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East Rutherford, NJ --- The ‘Lady’ is the champ. JK She’salady, who was undefeated in 12 races for breeder/owner 3 Brothers Stables and trainer Nancy Johansson, became the first 2-year-old female pacer in harness racing history to be named Horse of the Year, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Thursday during a Dan Patch Awards presentation at Meadowlands Racetrack. The filly won by five votes, 57-52, over fellow pacer Sweet Lou in the tightest Horse of the Year finish since 7-year-old trotting gelding Savoir beat 3-year-old filly pacer Silk Stockings, 52-49, in 1975. Five-year-old Sweet Lou, however, was named Pacer of the Year after besting JK She’salady by one vote, 74-73, in that category. It is the first time a Pacer of the Year or Trotter of the Year – categories introduced in 1970 – failed to receive Horse of the Year. Voters, who are members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association and American Harness Racing Secretaries, must choose their Horse of the Year from either their Pacer of the Year or Trotter of the Year selection. A total of 157 ballots were returned. The anomaly occurred because a greater number of voters that selected JK She’salady for Pacer of the Year on their ballot also voted her their Horse of the Year. Only 16 people that voted JK She’salady as the best pacer gave their Horse of the Year vote to their Trotter of the Year selection, compared to 22 for Sweet Lou. Three-year-old filly Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year, finishing 22 votes ahead of runner-up Sebastian K, 59-37. Shake It Cerry, owned by Solveig’s Racing Partners and trained by Jimmy Takter, received 14 votes for Horse of the Year. A total of nine horses received at least one vote for Horse of the Year. JK She’salady is the fourth 2-year-old to receive Horse of the Year, joining pacer Niatross (1979), trotter Nevele Pride (1967) and pacer Bret Hanover (1964). The three previous 2-year-old winners were colts. She is the first female pacer to be voted Horse of the Year since Rainbow Blue in 2004 and the fourth female pacer overall to receive the honor. The others were Bunny Lake in 2001 and Fan Hanover in 1981. “It’s unbelievable,” Johansson said. “I don’t know if it’s completely sunk in. The hard work paid off. She’s just such a special horse. “She’s as perfect as they come now, and I guess finishing off with Horse of the Year exemplifies how perfect she is.” JK She’salady, who on Wednesday was named the sport’s best 2-year-old filly pacer, won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old female pacer in winning the She’s A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes. For the year, the homebred filly earned $883,330. She was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Yannick Gingras in her previous starts. It is the first Horse of the Year honor for the 33-year-old Johansson, who is Takter’s daughter and previously worked as a caretaker in her father’s stable. Takter has won three Horse of the Year awards, two with Moni Maker (1998-99) and one with Malabar Man (1997). Sweet Lou, who was driven by Ron Pierce and set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, captured 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe. Sweet Lou, who was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer in 2011 and added the award for best older male pacer this season, is Burke’s second Pacer of the Year winner. Burke also won with Foiled Again in 2011. “We got Pacer of the Year, I’m OK with that,” co-owner Collura said. “We’ll have some fun with that. “It was a little disappointing (not to receive Horse of the Year), but I’m still happy. Pacer of the Year is a great achievement for Lou. It’s a nice way to end the year regardless.” Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig’s Racing Partners ownership group and driver Pierce. Most of the members of the ownership group are also members of Solveig’s Breeders, which bred the filly. The Takter-trained filly, who on Tuesday was named the best 3-year-old filly trotter, finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a “good” surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. “This filly, she really deserved Trotter of the Year,” Takter said. “Besides the Hambletonian (Oaks), what a season she had, and she finished up in style. She’s just a fantastic horse.” Both of Shake It Cerry’s parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007 and Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honor of his mother. It is Takter’s sixth Trotter of the Year Award. He won three with Moni Maker (1998-2000) as well as Malabar Man (1997) and Kadabra (2002). Complete vote totals for all Dan Patch Award categories can be found here. For the announcements of division honors, for pacers click here and for trotters click here. HORSE OF THE YEAR 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER OF THE YEAR JK SHE’SALADY Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables. Owners: 3 Brothers Stables. Trainer: Nancy Johansson. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick. Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $883,330. