1. National Debt, Scott Zeron, Ron Coyne Jr., 50-1 Last year, National Debt won all four of his starts while competing in Alberta for trainer/co-owner Kelly Hoerdt, who received Canada's 2013 O'Brien Award for Horsemanship. He was sent to New Jersey-based trainer Ron Coyne Jr. for the start of this season and captured the Gilmour Memorial Series during the winter. National Debt, who finished fifth in his Pace elimination, won by JK Endofanera, has won seven of 10 lifetime races and earned $76,073. Owned by Hoerdt, Blair and Erna Corbeil, and the J&T Silva Stables, National Debt had issues with allergies earlier this season while racing in Canada and missed nearly two months prior to his Pace elim. "He had a couple good tighteners in qualifiers, and this was his first test for speed against these colts, but all in all it went well," Coyne said. "He showed a good burst of speed at the end, he came home :26.2 and he finished up really nice, so I was really happy about that. It's all a matter of the post and the trip and we'll see if we get lucky. "We missed a few of the big dances, but we're ready to go again," Coyne said. For a feature about National Debt from earlier this year, read here. 2. JK Endofanera, Brian Sears, Ron Burke, 2-1 JK Endofanera (Art Major-Presidential Lady) won his elimination in 1:48.2 and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. He is trying to become the 10th horse to win both the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace. For more, read here. 3. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, David Menary, 5-2 He's Watching (American Ideal-Baberhood) won his elimination in 1:48.1 and is 5-2 on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. For more, read here. 4. Tellitlikeitis, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 12-1 One of two horses in the race from the Takter Stable, Tellitlikeitis (Well Said-Kikikatie) is a son of 2009 Meadowlands Pace winner Well Said out of the million-dollar-earning mare Kikikatie. He led early in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching, but finished fifth. Tellitlikeitis, owned by Lothlorien stable, has won four of 12 career races and $389,022. He finished second to JK Endofanera in the North America Cup. "I expect him to be better," Takter said. "He had three weeks off [prior to his Pace elim] and that's a long time in this group. I had to play it like that with him, unfortunately. I cannot race him every dance because he has issues. But he's got a perfect seat, the four post. If the pace is right, we know he can pace :25 the last quarter. If I get him a little bit better, he's quick enough that he can give you something." 5. Luck Be Withyou, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 6-1 The 2013 Breeders Crown champion finished third in his Pace elim, won by He's Watching. Luck Be Withyou has won once in five starts this season and captured six of 16 career races, good for $404,827. He is owned by John Craig and trained by Bill Cass in Canada, with Oakes taking over in the U.S. Luck Be Withyou is a son of Western Ideal out of the mare Trim Hanover. He is a three-quarter brother to millionaire female pacer American Jewel. 6. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 8-1 The colt tried to find room inside of JK Endofanera in the stretch, but was unable to get past the leader and finished third in his Pace elimination. Just three-quarters of a length separated JK Endofanera, runner-up Always B Miki, and Lyonssomewhere. Geoffrey Lyons Mound owns Lyonssomewhere, who is a son of 2008 Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere out of the mare Miss Kitty Hanover. He has won five of seven career races and $98,570. "He didn't have enough room, but I thought he raced really, really good," Takter said. "He can step out of the gate extremely well. It's hard not to take advantage of that, but by the same token, you pay a little bit for that. "At the Meadowlands, it's not necessarily the best spot to sit behind the leader unless he's a very good leader. If you don't get racing room, you're playing with luck. With luck, yes he can win, without a doubt, and we need to be lucky in this race. It will be an interesting race." 7. Jet Airway, Marcus Miller, Erv Miller, 15-1 Erv Miller is hoping for big things from the big horse as the year goes on. Jet Airway opened 2014 with a second-place finish to JK Endofanera in the Simpson Memorial at the Meadowlands. Owned by Miller, Tangie Massey, Paul Sunderhaus, and Larry Agle, Jet Airway has won six of 18 career races and $130,834. He is a son of Jereme's Jet out of the mare Aromatic. He raced 10 times as a 2-year-old, winning three races, but was shut down in early October. Marcus Miller, who recently got career win No. 2,000, is Erv's 25-year-old son. "He's a really fast horse, a big horse," Miller said about Jet Airway. "I think, hopefully, from midseason on he'll just keep getting better. It just seems he needed the racing to get going. He went a big mile [in his elim]. Marcus did a good job and he had a lot of pace finishing. "I could tell last year he was a pretty nice horse. I wanted to shut him down because he was real immature. I think as time goes, he'll just keep getting better." 8. Sometimes Said, Corey Callahan, Jim Campbell, 15-1 Always in the hunt, Sometimes Said has won only twice but hit the board in 14 of 18 career races. He finished second by a neck from post nine in last year's Breeders Crown, which was won by Luck Be Withyou, and was second in the 2013 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Owned by Fashion Farms, Sometimes Said is a son of Well Said out of the mare Lady Sometimes. He has earned $341,254 lifetime. Sometimes Said finished second in his Pace elim, beaten 2-3/4 lengths by He's Watching. "He's had a good week," Campbell said. "It's hard to say whether post eight will help him or hurt him, it depends how the race unfolds. It would probably be in his best interest if they're rolling along up front and he can get cover in the outer tier. "It's a tough group of horses. He went a big trip last week and he'll have to come back and be better than that this week." 9. Always B Miki, David Miller, Joe Holloway, 4-1 Came home the fastest of all Meadowlands Pace finalists with a :26.1 final quarter-mile to miss by a neck to JK Endofanera in his Pace elim. Always B Miki has won five of 20 career races and earned $219,916. He is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms, and Roll The Dice Stable. Always B Miki was disqualified from third to fifth for interference in his Hempt Memorial elimination and went off stride in his North America Cup elim. He has three wins, including a division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, and two second-place finishes (by a neck and a nose) in the five starts this year in which he's minded his manners. "I was apprehensive coming into [the Pace elimination] because he's just been a problem horse that way," Holloway said. "He's got a lot of speed, but he's not the easiest horse to deal with. He steered fairly well [in his elim] and raced well. He can go a tough trip, he's probably one of the tougher ones that way, but he is tough to deal with. "He's got the speed to go wherever they want to go. As long as he gets a decent trip he'll work it out from there." Always B Miki is a son of Always A Virgin, who was trained by Holloway and won two legs of the Pacing Triple Crown (Cane Pace and Messenger) in 2007, out of the mare Artstopper. He is a half-brother to Yagonnakissmeornot, who finished second in this year's Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final. 10. Doo Wop Hanover, John Campbell, Steve Elliott, 30-1 Elliott is the only trainer in the race to have won the Meadowlands Pace previously, having captured the trophy in 2006 with Artistic Fella and 2009 with Well Said. Only two trainers, Brett Pelling and Bill Robinson, have more Pace victories. Doo Wop Hanover finished fourth in his Pace elim, which was won by JK Endofanera. He is a son of 2005 Meadowlands Pace winner Rocknroll Hanover out of the mare Deer Valley Miss and is a three-quarter brother to stakes winner Knock Three Times. For his career, Doo Wop Hanover has won five of 19 races and $180,788. He won the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in May and the Hempt Memorial Consolation in a career-best 1:49 on June 28. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. Post 10 has produced four Meadowlands Pace winners, tied for the third most of any starting spot, but none since The Panderosa in 1999. "I've had better draws," Elliott said with a laugh. "But when [Doo Wop Hanover] gets on the lead or first over, he wants to rock and roll, and he's better with a trip. We should be able to get a trip from there, we'll just hope it's not a bad one. "He's been good all year. He's a nice colt. He might be a notch below the best ones, but there's so many times now when the trip dictates the outcome. We just want to be somewhere in the live flow. You've got to be in it. If you're not in it, you can't win it." * * * Tim Tetrick and Ron Pierce have enjoyed multiple successes in the Meadowlands Pace in recent years, combining to win six of the last seven editions of the race. Pierce has won the Meadowlands Pace a total of four times, second to only John Campbell's seven Pace victories for the most among all drivers in history. Pierce's victories were with Dream Away (1997), Art Official (2008), Well Said (2009) and Roll With Joe (2011). He drives Luck Be Withyou in Saturday's race. Luck Be Withyou, who starts from post five and is 6-1 on the morning line, finished third in his Pace elimination, which was won by He's Watching. Pierce won last season's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male pacers with Luck Be Withyou. Tetrick has won the Meadowlands Pace with Southwind Lynx (2007), One More Laugh (2010) and Captaintreacherous (2013). He drives He's Watching in Saturday's race, starting from post three. He's Watching, who won his Pace elimination in 1:48.1, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. He was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer. "I sure would love to [win again]," Tetrick said. "I have a great horse to do it with. I like my chances. "There are some really nice colts in here and it's a tough group." Campbell will go for Meadowlands Pace win No. 8 with Doo Wop Hanover from post 10. Brian Sears, driving 2-1 morning line favorite JK Endofanera, tries for his second Pace triumph while Yannick Gingras, with Lyonssomewhere, also will be going for his second win. Scott Zeron (driving National Debt), Brett Miller (Tellitlikeitis), Marcus Miller (Jet Airway), Corey Callahan (Sometimes Said) and David Miller (Always B Miki) all are seeking their first Meadowlands Pace win. