Shake It Cerry proved supreme once again, winning the last major harness racing stake of the season for the aged trotting mares at The Meadowlands, capturing the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship. Released as the even-money second-choice, Shake It Cerry was gathered off the gate by her pilot Dave Miller, while the 4/5 favorite Bee A Magician moved to the lead early in the mile. The 2013 Horse of the Year reached the quarter in 27.2 and as soon as the field straightened up on the backstretch, the 2014 Trotter of the Year made her move for the lead and Shake It Cerry took charge three-eighths of a mile into the race. The four year old mare reach the half in a sharp 55.4, before getting a third-quarter breather, hitting three quarters in 1:25, with Handover Bell committed first over, Classic Martine in the outer flow and Bee A Magician pinned in behind the leader. But Shake It Cerry was under a hand drive at the head of the stretch and when Miller called on his mare, the response was instantaneous and she dominated through the stretch, the result never in doubt and she scored decisively in 1:52.3. Bee A Magician could only manage a runner-up performance tonight, with Handover Belle a game third in what was the final start of her wonderful career. Shake It Cerry Trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but praise for his star mare. "She's just really good. She chased the boys earlier in the year and trotted in 1:49.4 and maybe that was a bit hard on her. But, she rebounded now and has been just fantastic. She is in the caliber with Moni Maker and I think when she is done, she will be on the list as one of the great fillies that ever was." Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year for her 2014 campaign that included 15 wins from 17 starts and $1.2 Million in earnings. The 2015 season had been tougher on her, but she closes it out with a runner-up try in the Breeders Crown and then back to back wins in the TVG series, sending her lifetime earnings to $2,482,335, while earning her 28th victory. She is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Venus Delight Rebounds The pacing mares were up first in the $200,000 TVG Championships and delivered a compelling stretch drive with a familiar name finding the winner's circle. Despite being the beaten favorite in her last two starts, Venus Delight was given the majority of support again by the bettors, established as the 8/5 choice and this time she did not disappoint. Driven by Tim Tetrick for the first time since her Milton elimination, Venus Delight worked out a perfect pocket trip throughout the mile behind the speed of the very sharp Sandbetweenurtoes, who ripped through fractions of 27, 55.3 and 1:22.4 before turning home with a tenuous lead. The leader was facing challenges from all parts of the racetrack and began to drift, opening a path for Venus Delight to charge through, which she did convincingly and drew clear to a sharp 1:49.4 triumph over a fast closing Gallie Bythe Beach. Color's A Virgin went a tough first over trip and fought-on to hold on to the show spot. Venus Delight is trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for Bamond Racing L.L.C, earning her eighth win of the season, sending her seasonal earnings to $605,265. Venus Delight Filly Divisions of Fall Final Four With Broadway Donna done for the season, the Breeders Crown winner All The Time had a chance to make her case for divisional honors in the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final. The bettors believed she was the horse to beat, establishing her as the 2/5 morning line favorite. But in the end, it was the lightly raced Double Exposure who proved best on this night. Following a solid runner-up try in the elimination last week, Double Exposure was supported well at the windows, sent off as the 4-1 second choice. Tetrick moved his filly forward off the gate and she remained parked through an opening quarter of 28.1 as the favorite, All The Time set the pace. Double Exposure cleared the lead and put up a sharp second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 55.4. All The Time was content to ride her pocket until the three-quarter pole, when Gingras showed his filly racetrack as the field moved past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Double Exposure had plenty left in the tank and accelerated on the lead. All The Time could not trot with the winner and Double Exposure reached the wire in 1:54, a lifetime best effort. Haughty rallied off the cover of All The Time to be second, while Woman's Will stayed on to be third. Driver Tim Tetrick expressed confidence in his filly. "I loved her at Lexington," said Tetrick. "She got sick after baby races but she has really matured. I have never gone three big quarters with her, but she proved she is really good tonight." Double Exposure is owned by Brittany Farms and Mel Hartman, and her earnings soar past $224,000 with the victory. The $385,250 Three Diamonds was scratched down to a field of seven, with three fillies gathering the majority of the attention at the windows, Yankee Moonshine, Shezarealdeal and Penpal. Shezarealdeal made a break heading to the start which changed the complexion of the race for Yannick Gingras who was driving Yankee Moonshine. "Absolutely, when she (Shezarealdeal) took off running, I looked over and saw Pat (Lachance) taking off the gate, so I made the lead rather easily," said Gingras. "We were going pretty good to the half and (Penpal) leaned in and we got hooked up for a few steps, but the other filly took it tougher than we did." Yankee Moonshine was allowed to set the pace through fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:24.3, turning for home with Penpal right off her flank. But, Yankee Moonshine kept on going in the stretch, keeping Blue Moon Stride trapped in the pocket for much of the stretch. That filly shook free but it proved too late, while Shezarealdeal made a great recovery to rally to be third. Yankee Moonshine completed the mile in 1:52.2. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable, JT45, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. The victory was the fourth in the career of Yankee Moonshine, sending her earnings north of $370,000. Handle for the 13-race Friday program was $2,426,263. Racing returns on Saturday, with a 14-race blockbuster card that begins at 7:00 P.M. Featured on the program are the $400,000 TVG Free For All Championships as well as the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Continentalvictory and Tarpot Hap Finals. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073