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk (equals world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $441,600 She’s A Great Lady; $377,360 Three Diamonds. PACER OF THE YEAR OLDER MALE PACER OF THE YEAR SWEET LOU Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future Yearling Price: $38,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 19-11-3-1. Purses: $1.36 million. Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $463,300 William Haughton Memorial. TROTTER OF THE YEAR 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER OF THE YEAR SHAKE IT CERRY Donato Hanover – Solveig – Yankee Glide Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Solveig’s Breeders. Owner: Solveig’s Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 17-15-0-1. Purses: $1.23 million. Mark: 1:51.2 at The Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $368,100 Elegantimage; $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity. From the United States Harness Writers Assoiation

Akron, NY---The Railbird Recognition voting for Horseperson of the Year will conclude Friday (Dec. 19) at midnight. The polls will then be reloaded and switched to take your input on the Racing Moment of the Year. The Railbird Awards were created for the fans to have a way to express their opinions about who they think are the best the sport has to offer and are the only fan driven award in the industry. The voting is run by the United States Harness Writers Association in conjunction with the United States Trotting Association and the actual voting is conducted on the USTA website. Voting for Horseperson of the Year ran from Monday (Dec. 8) and will end on Friday (Dec. 19) at midnight, while the balloting for the best Racing Moment of the Year will begin on Saturday (Dec. 20) and conclude on Wednesday (Dec. 31) at midnight. A list of nominees for each award has been compiled by members of USHWA, based on what they believe were the most impactful people and moments in the sport during 2014. Those have been placed on the ballots where the fans can then make their selections from. Fans can only vote once per category. The winners will be announced on Thursday (Jan. 8) and will be presented with their awards during the Dan Patch Awards Banquet in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday (Feb. 22). By Tim Bojarski for USHWA

The much anticipated Harness Horse of the Year announcement will be made live at 1 pm today (Thursday). Don't miss out. Will it be JK She'salday,Sweet Lou or maybe even McWicked? Could Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry or Sebastian K steal top honors? The Dan Patch Awards for Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. (EST) Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website,www.playmeadowlands.com. From the United States Harness Writers Association

JK She’salady and Sweet Lou were landslide winners in Dan Patch Award voting announced Wednesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, but one of the six pacing divisions resulted in a rare dead heat. Anndrovette and Rocklamation will share the Dan Patch Award for best older female pacer after each received 51 of 157 votes. The only previous tie for a Dan Patch Award came in 1965 when Cardigan Bay and Race Time finished in a dead heat for best older pacer. JK She’salady, who was undefeated in 12 starts, came within one vote of being the unanimous selection for best 2-year-old female pacer. Sweet Lou, who set a record with six consecutive wins in faster than 1:48, was three votes from being the undisputed top older male pacer. Completing the list of division champions were 2-year-old male pacer Artspeak, 3-year-old male pacer McWicked, and 3-year-old female pacer Color’s A Virgin. Artspeak received 90 percent of the vote in his group while McWicked had 82 percent and Color’s A Virgin had 68 percent. Seven-year-old Anndrovette and 5-year-old Sweet Lou are repeat winners. Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year and Horse of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack’s Victory Sports Bar. Thursday’s announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack’s website, www.playmeadowlands.com. Anndrovette now has received a record four Dan Patch honors in the pacing mare division, and is tied with Eternal Camnation for the most honors for any pacer in history.  Rocklamation’s trophy is the first in the division for trainer Ron Burke, who has conditioned the six most recent winners among older male pacers. This season, Anndrovette won six of 22 races and earned a division-leading $520,352 for driver Tim Tetrick, trainer P.J. Fraley, and owners Bamond Racing and Joe Davino. Her victories included the Roses Are Red Stakes and Betsy Ross Invitational. Rocklamation, a 6-year-old, won four of 18 races and banked $517,364. Her triumphs for driver Yannick Gingras and owners Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, and J&T Silva Stables included the Golden Girls, Artiscape, and Lady Liberty. Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor’s Cup. He is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, and In The Gym Partners. He is trained by Tony Alagna, who also captured this division in 2012 with Captaintreacherous, and was driven by Scott Zeron. After losing her first three starts of the year, Color’s A Virgin rebounded to win all but one of her next 14 races, with her victories including the Jugette and Nadia Lobell. She finished the campaign with 13 wins in 18 starts and earnings of $532,622 for driver Trace Tetrick, trainer Brian Brown and owner Emerald Highlands Farm. JK She’salady won her final nine starts by a minimum of one length and closed her campaign with a stakes-record victory in the Breeders Crown. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old female pacer in winning the She’s A Great Lady Stakes at Mohawk and also captured the Three Diamonds Stakes. Owned by 3 Brothers Stables, JK She’salady is trained by Nancy Johansson. The filly was driven by Tim Tetrick in the Breeders Crown and by Gingras in her previous starts. McWicked was the richest pacer of the year, with $1.47 million in purses for owner SSG Stables and trainer Casie Coleman. The colt won 12 of 23 races and hit the board a total of 21 times. He finished the season on a three-race win streak, which included the Breeders Crown and a stakes-record triumph in the Progress Pace. Other victories for McWicked included the Delvin Miller Adios and Max C. Hempt Memorial.  His time of 1:47.3 in the Hempt at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. He was driven primarily by David Miller, with Brian Sears in the sulky for the Breeders Crown. A Dan Patch Award winner in 2011 at the age of 2, Sweet Lou added a second trophy this year for trainer Ron Burke and owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura. He won 11 of 19 races for the season and earned $1.36 million. Sweet Lou, driven by Ron Pierce, won the Ben Franklin Pace at Pocono Downs in 1:47, the fastest-ever mile on a five-eighths track, and won the Dan Patch Invitational in 1:47.2, the fastest-ever mile at Hoosier Park. Other victories for Sweet Lou included the TVG Free For All Series championship, William R. Haughton Memorial, U.S. Pacing Championship, and the Roll With Joe. Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Artspeak (141 of 157 votes) Western Ideal – The Art Museum – Artsplace Yearling Price: $100,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Brittany Farms, Melvin Hartman. Owners: Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco, In The Gym Partners. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Scott Zeron. Races: 10-8-0-2. Purses: $742,185. Mark: 1:50.2 at Mohawk. Top wins: $613,640 Metro Pace; $502,850 Governor’s Cup. 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER JK She’salady (155 votes; one abstention) Art Major – Presidential Lady – Presidential Ball Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeders: 3 Brothers Stables. Owners: 3 Brothers Stables. Trainer: Nancy Johansson. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Tim Tetrick. Races: 12-12-0-0. Purses: $883,330. Mark: 1:50.1 at Mohawk (equals world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $441,600 She’s A Great Lady; $377,360 Three Diamonds. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER McWicked (128 votes) McArdle – Western Sahara – Western Ideal Yearling Price: $35,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Andray Farm. Owner: S S G Stables. Trainer: Casie Coleman. Drivers: David Miller, Brian Sears. Races: 23-12-5-4. Purses: $1.47 million. Mark: 1:47.3 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $531,250 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Hempt Memorial; $400,000 Adios. 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE PACER Color’s A Virgin (106 votes) Always A Virgin – Full Color – Allamerican Ingot Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Emerald Highlands Farm. Owner: Emerald Highlands Farm. Trainer: Brian Brown. Driver: Trace Tetrick. Races: 18-13-2-0. Purses: $532,622. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $298,100 Jugette; $176,500 Nadia Lobell. OLDER MALE PACER Sweet Lou (154 votes) Yankee Cruiser – Sweet Future – Falcons Future Yearling Price: $38,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Birnam Wood Farms. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, Phil Collura. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 19-11-3-1. Purses: $1.36 million. Mark: 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 TVG Final; $500,000 Ben Franklin; $463,300 William Haughton Memorial. OLDER FEMALE PACER (tie) Anndrovette (51 votes) Riverboat King – Easy Miss – Big Towner Yearling Price: Private sale. Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owners: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 22-6-4-4. Purses: $520,352. Mark: 1:49.1 at Mohawk. Top wins: $303,600 Roses Are Red; $250,000 Betsy Ross. Rocklamation (51 votes) Rocknroll Hanover – Art Sale – Artsplace Yearling Price: $50,000 at Standardbred Horse Sale. Breeder: Perretti Farms. Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 18-4-5-2. Purses: $517,364. Mark: 1:48.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $183,450 Golden Girls; $178,000 Artiscape; $177,750 Lady Liberty. From the United States Harness Writers Association

