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Market Share, the 2013 Hambletonian winner and victor in the $235,000 American National for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters, returns to Balmoral Park on Saturday night in Race 9 to defend his harness racing crown in the $166,300 American National Aged Trot. The son of Revenue S-Classical Flirt-Yankee Glide was clocked in 1:53.3 with driver Tim Tetrick at the lines for the Linda Toscano-trained, then-sophomore. Owned by Richard S. Gutnick of Pennsylvania, TLP Stable and J Augustine of New Jersey, Market Share will leave from post five in the field of eight trotters. "Never, never in a million years did we dream that Market Share could be this kind of horse," Toscano offered. "He's just one of those horses that enjoys his work and tries real hard. It's surprising, but that's a good thing." Bred by Hayley Moore of Paris, Kentucky, Market Share, a $16,000 yearling purchase from the 2010 Lexington Selected Sale, won all five of his 2-year-old starts over Freehold Raceway's half-mile oval. Toscano and principal owner Richard Gutnick were uncertain if he could excel at the bigger tracks, such as the Meadowlands. So it was up to Market Share to show them. In 2012, at age 3, Market Share won the $1.5 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the $1 million Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk en route to earnings of $2 million. He also trotted the fastest mile in the history of Maywood Park when he captured the $108,000 Galt in 1:54.4, erasing Green Day's previous track record of 1:55.1, set in 2007. As a result, he was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. Last season, his wins included the Breeders Crown Open Trot, Maple Leaf Trot, TVG Free For All Series Championship and American-National Stakes. He led all older trotters with $1.07 million in purses and received the Dan Patch Award for best older male trotter. "It's a treat to be able to bring one back like that as a 5-year-old," Toscano said. "By bringing back the older horses, people recognize the names and the horses become the stars again. I think that's what is missing in our industry. I think it's a real good thing." This year Market Share has added another $357,296 to his bank account, pushing his career earnings to $3,471,308 via a $37,200 Maple Leaf elimination at Mohawk, the $250,000 Maxi Lee at Harrah's Chester--when he set a new world record and career best clocking of 1:50.2 for an aged gelding trotter on a five-eighths mile oval--and a victory in a $40,000 Cutler elimination in 1:50.3. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Market Share surpassed the previous world mark of 1:50.3 that was co-held by Uncle Peter and Sevruga, both set in 2013 when he scored that record clocking in the Maxi Lee. Market Share now has 24 wins, seven seconds and 12 thirds in 53 career starts. On Oct. 5, he was race-timed in 1:52, finishing fifth by three lengths in the $173,000 Allerage Trot at Lexington's Red Mile. Market Share is the fourth of six foals out of his unraced dam Classical Flirt, and is a half-brother to Photogenic Legs (by Classic Photo) 3, 1:57.2h ($102,892) and to Broadway Legs (by Broadway Hall) 3, 1:55 ($57,225). By Kimberly Rinker

Adam Bowden was in the Kentucky Futurity winner's circle last year with Creatine and he hopes to return there following Sunday's 122nd edition of the trotting classic, this time with Father Patrick. Bowden and his father, Chris, operate Diamond Creek Farm, which is part of Father Patrick's ownership group. Father Patrick, who has won 20 of 23 career races and $1.92 million, drew post No. 1 for Sunday's $435,000 Kentucky Futurity for 3-year-old trotters at The Red Mile in Lexington. Nine horses entered the Futurity, so eliminations are unnecessary. Yannick Gingras will drive Father Patrick for trainer Jimmy Takter in the one-dash-for-the-cash event. Rounding out the field in post order are Il Sogno Dream, Martiniwithmuscle, Datsyuk, Hillustrious, Nuncio, Mr Lindy, DD's Hitman, and Lightning Force. Sunday's card also includes the $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity, $173,000 Allerage Farm Open Trot, $160,500 Allerage Farm Open Pace, $90,000 Allerage Farm Mare Pace, and $89,000 Allerage Farm Mare Trot. Father Patrick brings a four-race win streak to the Futurity, including a 4-1/2 length victory over Lightning Force in 1:50.4 in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile last Sunday. He also has won the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic, $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and $340,000 Zweig Memorial since losing by a half-length to Datsyuk in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. "Last week he was on cruise control and still trotted in sub-1:51," said Bowden, who owns Father Patrick with John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, Brixton Medical AB, and the group of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. "Hopefully, we're in the winner's circle on Sunday. Jimmy gives me two thumbs up. I'm hoping that's going to be the case." Last year, the Diamond Creek-bred-and-owned Creatine won the Futurity for hometown trainer Bob Stewart. Bowden had planned to sell Creatine when he was a yearling, but the horse was withdrawn from the auction because of an infected hock and remained with Diamond Creek. Creatine races Sunday in the Allerage Farm Open Trot. "We've been with Bob since the beginning and for him to be a Kentucky guy, no offense, I love Father Patrick, but I don't think anything is going to top last year," Bowden said. "That was the most exciting thing for me. It was the first time. It was a homebred with a good friend of mine. We always believed in the horse and we finally won one of the big ones. That was exciting." The Bowdens started Diamond Creek Farm in 2005 in Paris, Ky., and now have a second location in Pennsylvania. Diamond Creek will stand Father Patrick as a stallion at the conclusion of his racing career. Father Patrick, bred by Brittany Farms, is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to million-dollar-earner Pastor Stephen. "We're very happy and lucky; we want to stand the best horses," Bowden said. "After his 2-year-old year, we took a huge risk that (Father Patrick) was going to come back and be dominant at 3. Right now it looks like our gamble is going to pay off. Cantab Hall is arguably the hottest sire in