Dayton, OH---He’s got to win another 11,594 to catch his Uncle David. And 7,030 to catch his cousin Brett. But 21-year-old driver Nick Turley, son of Susie Miller Turley—who is Hall of Fame driver David Miller’s sister—has one very important pari-mutuel win and one he will never forget…his first! Taking full advantage of the innermost post position, Turley lead gate-to-wire with Cmon Blaze to capture the fourth race at Hollywood Dayton Raceway Thursday night (November 19), eeking out a narrow decision over Ota B D Best (guided by fellow provisional driver Derek Watiker) by a head in 1:55.2. Sent off at 8-1, Cmon Blaze returned $18 to his $2 supporters and topped a $235.60 exacta. Turley has worked for prominent Ohio-based trainers Jim Arledge Jr. and Jim Pollock, but now oversees his own three-horse stable at the Circleville, Ohio fairgrounds. Another of his charges, Redbud, won a qualifying race prior to the program, giving the likeable young purple-clad trainer-driver another first—his own “daily double.” A joyous Turley was overheard saying “It sure took long enough,” as he entered the winner’s circle. Afterwards, he admitted “I didn’t even know I won. It was so close that I thought I might have lost again. But this feels great!” Asked if he was trying to pattern himself after his Uncle David or cousin Brett Miller, Turley said, “No, they had pretty much left Ohio before I was old enough to understand much about it. I was concentrating on high school sports like wrestling, football and baseball. But I have closely followed their fantastic careers and they have always been my idols.” From the press box at Dayton Raceway
Katies Rocker rolled in his Governor's Cup elimination last weekend and he will try to provide an encore in the $413,000 final for 2-year-old male pacers Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The Governor's Cup is part of a busy weekend at the Meadowlands. Other top races Saturday include the $489,400 Valley Victory Stakes for 2-year-old male trotters, the $173,500 Tarport Hap for 3-year-old female pacers and the $144,000 Continentalvictory for 3-year-old female trotters, plus the $400,000 TVG Free For All Series championships for male pacers and trotters. Katies Rocker will start the Governor's Cup final from post five with David Miller driving for trainer Jim Campbell. Last week, Katies Rocker won his elimination by a nose over JK Will Power in 1:52.1. For the year, Katies Rocker has won six of 12 races and earned $154,418 for breeder/owner Fashion Farms. The gelding enters the final with three wins in his four most recent starts. "He's been very consistent and we've been very happy with the way he's come along," Campbell said. "He's gotten a lot better as he's gotten some racing into him. He's a pretty good sized colt and he's just kind of coming into himself now. He's very well-bred, that's for sure. He's a real nice-mannered colt, too. He's just a perfect horse to be around in the barn and a nice horse to train." Katies Rocker is a son of Rocknroll Hanover out of the stakes-winning mare Just Wait Kate. His dam is a full sister to Dan Patch Award-winner Kikikatie and the family also includes stakes-winner Katie Said, who races in Friday's $200,000 TVG Free For All Series championship for older female pacers at the Meadowlands, and O'Brien Award-winner Camluck. Among Katies Rocker's wins are the Reynolds Stakes at Tioga Downs and a division of the Bluegrass Stakes over a sloppy track at The Red Mile. He finished a parked-out fifth from post seven in the Matron Stakes and was fifth in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship in one of the few starts that he failed to be moving forward in the stretch. "It was a steering issue (in the New Jersey Sire Stakes final) more than anything," Campbell said. "We checked him out afterward and everything checked out OK. It was just kind of a freak thing." Campbell also sends out Show The Fashion in the Governor's Cup. Show The Fashion, also owned by Fashion Farms, has won two of nine races and earned $31,933 this season. He finished fifth in his Governor's Cup elimination, which was won by Big Top Hanover in 1:51. "His race last week was the first time he's gone up against that class of horse and even gone that type of speed," Campbell said. "I wasn't disappointed in him. I thought he raced well. "He was just a little bit slower in coming along (because of sickness) but he's a good-gaited colt and he's got some speed. He's obviously going to need a good trip to get a good piece of it, but we're hopefully that might happen because he does have the speed. We wanted to get some experience into him and see how he handles it." Big Top Hanover, one of four Governor's Cup finalists from the stable of trainer Ron Burke, entered last week's Governor's Cup eliminations off a win in the Matron Stakes and second-place finish in the Breeders Crown. The Governor's Cup final also includes Breeders Crown champion Boston Red Rocks, who was second by a nose to Big Top Hanover last weekend, as well as stakes-winners Ideal Rocky, Spider Man Hanover, Autotune Hanover, and Check Six. "There are some top colts in there," Campbell said. "It's probably going to come down to whoever gets the better trip. It's going to be a very tough competitive race." Campbell's work at the Meadowlands this weekend isn't limited to Saturday. He sends Gallie Bythe Beach into the TVG Free For All Series championship for the pacing mares. The 4-year-old has won three of her four most recent races and finished no worse than third in her past six starts. "She's come around pretty good the last five or six weeks," Campbell said. "She's been racing really good. I was real happy with the way she raced last week. She's coming into the race in pretty good form. Again, a lot of it is probably going to depend on trip, but hopefully she'll get a nice trip and get a chance to get a good piece of it." For Saturday's complete Meadowlands card, click here. Post time is 7 p.m. for the night's first race. by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications
