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The Miss Versatility series for trotting mares gets underway on Monday at Woodbine Mohawk Park with a single $52,800 harness racing division of five led by Serge Godin's pair of starlets in Emoticon Hanover and Dream Together racing under his nom de course of Determination.   Emoticon Hanover (Dan Dube) has won the past two Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot Finals to go with a World Record and nearly $1.5 million on her imposing resume. The Miss Versatility leg will get her 2019 stakes campaign underway after a convincing 1:52.3 win in an overnight.   Dream Together (Randy Waples) burst onto the Grand Circuit scene with a $105 win mutuel in the 2018 Dr John Steele Memorial at The Meadowlands and is but a cheque away from $700,000 in career booty.   Luc Blais has trained both from the first day they had the harness on and continues to have them beautifully prepared for each engagement.   Sorceress Seelster, Pat Matters and The Erm complete the quintet, which is the second race on the Monday night bill.     Nick Salvi

When harness racing trainer John McDermott approached the owners of star-crossed male pacer Hurrikane Kingcole and mare Hurrikane Schmumma to float the idea of breeding them, Jonathan Klee was unsure what to think. “I remember telling John, I’m not a breeder, I’m a lawyer,” said Klee, who was among the owners of both horses. “However, we all believed in Kingcole and John can be convincing, so all the owners discussed it and we gave it a go.” It turned out to be a wise choice. The first mating of Hurrikane Kingcole to Hurrikane Schmumma in 2014 resulted in a filly, Hurrikane Empress, who won a New Jersey Sire Stakes championship and finished her career with $219,902 in purses. She is now in foal to Sweet Lou. The second mating resulted in a colt, Hurrikane Emperor, who last year at age 2 captured sire stakes titles in New Jersey and Kentucky and was named New Jersey’s Standardbred of the Year. He won seven of nine races and earned $226,900 under the tutelage of McDermott and his son John Jr. “Last year was a dream come true,” Klee said. “Unlike buying a horse at a sale or claiming a horse, when you own the sire, dam and foal it’s a different type of feeling. Emperor is like a child to all of us. We have known everything about him since birth.” Hurrikane Emperor begins his 2019 season Friday (May 17) in the first round of the New Jersey Sire Stakes at The Meadowlands. His connections are hoping for not only success in state-bred stakes action this year but on the Grand Circuit as well. “If everything goes perfectly, we’ll go through the New Jersey Sire Stakes and use it as kind of a stepping-stone to the North America Cup,” said Jeff Kuhen, another of Hurrikane Emperor’s breeders/owners. “It’s been pretty great to see that Emperor is as good as Kingcole was, if not hopefully better. “He hasn’t done anything yet, knock on wood, to show us that he can’t go on any track and race any kind of style. That’s why I’m pretty excited to see what he can do this year.” Driven primarily by Dan Dube, the colt won from off the pace and from the front last year and impressed with his ability to relax at any point during a race. His fastest win time, 1:49.3 in his half-length triumph over Blood Money in the Kentucky Sire Stakes final at Red Mile, was tied for the fifth best of the season by a 2-year-old pacer. “He impresses me more every day I’m with him,” said McDermott, who also trained Hurrikane Kingcole and Hurrikane Schmumma. “His potential is endless. He’s got wicked speed like his father, but he’s the most intelligent and manageable horse I’ve ever been around. He’s so cool about things. “He didn’t get that from dad,” the trainer added with a laugh. “The thing people don’t know about his father was that his father was relaxed. The problem was that once you started him, you couldn’t stop him. Emperor can leave, sit, come back, do anything you want. That’s the beautiful thing about him.” Hurrikane Kingcole, speedy but rarely healthy, won 14 of 49 career races and equaled a world record in 2012 with a 1:48.1 mile at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. His career mark of 1:47.3 came in the consolation division of the Meadowlands Pace. He now performs stud duty in Australia. In addition to Klee and Kuhen, Hurrikane Emperor is owned by the third of the three breeders, Pegasis Investment Group, as well as William Garofalo. The colt is eligible to most of the major open stakes for 3-year-old male pacers including the North America Cup, Max C. Hempt Memorial, Meadowlands Pace, Adios, and Cane Pace. He is not eligible to the Breeders Crown. “We will give him every chance to prove how good he can be,” Klee said. “It will be a tribute to all of the little owners, breeders and farms who dream of breeding and racing a champion if Emperor can go out, compete, and win at the highest level.”   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, May 11, 2019--Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night (May 11th) soiree saw a pair of odds-on entities take advantage of generous getaways in the $44,000 harness racing co-features, plus a visit from the Reynolds Memorial crowd. The weekly adult-table pace had Levy Series standout Ideal Jimmy (Brent Holland, $3.60) drill his rivals. From post position No. 3 (inside one notch after the scheduled pole-sitter came up ill), he hung Pacing Major N (Jordan Stratton), then toyed with 'em (:26.4, :54.4; 1:23, life-best 1:51.1). The final margin was an unasked 4¾ lengths. Major Crocker A (Dan Dube), the new polester, just held off a stubborn Pacing Major N for second, with Somewhere in L A (Jason Bartlett) and JJ Flynn (Austin Siegelman) closing for the minors. For Ideal Jimmy, a 6-year-old homebred Western Ideal gelding owned by D R Van Witzenburg and trained by Erv Miller, it was his seventh win in 16 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $8.30, the triple (three wagering choices in order) returned $18.40 and the superfecta paid $91.50. The week's marquee trot had a methodical Will Take Charge (Siegelman, $3.10) turn in the fastest local mile (1:54) of the season. From post No. 3, he eschewed an early move to the lead, then tracked down In Secret (George Brennan) after that one's subsections of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:25. Will Take Charge did just that early in the lane, drawing out to win by a couple of lengths. A loosely-covered Top Flight Angel (catch-driver Dube) did grab second, with In Secret, Swansea (Joe Bongiorno) and Sumatra (Stratton) picking off the remainder. For Will Take Charge, a 6-year-old Kadabra gelding co-owned by trainer Jeff Gillis and Mac Nichol, it was his first win in five '19 tries. The exacta (two wagering choices) paid $10.40, the triple returned $40.60 and the superfecta paid $190. Also Saturday night, the $92,100 W.N. Reynolds Pace offered two divisions each for the 3-year-old girls and boys. A gingerly-handled Queen of the Pride (Stratton, $2.30) was advertised in her $22,050 event, winning by 4½ lengths in 1:54. The daughter of McArdle, owned by Frank Chick and trained by Kevin Lare, is now 4-for-5 this season. As Time Goes By (catch-driver Stratton, $13) went by tiring odds-on fave Art Lecture (Brennan) in a life-best 1:54.3, winning her $21,550 event. The Captaintreacherous miss is trained Julie Miller for co-owners Willow Oak Ranch and Andy Miller Stable. The colt and gelding groupings, each worth $24,250, were won by... --Wager on Me (by Bettor's Delight); co-owners George and Tina Dennis Racing,North State Street Stable/trainer Joe Columbo/driver Bartlett; 1:54.2/$6.90; --American Admiral (by American Ideal); co-owners William and James Fleming/trainer Andrew Harris/driver Jim Marohn Jr.; 1:54.3/$11.20. Seventy-cents-on-the-dollar faves in each colts/gelding event--World on Edge (Brennan) and Mo Mas Amor (Bartlett)--each threw in steps and were last and did not finish, respectively.   Frank Drucker Director of Publicity Yonkers

