’. Rick Zeron left Canada bound for Perth, via Dubai, last night (Tuesday). He and his wife of 34 years, Joyce, will return to Oakville in Ontario on March 4. As at Tuesday (February 4), Zeron had driven 7,711 winners ($103 million) from 46,454 starters and trained a further 2,120 ($27 million) more from 8,916 attempts. “I’m going to visit friends in Perth and then we will be heading to Sydney. There is a good chance we will attend the Inter Dominion grand final. “New Zealand is also a possibility because we know that is a very beautiful country. It would be great to see how both countries operate their racing,” Zeron said. The 57-year-old said he had never been to New Zealand and Australia. “It’s been a life-time goal. My wife and I had planned to head down there in five or six years, but I said to her, ‘what the hell’, let’s do it now. We are really excited about it,” Zeron said. Zeron shifted from Connaught Park to Blue Bonnets in 1982 and soon established himself as one of Quebec’s top driver, winning the Blue Bonnets driving premiership seven times from 1986-1994. For seven consecutive years he was also the leading stakes earner seven times and top UDR strike rate driver on five occasions. In 1995 he moved to the Woodbine and Mohawk circuits and has been one of their top reinsmen ever since. His Little Brown Jug (Michael’s Power, 2012) winning son, Scott, is now one of Canada’s best reinsman, and recently moved to New Jersey to further his name at the surrounding big tracks like the Meadowlands. On March 21 last year he became the youngest driver in history to win 2,000 races. He was just two months shy of his 24th birthday. His father explained why he believed his son was so good in the sulky: “I told him if you ever get a chance to put a good horse in the race, do exactly that, but if you are driving a poor horse I said to him to sit back and run on late and try and get a cheque for the owners. “I also told him if I ever saw him flogging a horse with his stick like a crazed monkey he would never make it in the game.” That epitomises why Zeron senior has made his name in North American harness racing circles. Last year he drove 106 winners ($3 million) and trained 43 ($959,921). Zeron has no driving assignments in Australia or New Zealand. Zeron’s major wins include (with years in brackets): CANADIAN TROT CLASSIC (96) Classic Adam CASUAL BREEZE (04) Sunshinenlollipops CHAMPLAIN STAKE (90) Prudhomme (98) Blissfull Hall (02) Moma’s Millionaire (02) Boulder Creek (03) Character Counts (05) Majestic Son (07) Intimidator (07) If And Only If (08) Hibbler COLONIAL LADY (00) Hornby Jean DYGERT MEMORIAL (95) Tak The Tuk FRANK RYAN MEMORIAL (06) Stiletto GENERAL BROCK FINAL (96) Yentls Iceman (04) Deadmans Curve HARVEST (03) Character Counts MAPLE LEAF TROT (98) Hanko Angus ROBERT STEWART MEM. (95) SOS Ninja SIMCOE STAKE (90) Osgood Hanover (96) Look Whos Cumin (99) Hawaiian Dancer (00) Ladys A President (03) EZ Past (07) Hagi   By Duane Ranger (Harness Racing New Zealand)

On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY   Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY   Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON   Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY   Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL   Trotters   Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON   Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON   Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI   Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON   Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL   Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY   People Awards   O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON   Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON   Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON   Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON   Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON

Bee A Magician to race at 4 & 5!

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