Trainer Jonas Czernyson hopes Sliding Home can score in the season's final major open stakes event for 2-year-old male trotters, the Valley Victory at Meadowlands Racetrack. Two eliminations for the Valley Victory will be held Saturday at the Big M. Sliding Home, who finished third in the Breeders Crown on Oct. 24, is 10-1 on the morning line in the first elimination. David Miller will drive Sliding Home, who will start from post three in the nine-horse field. Breeders Crown runner-up Marion Marauder is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the first elimination. He will start from post seven with Scott Zeron driving for trainer Paula Wellwood. Matron Stakes winner Dog Gone Lucky, from the stable of Chuck Sylvester, is the 8-5 morning line choice in the second Valley Victory elimination. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the Nov. 21 final at the Meadowlands. Sliding Home has won two of 11 races this year and earned $223,620 for owner Consus Racing Stable. His most recent four races include his third-place finish in the Breeders Crown, a second-place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes, and a second-place effort in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. His earnings rank ninth among all 2-year-old male trotters in North America. "I think he's been having a pretty good year," Czernyson said. "He's very good to work with. He's smart, good to be around, good to drive. He's just an overall very smart little horse. He's gotten better as the year has gone on, so I'm hoping it's going to continue." Sliding Home, purchased for $65,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is a son of Donato Hanover out of the mare Bar Slide. Donato Hanover won the 2007 Hambletonian and Bar Slide captured the 2010 Hambletonian Oaks. Sliding Home is Bar Slide's second foal. Her first, multiple-stakes-winner Bright Baby Blues, is a daughter of Andover Hall. Bar Slide's third foal, a colt by Cantab Hall named Brand New Key, sold for $210,000 in October at the Lexington Selected Sale. After debuting with a win in a division of the Pennsylvania All-Stars, Sliding Home followed with a victory in a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. He hit the board only once in his next five races, going off stride twice, but has rebounded with strong performances in three of his most recent starts. "We had a few spots where we ran into a couple of little issues and he was making breaks for kind of no reason," Czernyson said. "Hopefully all of that is behind us and we should be ready to roll. He raced pretty good up in Canada (in the Breeders Crown) so I was pretty pleased with that. "He loves what he does and you can do pretty much whatever you choose with him. He's very good that way." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes two eliminations for the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers plus the final TVG Free For All Championship Series preliminaries for older male trotters and older male pacers. The TVG Free For All Championship Series concludes Nov. 21, which also is the same night as the Governor's Cup final. Breeders Crown winner Boston Red Rocks, from the stable of trainer Steve Elliott, is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the first Governor's Cup elimination. Bob McIntosh's New Talent is the 2-1 pick in the second. Resolve, trained by Ake Svanstedt, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the TVG event for male trotters and JK Endofanera, trained by Jimmy Takter, is the 6-5 choice in the event for male pacers. On Friday night, the Meadowlands hosts a single elimination for the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters plus the final TVG Free For All Championship Series preliminaries for older female trotters and older female pacers. Breeders Crown champion All The Time, from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter, is the 9-5 morning line favorite in the Goldsmith Maid elimination, where the top nine finishers will join Kathy Parker in the final. The connections of Kathy Parker, also trained by Takter, accepted a bye to the final. Bee A Magician, trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in the TVG event for female trotters and Jeff Bamond Jr.'s Venus Delight is the 8-5 morning line favorite in the TVG event for female pacers. The finals for the TVG for female trotters and pacers plus the Goldsmith Maid and Three Diamonds for 2-year-old female pacers (which did not require eliminations) are Nov. 20 at the Meadowlands. First-race post time is 7 p.m. at the Meadowlands. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
COVERAGE OF ALL DIVISIONS & PHOTOS
David Miller enjoyed one of the most memorable days of his harness racing career less than two weeks ago when he won a record five Breeders Crown finals at Woodbine Racetrack. On Saturday, he will be reunited with two of those champions, pacer Always B Miki and trotter The Bank, in American-National Stakes events at Balmoral Park. Balmoral Park hosts eight American-National Stakes on Saturday, with the final three races in the group featuring Breeders Crown winners: Freaky Feet Pete in the $150,000 contest for 3-year-old male pacers, The Bank in the $204,000 race for 3-year-old male trotters, and Always B Miki in the $136,500 event for older pacers. Post time is 6:50 p.m. (CST) for the night's first race, which is the non-wagering $101,350 American-National for older trotters. The pari-mutuel card begins 20 minutes later. Always B Miki, trained by Jimmy Takter, is undefeated in three races this year since returning from two injuries that left the stallion sidelined for 11 months. He won his Breeders Crown final by 5-1/2 lengths and has not seen anyone finish nearer than three lengths in his three starts. For his career, the 4-year-old has won 17 of 34 races and earned $1.15 million. Always B Miki is owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. "He's taking on older horses with not much racing under his belt this season," Miller said. "I feel that makes it pretty special to do what