Tomorrows highly anticipated announcement of the Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year honors will be an exciting event and is being video streamed live from the Meadowlands at playmeadowlands.com. Harnesslink columnist Joe Fitzgerald gives his views and covers prior years of voting. In recent years the Horse of the Year race has been singularly lacking in suspense and drama. Last year the undefeated trotting filly, Bee A Magician, won the award with 78% of the vote. In 2012 it was world record holder Chapter Seven with 64%. San Pail dominated with 85% in 2011, while Rock N Roll Heaven swept the vote in 2010. Muscle Hill received 97% in 2009 and the previous year SBSW crushed Dewey with 77% of the vote. Some years, and this was certainly the case back in the day when there were many more voters, the votes were cast in what one could call a splash pattern: the winner benefited from the fact that so many horses were deemed worthy of consideration. Geography played a pivotal role in the voting at that time.  In 1954 Stenographer was designated the eighth Horse of the Year and the first sophomore trotter to receive that honor. The filly established six world records and won 23 heats. Oddly enough, Scott Frost, the sport’s first two-minute two-year-old trotter, received one more first place vote, but lost the election on points. Adios Boy, Kimberly Kid, Red Sails, Katie Key, Philip Scott, Adios Harry, Pronto Don and Phantom Lady all received first place votes in 1954, and hence contributed to the win by Stenographer. In 1977 Bill Haughton’s oddly gaited Speedy Rodney trotter, Green Speed, took Horse of the Year honors with 50% of the vote. He had won 16 times and took the Hambletonian and the Yonkers Trot. The following year he was syndicated for $3.2 million, but Hambletonian winner Duenna was his only top tier issue. Governor Skipper, who set a world record in the Jug got 33%, while seven-year-old Rambling Willie received 12%. Nine others also collected votes that year. In 1984 we saw another example of the Horse of the Year—in this case, Fancy Crown—benefiting from the fierce competition for votes down below her. The Three-year-old Speedy Crown filly had won 13 of 21 starts, including the Kentucky Futurity, and she had trotted the fastest mile ever—1:53.4. She won her Horse of the Year crown with only 39% of the vote. Sophomore pacer On The Road Again had won 18 times and set a single season earnings record for the sport; he garnered 26% of the vote. And right behind him was two-year-old Nihilator, who won 12 of 13 and set a world record in the Wilson. Baltic Speed, Colt Fortysix, Dragon’s Lair and Davidia Hanover also got votes in 1984. This year the favorite is the freshman pacing filly, JK She’salady, The winner of all 12 starts, with a 1:50.1 world record taken at Mohawk to her credit. She may become the first in her class to capture Horse of the Year honors, thanks to splash voting. For much of the season it was assumed that Sebastian K, the world record holder thanks to a 1:49 mile at Pocono Downs, was a shoe-in for that title. But then Sebastian, the first to trot four winning miles in under 1:50.3, lost his last four starts. Some voters will stay with him. And Sweet Lou will also get votes. He set a world record of 1:47 on Sun Stakes Day at Pocono and at one point won ten in a row. Six of the ten consisted of consecutive sub-1:48 miles. It’s a foregone conclusion that Lou will win his division. He’ll be the first pacer to win his division at two and five. Sweet Lou earned $1.3 million this year. He’ll get votes. Three of Jimmy Takter’s trotters, Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry and Nuncio will also draw Horse of the Year votes. Patrick won more money than any other in 2014. He won 11 of 15 starts and set a world record of 1:50.2 at Pocono. Stablemate Nuncio won the Kentucky Futurity and the Yonkers Trot, and many thought he would take the division if he had taken the Breeders Crown. And Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 starts and more than $1.2 million. I believe all of the above will chew up votes allowing the freshman filly to emerge triumphant from a split vote. Regardless, a splash voting pattern will no doubt help determine the winner. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

The fastest trotter of all time and the richest Standardbred of the year were among the six trotters to receive divisional honors in Dan Patch Award voting announced Tuesday by the U.S. Harness Writers Association. Divisional honors for pacers will be revealed Wednesday, followed by the live announcements of Trotter of the Year, Pacer of the Year, and Horse of the Year at 1 p.m. Thursday at the Meadowlands Racetrack's Victory Sports Bar. Thursday's announcements will be streamed live on the racetrack's website, www.playmeadowlands.com. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old who won in 1:49 in June to become the fastest trotter in history, was voted harness racing's best older male trotter of 2014. Father Patrick, who earned $1.69 million this season to lead all Standardbreds, was named the sport's best 3-year-old male trotter. Father Patrick is from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, who also conditioned Pinkman, the Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, and Shake It Cerry, who was one vote shy of being the unanimous selection for best 3-year-old female trotter. Shake It Cerry and Father Patrick also were honored last year at age 2. Completing the list of this year's award winners were 2-year-old female trotter Mission Brief and older female trotter Classic Martine. A total of 157 ballots were returned. Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Sebastian K joined Shake It Cerry in exceeding 89 percent of the vote in their respective divisions. Father Patrick received 60 percent and Classic Martine garnered 58 percent. Yannick Gingras was the primary driver for three of the trotters to receive Dan Patch honors: Mission Brief, Pinkman, and Father Patrick. Classic Martine won nine of 18 races this year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equaling performance. Trained by Chris Oakes and driven primarily by Tim Tetrick, Classic Martine is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold. No harness racing horse earned more money this year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic, Beal Memorial, Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, American-National Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His 1:50.2 win in the Beal Memorial on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is the fastest mile ever by any 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. Father Patrick joins Lucky Chucky, Muscle Hill, Deweycheatumnhowe, and Donato Hanover as male trotters in the last 10 years to receive a Dan Patch Award at both ages 2 and 3. Mission Brief trotted the fastest mile ever by any 2-year-old, stopping the clock in 1:50.3 in winning her division of the International Stallion Stakes on Oct. 2 at The Red Mile. It was the third time Mission Brief either equaled or lowered the world record. She finished her campaign by winning the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters in a stakes-record 1:51.4. For the year, Mission Brief won nine of 13 races - she went off stride in all four losses - and earned $591,070 for owners Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi LLC. She won eight of her starts by at least three lengths and had a combined margin of victory of 65-3/4 lengths - an average of more than seven lengths per triumph. In addition to the Breeders Crown, her wins included the Merrie Annabelle Stakes and New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. Pinkman, who was entered in November's Standardbred Horse Sale's Mixed Sale before Takter reconsidered, won six of eight races and earned $566,960 for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland and Herb Liverman. Named after a character from the television series, "Breaking Bad," the gelding's victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes. Takter-trained horses have been named best 2-year-old male trotter three times in five years, with Pinkman following Father Patrick in 2013 and Pastor Stephen in 2010. Sebastian K arrived in the U.S. this season after a record-setting career in Europe. The Swedish-born stallion trotted a world-record-equaling 1:50.1 in his debut at the Meadowlands and capped a record streak of four consecutive victories in 1:50.3 or faster with his 1:49 triumph at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc., Sebastian K was driven by trainer Ake Svanstedt and finished the year with eight wins in 13 races and $663,853 in purses. His victories included the Cashman Memorial, Crawford Farms Open Trot, and Cutler Memorial. Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races this year, earning $1.23 million for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group and driver Ron Pierce. The Takter-trained filly finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a "good" surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. Both of Shake It Cerry's parents were Dan Patch Award winners. Donato Hanover was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007 and Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Solveig also was trained by Takter, who named the filly in honor of his mother. Shake It Cerry joins Passionate Glide and Pampered Princess, both also trained by Takter, and Check Me Out as female trotters to receive Dan Patch Awards at ages 2 and 3. Complete vote totals for all awards will be released Thursday with the Horse of the Year announcement. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER PINKMAN (144 of 157 votes) Explosive Matter - Margie Seelster - Angus Hall Yearling Price: $77,000 under name Traffic Jam at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: O Narutac Equine Nursery. Owners: Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joyce McClelland, Herb Liverman. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras, Sylvain Filion. Races: 8-6-1-0. Purses: $566,960. Mark: 1:53.2 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $463,690 Valley Victory. 2-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER MISSION BRIEF (150 votes) Muscle Hill - Southwind Serena - Varenne Yearling Price: $150,000 at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeders: Steve Stewart, Black Creek Farm, Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Our Horse Cents Stables, J&T Silva Stables, Weaver Bruscemi LLC. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 13-9-0-0. Purses: $591,070. Mark: 1:50.3 at The Red Mile (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $352,050 Merrie Annabelle. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER FATHER PATRICK (94 votes) Cantab Hall - Gala Dream - Enjoy Lavec Yearling Price: $105,000 under name Royal Press at Lexington Selected Sale. Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 17-12-3-0. Purses: $1.69 million. Mark: 1:50.2 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Beal Memorial. 3-YEAR-OLD FEMALE TROTTER SHAKE IT CERRY (156 votes) Donato Hanover - Solveig - Yankee Glide Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Solveig's Breeders. Owner: Solveig's Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 17-15-0-1. Purses: $1.23 million. Mark: 1:51.2 at The Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $368,100 Elegantimage; $224,000 Kentucky Filly Futurity. OLDER MALE TROTTER SEBASTIAN K (141 votes) Korean - Gabriella K - Probe Yearling Price: Homebred. Breeder: Knutsson Trotting AB. Owner: Knutsson Trotting Inc. Trainer: Ake Svanstedt. Driver: Ake Svanstedt. Races: 13-8-2-0. Purses: $663,853. Mark: 1:49 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $300,650 Cashman Memorial; $236,000 Crawford Farms Trot; $175,000 Cutler Memorial. OLDER FEMALE TROTTER CLASSIC MARTINE (91 votes) Classic Photo - Drinking Days - Andover Hall Yearling Price: None (sold privately at age 3). Breeders: Todd Schadel, Christine Schadel. Owners: Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, Edwin Gold. Trainer: Chris Oakes. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 18-9-5-2. Purses: $438,912. Mark: 1:51.1 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $244,720 Armbro Flight; $121,500 Miss Versatility. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

The announcements of the 2014 Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year will be made in a special live webstream on Thursday afternoon, Dec. 18. The announcements will be made at Victory Sports Bar at the Meadowlands and streamed live on the racetrack's website www.playmeadowlands.com. Voting for the 2014 Dan Patch Awards, which honor the champion harness horses of the year as voted by members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA) and the American Harness Racing Secretaries, will close on Tuesday morning, Dec. 16. The six trotting divisional Dan Patch winners will be announced via a press release at noon on Dec. 16, with the six pacing divisional Dan Patch winners announced at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 17. The final three awards will be announced at 1 p.m. at the press luncheon. USHWA will also announce in the coming weeks its human award winners, including the Proximity Award, which is second only to induction into the Hall of Fame. While Yannick Gingras has already been named the unanimous winner as the 2014 Driver of the Year, other awards still to be announced include Trainer of the Year, Owner of the Year, Breeder of the Year, Good Guy, Unsung Hero, Rising Star and Breakthrough. If attending the announcement luncheon, please RSVP to Jenn Bongiorno at Jbongiorno@playmeadowlands.com. If not, watch the live stream at www.playmeadowlands.com. All honorees will be recognized at USHWA's annual awards dinner scheduled for Sunday night, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Doubletree Hilton at Sea World in Orlando, Fla. For more information, including directions on making hotel reservations, please go to www.ushwa.org. by Ken Weingartner, for USHWA  

This year USHWA's National Amateur Driver of the Year Award goes to Bob "Rapid Rail" Krivelin and it could be said that Krivelin won the honor in a split decision. His name rose to the top over other prolific drivers and for the New York City wholesale food purveyor it marks the third time that he has received this prestigious award. When Krivelin was notified he was on vacation in Florida relaxing, swimming and playing golf. But when he answered his cell phone and found out the news, to say he was jubilant would have been an understatement. "I'm really happy and proud to be named the top amateur driver again this year, especially when the amateur driving colony is the best it's ever been. To be chosen over the talented others really makes me feel great," Krivelin said via cell phone. "I work hard at staying in shape and I feel that this was my best year yet, and I feel I'm driving better than I ever have. I drove with more confidence this year ,too." From 74 seasonal starts Krivelin has 15 wins, 10 seconds and 13 thirds for a very respectable .336 UDR. His seasonal victory total is second only to the 22 winners he reined during 2001 when he was named Amateur Driver of the Year for the first time. Two years ago Krivelin copped his second amateur driving title and although he rarely drives more than 75 times a year he thus has far reined 167 winners since he began his amateur career in 1996. Some of his triumphs this season include winning the $12,000 Billings Eastern Region Final with Permanent Joy in a time of 1:57 at Pocono Downs on November 12 and Krivelin won the $14,000 Final of the North American Amateur Drivers Association's spring trotting series with Current Crisis in a 1:59.3 clocking at Yonkers Raceway back in May. "I love amateur racing," he says. "In what other sport can a participant