the sport, along with Muscle Hill, and here's his greatest son so far. It's a great sire line and we're hoping it continues with Father Patrick." The Kentucky Futurity is the second jewel in this year's Trotting Triple Crown. Trixton won the first, the Hambletonian, but has since been retired because of injury. The third jewel, the Yonkers Trot, is Oct. 25. Takter trained and drove Trixton in the Hambletonian. Another of his charges, Nuncio, finished second in the race. Father Patrick went off stride from post 10 and finished off the board for the only time in his career. Nuncio will be driven by John Campbell, his regular pilot, in Sunday's Futurity. Nuncio has won 12 of 22 career races and finished second in the other 10. Eight of those runner-up finishes have come behind Father Patrick. "Nuncio is one tough horse," Bowden said. "He's a great horse and in any other year he's the best horse. "One of these days you think he's going to beat his stablemate. But I hope it's not Sunday." Takter sends out the likely favorite in the Kentucky Filly Futurity, Shake It Cerry. She was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter and has won 10 of 12 races this season. She will start from post three with driver Ron Pierce. Scream And Shout and Heaven's Door will start inside of Shake It Cerry while to her outside are Highest Peak, Chivaree Hanover, Vanity Matters, and Yoga. Scream And Shout and Yoga also are from the Takter Stable. The Allerage Farm Open Trot features Sebastian K, the fastest horse in harness racing history thanks to his 1:49 win earlier this year, two-time Dan Patch Award-winner Market Share, 2010 Kentucky Futurity winner Wishing Stone and recent Centaur Trotting Classic winner Master Of Law. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, and multiple-stakes-winner Classic Martine lead the way in the Allerage Farm Mare Trot, where they will encounter Dan Patch Award-winner and defending race winner Maven. Sweet Lou, who has won 10 of 15 races and nearly $1 million this year, and Foiled Again, North American harness racing's all-time money-winner, are among the 10 horses in the Allerage Farm Open Pace. Eleven horses were entered in the Allerage Farm Mare Pace, including three-time Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette, stakes-winners Rocklamation and Somwherovrarainbow, world champion Shebestingin, last year's race winner Shelliscape, and 2012 winner Drop The Ball. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Harness racing's top pacer this year -- Sweet Lou -- and the sport's top money-winner of all time -- Foiled Again -- headline Saturday's $200,000 Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational at Scioto Downs. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke, who recently topped $20 million in purses for the year. It is the second consecutive season Burke has eclipsed $20 million, following his record-setting $22.2 million campaign in 2013. Burke broke his own record of $19.6 million established in 2012. Sweet Lou, who is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the field of eight older male pacers, is returning to action for the first time since having his 10-race win streak snapped in the Canadian Pacing Derby on Aug. 30 at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. During his win streak, the 5-year-old Sweet Lou set a record with six consecutive victories in faster than 1:48. His triumphs this year include the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, Dan Patch Invitational, and Roll With Joe. "Horses get beat," Burke said about Sweet Lou's setback in the Canadian Pacing Derby, where he finished sixth. "They went at it hard. They were 1:20.1 (to three-quarters) and every one of my horses was on his second or third move by the time we hit the top of the lane." Sweet Lou, who is the No. 2-ranked horse in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10, behind only trotter Sebastian K, got to relax a bit following the CPD. He prepped for the Ewart with a 1:52.1 qualifier on Sept. 18 at The Meadows. "I just kind of let him mess around for two weeks and then we put him back on his normal schedule," Burke said. "He couldn't have been better. As always, the break does him wonders. He really seems sharp. I'm sure he's ready to go." Sweet Lou has won 10 of 14 races this year and 32 of 69 lifetime, good for $3.05 million in purses. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. Ron Pierce, who drove Sweet Lou in each of his previous 11 starts, will again be at the lines in the Ewart. Foiled Again, with lifetime earnings of $6.62 million, is still going strong at age 10. He has won back-to-back starts, including the Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in Delaware. For the season, he has won six of 19 races and finished among the top three on 15 occasions. The three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, Foiled Again will start the Ewart from post No. 1 with driver Matt Kakaley and is the 3-1 second choice on the morning line. "Every time he gets beat, people are saying we should retire him," Burke said. "Then we should retire everybody he beats, too, and there would be about three horses a year left. "I can't be happier with him. He's as good as he's ever been in his career. He ran into Lou when Lou was on probably as good a streak as any horse had seen, in the last decade at least. There's no shame there. A lot of horses were having trouble with him." The remainder of the Ewart field is Kanaris, Night Pro, Bigtown Hero, Bolt The Duer, Beach Memories, and Domethatagain. Now that Burke has surpassed $20 million in purses again, he seems likely to soon break the earnings record he established last year. Burke's earnings have increased every season since taking over the stable fulltime from his father, Mickey, in 2009. "I really thought (breaking the earnings record) would be the hardest thing for us to do," Burke said. "But we got off to such a good strong start this year, better than even normal, and that made a lot of difference. "If everything keeps going like it's going we should be alright." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Without ever seeing the “rail” and parked out first-over the entire mile, Sumatra was able to grind it out for driver Brian Sears in capturing the $118,300 Old Oaken Bucket Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. It was a bulky ten-horse field for three-year-old trotters on a half mile track and winning trainer Tom Fanning said this was going to happen. “I don’t like everyone not having their nose on the gate,” Fanning said Wednesday morning. We won’t be able to take back if we don’t leave or else we will be parked out the entire mile. I still think my horse is a contender in here. He has been doing great the last two weeks.” Fanning was right on the mark with that pre-race comment. Uva Hanover (Tim Tetrick) were the first out of the gate and on the early lead with race favorite Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) grabbing the pocket trip. They went to the opening quarter in :28. Then Skates N Plates (   ) came first-over and cleared to the lead with Sumatra and Sears losing their cover and getting parked-out to the half in :56.4. Around the third turn, Skates N Plates was in command with Sumatra gaining ground with every stride. They passed the three-quarters in 1:26 and Sumatra was then able to clear to the lead as Skates N Plates began to fold. Down the stretch Sears urged Sumatra on and they held a two length lead as the field came at them but it was too late as Sumatra held on at the wire to score by a diminishing three-quarters of a length in 1:56.1. Datsyuk was second and Il Sogno Dream (Aaron Merriman) finished third. Sumatra went off at odds of 19-1. “It did work out,” Sears said, “My horse was able to overcome it (first-over). He doesn’t have the handiest speed in the world but he is honest and he tries real hard. I know that horse of Trond’s (Smedshammer) would not hold the lead and my horse got by him on the last turn and that made the race for him. I didn’t put any pressure on him. I let him do it on his own. He’s not real quick but he keeps going and does not get tired and he showed that today.” It was the second win this year for Sumatra. The gelded son of Muscles Yankee other win this year was the Dexter Cup Trot final at Freehold Raceway, once again on a half mile track. Sumatra is owned by Joseph Smith of Vero Beach, FL and paid $41.00 to win. Pinkman takes $59,445 Standardbred Stake Nothing was “breaking bad” for Pinkman in Thursday’s $59,445 Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters, as he overcame favorite Crazy Wow in deep stretch for the victory at the Delaware County Fair. Making only his second start, Pinkman and driver Yannick Gingras followed leader Crazy Wow -- who won the New York Sire Stakes championship last Saturday -- for nearly the entire mile before pulling out of the pocket and trotting to the win in 1:57. Crazy Wow finished second, followed by Ralph R and Walter White. The Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman, racing as an entry with Walter White, went off at 5-1 and paid $12 to win. Pinkman and Walter White are named after characters from the television series “Breaking Bad.” Pinkman is a son of Explosive Matter out of the mare Margie Seelster. He was purchased for $77,000 under the name Traffic Jam at the Lexington Selected Sale. His family includes stakes-winner Grassbed, who is the mother of 1990 Dan Patch Award-winner Me Maggie and grandmother of millionaire racehorse and top stallion Credit Winner. In his first start, Pinkman finished second from post eight in a conditioned race at The Red Mile. He has now earned $27,275 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. On Thursday, Pinkman sat behind Crazy Wow through fractions of :29.4, :59.3 and 1:28.4. Walter White made a first-over challenge from fourth place at the half-mile point, but only was able to get within a half-length of overtaking Crazy Wow for the lead. Pinkman found room coming off the final turn and was able to overcome a 1-1/4 length deficit to win by a neck. "He is now a gelding rather than a colt," said Jimmy Takter. "We had some problems that resulted from the castration surgery that took some time for him to recover from so that is why he had a late start. We started him in Lexington last week and I was very happy with him so I decided to put him in here." By Steve Wolf, Ken Weingartner with Kimberly French

Four world champions meet in Thursday's $121,500 Miss Versatility Series championship for older female trotters at the Delaware County Fair in central Ohio. The group is led by Bee A Magician, who was the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, and Classic Martine, who has won this year's Armbro Flight Stakes and two preliminary divisions of the Miss Versatility Series. The two horses share the world record of 1:51.1 for the fastest winning time by a 4-year-old trotting mare on a mile racetrack. Classic Martine also shares the world record of 1:51.2 for the fastest victory by a female trotter of any age on a five-eighths-mile racetrack. She shares the mark with her stablemate, and Miss Versatility contender, Frau Blucher. And then there is Maven. Last year, she won the Miss Versatility Series championship with a 1:51.4 triumph at Delaware. The time established the world record for fastest race mile ever by any trotter, male or female, on a half-mile oval. Only Cash Hall's time-trial 1:51.1 time, recorded at Delaware in 2006, is faster than Maven's race time. A day before Maven made history, Frau Blucher set the world record of 1:53.1 for the fastest win by any 3-year-old trotter on a half-mile track at Delaware. "It's a very deep group, for sure," said Chris Oakes, who trains Classic Martine and Frau Blucher. "I think we've got a very good chance. Both horses are doing well right now and drew well, which is important there. (But) I think probably the horse to beat is Bee A Magician." Classic Martine drew post No. 1 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite with driver Tim Tetrick. She has won eight of 12 races and $246,732 this year. Last season, she shared the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters with Frau Blucher - finishing in a dead heat for win with her stablemate in the final - and was second to Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Oaks. The mare is owned by Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Ed Gold. "She had time off and she matured good and has come back a better horse than last year," Oakes said. "She's a little bigger, a little stronger, and the mental toughness is definitely there this year." Frau Blucher, who finished second to Bee A Magician in last year's Breeders Crown, will start from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1. She has won one of seven