he's done. He amazes me at times." The American-National for older pacers also includes the sport's all-time richest horse, Foiled Again, who is coming off a win in the Hoosier Park Pacing Derby that pushed his lifetime earnings to $7.28 million. Ben Franklin Pace winner Luck Be Withyou, Bettor's Edge, Ultimate Beachboy, and Let's Drink On It complete the field. "It's not going to be a cakewalk, that's for sure," Miller said. "You can never take Foiled Again too lightly and it's a nice bunch of horses. But (Always B Miki) will give a good effort, I'm sure of that. If he comes back to the way he was in the Breeders Crown, he should be fine." The Bank, who surpassed $1 million in career purses with his Breeders Crown win, meets a group of rival 3-year-old male trotters Saturday that includes multiple open stakes-winners Habitat and Muscle Diamond, two-time Ontario Sire Stakes champion Dont Rush, and Homicide Hunter, once beaten in 17 starts in 2015. For the year, The Bank has won four of 16 races and finished second on eight occasions. In the Breeders Crown, he upset stablemate Pinkman at odds of 14-1. Two of The Bank's runner-up finishes this season came to Hambletonian champion Pinkman, who is the sport's leading money-winning trotter this year. The Bank is trained by Takter and owned by Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. "Any time you can upset a horse like Pinkman, it's pretty special," Miller said, reflecting on the Breeders Crown. "The horse raced unbelievable that night. The trip he went and doing what he did was pretty neat. He picked a good night to stand up on his own." Miller will try to upend Freaky Feet Pete --- who has won 14 of 16 races this year --- with Lost For Words in the American-National for 3-year-old male pacers. Lost For Words has won only once in his most recent 13 starts, but during that span finished no worse than third in the Breeders Crown, Little Brown Jug, Adios, Tattersalls Pace, Milstein Memorial, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. Lost For Words has earned $661,673 this year for trainer Brian Brown and owners Country Club Acres, William Robinson, Richard Lombardo, and Strollin Stable. "He didn't win any of the major races this year, but they've definitely known he was there," Miller said. "He battled all summer with the top colts and he's had a great season. He's been right there knocking at the door. He's a good horse. The season is catching up with him a little bit, but he'll be all right in there (Saturday)." Miller will drive in two other American-National Stakes, sitting behind Muscle Baby Doll in the $125,000 3-year-old filly trot, and behind supplemental entry Triple V Hanover in the $120,000 3-year-old filly pace. Muscle Baby Doll has won 10 of 14 races this season, with two of the victories coming with Miller in the sulky. She heads to the American-National off a triumph with Miller in the Crossroads of America last Friday at Hoosier Park. She won by a neck over Bright Baby Blues, who also is in the American-National. "I got to race her once this summer and I was real impressed with her," Miller said. "I was happy to get back with her. She battled the whole length of the stretch with Bright Baby Blues last Friday and she put her nose in front at the end. I was impressed with her. She's easy to get along with, she's got a nice gait, and she's got some strength and stamina. She has the fight in her to put her head in front. She's pretty brave." Muscle Baby Doll is trained by Tony O'Sullivan and owned by Frank and Joe Bellino. Triple V Hanover, who has won five of 16 races this year for trainer Brian Brown and owners Donald Robinson, King McNamara, and Strollin Stable, finished fourth in her most recent race, the USS Indianapolis Memorial. The race was won by American-National contender Devil Child. Horses driven by Miller have earned $10.79 million this year, good for second place among all drivers in North America behind Yannick Gingras. It is the 13th time in the last 15 years that Miller has surpassed $10 million. No driver in history has reached $10 million in a season as often as Miller. Miller said his Breeders Crown night ranked among his greatest days in racing. "I was proud," Miller said. "I've had some good days, some really good days, and great moments. But that was one I'll always remember." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Louisville, KY --- When he received the call about a 2-year-old trotting filly that was for sale, Frank Bellino was in no mad rush to sign a check. His reluctance to purchase Muscle Baby Doll had nothing to do with her family tree or the fact she commenced her career on the Iowa fair circuit. He simply had already acquired a filly of the same age and gait that was also staked to the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series. “I had just bought You’re Majestic,” said Bellino. “The connections are from Louisiana, but bring their horses to Ohio to sell them. I got her after she won her first start very impressively at Northfield. I was also looking for something that was eligible to the Ontario program. “Since I already had that filly, I did not need another one for the same conditions and although she (Muscle Baby Doll) was a $5,000 yearling, the price the Huffmans (the filly’s former owners) wanted was much, much more than that. “I finally made the move to get her because I loved her pedigree. (Jimmy) Takter trained her mother (Have You Ever) and made over $200,000 with her. I have purchased Iowa fair circuit horses before and done quite well with them. They were not stakes horses but performed great in overnights. Also, I really liked her races. It impressed me she beat older horses on a fair track as a 2-year-old. Even after I bought her, I still thought You’re Majestic would be the better filly.” While You’re Majestic has certainly not disgraced herself as she has amassed just over $200,000 in her short career, Muscle Baby Doll was a quality filly last year and dominated the Ontario Sire Stakes circuit this year. She defeated Hambletonian Oaks and Breeders Crown victor Wild Honey in their $26,250 Elegantimage elimination on Sept. 11 at Mohawk Racetrack and captured seven consecutive races before losing the $307,040 final. With Bellino