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The world's fastest trotter is set to make his Canadian debut this Friday as Sebastian K is one of 12 horses entered in the 2014 Maple Leaf Trot. Sebastian K drew Post 6 in the first six-horse elim, Race 3 on Mohawk Racetrack's Friday night card. The European-bred superstar, owned by Knutsson Trotting of Vero Beach, Fl., has been unbeatable in his four North American starts, two of which have been in world record speed. Trained and driven by Sweden's Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K's most recent effort was a scintillating 1:49 effort at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- the fastest trotting mile in harness racing history. Svanstedt's hope that Sebastian K could get another week's rest with no elimination divisions needed was not to be had with 12 entered in the rich stake. A number of O'Brien and Dan Patch Award winning trotters will look to knock off the top-rated horse in North America, including two in his elimination race. Wheeling N Dealin (PP1, Jody Jamieson), 2012's top two-year-old trotter looks to be returning to form and 2013 three-year-old O'Brien winner Flanagan Memory (PP5, Chris Christoforou) has solid recent form. Both, however, will have to up their game to knock off the Swedish superstar. In the second elim, back-to-back O'Brien Award winning Older Trotting Horse Mister Herbie (PP5, Steve Condren) is the fastest trotter ever on Canadian soil by virtue of his 1:50.4 effort in the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Another O'Brien Award winner, Intimidate (PP1, Sylvain Filion) is no stranger to big stage heroics. His 2012 Breeders Crown win (over Market Share, also entered in this race) helped propel him to divisional honours two seasons ago at age three. Race 3 -- 1st Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Wheeling N Dealin - J. Jamieson - L. Blais 2. Creatine - M. Lachance - R. Stewart 3. Wishing Stone - To Be Announced - R. Burke 4. Archangel - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Flanagan Memory - C. Christoforou - R. Dion 6. Sebastian K - A. Svanstedt - A. Svanstedt Race 8 -- 2nd Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Intimidate - S. Filion - L. Blais 2. Market Share - Ti. Tetrick - L. Toscano 3. Modern Family - D. Palone - D. Bier 4. Dws Ny Yank - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Mister Herbie - S. Condren - J. Gillis 6. Undercover Strike - D. Miller - T. O'Sullivan Friday's card also features Canadian Breeders Championship elimination races for three-year-old trotters as well as an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg for two-year-old pacing fillies. (With files from Mohawk Raceway and Standardbred Canada)
Pocono Downs racetrack outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania lived up to its reputation as the world’s fastest five-eighths mile harness racing track as five world records were set Saturday during their $2 million Sun Stakes. Early on the evening the trotter Sebastian K set up the string of world record performances with his all age trotting mark at a one mile distance in 1:49 and that paved the way for three more world marks to be set. The second most impressive mile was Father Patrick in winning the $500,000 Earl Beal, Jr. Memorial for three-year-old trotting colts. Leaving from post eight, driver Yannick Gingras was parked out early on by stablemate Nuncio (John Campbell), who had beaten out Datsyuk (Charlie Norris) for control of the early lead to the opening quarter mile in a smart :27.1. Gingras took his time and got Father Patrick to the lead before the half mile marker in :56 and then just let his trotter roll. Past the three-quarters in 1:23, Father Patrick began to open up on the field. As they came down the stretch, Father Patrick was at ease as Gingras just line drove him home, but the teletimer said different as the one mile was clocking in an amazing 1:50.2. Nuncio was second with Datsyuk third. His time established Father Patrick as the fastest three-year-old trotter ever on a five-eighths mile track, surpassing Googoo Gaagaa’s 1:50.4 mark in 2012, also set at Pocono Downs. “I was very happy with both my horses,” said trainer Jimmy Takter, who also trains Nuncio. “Like I have been saying, Father Patrick is a very unique horse. We compare him with other horses and I have trained a lot of great horses but this is the best horse I have ever developed. This horse trotter here tonight in 1:50.2. I know this track is fantastic but Yannick he just sat with him and never asked him and he still had his plugs (ear) in him. He was sitting on a good second at least.” Now undefeated in five starts this year and with 15 wins in 16 lifetime starts (his only loss came last year to Nuncio), Father Patrick is sired by Cantab Hall and is owned by the Father Patrick Syndicate of East Windsor, NJ. With his victory he has surpassed the $1 million mark in career earnings at 1,097,288. The $500,000 final of the Max Hempt Memorial for three-year-old pacing colts saw McWicked and driver David Miller beat the world mark for his age and gait with a 1:47.3 victory. The son of McArtle took the early lead away from At Press Time (Yannick Gingras) and never looked back, cruising to the wire in winning by two and one-quarter lengths over At Press Time and All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley), who had tried to go first-over in the race. His time of 1:47.3 surpassed the world record on a five-eighths mile track that was set last year by Sunshine Beach at Pocono Downs in defeating two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous. “He was just awesome,” said trainer Casie Coleman. “I usually like him out of a hole but he can race on the front end. I saw Dave (Miller) tuck his whip away in the stretch so I was pretty happy.” “You know, he felt pretty good down the backstretch and around the final turn,” David Miller said. “He is just unbelievable. I had a lot of confidence in him. I didn’t want to be the last one out of the gate and it worked out pretty well.” Owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, NY, it was McWicked’s fourth win in seven starts this year. He paid $3.00 to win as the betting favorite. Doo Wop Hanover and driver Corey Callahan swept three-wide in the backstretch from last place and despite being parked out three-wide the entire final turn, was able to close with a burst of speed to win the $75,000 Max Hempt Memorial Consolation Pace for three-year-olds colts. Mattamerica (George Napolitano, Jr.) took the early lead away from Kingofthejungle (Brett Miller) and he set super-fast fractions. Some Playa (Brian Sears) had come first-over to no avail as it was Doo Wop Hanover come on to win by a half length in 1:49. Mattamerican held for second with Kingofthejungle third. It was the third win in six starts this year for Doo Wop Hanover. The son of Rocknroll Hanover is trained by Steve Eliott and it was a lifetime mark for the bay colt who paid $7.00 to win. He is owned by Peter Blood, Rick Berks and Gary Piontkowski. A real slugfest was expected in the $500,000 final of the Ben Franklin Free-For-All Pace for older horses and fans were treated by just that. Sweet Lou, the Dan Patch award winning 2011 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt of the Year has not been living up to expectations until the last two months and tonight he showed he is the best in the business this year. Driven by Ron Pierce, Sweet Lou was not only able to come on the outside and take away the lead from stablemate Bettor’s Edge (Matt Kakaley) after a :25.2 opening quarter mile, but then held him off in a dramatic stretch drive to win by a neck in 1:47, setting a world record in the process. Another stablemate from the Ron Burke Stable, Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) was third. Captaintreacherous could do nothing with a third-over trip and was fifth. His time surpassed the world mark on a five-eighths mile track that was co-held in 1:47.2 by both Pet Rock (2013) and Dancin Yankee earlier this year. It was a lifetime mark for Sweet Lou. “I let him (Bettor’s Edge) come up to me,” said driver Ron Pierce, “and then I chased after my horse. We were never passed. He just dug in a little bit more. I felt by far he was the best horse in the race. I just had to drive him right. The only way he was going to get beat tonight is if I messed up.” A winner in his last five starts, Sweet Lou is trained by Ron Burke and is owned by The Brurke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Peter Collura. The five-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruise paid $3.20 to win. The only big final that did not set a world record was the $300,000 finale of the James Lynch Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies. Repeating the same effort as last week, Fancy Desire and driver George Napolitano, Jr. were parked out to the opening quarter mile in :26.1 by Sayitall BB (Yannick Gingras) but once she got to the lead, Fancy Desire would not be passed again. Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell) was parked out from the start and started to come after Fancy Desire as they sped to the half in :55.3 and the three-quarters in 1:22.2 but she then began to fade. Then coming down the stretch, Napolitano went to work on Fancy Desire as Sayitall BB came right after them, neck and neck to the wire but Fancy Desire held tough to the finish to win by a head in 1:49.2. Uffizi Hanover (David Miller) was third. “I knew it was going to be a tough race,” Napolitano said. “Once I got to the front I knew Yannick was right behind me and that he had a pretty nice horse. I knew it would be a horse race to the wire. I was really confident coming into the race. She loves her work.” Sired by Real Desire, it was the second straight win and fourth victory of the year for Fancy Desire, who is owned by Robert DiNozzi of Ossining,NY. She paid $5.20 to win. Tyra and driver Tim Tetrick were able to make the most of a two-hole trip behind race favorite Someisleandsomwhere and then pull away in the stretch to win the $50,000 James Lynch Memorial Consolation race for three-year-old pacing fillies. Tyra had shot out to the early lead but a quarter move by Someislesomwhere (David Miller) gave Tyra the perfect two-hole. She moved out of the pocket at the top of the stretch and blasted away from the field to win by three open lengths in a lifetime best 1:50.1. It Was Fascination (Scott Zeron) was second with Someislandsomwhere third. Trained by Jim King, Jr. Tyra is sired by McArtle and is owned by CC Racing, LLC. Of Molcena, IL. She paid $6.20 to win and it was her third win in seven starts this year. Sun Stakes Saturday got off to an early fast start at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, as 4-year-old trotting gelding Wind Of The North stormed to a 1:51 victory in the second half of the Daily Double, a $21,000 trot. Driver David Miller, to be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame next weekend, left swiftly with the altered son of Cantab Hall to hit the quarter in 26.2, then yielded to Daylon Magician, who got the field to the half in 55.1. Going to the ¾ Daylon Magician made a break and went to the infield, giving Wind Of The North clear sailing and inside positioning to the 1:23.1 ¾, and Wind Of The North stormed home in 27.4 to finish the record mile, which shaded the former standard of Indian Summer, set here 51 weekends ago, by a tick. Clifton Green of Pennsylvania is the trainer/lessee of Wind Of The North, who lowered his personal best by almost three seconds, from 1:53.4. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Nuncio spent a lot of this past winter learning to use his natural talent in a more productive way, and it shows. The 3-year-old trotter, who is 3-1 from post two in Saturday's $500,000 Earl Beal Jr. Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs is undefeated in four starts in 2014 after a barn change following his 2-year-old season. New trainer Jimmy Takter concentrated on teaching the son of Andover Hall to conserve and use his speed judiciously and driver John Campbell said he's passing the course so far. Last year, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of his 10 races. This year, he's been no better than third at the halfway point of any race and not seen the lead until the stretch. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "He just got so aggressive and so wound up at the end of last year that you just couldn't rate him at all. That was to his detriment in a couple races and it cost him winning. 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, so I can be a little more aggressive with him at the gate. "He left a little bit last week and didn't get wound up. I'm very happy with his manners so far. He's been very relaxed and that's important because if they're worked up and you're fighting with them, you just take away energy. He's always been able to go; speed hasn't been an issue ever with him. It's more been just manageability." Nuncio won his Beal elimination last weekend by a half-length over Datsyuk in 1:52.2. His previous three wins this season all came in divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Last year, he won five of 10 races and never finished worse than second on his way to $461,074. His earnings were third most among 2-year-old trotters, behind Takter-trained colt Father Patrick and Takter-trained filly Shake It Cerry. Four of Nuncio's second-place efforts were against Father Patrick, in the eliminations and final of the Peter Haughton Memorial and elims and final of the Breeders Crown. Nuncio won the Matron Stakes and a division of the Reynolds; he also was runner-up to Muscle Network in the Valley Victory. Father Patrick, who received the 2013 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male trotter, also won his Beal elimination last week. He drew post No. 8 for the final and is the 5-2 morning line favorite with driver Yannick Gingras. "I'd certainly rather have the two hole than outside, that is for sure, but once we get in to the race, everybody will know at the quarter whether it's good or bad," Campbell said. "But going in to the race, I'd rather be down inside." Father Patrick won his Beal elim by 2-1/4 lengths over Harper Blue Chip in 1:52.4. He is 4-for-4 this year and brings a 13-race win streak into the Beal final. Last year, Father Patrick won 10 of 11 races, including the Breeders Crown at Pocono Downs, the Wellwood Memorial and the Peter Haughton Memorial. His only setback came against Nuncio in July. "This is the first time all year that he'll be asked to go," Gingras said. "He's more than ready after four easy starts." Saturday's stakes-laden card at Pocono Downs also includes the $500,000 Max C. Hempt Memorial for 3-year-old pacers, the $500,000 Ben Franklin Pace for older pacers, the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial for 3-year-old female pacers, and $100,000 Sun Invitational for older trotters. Post time is 6:30 p.m. for the first race. The Sun Invitational is race No. 8 and will be followed by the four stakes. Following are Saturday's Sun Invitational and stakes fields in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: Race 8, $100,000 Sun Invitational - 1. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 10-1; 2. Sevruga, Ron Pierce, Julie Miller, 5-1; 3. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 7-2; 4. Amigo Ranger, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 12-1; 5. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 6. Modern Family, Dave Palone, Daryl Bier, 3-1; 7. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 2-1. Race 9, $300,000 Lynch Memorial - 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 2. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 3. Also Encouraging, Brett Miller, Casie Coleman, 15-1; 4. Fancy Desire, George Napolitano Jr., Kevin Carr, 3-1; 5. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 6. Cinamony, Corey Callahan, Alex Rice Jr., 6-1; 7. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 12-1; 8. Weeper, Dave Palone, Kelly O'Donnell, 4-1; 9. My Lady Day, Tim Tetrick, Joe Holloway, 20-1. Race 10, $500,000 Hempt Memorial - 1. Cammikey, Brian Zendt, Bill Zendt, 6-1; 2. Allstar Partner, Corey Callahan, John Butenschoen, 12-1; 3. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 5-2; 4. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 4-1; 5. At Press Time, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1; 6. Stevensville, Tim Tetrick, Ray Schnittker, 20-1; 7. Bushwacker, Ron Pierce, Chris Ryder, 15-1; 8. All Bets Off, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 3-1; 9. Limelight Beach, Brian Sears, Brian Brown, 10-1. Race 11, $500,000 Franklin Pace - 1. Bettor's Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1; 2. Allstar Legend, Scott Zeron, Ron Burke, 15-1; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 4. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 5-2; 5. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 10-1; 6. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 5-1; 7. Captive Audience, David Miller, Corey Johnson, 20-1; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna, 3-1; 9. Sunshine Beach, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 6-1. Race 12, $500,000 Beal Jr. Memorial - 1. Amped Up Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 10-1; 2. Nuncio, John Campbell, Jimmy Takter, 3-1; 3. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, Mark Steacy, 5-1; 4. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, Robert Baggitt Jr., 4-1; 5. Outburst, Andrew McCarthy, Noel Daley, 15-1; 6. Well Built, Jim Meittinis, Chris Ryder, 20-1; 7. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, Charlie Norris, 6-1; 8. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 9. Sumatra, Brett Miller, Tom Fanning, 12-1. by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications
ANDERSON, Ind.-June 11, 2014 - Sam Widger notched the 5,000th win of his career after he piloted Brooklyn's Z Tam to victory in a condition pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, June 11. The 1:56.2 victory marked a lifetime best performance for the four-year-old daughter of Electric Yankee-Slick Fit and a career milestone for the 50-year-old reinsman. Trained by Mike Murphy, Brooklyn's Z Tam was able to take advantage of a perfect second-over trip to record the first win of her 4-year-old campaign. Owned by Connie Blakeman, Brooklyn's Z Tam now sports a career bankroll of $24,870. Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Widger's friends and fellow drivers were in the winner's circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment. "On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I'd like to congratulate Sam on win number 5,000," Moore noted. "Through his professionalism and attitude, Sam is a great ambassador for our sport. We wish Sam continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career. We look forward to watching him win many more races at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino." Now in his 28th season as a driver, Widger completed his ninth season with purse earnings surpassing the $2.5 million mark in 2013. The veteran reinsman has gone over the $3 million mark in purse earnings four times in the last eight years and has finished among the top ten drivers at Hoosier Park every season he has competed. Widger also received a spot in the Hoosier Park history books when he guided Bolt The Duer to victory in the 2013 installment of Hoosier Park's most prestigious race, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. Widger, who has a farm in Beecher, IL that he shares with his wife, Nancy, and his five children, loves to hunt, fish and also enjoys helping out on the family farm in his spare time. Widger remains humble when considering his career and accredits much of his success to hard work, determination and perseverance. "God willing, trainers willing, and owners willing, we'll just keep on going," Widger said after his win. "I count my blessings every day, not only with the harness racing, but with family as well. I'm as rich as anybody could be when it comes to family." Widger is currently third on the 2014 leading driver standings at Hoosier Park with 65 trips to the winner's circle and over $640,000 in purse earnings. Trace Tetrick leads all drivers with 97 victories while Tyler Smith is just behind him in second with 92 wins. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Thursday, June 12 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $17,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred trot. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule through November 15. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