races this year, but is approaching $1 million in lifetime earnings for owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes and Matt Tudisco. Bee A Magician, trained by Nifty Norman, was unbeaten in 17 races last season and has won three of 10 starts this year. She finished second to male rivals in the Hambletonian Maturity and fourth against the sport's top open trotters in the Crawford Farms Trot. In fact, her most recent three starts were against the boys, with her winning an open at Yonkers and a conditioned handicap at Harrah's Philadelphia. She won a division of the Miss Versatility by a neck over Charmed Life in her world-record 1:51.1 performance. Three weeks later, she lost by a neck to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula final in the same time. Bee A Magician is owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. She has won 30 of 40 career races and $2.52 million. She starts the Miss Versatility from post six with driver Brian Sears and is 5-2. Maven, who received the 2013 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, has won two of eight races this year. She opened her campaign with a win in the Miami Valley Distaff and then went to Sweden for the Elitlopp Invitational, where she finished third in her elimination and sixth in the final. On Aug. 23, she beat male foes in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs and in her most recent start she finished fifth in the final preliminary round of the Miss Versatility at Tioga Downs. The race was won by Charmed Life in 1:52.2 - the fastest mile ever trotted at the track. "It's really a deep, deep division," said Yannick Gingras, who drives Maven. "In the past, there's always been a standout in that division, but there isn't one right now. Imagine if Maven was to just step up a little and be the horse that she was last year, it would be some scary good trotting mares going at each other every week. It's great for the sport." Maven, trained by Jonas Czernyson, who has three horses in Thursday's Miss Versatility, has won 27 of 48 career races and $1.48 million for owner Bill Donovan. Last year, she finished fifth in her start prior to the Miss Versatility championship at Delaware. Gingras is hoping history can repeat itself with a bounce-back winning performance again this season. "Jonas told me that she's had an unbelievable two weeks since that start at Tioga and he really believes he's got her in peak form right now," Gingras said. "I'm going to go behind the gate with the mindset that she's one of the horses to beat and I'm going to race her that way. Hopefully Jonas is right." Following is the Miss Versatility field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Classic Martine, Tim Tetrick, Chris Oakes, 2-1; 2. D'Orsay, Corey Callahan, Jonas Czernyson, 6-1; 3. Ma Chere Hall, David Miller, Jonas Czernyson, 12-1; 4. Frau Blucher, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 5. Maven, Yannick Gingras, Jonas Czernyson, 4-1; 6. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 5-2; 7. Charmed Life, Brett Miller, Dave Menary, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications    

It was announced yesterday by owners Richard and Joanne Young and trainer Chris Ryder that the party is over for world champion pacer I Luv The Nitelife as she has been retired from racing. After attempting to come back from an injury sustained at the end of the 2013 season, owners Richard and Joanne Young made the decision to quit with I Luv The Nitelife on Tuesday. The daughter of Rocknroll Hanover - Lisjune was winless in two starts this year after recovering from a slab knee fracture and atrial fibrillation. "[She] has a few issues we didn't feel she deserved to race with," trainer Chris Ryder confirmed to Trot Insider. "Just a great mare, all heart. Very saddened by her retirement but it is the thing to do." Richard Young purchased I Luv The Nitelife, a daughter of stallion Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Lisjune, for $60,000 under the name Hard Rock Deo at the Lexington Selected Sale in 2011. Richard Young loves to name his yearlings with something unique and came up with "I Luv The Nitelife" as he has done with other top horses he and Joanne own including Put On A Show.  Now according to the Young's, I Luv The Nitelife will go to the breeding shed next season. "We are going to miss you racing sweet girl!," Joanne Young said, "Oh, but the babies you will make!" As a two-year-old, 'Nitelife' put together a record reading 4-4-1 in 10 freshman starts to bank $682,574 in purses for the Youngs and trainer Chris Ryder. In addition to setting a world record of 1:50.1 in an elimination of the She's A Great Lady at Mohawk Racetrack, she also won the final along with divisions of the Eternal Camnation and Bluegrass Stakes. I Luv The Nitelife was also a runner-up in the Champlain Stake, International Stallion Stakes and Breeders Crown. The O'Brien voters gave her the nod as their choice for Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in 2012. The voters had no doubt who was the best three-year-old pacing filly in 2013. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million en route to divisional honours as Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year in Canada and capturing USHWA's Dan Patch Award in the U.S. Her sophomore triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette, Mistletoe Shalee and Miss New Jersey Pacing Classic. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a three-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track.   For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 27 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in harness racing history has won more money at ages two and three. "‎Very appreciative of the honors she accumulated," added Ryder. "Very special. She will be impossible to replace." With two world records and multiple stakes under her belt, one of her losses stands out to her co-owner as the race that shows her guts and determination. "Her last race [at three] in the American National," Richard Young told Trot Insider. "She should have lost by 10 and just got beat. One of the most memorable races of my life, and more than likely the race that ended her career." ‎"A mare like 'Nitelife' is as good as it gets, all business," continued Young. "She gave all she had in every race. She didn't wait for things to set up. She forced everyone to alter their style to race her. "If she passes her will to compete, she will be the ultimate broodmare." by Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com with files from Trot Insider