deciding not to supplement Muscle Baby Doll to the Breeders Crown and You’re Majestic also being ineligible, he decided to ship his fillies to Hoosier Park to compete against one another in the $140,000 Crossroads of America on Friday (Oct. 30). Muscle Baby Doll, fresh off a track record performance of 1:53.1 in her $46,750 division of the Circle City over the same surface last week, will leave from post position two in what is carded as the 10th race. David Miller will be holding the lines and the filly is the 5-2 morning line selection. You’re Majestic drew the 10 hole with Yannick Gingras at the controls and is rated at 15-1 off her seventh place finish in the first division of last week’s Circle City. Although both fillies are conditioned by Tony O’Sullivan, they will race under Trent Stohler’s name this weekend. “Both of them have raced at Hoosier Park before and done well,” Bellino said. “Tony pointed out to me that ‘Baby Doll’s’ race was a track record when he showed me the winners’ photo. I planned on supplementing her to the Breeders Crown, but that performance in the Ontario Sire Stakes final (10th) can be thrown right out. Something got her all worked up behind the gate, she broke and everything just went wrong for her, which is not like her at all. After what happened in the Breeders Crown, Tony and I were Monday morning quarterbacks because we were saying, ‘what if we had put her in’ but hindsight is 20/20 and she was excellent at Hoosier last week. I expect her to race well this weekend. “With You’re Majestic, we just thought she would perform a bit better. Not that she has been bad at all, but she is definitely not as strong as ‘Baby Doll’ and just did not seem to advance from two to three.” Muscle Baby Doll is a daughter of Muscle Mass and the Yankee Glide mare Have You Ever. She is the third foal from her dam, who won a $103,938 Simcoe Stakes division in 2004, was third in the Buckette, and fourth in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks and $325,000 Delvin Miller Memorial. She was sold to Swedish interests after this filly was weaned. In her two years of competition, Muscle Baby Doll has collected $387,720, compiled a record of 22-13-4-2 and a mark of 1:52. She has been a model of consistency and a very pleasant surprise for her connections. She really illustrated an incredible amount of potential with a strong second place finish to Danielle Hall in last year’s Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final. Muscle Baby Doll’s equipment was broken, but she still managed to charge to the line to just miss. This year she rolled along on that win streak until she had an off night in the Elegantimage and came home eighth. She was then second in a $78,750 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event and 10th in the Super Final after some unknown disturbance. You’re Majestic has been entered in the same events as her stablemate and while trotting steadily, has been nowhere near as flashy or accomplished. The daughter of Majestic Son and You’re Adorable has earned just under $77,000 in 2015 while coming home fourth in the Super Final and fifth in the Elegantimage. Her lone win of the season came in a non-winners contest in June. “Tony thinks she (Muscle Baby Doll) slipped through the cracks,” said Bellino, who is recognized as a pacer man due to the success of such horses as Rock N Roll Heaven and Pet Rock. “She went really late in the sale and he thinks people just were not paying attention to her. It does happen, but trust me we paid a lot more than $5,000 for her. “Actually we’ve been offered quite a bit of money for her, but I wouldn’t sell. After the season ends though, I need to sell one of these fillies. It looks like that will be You’re Majestic, but she does get over a half (-mile track) well and Yonkers goes for really good money. “We have had an offer from individuals in Sweden for Baby Doll, but I really need to think about it. Tony absolutely loves her and does not want me to sell her, but it’s hard for a 4-year-old to race against males and other older horses. Look how good Bee A Magician is and what her 4-year-old season was like. I have a lot to consider and plan on thinking long and hard about what to do. Especially since we don’t normally part with many horses, especially if they are stakes horses.” How Carroll and Rick Huffman came to take Muscle Baby Doll home for only $5,000 remains a mystery, but Bellino knows one thing, he is thrilled he took a chance on her. “I think she can compete with anyone,” he said. “If we don’t sell her to the Swedish interests we will keep her and breed her. Her pedigree is outstanding and she has already proven her class and toughness. When I told Tony I bought her, he asked me if we were now in the 2-year-old trotting filly business and was not sold on her, but now she is his favorite trotter out of all he has had. I didn’t think I wanted her and she showed me I was wrong.” The Crossroads Of America PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Line 1-I'm So Fancy-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-3-1 2-Muscle Baby Doll-David Miller-Trent Stohler-5-2 3-Smokinmombo-Aaron Merriman-Christopher Beaver-10-1 4-Livininthefastlane-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-8-1 5-Fox Valley Yoko-John De Long-Curt Grummel-30-1 6-Churita-Trace Tetrick-Matt Rheinheimer-8-1 7-Armatrading-Mark O'Mara-Mark O'Mara-30-1 8-Speak To Me-Brett Miller-Jimmy Takter-6-1 9-Bright Baby Blues-Tim Tetrick-Bob Stewart-4-1 10-You're Majestic-Yannick Gingras-Trent Stohler-15-1 by Kimberly French, USTA Web Newsroom Senior Correspondent