Campbellville, ON --- Last weekend’s elimination winners McWicked, Tellitlikeitis and Lyonssomewhere head an extremely competitive field of 10 for the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup harness race, this Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. The 31st edition of the world’s richest pacing event, showcasing the finest 3-year-olds on the continent, will go postward at 10:14 p.m. and will be shown live on TSN. A half-hour preview of the race will air on TSN GO from 9:30-10:00 p.m., with the race set for TSN from 9:30 p.m.–10:30 p.m. The winner will earn C$500,000. Post positions were drawn today at Mohawk, with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Dave Bolland as the guest drawmaster. Last Saturday, three Cup eliminations were held to determine the field for the final. The three winners earned their connections the right to choose a post position before the balance of the field was drawn. Seventeen of the past 30 Cup winners also won their elimination. Trainer Casie Coleman, who won the 2010 Cup with Sportswriter, sends out McWicked, who recorded the fastest elim, winning by two lengths in 1:48.3, from post two. Owned by SSG Stables, McWicked, a son of 2002 Cup third place finisher Mcardle, is a five time winner in 14 outings with career earnings of $244,707. Driver David Miller has yet to win the Cup in 13 tries, but has twice been second, including last year with a 96-1 shot Twilight Bonfire. Trainer Jimmy Takter, more renowned as a trotting conditioner for such stars as Moni Maker, Kadabra and Malabar Man, but who also directed filly pacer See You At Peelers to championship seasons, will have two Cup entrants, Tellitlikeitis (post three) and Lyonssomewhere (post four), who both won their elims in ultra-impressive fashion and who both will be solidly backed on Saturday night. Tellitlikeitis, bred and owned by Lothlorien of Cheltenham, Ontario, took his elim in a career best 1:48.4, blowing by heavily-favored He's Watching to win by 2-1/4 lengths in only his second start of the year. The regally bred son of 2009 Cup winner Well Said out of champion Kikikatie also won his season opener, a Pennsylvania Sires Stake, at Pocono Downs in May. Lothlorien has shared ownership of three previous Cup winners -- Well Said (2009), Rocknroll Hanover (2005) and Red River Hanover (2002). Takter has only started two previous Cup entrants, both in 2012, and finished second with Time To Roll. Driver Brett Miller has two previous Cup drives, finishing second in 2010 with We Will See. Lyonssomewhere, owned by Geoffrey Lyons Mound of Burford, Ontario is undefeated in five starts. The son of 2008 Cup winner and Horse of the Year Somebeachsomewhere took his elim comfortably in 1:50.1 by 1-3/4 lengths in his first stakes appearance. He’ll be driven by Corey Callahan, making only his second Cup drive after finishing fourth with Mr Wiggles in 2009. He's Watching (post seven), co-owned and trained by David Menary of Rockton, Ontario, finished second to Tellitlikeitis in his elim, but last year won all eight starts en route to a Dan Patch Award as the United States’ top 2-year-old colt pacer. Winner of a Somebeachsomewhere division on May 31 in a career best 1:49.3, the son of American Ideal will be driven by the continent’s perennial leader, Tim Tetrick, who steered champion Captaintreacherous to an authoritative score in last year’s Cup. JK Endofanera (post nine), trained by Ron Burke for owner-breeder 3 Brothers Stables of New York City, had a five-race win streak broken in his elim when finishing third as the 1-2 choice to Lyonssomewhere, while drifting out in the stretch. The son of Art Major is the field’s leading money winner with $453,517, topped by his win last year in the Governor’s Cup at the Meadowlands. He’ll be driven by Brian Sears, who steered Rocknroll Hanover to victory in the 2005 Cup. Last year’s Breeders Crown champion, Luck Be Withyou (post eight), was third to Tellitlikeitis in his elim, after finishing second to JK Endofanera in a Somebeachsomewhere division the week before in his seasonal debut. Trained by Bill Cass for owner John Craig of North York, the son of Western Ideal will be driven by Ron Pierce, who has won two Cups, with Total Truth in 2006 and Well Said in 2009. Let's Drink On It (post five), trained by Joe Seekman, is a seven-time winner in 16 starts and was third to McWicked in his elim. A son of Art Official, the only horse to defeat Somebeachsomewhere, he’ll be piloted by 21-year-old Tyler Smith, who would become the youngest driver to win the Pepsi North America Cup. Sometimes Said (post 10), another son of 2009 Cup winner Well Said, finished second to McWicked last Saturday, the ninth time in 14 outings he’s been the runner-up. Trained by Jim Campbell for owner Fashion Farms and driven by his Hall of Fame brother and record six-time Cup winner John Campbell, Sometimes Said was also second to Luck Be Withyou in last year’s Breeders Crown. Beat The Drum (post one), a son of 2007 Cup winner Tell All, finished second as a 27-1 shot to Lyonssomewhere in his elim for trainer Staffan Lind. Yannick Gingras drives the three-time winner in 17 starts, the most outings by any Cup entrant this year. Completing the field is Ideal Cowboy (post six), who finished fourth to McWicked in his elim but drew into the final. Trained by PJ Fraley, the son of American Ideal has banked $48,684 in 10 career starts. Scott Zeron will drive. In 2012, Thinking Out Loud set the stakes record of 1:47.4 at Mohawk, eclipsing the former mark of 1:48.1 established by Well Said in 2009 while Hall of Famer Bettor's Delight has won the race by the largest margin, 4-1/2 lengths, in 2001. Other winners of the Cup, which began in 1984 at Greenwood Raceway, include such champions as Jate Lobell (1987), Precious Bunny (1991), Presidential Ball (1993), Cam's Card Shark (1994), Gallo Blue Chip (2000), Rocknroll Hanover (2005), Somebeachsomewhere (2008) and Captaintreacherous (2013). The Cup was raced at Greenwood from 1984-93, followed by Woodbine from 1994-2006. It was held at Mohawk Racetrack for the first time in 2007. The shortest-priced winners, at $2.70, are Jate Lobell and Presidential Ball, while Goalie Jeff, in 1989, provided the highest win payoff, $93.60. Horseplayers will get an added bonus on Pepsi North America Cup night when Mohawk will offer three Pick-4 wagers including an “All Stakes Pick-4.” The All Stakes Pick-4, with a $100,000 guaranteed pool, will run from race seven to 10 and will feature the Roses Are Red, Mohawk Gold Cup, Fan Hanover and conclude in race 10 with the 31st Pepsi North America Cup. $1 million Pepsi North America Cup Post–Horse–Driver-Trainer-Line 1–Beat The Drum–Yannick Gingras-Staffan Lind-20-1 2–McWicked–David Miller-Casie Coleman-7-2 3–Tellitlikeitis–Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-3-1 4–Lyonssomewhere–Corey Callahan-Jimmy Takter-4-1 5–Let's Drink On It–Tyler Smith-Joe Seekman-6-1 6–Ideal Cowboy–Scott Zeron-PJ Fraley-15-1 7–He's Watching–Tim Tetrick-David Menary-5-1 8–Luck Be Withyou–Ron Pierce-William Cass-12-1 9–JK Endofanera–Brian Sears-Ron Burke-10-1 10–Sometimes Said–John Campbell-Jim Campbell-20-1 AE–Jet Airway–Scott Zeron-Erv Miller From the Publicity Department at WEG
The Roses Are Red Series at Mohawk Raceway Saturday saw two classy older pacing mares, Anndrovette and Yagonnakissmeornot win their $35,000 elimination divisions in photo finishes. The first division saw Jerseylicious and driver Ron Pierce leave and park out Shebestingin (David Miller) to the opening quarter mile in :26.2. Meanwhile, Anndrovette and Tim Tetrick got away in third place along the rail as they raced to the half mile in :55.2. It was then that Charisma Hanover (Yannick Gingras) came first-over over with Summertime Lea (Scott Zeron) following the outside flow as the field hit the three-quarters in 1:22.4. Starting down the stretch, Summertime Lea tipped out and looked to collar Shebestingin with Shelliscape (Brian Sears) coming into the picture. All the while weaving with Anndrovette around four horses, Tim Tetrick got the game mare into high gear and she came charging down to the wire to win by a head in 1:49.3 over Summertime Lea and Shelliscape. Shebestingin had faded and finished fourth with Charisma Hanover fifth and making it to the $325,000 final next week. For Anndrovette, the seven-year-old mare by Riverboat King and a three-time Dan Patch award winning older pacing mare of the year, she posted her second straight win and third victory on the year for trainer P J Fraley. She is owned by Bamond Racing of Brick, NJ and Joseph Devitto of Clarksburg, NJ. She paid $3.70 to win as the only favorite in all of the eliminations races to win. “I was following some good mares,” said driver Tim Tetrick, “Shebestingin and Jerseylicious and I figured they would carry me and I would have some room in the stretch. When I finally did get some room she really charged home. After her good mile last week she really responds after an effort like that. She likes the Canadian air. She always does well on this track and right now she is tough as nails. When the money is down she always seems to show up.” The second division saw an amazing “true grit” grind it out first-over effort from Yagonnakissmeornot and driver Ron Pierce as they were able to wear down pacesetter and race favorite Somwherovrarainbow and driver Brian Sears to win by a neck in 1:50.1. After taking the early lead away from Voelz Hanover (Randy Waples), Sears led the way with Somwherovrarainbow to the quarter in :27.3, the half in :56.3 as Pierce was already on the outside with Yagonnakissmeornot and starting to work their way up to the front. And they did by the three-quarters in 1:24. It was then a two-horse race to the finishing and Yagonnakissmeornot was super game and nipped Somwherovrarainbbow at the wire. Krispy Apple (Tim Tetrick) was third with Camille (Brett Miller) fourth and rounding out the field for the final was fifth place finisher Rocklamation (Yannick Gingras). “We got away badly,” Pierce said. “And I was concerned but I figured if I let her have some racetrack she would respond and she did. I raced her before when George Teague had her and I learned a lot about her. After one start I knew just how to race her. I knew this track would help her a lot and that she would just eat it up. She has the speed, everything is there, she’s the complete package.” A five-year-old mare by The Panderosa, Yagonnakissmeornot is trained by Carmen Auciello and is owned by Allard Racing, Inc. of Yves Sarrain, QC and Kapildeo Singh of NY. Her time of 1:50.1 was a lifetime mark. She paid 416.40 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Both Uffizi Hanover and Table Talk scored upsets in winning their respective $35,000 divisions of the Fan Hanover Series at Mohawk Raceway Saturday. In the process, the Dan Patch harness racing award winning Precocious Beauty, the 2013 Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly of the Year, finished a disappointing seventh in her division and right after the race her driver, Doug McNair, took off the rest of his drives on the program. Uffizi Hanover returned to her winning ways in the $35,000 first elimination division of the Fan Hanover Series with a tough nose victory in the final strides over Beach Gal and race favorite Nat A Virgin in 1:51.4. It was the 4/5 favorite Nat A Virgin and driver Richard Zeron overpowering Take That Hanover (Michael Saftic) by the opening quarter in a speedy :25.4. Then Zeron was able to back it down to the half mile marker in :55.2. That just about jumbled up the field and forced Wanna Rock N Roll (Brian Sears) to come first-over with Beach Gal (Jody Jamieson) grabbing the second over cover. They raced that way past the three-quarters in 1:25.3 with driver David Miller coming up third over with Uffizi Hanover and everyone fanning out as they started down the stretch. Nat A Virgin was collared late by Beach Gal who looked to have the race in-hand until Miller was able to zip on by in the final strides with a :25.4 last quarter mile to win by a long nose with Beach Gal second by a head to Uffizi Hanover. “She usually has a pretty good kick to her,” Said David Miller. “It actually set up for not too bad. And she had her usual kick in her. I think this is the type of horse that just needs a few starts to get warmed up. I didn’t start driving her until late last year and she was having a kinda so so season. I think she is the type of horse that needs four or five starts to get into form. I she will be good (for the final). She was much better in her last start and tonight she raced real well. I think she will improve off of that.” Trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Al Libfield, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldfarb of Toronto, it was the first win in three starts this year for Uffizi Hanover. She is a daughter of Well Said and paid $14.50 to win. Also making it to the $400,000 Fan Hanover final next week were Fancy Desire (Ron Pierce) and fifth place went to Barefoot Beauty (Doug McNair). In the second Fan Hanover division, Table Talk and driver Jim Marohn, Jr. went from last to finish in the stretch and upset the field as the longest shot on the board, winning in the final strides by a long head at odds of 35-1. It was Bahama Blue (Jody Jamieson) shooting to the early lead from post seven with Precocious Beauty, the 4/5 favorite for McNair, grabbing the two-hole trip. They were quickly challenged on the outside by Lady Shadow and driver Brian Sears by the opening quarter mile in :26.3. As soon as the field got into the backstretch, McNair pulled on the right line and sent Precocious Beauty to the lead with ease and she took the field to the half mile in :55.2. Then as they came to the final turn, Jamieson came first-over with Bahama Blue and Major Dancer (David Miller) grabbed the second-over cover with Momas Fallen Angel (Yannick Gingras) third-over. And sure enough in last place fourth-over was Marohn and Table Talk. Past the three-quarters in 1:24.2, it was everyone that was fanning out to take a shot at Precocious Beauty coming down the stretch and that is exactly what they did. With Precocious Beauty coming up empty down the stretch, a wall of horse was racing to the wire and then on the far outside was Table Talk and Jim Marohn, Jr. flying to the wire to win by a head in 1:51.4. Major Dancer was second with Mamas Fallen Angel third, Rock N Roll Xample (Jim MacDonald) getting fourth place and also making it to the final next week was Bahama Blue. “The trip worked out great,” Jim Marohn, Jr. said. “She was nervous before the start, throwing her head around behind the starting gate. I could not get her off the gate as good as I wanted to. She settled in nice at the quarter and with the fractions up front it helped her in closing. She can carry her speed a lot more this year than last year. She was always quick. She could turn speed on and now she can hold on to the speed a lot longer. She’s real gritty and she likes to pass horses.” Sired by Bettors Delight, Table Talk is trained by William Dalious and is owned by The Wiz Kids Stable of Dover, Delaware. It was her second win in four starts this year and a lifetime mark. She paid $77.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Perfect Alliance all but destroyed a field of six rivals at Mohawk Raceway Friday, romping by six and one-half lengths in winning her $35,000 division of the Armbro Flight harness racing eliminations while Bee A Magician tasted defeat for the second time this year, losing to 54-1 long shot D’Orsay by a half length in her division. Now undefeated in 11 starts this year, Perfect Alliance lived up her name once again as driver Yannick Gingras had little trouble once he got his mare to the lead. He was parked out from post seven by Ma Chere Hall (Corey Callahan) and was unable to clear to the lead until after the opening quarter mile in :27. But once on top Perfect Alliance settled in and led the field to the half mile in :55.3 and then by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.4, Ma Chere Hall made a break in the two-hole as Perfect Alliance scooted away from the field, leading by four and one-half lengths before coasting home to win in 1:51.4. Rockin With Dewey (Mario Baillargeon) was second with Bax Of Life (Chris Christoforou) third. The time of the race was the track record at Mohawk for trotting mares. Also making it to next week’s $266,000 final were Upfrontluckycarol (Stephen Condren) in fourth and Lady Laker (Trevor Ritchie) in fifth place. To watch Perfect Alliance win click here. Trained by Julie Miller, Perfect Alliance is sired by Credit Winner and is owned by Little E, LLC, Jason Settlemoir, David Stolz and Arthur Geiger. She paid $2.30 to win. Mohawk Raceway’s tote board had to use all five digits when D’Orsay did the unthinkable and defeated last year’s Dan Patch Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician, and she did it at odds of 54-1 and paid $111.30 to win. The five-year-old mare by Yankee Glide was driven by Sylvain Filion and used a :26.2 last quarter mile kick to collar Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) in late stretch and then win by a half length in 1:52.1. Classy Martine (Tim Tetrick) was third. It was Classy Martine that went right to the early lead and gave Bee A Magician what seemed to be the perfect two-hole trip through fractions of :27.1, :56.4 and 1:25 and all the while D’Orsay and Filion sat in third place following the action until the top of the stretch. Sears came out with Bee A Magician and started after Classy Martine and had them collared but Sears was not pushing Bee A Magician so when Filion fanned out with D’Orsay they may have caught Sears napping a bit as they charged down the stretch to pull off the upset. Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) was fourth with Angie’s Lucky Star (James MacDonald) fifth to complete the final for next week. For D’Orsay, it was her first win in three starts this year for trainer Jonas Czernyson and the Consus Racing Stable of Hamilton, NJ. To watch D'Orsay win click here. The field for the final will line up as follows per post positions: 1) Lady Laker 2) Bax Of Life 3) Dorsay* 4) Perfect Alliance* 5) Classic Martine 6) Upfrontluckycarol 7) Rockin With Dewey 8) Charmed Life 9) Bee A Magician 10) Angies Lucky Star AE) Ma Chere Hall By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Larry Karr hopes the "sweet" is back in Sweet Lou. Karr, who is among the owners of the 5-year-old male pacer, has watched Sweet Lou win back-to-back starts for the first time since June 2012, a span of 44 races. Sweet Lou heads to Sunday's $160,000 Roll With Joe for older male pacers off consecutive victories in the TVG Free For All Series at the Meadowlands, with his most recent triumph coming from post 10 in 1:48 over a track labeled "good" on May 24. For his career, Sweet Lou has won 24 of 60 races and earned $2.18 million for owners Karr, Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and Phil Collura. Sweet Lou, trained by Ron Burke, was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and still holds the world record of 1:49 for fastest mile ever by a 2-year-old pacer. Sweet Lou and stablemate Clear Vision, who won the 2012 Roll With Joe (known then as the Bettor's Delight), will race as an entry and were made the 6-5 morning line favorite in this year's event. Sweet Lou starts from post two with driver Ron Pierce. "He's looking as good as ever," Karr said. "I know it's a long year, and there are a lot of very tough horses out there, but he looks the part. It looks like he's put it all together. It's not going to be easy, you have all these good horses coming out of the woodwork, but as long as Lou is healthy I'll put him against anyone." Sweet Lou's season started with a second-place finish by a nose to Bettor's Edge in the Levy Series at Yonkers, but after a sixth-place finish in the series the following week, March 29, the horse was given time off. He returned on May 3 with a solid third-place effort in the Van Rose Memorial at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs before winning the first two rounds of the TVG Free For All Series. "Early on, when we tried him in the Levy, I didn't have a lot of optimism," Karr said. "Ron decided Yonkers wasn't going to be his forte and freshened him up and got him ready for the Meadowlands. During that time, he really matured and filled out. He looks fantastic now. He looks strong." Karr, a corporate lawyer from New Jersey, has enjoyed success with a number of horses over the years - he was among the owners of 2007 Jugette winner Western Graduate as well as several sire stakes champions - but nothing compares to Sweet Lou. "No horse I've had ranks up there with Lou," Karr said. "None has the kind of aura he possesses. Whenever he races, I'll always plan my night around it. Horses like him are why I'm in the business. It's exciting to feel you have a horse that's at the top of his class. "Hopefully now he'll get on a roll and validate the belief we've always had in him." Karr knows any successes go beyond the horse, the trainer and driver. It extends to the grooms who take care of the horses on a daily basis. "These people put everything they've got into these horses," Karr said. "I'm extremely grateful to them." Following is the Roll With Joe field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Dovuto Hanover, Scott Zeron, Darran Cassar, 5-1; 2. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke, 6-5; 3. Doctor Butch, Jim Marohn Jr., Linda Toscano, 6-1; 4. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 9-2; 5. Warrawee Needy, David Miller, Mark Ford, 10-1; 6. Moonliteonthebeach, Tyler Buter, Ed Hart, 12-1; 7. Heston Blue Chip, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 6-1; 8. Olde Time Hockey, Mike Simons, Tom Fanning, 15-1; 9. Clear Vision, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-5; 10. Word Power, Jim Morrill Jr., Larry Remmen, 10-1. Sweet Lou and Clear Vision race coupled as 1 and 1A. Doctor Butch and Heston Blue Chip race coupled as 2 and 2A. Word Power starts from the second tier. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Tyler Smith imagined a day when he would get the chance to be the regular driver of a Grand Circuit horse. In his mind, he thought the opportunity might come a decade from now. In reality, it is now. The 21-year-old Smith, who last season was the leading driver at Hoosier Park and became the youngest driver to reach 1,000 career wins, will be the regular driver of 3-year-old male pacer Let's Drink On It. Let's Drink On It, who finished last year by winning the American-National Stakes with Brian Sears in the sulky, is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday's third of three C$75,000 divisions of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes at Mohawk Racetrack. The Somebeachsomewhere Stakes is the final prep for the North America Cup, for which eliminations are June 7 and the C$1 million final is June 14. Smith, who drove Let's Drink On It once last year, qualified the colt twice this season and has driven the horse to two wins in two starts. Let's Drink On It is coming off a 1:49 win in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on May 17. That time is the fastest by a 3-year-old pacer so far this season. "He qualified the horse and it looked like he got along with the horse very well," trainer Joe Seekman said. "He's got confidence in the horse. There's nothing better than a driver with confidence in your horse." Smith, an Ohio native with 1,376 wins to his credit, is thrilled to have the chance to drive Let's Drink On It. Last season, Smith set career highs with 507 victories, which tied for 12th best among all drivers in North America, and $3.66 million in purses. "I thought maybe when I was 30 I'd get an opportunity like this," Smith said. "To be 21 and asked to stick with (Let's Drink On It), it's a dream come true. "I know I've got more high hopes for him than a lot of people. I know he's rated under some other horses, and he should be at this point because those horses accomplished more last year. But there's something about him that I think is special." Smith's trip to Mohawk will be his first visit to Canada. The decision to give up drives at Hoosier Park was difficult, but necessary. "The Indiana Sire Stakes (first leg finals) are the same night as the North America Cup elims and I've got horses in every division that I think could be one or two," Smith said. "But I've got to do this. This could be my ticket." Let's Drink On It won five of 12 races and $174,601 last year. A son of stallion Art Official out of the mare Letmedowneasy, the colt was purchased for $12,000 at the 2012 Lexington Selected Sale. Seekman trained Art Official, who is best remembered for his upset of Somebeachsomewhere in the 2008 Meadowlands Pace. Seekman was impressed with Let's Drink On It's performance in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes, but thought the colt's debut 1:50.1 win on May 10 in a conditioned race at Hoosier was even better. Let's Drink On It paced the last half-mile in :53.1 to beat 7-year-old Meirs Hanover by five lengths. "It's kind of a wide-open (3-year-old) division this year," said Seekman, who trains Let's Drink On It for wife Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vincent Boido Jr. "I don't know if he's a top one, but I think he's going to make his presence felt." Joining Let's Drink On It in the third division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes are Melmerby Beach, Jet Airway, Boomboom Ballykeel, That's My Opinion, He's Watching, Bugger Bruiser, and Surprise Hanover. He's Waching was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer after dominating the New York Sire Stakes circuit. He made his seasonal debut last weekend in the eliminations for the Art Rooney Pace at Yonkers, but went off stride and failed to advance to the final. "It was an unfortunate set of circumstances," co-owner/trainer Dave Menary said after the race. "There didn't appear to be any physical issues, but what happened happened. He's too good a horse, and we'll go back and see. I'm confident this is just going to be a blip on the radar." In Saturday's first division of the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, multiple-stakes-winner JK Endofanera brings a four-race win streak to Mohawk for trainer Ron Burke and driver Brian Sears. The colt is 2-for-2 this season, with victories in the Simpson Memorial and Historic-Pocono Cup. JK Endofanera is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the split, which also includes last season's Breeders Crown winner for 2-year-old male pacers, Luck Be Withyou. The Bill Cass-trained Luck Be Withyou is making his first start of the campaign and will have Ron Pierce at the lines. The rest of the first division field is Marco De Vie, Three Of Clubs, Play It Again Sam, Somewhere Fancy, and Falcon Justice. Joe Holloway's Always B Miki is the 5-2 favorite in the second division, which also includes Here Comes William, Somewhere In LA, McWicked, Silverhill Shadow, Roger Mach Em, Somestarsomewhere, and Capital Account. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
What a great weekend of racing we have in store with major events world-wide. This weekend we will be at Sovalla, Sweden for the Elitloppet, and Harrah’s Philadelphia for the Maxi Lee and Betsy Ross all on Sunday, then Saturday night it’s the Meadowlands, Yonkers, Pocono Downs and the opening of Mohawk Raceway! Good Luck! $36,162 Pace Historic Series 3YO Colts Pocono Downs 5th race SATURDAY – With just eight lifetime starts in two years, JK Endofanera is making up for lost time with five wins. He returned for 2014 with a 1:59.4 debut mile last out and a repeat of that effort will make him a winner in here for sure. Use Mattamerican and Bakersfield in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace TVG Free-For-All Meadowlands 6th race SATURDAY – Well matched field is overshadowed by Ron Burke’s three-horse entry. But once again I am going back with Bolt The Duer. He may have needed his first start and world champion and redeem himself with his first win of the year. Use the entry of Clear Vision/Bettor’s Edge/Sweet Lou and Warrawee Needy in exotic plays. $38,000 Pace Open Handicap Yonkers Raceway 7th race SATURDAY – With a change of venue to a half mile track and a new driver to shake things up, Dynamic Youth put in a strong first-over effort last week and came away with a good victory. I think off that effort he can handle hike in class and win again and pay another good price (8-1 last week). Use Easy Again and Digital Z Tam in exotic plays. $36,912 Pace Historic Series 3YO Colts Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – For the first time in his career, Fire In The Belly did not hit the board last week in rough go in PASS. Now he draws the rail, still in tough but I feel he will rebound with a strong effort and surprise this field. Use Capital Account and Seventh Secret in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Art Rooney 3YO Prelim Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – It’s the long awaited 2014 debut of He’s Watching, the Dan Patch 2YO Pacing Colt of the Year last year. Undefeated and looking pretty sharp in his two qualifying races, He’s Watching zoomed around Yonkers oval last year and looks primed to take this one for fun. Use Forty Five Red and Unlocked in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – I am always hunting for a good priced horse to score with and I think I found one here. Resistance Futile was pretty good last year and trainer Blair Burgess usually has them ready to cut loose right out of the box. Off last qualifier this one has every chance to upset the field with expected live cover. Use Captive Audience and State Treasurer in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Art Rooney 3YO Prelim Yonkers Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – With Gingras away in Sweden, Matt Kakaley has been enjoying great success driving for the Ron Burke Stable and should fair very well in here with All Bets Off. In short field of just five starters and has the ability to win either from on or off the pace. Use Maxi Bon and Thereisapaceforus in exotic plays. $600,000 Trot Elitloppet, Solvalla Racetrack, Sweden SUNDAY MORNING (USA 8:50 AM) The Elitloppet is Europe’s equivalent of the Hambletonian for older horses. The race features two elimination rounds with the first four official finishers returning for the final. There are two USA horses entered and I think both of them have a great shot at winning. They are, of course, Maven and Uncle Peter. Maven was a superior mare and has the speed and ability to beat her male rivals. Uncle Peter is also a high class trotter and being that this race is a European sprint at just one mile distance, I think both horses will do extremely well and one of them will even come back and win the final in the second heat! $30,000 Pace Winners Over $25,000 Harrah’s Philadelphia 8th race SUNDAY – Good competitive group will make this a great race. I look for an upset in here as the Burke Stable is razor sharp and Matt Kakaley enjoying all the big drives he is getting with Yannick Gingras in Sweden. Dedi’s Dragon is coming a big win last start and is in perfect spot to steak another one. Last week he scored at nearly 6-1. Use Abelard Hanover and Emeritus Maximus in exotic plays. $250,000 Trot Maxie Lee Memorial Harrah’s Philadelphia 10th race SUNDAY – Super strong field despite no Sebastian K or Modern Family. Going to have to give Market Share his due in hoping the breaking problem is taken care of and he returns to his former self. $3 million plus winner has a great season ahead of him starting here. Use DW’s NY Yank and Sevruga in exotic plays. $250,000 Pace Betsy Ross Mares Invitational Harrah’s 12th race SUNDAY – With her great gate speed and ability to grind it out first over if necessary, Shebestingin should be the best in here. She can overcome starting from post eight and once in command should hold off everyone else. Use Drop The Ball and Yagonnakissmeornot in exotic plays.