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway welcomed back over 500 harness racing horses this week, when two large nearby training facilities had their state-imposed quarantines lifted, and one horse in particular demonstrated just how amazing Standardbreds can be. My Hero Ron, who hasn't been allowed to race for six weeks, came back to the races as exceptional as ever on Saturday night (March 10) and captured the weekly feature, a $24,000 Open I Pace. Trainer Dan Dubeansky obviously did an outstanding job keeping the 6-year-old son of Well Said in fine physical form, despite the fact he could not leave the private training center where he is stabled since February 1, due to the potential threat of an equine herpes outbreak that never materialized. Driver Tyler Smith urged My Hero Ron to engage his foes from the word go, eventually settling for a seat in third along the pylons during a :26.2 opening quarter. Content to sit chilly behind P L Fighter (Dan Noble) and Angelo J Fra (Chris Page) through a half in :54.1 and a quick 1:22 third quarter clocking, Smith swung the winner three-wide for the stretch drive when the outer flow lost steam and allowed him a seam. My Hero Ron responded with a strong :28 final panel to grind down runnerup P L Fighter and hold off closer Heza Thrill N (Trace Tetrick), who finished third. Brian Witt and Cory Atley are partners on My Hero Ron, who now sports 18 career victories and $649,413 in earnings. Saturday's 1:50.2 clocking is exactly one second slower than Ron's lifetime best 1:49.2 mile at The Meadows three seasons ago. A $20,000 Open II was won by Feelnlikearockstar in 1:51.3, besting Dalhousie Dave (Kyle Ater) and J M Jet Set (Trace Tetrick). The triumph was one of four on the program for driver Tony Hall and gave Feelnlikearockstar his 16th lifetime tally and upped his earnings to $233,520. Trainer Perry Smith co-owns the 6-year-old Artstanding gelding with Sawgrass Farms LLC. A pair of final preliminary divisions of the George Williams Memorial late closing series, for horses with less than 4 wins or $40,000, were also presented. First time series winners were Gitn Drunkonaplane (Chris Page) and Jessi's Western (Tony Hall). Gitn Drunkonaplane scored in 1:54.4 over Smokin Willie (Dan Noble) and Offdahook Bluechip (Josh Sutton). Owned by Pacey "The Wizard" Mindlin and Kenneth Cohen, the 4-year-old son of Panspacificflight won for the second time in just three seasonal starts. Jessi's Western's win was also his second of 2018 as he bested Stubble Trouble (Chris Page) and Exit Sandman (John DeLong). The $22,500 championship of the George Williams Memorial Series will go postward on St. Patrick's Day, March 17. Gregg Keidel  

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