Obviously the top story to come out of Saturday’s Breeders Crown races was the record six wins by Jimmy Takter and the five by David Miller. The former added more than $2 million to his earnings total, while Miller added a million dollars. Takter, who won three BC races last year, increased his all-time series leading total to 27, while David Miller, who was shut out in 2014, remains in fifth place with 19 wins. The fact that all-time leader John Campbell got his forty-eighth win in the series with Wild Honey is also significant. Campbell now leads Ron Pierce by eighteen. He captured a pair last year with Shelliscape and Thinking Out Loud. There wasn’t much left for the rest when Takter and Miller got through: several trainers had one each, including Ron Burke, who got two in 2014. Gingras, who won four races last year, won two, and five other drivers took one each. Several of these races had a marked impact on the quest for division honors. Jimmy Takter’s SBSW filly Pure Country and Bob McIntosh’s Bettor’s Delight filly, LA Delight, have only one loss between them; both won their respective sire stakes championships and they each have a few GC wins. Pure Country’s impressive 1:51.4 BC win gives her an edge though. Combine that with a pair of wins in Lexington, and the fact that she’s staked to the Three Diamonds and the Matron, and it looks like she has a clear path to the title. Prior to the BC LA Delight, who called it a year after her Super Final win, was ahead by $143,000 in the earnings column, but the SBSW filly is now up by almost $153,000. A win for Pure Country in either the Three Diamonds or Matron should secure the Dan Patch. Control The Moment, who like LA Delight has only raced in Canada and was undefeated entering the BC, with wins in the Metro and Nassagaweya, lost any edge he had in a muddled race for freshman pacing honors with his sixth place finish in that BC division, won by longshot Boston Red Rocks. This one should come down to the remaining races on the calendar. Control The Moment is not staked to the Monument Circle, Governor’s Cup or Matron. The latter can be supplemented into for $20,000. Boston Red Rocks is eligible to the Governor’s Cup. The Alagna pair, American Passport and Racing Hill, are both staked to the Governor’s Cup and the Matron. Southwind Frank, who won his eleventh in twelve starts with another 1/9 romp, will be the Dan Patch winner among the freshman trotting colts. Things aren’t so simple with the first year trotting fillies. Broadway Donna, who entered her BC elimination with wins in the Doherty, Bluegrass and PA Championship, and had a perfect record to boot, was poised for a coronation, but she failed to advance to the final. If not her the thought was it would be Tony Alagna’s Kadabra filly, Caprice Hill, who won the Peaceful Way, Champlain and OSS Super final. But she fell short in her elimination and the final. Takter’s Muscle Hill filly, All The Time, engineered big wins in both, while his Donato filly, Haughty, was second best. All but Caprice Hill are staked to the Goldsmith Maid. Broadway Donna is the only one eligible to the Matron. The jury is still out on this one, but All The Time looks like the best at this point. Not that it always matters. Joe Holloway’s relentless RNR Heaven filly Divine Caroline, who only won once in 11 tries at two, probably won the division for herself on Saturday night. Timing is everything and within the past few weeks she took splits of the Bluegrass and Garnsey as well as the BC. Others in the division, like Sassa Hanover, Stacia Hanover, Wrangler Magic and Caroline’s stablemate Bettor Be Steppin, have had their moments in the Sun, but Divine Caroline has taken control at the right time. She’s staked to Friday’s $100,000 USS Indianapolis at Hoosier Park and the Matron. Holloway said she will race in the latter and at The Meadowlands. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who was not supplemented to the BC, won a split of the Circle City at Hosier Park on Friday. The Jug and Pace winner will take his division. Wild Honey, who beat Mission Brief off a pocket trip in the KY Filly Futurity, beat her again in the BC, when the Muscle Hill star galloped to the center of the track while leading in the stretch. With wins in the BC, Oaks, Filly Futurity and Bluegrass the little Cantab Hall filly clearly deserves to win that division. Both fillies are staked to the Matron, and as the winner of the BC, Oaks and Filly Futurity, Wild Honey qualifies to be added to the TVG Mare Final. Takter stated definitively that his filly should win the division. Pinkman was picked up by stablemate The Bank in the BC, but the winner of the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and CTC, will win his division. Bee A Magician beat the boys in the Maple Leaf, Centaur, Cutler and Charlie Hill, and also won the Armbro Flight. She chose to try them again in the BC Open, but finished fourth. Prior to that she was sixth in the Yonkers International. Throughout most of the season it’s been a given that BAM would win the Dan Patch, but the repatriated Donato Hanover mare, D’One, is clouding the picture. She won the Open Mare BC on Saturday, and prior to that she won the Allerage Mare, which BAM did not compete in, and she beat BAM in the Fresh Yankee at The Meadowlands and the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs. Trainer Roger Walmann said D’One will start in the TVG Mare, which Bee A Magician is also eligible to. The aged male trotters are by far the softest division in harness racing. You can’t give the Dan Patch to BC winner Creatine, who has that one BC win since returning from Europe. JL Cruze was good early, but fell to pieces when the four-year-old restricted races came to a close. He has no open stakes wins outside that class. Resolve won the Vincennes. I don’t think so. Luminosity has 14 wins, primarily in the Yonkers open. No. Skip it this year, I guess. Venus Delight, who has wins in the BC Matchmaker, Artiscape and Milton, and has amassed a bankroll of over $500,000--$140,000 more than second place Anndrovette—had an opportunity to win the division in the BC, but she finished third from the nine post for Jason Bartlett. Last year’s sophomore division winner Color’s A Virgin won from the rail. The latter has had a disappointing year, but she took the Allerage Mare over a very short field a couple of weeks ago and now she has the BC win that eluded her last year. She still only has about half as much money as Venus Delight, but if Color’s A Virgin wins the TVG Mare Pace, she’s in the running for division honors. Between August 8, when he won the USPC, and October 2, when he took the Dayton Pacing Derby by five lengths, State Treasurer was in Sweet Lou 2014 territory—he lorded it over the division. The notion that he would not win the Dan Patch was too outrageous to even contemplate. Then he faded to seventh in the Allerage, beaten by JK Endofanera, and was crushed by late season arrival Always B Miki in the BC elimination and final. The latter is eligible to Friday’s Hoosier Pacing Derby; State Treasurer is not. If Miki was also eligible to the TVG final he’d have a chance to take down the six-year-old son of Real Desire, but he is not. After Friday’s race, opportunities to make up ground on State Treasurer will be few and far between. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