He just made it look too easy as Father Patrick scored a four and one-half length triumph in winning a $37,262 division of the harness racing Grand Circuit Historic Series for three-year-old trotting colts at Pocono Downs Wednesday. The harness racing early favorite to win the Hambletonian covered the one mile race in 1:53.3 in his 2014 debut.. Winner of the 2013 Dan Patch award as the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year, Father Patrick was driven by regular pilot Yannick Gingras and got away third at the start of the ten-race co-feature. Master Bedroom (Ron Pierce) was first on the lead but gave way to Amped Up Hanover (Corey Callahan) by the opening quarter mile in :28.2. The it was Gingras and Father Patrick who came first-over and took the lead for good, cutting the fractions to the half mile in :57.4 and then the three-quarters in 1:26 and then Gingras let the bay colt have his head and he took off to the wire. Amped Up Hanover was second with Marathon Man (Mike Simons) third. "I was very happy with the race," Takter said. "Yannick never really had to put him in gear. I wouldn't call it a training mile when they go in 1:53.We go to the Meadows next for the PASS. He didn't need to improve that much over last year. Nature took its own course. This horse is just too perfect. You do not get many like him." A winner in ten of eleven starts last year, Father Patrick is sired by Cantab Hall and trained by Hall of Famer Jimmy Taker He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ. The colt is named after the Takter’s local priest. Father Patrick went off as the overwhelming 1/9 betting favorite and paid just $2.10 to win on a $2 wager. In the $36,512 first division of the Historic Series, It Really Matters and driver Jim Morrill, Jr. seemed to have the race in total control and as they approached the finish line, It Really Matter went off-stride and finished third, setting up 14-1 long shot Auspicious Hanover for the big victory. Despite a small field of only five starters the action was furious early on as Mac Kemp (Brett Miller) was the first to get to the lead but they were then overtaken by Auspicious Hanover and driver Charlie Norris by the opening quarter mile in :28. Then It Really Matters came first-over for Morrill and they took the lead by the half mile marker in :56.2. It looked like It Really Matters was in control of the race coming to the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with Dony Andreas (Corey Callahan) coming first-over to challenge but as they came down the stretch to the wire, It Really Matters made the costly break and Norris was able to get by them on the inside to score a two length triumph in 1:54.1. Dony Andreas was second with It Really Matters third. "I did not know if the two favorites would leave," Charlies Norris said. "So I took a shot. He hasn't been in these kinds of fractions before and I let Jimmy Morrill go loose. I didn't know if I would have caught him if Morrill's horse didn't break. But that's racing. He was closing good and this colt is improving. We go to the PASS next at the Meadows." It was a lifetime mark for Auspicious Hanover. The gelded son of Andover Hall is trained by Charlie Norris and is owned by the Arcadia Farms of Canfield, Ohio, Dale Sweet of Huron, Ohio and Douglas Allen of Southampton, NJ. It was his first win in two starts this year and he paid $31.60 to win. By Steve Wolf and Brian McEvoy, for Harnesslink.com
Well Built looks to bounce back from going off stride in the Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold on April 26 when he faces 10 rivals in Friday's $51,543 John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Part of a Chris Ryder-trained entry with Walk The Walk, Well Built is 7-2 on the morning line and will start from post No. 1 with driver John Campbell. The field also includes, in post order, Sarcastic Man, It Really Matters, Lukas Hall, Deweykeepumnwhy, Keystone Wasabi, Who Wants Soup, Hot Type, Flyhawk El Durado, Trixton, and (from the second tier) Walk The Walk. Trixton is the 5-2 morning line favorite from post 10. Last year, Well Built won a division of the Simpson and his elimination for the Matron Stakes. He is a son of stallion Muscle Hill, who was the 2009 Horse of the Year, and his dam is Working Girl, who is a half-sister to stakes-winner Poster Pin Up. "He got jammed up in the Dexter," said Ryder, who owns Well Built with Robert Mondillo. "I was mortified about that. But he's fine; he's training fine. "I like the horse. He's got good speed. He doesn't usually make a break. I'm not going to say he's reliable - he was just unreliable - but he shouldn't have made a break. He had a horse alongside him and got a little anxious." Walk The Walk, owned by Ryder, Mondillo, Sidney Korn and Max Wernick, was unraced as a 2-year-old. The son of Muscle Hill-Letsjustalkaboutme has won two of four starts and $13,500 this season. "He's coming out of weaker company, but I like him," Ryder said. "He just didn't make it last year. He was ouchy last year, a big growthy horse. But here he is. I like the horse. He's alright. He might be a little understaked for what I think he might be, but we'll see. He's still immature. He'll be a good 4-year-old, I think." Ryder's Odds On Amethyst, owned by Diamond Creek Racing, is not eligible to the Simpson and is preparing for the start of the New Jersey Sire Stakes on May 16 at the Meadowlands. The gelding is a son of Muscle Hill out of the standout mare Mystical Sunshine, who was trained by Ryder during her racing career. "I'm really looking at the Hambletonian with that horse," Ryder said about stakes-winning Odds On Amethyst, who made his 2014 debut on May 2 by winning in 1:53.2. "I'm not going to say he's a top one, but he's got a shot. I think he's going to improve on his (1):53. I know he's going to have to, but I think he will. If he gets much better he's right there. "He's been a bit of a problem child. He's his own worst enemy," Ryder added. "The last two or three weeks he's improved. He's starting to realize he's a racehorse." Trixton, the Simpson favorite, finished second to Odds On Amethyst on May 2, also in his seasonal debut. Trixton is a son of Muscle Hill out of the mare Emilie Cas El, who was Canada's Horse of the Year in 1994. Trixton's family also includes past stars Andover Hall, Conway Hall and Angus Hall. Flyhawk El Durado, trained by Mark Ford for owner Martin Scharf, was the New York Sire Stakes champion last season and also captured a division of the Tompkins-Geers Stakes. He finished third in the May 2 race that included Odds On Amethyst and Trixton. Sarcastic Man, bred and owned by Bob Key, won the Dexter Cup elimination on April 26 at Freehold Raceway. He finished fifth in the final after getting stuck outside for the entire mile from post eight. Ron Pierce will drive for trainer Gail Wrubel. Sarcastic Man is 4-1. Lukas Hall is owned by New Meadowlands Racing Chairman Jeff Gural and former New York Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet. His second dam is stakes-winner Mars Bar, who is a half-sister to Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce. Trained by Kevin McDermott, he won twice on the New York Sire Stakes circuit last season. Keystone Wasabi, owned by Peter Gerry's Kitefield Stable, last year won a Landmark Stakes for trainer Janice Connor and won twice on the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes circuit. * * * Dexter Cup winner Sumatra will get the weekend off and then head to the New Jersey Sire Stakes. "It's early in the year and I just thought we'd point him toward the sire stakes," trainer Tom Fanning said. "Really, the Simpson was going to be my starting point with him, but when he was ready early, we put him in the Dexter; I thought that was a good start. He did well and we just want to keep him fresh and be good all year. "We're just looking long term." Sumatra fits a similar profile as Possessed Fashion, a now 4-year-old trotter for the Fanning Stable and owned by Joseph Smith, as is Sumatra. Possessed Fashion was an $87,000 purchase late in his 2-year-old season who made $230,780 as a 3-year-old. Fanning cited the success of keeping that horse calm and relaxed by frequent turnout with another gelding from his stable. He's not quite ready to try that strategy with Sumatra, who has won six of 13 races and $169,095 lifetime. "We just gelded (Sumatra) in December and he's really still kind of a tough guy," Fanning said. "He's not quite as ready to get along with others yet." He then laughed and joked, "If I could have a nice, big Belgian draft horse that could just put a thumping on him one day, then he'd be OK after that. That's what he needs." * * * Rockingcam Park is the 5-2 morning line favorite in Friday's Reynolds Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers at the Meadowlands. She starts from post No. 6 for trainer Ron Coyne Jr. and driver Tim Tetrick. Starting inside of Rockingcam Park will be, from post one, McVita Bella, Blixtra, A La Notte Hanover, Gettingreadytoroll, and Fanticipation. To her outside are I Need Hotstuff, JK Molly, and Table Talk. Rockingcam Park won last week's four-horse Simpson Stakes, beating Ken Doll J by a nose in 1:53.2. It was her first start of 2014 after winning three of 10 races and $67,378 last year. "That was a nice win," Coyne said. "Last year was kind of a mixed bag. It's nice when you have a filly that you have a lot of hopes for, but she found herself in some unlucky spots and things didn't turn out the way we dreamed." Rockingcam Park finished second to Precocious Beauty in a division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and was second in a division of the Reynolds. She went off stride in the She's A Great Lady Stakes and drew post nine in the Breeders Crown, where she finished seventh. She also made a break in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. "She's got big ability and a lot of upside," Coyne said. "She's a nervous filly, but if she gets herself where she's squared away, she has a lot of talent. A lot of it is just mental maturity." The filly is owned by Rockingcam Park Stable, Blair Corbeil, Erna Corbeil, and J&T Silva Stables. She is a daughter of Rocknroll Hanover, the 2005 Horse of the Year, out of the Camluck-sired mare Cameron D Art. She is a full sister to recent Clyde Hirt Series winner Avatartist. Her family also includes 2005 She's A Great Lady Stakes winner Little Miss K. "Blair has a passion for Camluck broodmares," Coyne said. "That's the reason we looked at her. She was nice sized and stood correct; I couldn't fault her. We liked what we saw and took a shot." * * * The $33,516 Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters attracted a field of three horses and will be contested as a non-wagering event at 6:50 p.m. Friday at the Meadowlands. Annies List makes her 2014 debut, racing this season out of the stable of trainer Amber Buter after spending last year with Julie Miller. Annies List, who starts from post two, was purchased for $2,500 as a yearling and earned $92,969 for then-owner Andy Miller Stable. She is now owned by Oldford Farms and Tyler Buter. In 2013, Annies List won four of nine starts, including the $50,000 Fall Harvest for 2-year-old filly trotters at Yonkers Raceway and two legs of the New York Sire Stakes. Sweetie Hearts, owned by Bob Key, starts from post one for trainer Paul Reid. Sweetie Hearts, a homebred daughter of Angus Hall-Sweetheart K, has won four of 11 races and $56,505 in her career. Her family includes Key's 1993 Hambletonian winner American Winner. Thisgirlisonfire leaves from post three with driver/co-owner Jeff Gregory at the lines for trainer Linda Toscano. Gregory owns the filly with William Richardson. A daughter of Angus Hall-Back On Track, she will be looking for her first career win in her 10th start. She finished second in a division of the Reynolds last year. By Ken Weingartner and Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications/USTA