Freehold, NJ --- Trainer Nifty Norman might not be expecting his star mare Bee A Magician to beat the sport’s top male trotters in Friday’s $236,000 Crawford Farms Open at Vernon Downs, but he’s not shying from the challenge, either. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada, will face nine male rivals in the Crawford. The field includes world champion Sebastian K, who was Sweden’s Horse of the Year in 2012 and is harness racing’s No. 1-ranked horse this season, plus major stakes-winners Archangel, Intimidate, Market Share, Mister Herbie, and Spider Blue Chip. “I’m not intimidated,” Norman said. “We’ve got to do it at some point, anyway, and I think she seems really good right now. I don’t expect to win, but I expect her to be good. She looks fantastic, nice and sound.” Bee A Magician, a 4-year-old mare who was undefeated in 17 races last season, has won two of eight starts this year and finished second on five occasions. She enters the Crawford off a track-record 1:55 victory over the boys in the open on Aug. 22 at Yonkers Raceway. “That had some bearing on our decision, although that was not the same quality field,” Norman said. “But I liked the way she raced there. “Basically, we’ve got to race and it was either against the mares for $40,000 (in Monday’s Miss Versatility Series leg at Tioga Downs) or the boys for $240,000. Getting a piece of $240,000 is better than winning for $40,000. We figured we’d give it a shot. “Plus Classic Martine is racing as good as anybody right now. It’s not like facing the mares was going to be easy.” Prior to the win in the Yonkers open, Bee A Magician finished second twice to Classic Martine in the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands. Classic Martine captured the final by a neck in 1:51.1, equaling Bee A Magician’s world-record time for a 4-year-old female trotter. Three of Bee A Magician’s second-place finishes this year came in miles of 1:51.2 or faster. Another came in the Hambletonian Maturity, contested at 1-1/8 mile, against 4-year-old male rivals. “I haven’t been disappointed with her at all this year,” said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee. “I’ve thought she’s gone some great trips. “People keep asking what’s wrong with her because she’s not winning every race. I didn’t expect her to. It’s tough at this age (4). This year is really a learning curve to see how she handles the step up. It’s more to help plan for next year.” Bee A Magician, who has won 29 of 38 races and $2.49 million, will start the Crawford from post three with regular driver Brian Sears. Sebastian K, who has won seven of eight races this year, his first season in North America, starts from post five for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. He is the fastest trotter in history thanks to his 1:49 win in the Sun Invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 28. Intimidate is the only horse to defeat Sebastian K this year, winning the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose. Intimidate, who starts from post eight, won last year’s edition of the Crawford, then called the Credit Winner. Market Share, who has won 24 of 49 races and $3.43 million in his career, was last season’s Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. He will start Friday from the trailing position, post 10. “It’s a very good field, that’s for sure,” Norman said. “(Bee A Magician) has got a good spot. There’s lots of speed in there, and if she winds up getting a good enough trip, she should be good enough to get a piece.” The field for the Crawford in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 2. Spider Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Chuck Sylvester; 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, Nifty Norman; 4. Flanagan Memory, Brett Miller, Rene Dion; 5. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 6. Master Of Law, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 7. Mister Herbie, Brian Sears, Jeff Gillis; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais; 9. Quick Deal, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 10. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano. Spider Blue Chip and Bee A Magician will race as an entry. Market Share will start from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

Freehold, NJ --- As the owner of a breeding farm, Mike Gulotta would seem an unlikely candidate to buy a horse that was gelded. But when longtime horse agent Gerry Bloch called Gulotta about gelded 3-year-old pacer Somewhere In L A, Gulotta knew he had to listen. After all, it was Bloch who directed Gulotta to a 4-year-old pacer named Lis Mara in 2006. Lis Mara, who had earned $180,536 entering that season, banked $1.96 million the rest of his career and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer in 2006. So far, Gulotta is happy he listened to Bloch and partnered with J&T Silva Stables and TLP Stable to buy Somewhere In L A on June 1. Since then, Somewhere In L A has won four of eight races, finished second in the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $186,373. The fact (Somewhere In L A) was a gelding gave me some pause, but I thought that if Gerry was recommending the horse, I needed to pay attention,” said Gulotta, who is the CEO of Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. “I have a great deal of respect for Gerry. He’s found a number of horses for me, so when he calls, I have to listen. “I think this horse is pretty special. He’s a fast horse that can take a lot of air. I think he’s getting better and better.” Somewhere In L A races Friday in the first of two $99,990 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows. He will start from post seven with driver Dave Palone at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Also in the race is Adios champion McWicked, who leaves from post four with David Miller driving for trainer Casie Coleman. A son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere, Somewhere In L A is the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare West Of L A. She is a half-sister to millionaire Thinking Out Loud and stakes-winner You See L A. Somewhere In L A was bred and owned by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables, and Al McIntosh Holdings