TORONTO --Harness racing stars Jimmy Takter and David Miller completed an incredible Breeders Crown night capturing the final event, the open pace with Always B Miki in a sensational 1:49.3 mile over a rain-soaked surface. The victory, a year removed from when the son of Always A Virgin had to be scratched from the Crown final at The Meadowlands came at the expense of stablemate J K Endofanera and Mach It So. State Treasurer and driver Chris Christoforou blasted to the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter, but the driver was looking in the rear view mirror and when Miller came with Always B Miki on the backstretch he was anxious to yield. The half was a solid :55.2 and Always B Miki pushed it into another gear on the turn as Foiled Again attempted to come up without cover but couldn't make a dent in the leader's margin. Always B Miki hit three quarters in 1:23 and then was high-lined to the wire with a :26.3 final quarter, an awesome closing quarter given the conditions. It was the third win in as many starts this year for Always B Miki capturing the $400,000 U.S. ($518,960 Cdn) Breeders Crown and pushing his lifetime bank account over $1 million. Owned by Bluewood Stables, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the victory was the sixth of the 12 Breeders Crown races for trainer Takter and the fifth by winning driver David Miller. Takter now has 27 Breeders Crown victories lifetime, while Miller has 19. "He's pretty special," said Miller about Always B Miki. "It's a thrill to sit behind him and to feel his power." The 2-5 favorite in the field Always B Miki impressed the trainer as well. "He's a very unique horse. I put him in the top horses to ever compete in this sport," said Takter. Takter finished 1-2 with J K Endofanera's finish as All Bets Off earned fourth money. Foiled Again was placed fifth after being lapped on a breaking State Treasurer at the finish. As for Takter wrapping up his record night. "It was almost like 100 per cent," Takter said. By Jay Bergman
TORONTO -- Harness racing division leader Pinkman failed to go wire-to-wire in the $500,000 U.S. ($648,700 Cdn) Breeders Crown three-year-old colt and gelding trot, with stablemate The Bank and David Miller grinding by from first over to win in 1:54.3. Yannick Gingras sent Pinkman to the lead through a :27.2 first quarter, with Muscle Diamond tucking into the pocket and The Bank parked out early. The Bank edged closer first over while Pinkman passed the half in :57.2. With the plugs pulled, Pinkman passed three quarters in 1:26.4, while The Bank crept closer on the outside. Into the eighth pole, Pinkman's lead diminished to a neck as The Bank became a threat, proving so by driving by and progressing to the wire in front of Pinkman, Muscle Diamond, and French Laundry. The Bank, a colt by Donato Hanover out of the Viking Kronos mare Lightning Kronos, competes for the interests of Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the Falkbolagen Ab-bred colt paid $30.50 to win. "Around the last turn, Yannick [began] to ask his horse and I was just sitting on mine," Miller said. "At that point, I thought that he might be second for sure, but he went a big trip; he hung a long ways and he got the job done." Takter, who has won four Breeders Crowns on the night and 25 lifetime, said the victory was a good one for The Bank. "He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back," Takter said. "In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite." Miller, who has won three Breeders Crowns on the night and 17 lifetime, said the rain-soaked track was holding up relatively well. "It's a little sticky, but under the conditions, it's pretty good." QUOTES; Jimmy Taker - The Bank and Pinkman "It was good for Bank. He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back. In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite. But for Bank to come and win the Breeders Crown it's great." If one of your horses was going to beat Pinkman tonight, would you have guessed The Bank? "Well, you know, we didn't up giving Bank a bad race last time in the Futurity and Tim and I were fighting for the lead a little too much and came up short. He's been a good horse and I'm really happy." By Ray Cotolo
TORONTO - The Champ is back. Colors A Virgin, last year's champion harness racing three-year-old pacing mare in the U.S., showed her true colors Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack in the $250,000 U.S. ($324,350 Cdn) Breeders Crown mare pace. In the driving rain and wind, Colors A Virgin nosed out Sandbetweenurtoes at the wire. It looked as if Katie Said, driven by John Campbell, would prevail on the far outside after she made a big move. But just as she was about to claim the lead, she went off-stride. That gave Colors A Virgin the lead. Katie Said had followed the cover of Colors A Virgin going around the far turn. Colors A Virgin had experienced a topsy-turvy kind of season. She came into the race with seven wins in 17 starts and earnings of almost $160,000. But last year she won 13 of 18 starts and more than $530,000. But similar to many three-year-old fillies making the transition to the older ranks, she needed time to make the adjustment. Her form showed improvement in October. She came into the race with consecutive wins at Hoosier Park in Indiana and The Red Mile in Lexington. She made it three in a row at three separate tracks with the win in the Breeders Crown. With her latest wins, she surpassed $1 million in lifetime earnings. She is trained by Brian Brown for breeder/owner Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, OH. "This mare was the 2-5 favorite last year and had a tough trip and no flow," Brown said. "Tonight was very rewarding, but I have to tell everyone and give congratulations to