Moni Maker, the trotting mare who was 1998 and 1999 Horse of the Year, died Friday morning (May 2) at New Bolton Center, veterinary hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, after complications from colic surgery. She was 21. Moni Maker won $5.58 million and 67 of 109 starts in six seasons of racing in North America, France, Denmark, Sweden and Italy. She was only ten times worse than third in her long career, in which her lifetime mark of 1:52.1 was set at age seven. The daughter of Speedy Crown-Nan's Catch was born February 23, 1993 at Cane Run Farm in Kentucky and was originally named Nursery Rhyme. She was voted Dan Patch Trotting Mare of the Year in 1997 through 2000, the year she retired. Moni Maker was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. The tall (nearly 17 hands) bay mare regularly beat male horses and in her final start, she donned a saddle and got the services of Hall of Fame Jockey Julie Krone in breaking the world record for trotting under saddle in 1:54.1, a mark set in October of 2000 which still stands. Owned by the Moni Maker Stable and trained as a 2- and 3-year-old by Bill Andrews and later by Jimmy Takter, she has lived since retirement in 2000 at the Connecticut farm of one of her owners, Lindy Farms, owned by the Antonacci family. Her eight foals, all fillies, have won a collective $315,904. Moni Maker’s foals have lately been born via embryo transfer, and at the time of her passing, a recipient mare was carrying her Muscle Hill foal, confirmed David Reid, a partner in the Moni Maker stable. “It’s a sad and emotional day for all of us,” he said. Moni Maker’s wins read like a travel itinerary -- the 1996 Hambletonian Oaks at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, the Elitlopp in Sweden and the Copenhagen Cup in Denmark in 1998, the Prix d’Amerique in France in 1999 and the Trot Mondial in Montreal in 2000. She retired as the richest female racehorse of any breed, with $5,589,256. Her life has been a quiet one in retirement, living on Lindy Farm, near Hartford, largely outside with a shed, as was her preference, with a mare named Dream On Candy. She survived a disaster in 2011, when a fast-falling snowstorm caused the roof of the barn she was in to collapse. She retained a quirk, dating back to her racing days, not wanting to be caught. “She chased the kid that looked after her, Roman Kogalin, out of the paddock many times, like a bull,” said Jimmy Takter. “If he had to call someone else to help, suddenly she’d come up to that person. I think she enjoyed messing with him.” Frances Sutherland, who has been caring for Moni Maker for 14 years, got the same treatment. “You had to have a feed bucket to go out and catch her,” she said. “You had to ask her how she felt that particular day.” The toll of her years has only slowed down her diversionary tactics. “She just keeps walking, says Katie Jonas, another Lindy Farm caretaker. “She’s like, 'No, no, not today, not today.'” Frank Antonacci, a partner in her ownership group, and owner of Lindy Farm, has seen the mare several times a day for 14 years, as he drove by her paddock. “She is far and away, without a doubt, the best horse we have ever owned,” he said. “Nothing else is even close. She was always on her “A” game, no matter what. Never had a bad race.” Jimmy Takter, who has trained a raft of good horses since Moni Maker, recognizes the trip of a lifetime she provided to her connections. “It was a heck of a good journey with her, something nobody else experienced like we did,” he said. “She was a dream horse. The whole group of us, the owners and me, Wally (Hennessey, her driver), we owe everything to this girl. She made it look very easy for us.” by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications
The story of Standardbred racing and its place in North American culture can best aptly be described as fascinating. Its inception started from the most humble beginnings. After a long day of work simple farmers, traders, and the like, found pleasure and often times, excitement, in testing the speed of their horse and buggies against one another. It was here, along these roughly hewn dirt paths that the first faint renderings of a track began to take form. As a growing population began to take notice of such spectacles, the seed of what was to become harness racing in its present form, eventually blossomed. Starting in Massachusetts, rules, regulations, and more importantly, fully funded tracks began to take form. Robert Temple in his book entitled, The History of Harness Racing in New England, clearly shows how quickly these new tracks began to be built. He states, "There was the Brockton Fairgrounds; Franklin Park, Saugus; Mystic Park, South Medford; Old Cambridge Park, North Cambridge; Wyoma Park, Linn; The Nantucket Racing Fairgrounds off the Cape Cod coast; and three on Cape Cod: Riverside Park in West Dennis, The Barnstable County Fair and another in Harwhich Port." All of these tracks were built roughly within the same time period from the late 1890's to the early 1900's. During this time period harness racing had reached the pinnacle. With the coming of horses such as Dan Patch, newspapers and radio broadcasts began to pick up the sport. On September 8, 1906, the day Dan Patch set the record for a mile pace of 1:55, a crowd of 93,000 people lined the Minnesota State Fairgrounds track to witness the feat. A crowd of 93,000 in 1906 just to see a horse race was remarkable. The American public was invested. Harness racing was easily the most popular sport in the United States. At the time, it seemed its growth would continue to spring forth on an inevitable path of fruition. Unfortunately however, as people inside the business know today, it has followed a path of opposite fortunes. The question is, why? The answer lies in the image of harness racing. People within the business already know the dark cloud drifting above the sport is a negative perception and negative press so a reiteration of these points would be redundant and unnecessary. What needs to be discussed is how and why this image was created. Where did it come from? And how do we change it? The inherent nature of horse racing has been to compare the two different variations against one another. After harness racing's decline and the arise of Thoroughbreds, it seems Standardbred racing has been designated to carry the burden of being the "little brother," always trying to surpass the more successful business but never being able to do so. This idea that harness racing just isn't as good as Thoroughbred racing has become a normal social structure in American culture. Ultimately, this is where the problem has arisen. An article that appeared in a 1980 Sports Illustrated written by Douglas A. Looney, clearly demonstrates this. The article was written when the Meadowlands decided to hold a Standardbred race for the largest purse to date; a sum of $2 million. This should have been lauded as a great achievement for a sport based around purse money. They were racing for millions of dollars, but instead of applauding such efforts, people within the racing community were questioning whether it was a good idea or not based on what the Thoroughbreds were racing for. In the article Looney quotes a man named Thurman Downing, owner of one of the horses within the race, who had just won a sum of over $200,000, he stated, "If this had been a thoroughbred race, it would have been a huge deal." One can only ascertain from these words that the publicity surrounding the event of such magnitude was wholly unsuccessful. And it must have been. As Thoroughbred races began to have similar big payouts, not a word of doubt was spoken from within the community. Standardbred racing has been carrying an inferiority complex over the course of its decline. This is nonsense. First, the image of harness racing from its inception should be far and away a positive for the sport. It is one of the truest American pastimes in existence. It was created by hardworking commoners. During the early years Thoroughbred racing was thought to be the sport of the upper-class British rich folk. The very same people the ancestors of these early settlers fought to emancipate themselves from. Standardbred racing should be held up there with baseball, Budweiser and Chevrolet as far as being truly American in nature. And it should be advertised as such. Instead of trying to compete with Thoroughbred racing, harness racing should separate themselves from being included in the general conversation of racing and show people how truly American it is and how unique the racing format is. Which leads into the second point; the two types of racing are completely different and should be advertised as such. It is far and away much more difficult to train a trotter or pacer as compared to a straight runner. To get a horse and keep it on a specific gait while driving them at top speed around a track while maneuvering these large animals through narrow alleyways down the stretch takes much more skill and finesse compared to that of just running down the stretch as the field separates itself from one another. Trainers and drivers in Standardbred racing do not get the credit they deserve and because they do not, the public is often times made very unaware of their efforts on a daily basis. The skill and knowledge needed to train a harness racer should somehow be integrated into the sport more, showing the public the intricacies of the sport. Even the equipment itself and how a trainer outfits their horse are a science, an art, and a true measure of the care and time it takes to succeed at the sport. The techniques as well as the differences between a trotter, pacer and a runner could possibly be shown in the programs for sale across the United States. The general population often times appreciates skill and hard work and they need to know how much effort and care goes into getting these horses to the track. The last point deals with how the public views the races themselves. One gets the sense that a large portion of the population believes harness racing to be fixed. Unfortunately, in some instances it can be; but not always. It is easy to understand how a person who is unaware of the technique that drivers use when lining up on the gate, maneuvering after the start, and spacing coming down the stretch can be misinterpreted as throwing a race or blocking the favorite horse. To say this does not go on at all would be incorrect. But, can these maneuvers also be misinterpreted? Can it be that it takes a lot of patience and skill to move these large animals through tight spaces in order to drive for a win and avoid injury and a crash? Yes. And that is what Standardbred racing should advertise; skill and technique. This form of racing is not for the uneducated layman and while this has been used as a source of negativity, within every problem is the solution. If the public is made aware of the intricacies of the sport, more people will begin to take interest. Not only that, but the population will become invested in the trainers and drivers, not just the horses. Create a new niche for harness racing as a skill oriented form of racing instead of just a straight runner’s race where just the speed of the horse is tested against another. Now to say that it doesn’t take any skill to train and ride a Thoroughbred would obviously be incorrect, but that is not the point. The point is…it is not Thoroughbred racing. It is a sport unique of its own. One wouldn't compare baseball with cricket, so why is there a need to compare Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds. Separate the two and create a new image for harness racing out of its deeply seeded inherent positives; positives that flow through the sport like fresh water spilling forth from a mountain spring. Just like the spring water, the inception of harness racing, and its humblest of beginnings, is pure. This is one of the original American sports created by the common people. And it encompasses all of the characteristics the general population covets; skill, technique, hard work, and passion. How could anyone not like that? By DJ Kazmaier, for Harnesslink.com Daniel J. Kazmaier is the son of trainer/driver Dan Kazmaier, a noted east coast horseman and current Presiding Judge in Delaware. DJ can be reached at email@example.com.