before the sale to Gulotta’s group. Last year, he won three of 11 races, including a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, and earned $71,831. He enters Friday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes start with three wins in his last four races. His only setback during that span came by one length to McWicked in the Adios, and Somewhere In L A is coming off a victory over older horses in the preferred on Aug. 22 at The Meadows. “Jimmy is doing a great job with him,” Gulotta said. “I thought if he had a better trip in the Adios, he would have been right there with McWicked. He was on the outside a long time.” Gulotta is hoping for a long and prosperous career for Somewhere In L A, noting the earning potential for gelding pacers while making reference to Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest all-time North American performer. “What’s wrong with making $6 million,” Gulotta said, laughing. “(Buying Somewhere In L A) fits from a business perspective. He can bolster our finances.” Tom Pontone, who along with his father, Lou, makes up TLP Stable, was unaware the horse was a gelding when he committed to be a partner. He was given the chance to leave the group, but decided to stay on board. “I thought he was going to do good,” Pontone said. “I saw his stakes schedule and we have the opportunity to get back our money this year. And I love owning horses with Mike because he’s like a brother to me. I told Mike I think we’re going to have a little fun with him. “He’s turned out to be a pretty good buy for us so far. He’s a tough horse and he keeps on trying. That’s the one thing I liked about him. He’s had some tough races where he’s had to come first up, but he never stops. He just keeps on going right down to the wire. He never gives up.” If all goes well, Somewhere In L A will go to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 7 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, then head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Somewhere In L A is the No. 3-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings, behind Meadowlands Pace winner He’s Watching and McWicked. None of the current owners of Somewhere In L A have had a horse win the Little Brown Jug. “It would be a thrill,” Gulotta said. “It would be a dream come true. “Even with a gelding.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

A Scandinavian quartet have teamed up and bought Broadway Hall. Hans Nelén (Global Farm), John Bootsman (Boko Stables), Mats Gabrielsson (Oxalis) and the couple Siv and Nils Otto Bergslien (The breeders of ”Thai”-horses) are the quartet behind the deal. Broadway Hall will stay in Pennsylvania and will service American breeding during 2015. In the fall, he will be collecting semen for freezing to the European market. Broadway Hall debuted as 2-year-old with making nine starts and he remained undefeated. Among his victories excels elimination and final of the Breeders Crown, Kentucky Sire Stakes and Lexington Breeders Championship. He received the Dan Patch Award as the "2-year-old-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States. Broadway Hall is the father of five world record holders, including the filly Cooler Schooner who last year won at 1: 51.3 at Pocono Downs 5/8-mile-track, which is still the fastest time for a two year old in the world - any track length. He has left two millionaires, Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn and the mare Action-Broadway. He has nearly 700 offspring in North America, which together have earned over 30 million dollars. In Sweden, he has 50 registered offspring where the mare Mermaid Ås (E3-winner and 2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET) is most winning with nearly four million SEK in her bank roll. In Norway Broadway Hall has left Thai Broadway (2nd in Grand Prix de l’UET and Breeders Crown), which earned almost 3.5 million NOK. Facts Age: 14 years (foaled 2000) Pedigree: Conway Hall - B Cor Tamgo Record: 1:56.4 Purse: $436,790 - Won the Dan Patch Award as the ”2YO-trotting-colt-of-the-year” in the United States in 2002. - Undefeated after nine starts as a 2-year old. - Breeders Crown winner. World Champion foals Frau Blucher, 1:53.1 • 3YO fillies at half-mile-track Cooler Schooner, 1:51.3 • 2YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Pilgrims Chuckie, 1:53 • 3YO colts and geldings at 5/8-mile-track Stage Show, 1:53.1 • 4YO fillies at 5/8-mile-track Sherman Mountain, 1:53.3 • 3YO geldings at 5/8-mile-track To earning foals USA: Broad Bahn (1.53 • $ 1,547,988), Action-Broadway (1:52.3 • $ 1,071,122), Pilgrims Taj (1:53.3 • $ 996,748), Frau Blucher (1:52.3 • $ 914,367), Broadway Scooner (1:53.3 • $ 885,933) and Opening Night (1:52.2 • $ 749,374). Sweden: Mermaid Ås (1:53.2 • 3,944,747 SEK) and the US-imports - Production (1:54.3 • 1,447,870 SEK), Cool Keeper (1:56 • 1,426,500 SEK) and Dicey Spicey (1:56.4 • 848,494 SEK). Norway: Thai Broadway (1:52.4 • 3,489,856 NOK). Finland: Vincent Van Kemp (1:56.2 • € 78,953). For more information contact either Truls Heslien, Global Farm, +47,328,767 97 +47906596 31 or John Bootsman, Boko Stables, +46 70-582 07 19. by Håkan Persson, for Global Farm

Three-year-old trotter Father Patrick is ready to get back to action Sunday in a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes at Tioga Downs in New York, looking to return to his winning ways after going off stride in the Hambletonian, snapping a 15-race unbeaten streak. His driver, Yannick Gingras, is ready too. "Win or lose, I'd always be looking forward to getting back on the track with him," Gingras said. "He's a great horse. He's provided me with great thrills so far, and I'm sure there are plenty more to come. "I'm looking forward to showing everybody what a great horse he is." Father Patrick's return is part of a card that features 10 Tompkins-Geers divisions for trotters and pacers. Among the horses competing Sunday are 3-year-old male pacer JK Endofanera, who earlier this year won the North America Cup, and multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old female pacers Precocious Beauty and Uffizi Hanover. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Father Patrick has won 16 of 18 career races and $1.26 million. He was the Hambletonian favorite, but drew post No. 10 - the outermost spot on the gate at the Meadowlands Racetrack - and went off stride at the start. The million-dollar race was won by Trixton, another colt from the Takter Stable, with Takter himself in the sulky. "I scored (Father Patrick) down pretty hard because I've never left with him before," Gingras said after the race. "I wanted him to pay attention and be ready for (the start). The gate opened and I touched him on the tail with the whip and he took off running. It's so unfortunate. Knock on wood, I'll have another chance. But he never will." Gingras, who leads all harness racing drivers in purses with $7.23 million this year, won five stakes races on Hambletonian Day. But he still had difficulty feeling upbeat. "It was a great day, but I still went home and was very disappointed," Gingras said. "When you focus on a race for so long, that's what makes it such a disappointment. There are only a couple million-dollar races and I haven't won one yet. That day had it all - the million dollars, the Hambletonian, Father Patrick and everything he's accomplished. It was such a downer. Even though I had a great day, I didn't feel like celebrating. "I do still think about it. It's a race I'll always want to take back, but you've got to live with it now at this point." Father Patrick races Sunday in the second of two Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters. His split also includes Datsyuk, who finished sixth in the Hambletonian. "They said he came out of the (Hambletonian) fine and he trained back good," Gingras said about Father Patrick. "That was to be expected. There's nothing wrong with him, so I'm sure he'll be ready to go on Sunday." The first of the Tompkins-Geers divisions for 3-year-old male trotters includes Dexter Cup winner Sumatra and Hambletonian fifth-place-finisher Resolve, a colt trained by Takter's daughter, Nancy Johansson. Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, and Uffizi Hanover meet in the sole Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old female pacers. Precocious Beauty is coming off a win in the Empire Breeders Classic on Sunday at Tioga. The Tompkins-Geers for 3-year-old male pacers includes not only JK Endofanera, but Sweet Rock, who won the New Jersey Classic at odds of 92-1 on Hambletonian Day, and New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Doo Wop Hanover. Among the 2-year-old female trotters in action is Jolene Jolene, who finished second in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes. "There are a lot of nice horses racing there, that's for sure," Gingras said. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

It would be easy for trainer Ron Burke to be confident as he prepares Sweet Lou for Friday's $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park. After all, his 5-year-old pacer brings an eight-race win streak to the event, with an unprecedented stretch of speedy miles to go with it. But Burke knows Sweet Lou isn't the only horse streaking into the Dan Patch. Dancin Yankee, the last horse to defeat Sweet Lou, also is among the pacers in the nine-horse field. Dancin Yankee, racing out of the stable of trainer Amber Buter, brings a six-race victory streak to the Dan Patch. It will be the first meeting between the two horses since Dancin Yankee won the Van Rose Memorial Invitational on May 3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Sweet Lou finished third, but since then has gone undefeated. "I think Lou is running into another horse that is racing as good as anyone in the country," Burke said. "I'm actually nervous. I think that horse is super sharp, career sharp, too. "There are other horses that could win too, but both those horses are on long win streaks. I think that's going to be a great race." Sweet Lou has won eight of 11 races this year and earned $791,500 for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. His wins include the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and Roll With Joe. His 1:47 victory in the Ben Franklin is the fastest ever on a five-eighths-mile track, breaking the previous mark of 1:47.2 that was shared by Dancin Yankee and Pet Rock. Sweet Lou has won each of his last five starts in less than 1:48, which is a record. He has been driven during his win streak by Ron Pierce. For his career, the son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future has won 30 of 66 races and $2.90 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins and $348,638 at 4. "I'm just so happy he's winning," Burke said. "It's enjoyable to watch him race right now. I've been such a believer all along and for him to do what we thought he could, nothing feels better." Burke, who on Saturday moved past Virgil Morgan Jr. to become the winningest trainer in harness racing history, also sends Bettor's Edge to the Dan Patch. The 5-year-old gelding has won six of 19 races this season and earned $421,781. He was second to Sweet Lou in the Franklin and Haughton and fourth in the U.S. Pacing Championship. Dancin Yankee has won 14 of 21 races this year and $315,140 for owners Baron Racing Stable and Rich Lombardo. The 6-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest won the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in each of his last three starts. The remainder of the field is Thinking Out Loud, Night Pro, Carol's Comet, Heston Blue Chip, State Treasurer and Our Lucky Chip. "It ended up being a really good field," Burke said. Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Dancin Yankee, Tyler Buter, Amber Buter, 8-1; 2. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 6-1; 3. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 20-1; 4. Carol's Comet, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 15-1; 5. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 4-5; 6. Heston Blue Chip, Corey Callahan, Linda Toscano, 15-1; 7. Bettor's Edge, Ricky Macomber Jr., Ron Burke, 10-1; 8. State Treasurer, Jody Jamieson, Ian Moore, 4-1; 9. Our Lucky Chip, Trace Tetrick, Jason Miller, 30-1.  By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

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

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