get a chance to compete side by side with their hero's? That's a big draw for the amateur movement in harness racing." And while he was on the subject Krivelin expounds how harness racing wouldn't be the same if it weren't for the amateurs. "Just look at how many invest in race horses and employ professional trainers and drivers.Take Doc (Scott) Woogen for instance; he must have 40 horses with various trainers and drivers many of which he drives himself when time allows. And me, I have 13 horses, three which I train and drive myself, and the rest with professional trainers and drivers. And like many other amateur guys I purchased a farm to house my stock." From a young age Krivelin, who hails from the Bronx, was bitten by the harness racing bug. "When I was a youngster I used to sneak into Yonkers Raceway with some friends after the seventh race when they opened the gates," Krivelin said unashamedly. "Those days, foolishly, youngsters weren't allowed in the grandstand. "It was from the excitement and fun of the races at Yonkers that I got hooked on harness racing. The crowds were tremendous, the racing top notch, so what wasn't there to like?" After becoming a successful businessman and then spending much of his leisure time around the Meadowlands he purchased a few horses and in 1996 "Kriv", as many of his friends call him, drove his first race. He finished fifth with Straight Talk at the Meadowlands in 1996 and it was behind that same trotter that year that he won his first race (2:04.2) at Rosecroft Raceway. Winning your first race is often like that first girlfriend who most men usually remember with reverence. But not Kriv. Although in 2003 he drove his own Rapid Rail to a Hambletonian Oaks elimination victory-thus his nickname-- and then finished second in the Final, still he claims his greatest thrill thus far was winning his first race against professional drivers at the Meadowlands in 2001. "I won with a trotter by the name of Heathen Hall who was by Incredible Abe and my dad's (first) name was Abe, "Krivelin said as he recalled the joy of that victory," Although I had won some amateur races at the Meadowlands before it was my first win against field of professionals and it came from the 10-hole. I not only beat the pros but the top drivers that night." But Krivelin is an amateur driver in the true sense of the word. Although he currently owns 13 horses and employs multiple trainers, his main profession is a wholesale food purveyor-or as he claims 'a distributor'-- and he and his partner supply 500 restaurants in New York City, including some of the very best. Much of the money he has earned from his vocation Krivelin has put into the racing game, and says, maybe with tongue in cheek --and maybe not---"It's great when you get hooked on harness racing.... but when you do it's all that you think of and it takes up your whole life." by John Manzi, for USHWA  

HARRISBURG PA— In harness racing, and often within its media organization the United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), it’s usually impossible to get a unanimous verdict on anything, even whether the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. But in 2014, harness racing and USHWA are unanimously embracing one fact: Yannick Gingras is the Driver of the Year, based on his handling of the winners of over $16.5 million and a record-tying four triumphs in the recent Breeders Crown series. For the annual Dan Patch awards given to humans, the chapters of USHWA send in their variousnominees, and balloting is conducted among eligible voters of its 220 members, plus a select group of racing secretaries. This year, every chapter sending in a Driver nomination selected Gingras, and so no further balloting is needed. For the 35-year-old Gingras, a native of Quebec, 2014 saw him handle many of the sport’s stars, and perhaps most tellingly, he was the “first call” driver for the two barns who have dominated much of the stakes scene this year, those of Ron Burke and of Jimmy Takter. Of his four Breeders Crown wins, two were from Burke (Mission Brief and Sayitall BB), and two were for Takter (Pinkman and Father Patrick). 2014 also saw Gingras help the 10-year-old Foiled Again further his world record career earnings mark, which currently stands at $6,769,531. Yannick was the leading driver for the 2014 season at The Meadowlands, a track which features what many consider the best driving colony in the world. Another highlight for Gingras was returning to his native Quebec and winning the $200,000 Prix d’Ete at his “home track,” Hippodrome 3R (Trois-Rivieres), where his victory with the Takter-trained Sunfire Blue Chip in 1:50.3 – over two seconds faster than the previous mark – was cheered by many members of his family, a group which plays as important a part of Gingras’s life as harness racing does, according to him. Gingras will receive his Driver of the Year award at USHWA’s annual Dan Patch Awards Banquet, to be held Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando (FL) at Sea World. Information on hotel reservations, tickets, and ads in the souvenir Journal will be distributed shortly. by Jerry Connors, for USHWA

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

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