He hopes his luck is on full display in Saturday's $1 million Hambletonian at Meadowlands Racetrack. Mazza owns JJ Alex, who will start from post two at morning line odds of 50-1 in the Hambletonian. The colt, trained and driven by Francisco Del Cid, is winless this year and has one victory in 15 career starts. Like everyone else, JJ Alex will be chasing Father Patrick, one of three Jimmy Takter-trained horses in the race. Father Patrick has won 15 straight starts and is the 4-5 morning line favorite despite starting from the unenviable No. 10 post. Mazza bought JJ Alex privately on Aug. 2, 2013 and exactly one year later, the horse is competing on the sport's biggest stage. Could that be a sign? Probably not, but Mazza thought it was a chance worth taking. "I ain't going to be here forever; this might be my last shot for the Hambletonian," he said. "We got the right draw, we got the right driver on him, we got the right trainer. It's a win-win situation. He added with a laugh, "So I'll see you in the winner's circle." Bold talk since JJ Alex has yet to find the winner's circle in 2014. But he has finished in the money five times with two seconds and three thirds. His final tune-up before the Hambo was a third-place finish in a $32,455 division of the Arden Downs Stakes at the Meadows July 26. "We trained him good before going to The Meadows," Del Cid said. "We were going to train him and based on that training mile make a decision [on whether to enter the Hambletonian]. We were hoping for a better result in the race, but it unfolded a different way and I got pinned in. "But we were satisfied. We came to the conclusion that we were going to enter the horse and give it a try." Del Cid, a former exercise rider for high-profile Thoroughbred trainer D. Wayne Lukas, began working in harness racing in the late 1980s. "I switched to this and I liked it," said the native Guatemalan, now living in central New Jersey. "I'm not afraid of the odds," he added. "I never thought I was going to be in the Hambletonian when I came here. When I switched to this [harness racing] business, that was my goal - to be here one day." Del Cid trained his own small table for several years before joining the Trond Smedshammer Stable. In 2008 he went back out on his own and he and Mazza will now look to shock the world. To Mazza, it wouldn't be a mind-blowing shock. As far as he was concerned, when he first laid eyes on the horse it was Hambletonian at first sight. "As soon as we saw him we wanted to keep him for the Hambletonian," the owner said. "We raced him a couple times as a 2-year-old and we decided to put him in this big race this year." Mazza made his first purchase - Kehms Scooter - in 1991 at a sale at the Meadowlands. Rather than build a stable for a racehorse, he found a racehorse to fill a stable. "I was building a farm in Upper Freehold and a trainer came by and asked what was going on," Mazza said. "I told him I was building a horse barn for my kids. He asked if I wanted to get in the racehorse business. "I said I'd never thought of it, but maybe I would consider it. He told me there was a sale at the Meadowlands and asked if I wanted to come. I told him to pick me up on Saturday and I'd go with him." Mazza promptly spent $10,000 or $20,000 - he can't recall - on Kehms Scooter and was on his way. "He won his first race and it got me hooked," Mazza said. "If it wasn't for that, I might not be here. I try to enjoy it. "It was about time for me to try the Hambletonian. Maybe I'll get lucky. I've been a lucky guy, a fortunate guy, all my life. Maybe my luck will come through on Saturday." In other words, Mazza will stake his luck against all odds. by Rich Fisher, for the Hambletonian Society  

Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

Trainer Tony Alagna hopes Rare Gift delivered a special present in the form of 2-year-old colt trotter Gifted Way. Gifted Way, a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Rare Gift, was purchased for $170,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. Gifted Way makes his third start Friday in the single elimination for the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. The colt is owned by Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco, Little E LLC, and Deo Volente Farms. Gifted Way is part of a four-horse entry in the Haughton elim, along with Jimmy Takter-trained Special Action, The Bank, and Uncle Lasse. The group is 3-5 on the morning line. Rounding out the horses in the elim, from which the top seven finishers advance to the $280,000 estimated final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, are Ake Svanstedt's Centurion ATM and Amicus, Ray Schnittker's Broken Record, Erv Miller's SS Poseidon, Nancy Johansson's Cruzado Dela Noche, and Mark Harder's True Blue Stride. Three horses received byes to the final: Takter's Canepa Hanover, Nik Drennan's Guess Whos Back, and Jim Campbell's Honor And Serve. Gifted Way won his debut, a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars, on July 4 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He went off stride at the start in his second race, which was won by Canepa Hanover, on July 18 at the Meadowlands. "He's a nice colt," Alagna said. "When the gate left the other night, he just got off on the wrong foot and made a break, which he hadn't done before. He trotted good after making the break, came out of the race fine, and trained back good [Tuesday]. I think we're set for the elimination on Friday night." Gifted Way is Rare Gift's fourth foal, and first by Cantab Hall, who was the sport's leading trotting sire in 2012 and 2013. Rare Gift is a full sister to stakes-winner Stand Strong and a three-quarter-sister to 1996 Horse of the Year Continentalvictory and stakes-winner Victory Abroad. "The family has been a little stagnant, but this was by far the best colt the mare had thrown," Alagna said. "He's very correct. He was very athletic in the paddock. He just had everything going for him. "Cantab Hall has just been red hot the last couple years, so we thought we would take a shot. We're glad we did. I think he was the right horse." Gifted Way is not the only horse in the Haughton elim with well-known relatives. Uncle Lasse is a full brother to Shake It Cerry, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly trotter and a top contender in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks, and Broken Record is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. Special Action's family includes 2006 Hambletonian winner Glidemaster and The Bank's dam is millionaire Lantern Kronos. Friday's card also features two eliminations for the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters and the second round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

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