Tony O'Sullivan. He took the mare to Jersey and up here and he's the one who really got her turned around... To finally get over the hump in a major race, hopefully it will open the gates and we can be here again." Colors A Virgin was driven to victory by David Miller, who tied a Breeders Crown record with four wins in a single night of racing. Tim Tetrick set the record three years ago at Woodbine. "The trip worked out all right," Miller said. "I wasn't so sure she was going to get there or not. John's horse running helped. He was going by, but you know what, she got it done. She dug in at the head of the stretch. It was tight (at the wire). I turned around and Sylvain (driven by Sandbetweenurtoes) must have thought he got beat. I was thinking about going down to the tunnel, but that would have been pretty embarrassing to have him turn around and go back. I'm glad for Brian (Brown). He's a great guy. He works hard. He deserves it." Brown said he was worried about Colors A Virgin's health just 24 hours earlier. "She came off the truck yesterday, took her to the field and turned her out and the right nostril just had mucous flowing out of her. I turned her out and jogged her this morning and she jogged great, with very little mucous," Brown said. "We were worried she might be getting sick, but she was great jogging and we were all relieved, but we had no idea we'd come here and win." Colors A Virgin paid $15.00, $6.50, $4.60. Sandbetweenurtoes paid $7.10, $3.50. Venus Delight, the favorite in the field of nine at slightly more than 3-2, paid $2.90 to show. The exacta paid $82.50. The trifecta paid $910.55. By Perry Lefko
TORONTO, ON - D'One was definitely the one. The marvelous harness racing five-year-old mare, driven by David Miller, came into the 2015 Breeders Crown Open Mare Trot at Woodbine as the prohibitive favorite. And the daughter of Donato Hanover lived up to that billing with authority. Taking the lead just after the opening quarter mile and inheriting the lead from pacesetter Shake It Cerry, D'One was never threatened thereafter, winning the $324,350 race ($250,000 U.S.) by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.2. The Swedish import has been absolutely solid since trainer Roger Walmann brought D'One to North America with highly-rated stablemate Magic Tonight, winner of the 2015 Elitlopp. While Magic Tonight hasn't fared well in North America, D'One has been virtually unbeatable. Aside from a disappointing race in the Maple Leaf Trot in which she broke stride early and finished seventh by 22 lengths as the 7-5 favorite, she has been nothing but money. Miller has driven her the last two times, both wins. Starting from the seven hole in the Breeders Crown field of 10, D'One was allowed to settle in comfortably, sitting in fourth after the opening quarter set in :27.1 by champion Shake It Cerry. Miller had the lead after a half mile in :57.2. It was really over at that point. She made it to the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, then basically glided the final quarter mile under mild urging to win. D'One, owned by a multi-partner Swedish group that race under the nom de plume Stall Kenny 23, has won six of nine races this year. She recently surpassed $1 million in career earnings. She raised her bankroll to more than $1.2 million with the Crown win. "If I had my choice I would have essentially come up the backstretch and moved her then, but there was horses out there so I had to move her when I did and she held up very well," said Miller, who celebrated his 15th Breeders Crown victory. Walmann said D'One has done so well this year because of her immense heart and desire to win. "If she can be like this next year, we'll be happy with that," Walmann said. D'One , sent postward at just under 1-2, paid $2.90, $2.50, $2.10. Shake It Cerry paid $4.10 and $3.00. Charmed Life, who placed third by 4½ lengths, $5.70 to show. The exacta paid $10.70, the trifecta $112.25. QUOTES; D One Dave Miller driver - How important, when you have a line up like tonight, to win when you are supposed to? Yeah, that’s a big help. You get started and everything is good, your confidence is up and everything is good. That’s important. How is the track? The track is good, if we don’t get any more rain or if it stays the way it is. Performed up to expections. Did the trip go like you expected? Yeah pretty well. There were horses out there, so I had to move her when I did, and she held on pretty well. Trainer Dave Menary – Charmed Life (3rd) I was just hoping she would get room, you know. Not locked, blocked and shuffled to the back of the bus. She was a little crowded early and there were a couple of breakers, and I thought we were going to be okay. There was another breaker and we were able to get a little bit of clear racetrack. The race came home in :27.4 and she was trotting all that she could trot. I would have liked having a shot at it, but we might have only had third racing against those two mares and I’m very proud of my mare tonight. I would have liked to have a clear shot and a little more fun, but 23-1 to finish by nose to those world class mares I’m really happy. She didn’t have the year I quite expected but I think even though it doesn’t show on the paper. By Perry Lefko
There were 13 Breeders Crown eliminations on Friday and Saturday at Woodbine. That’s the same number that were needed last year at The Meadowlands. The last time Woodbine hosted the Crown in 2012 there were only 11 elimination races; the following year at Pocono Downs 18 were required. Yannick Gingras won four this year, followed by Brett and David Miller with two each. Palone, Waples, Trace Tetrick, McNair and Scott Zeron each took one. Four starters from the Takter Barn won; he went on to win three finals last year. Three winners for Burke, two for Alagna and one each for Rheinheimer, McNair and Holloway. Jimmy Takter will have 13 entered in the finals, while Ron Burke will have 10. Indiana stole the show as Always B Miki and Freaky Feet Pete, sons of that state’s premier stallions, Always A Virgin and Rockin Image, wowed the crowd with a pair of 49.4 miles. Miki had only one 2015 start in him, an Indiana Sire Stakes crush job, but that didn’t stop the bettors from sending him out as the 2/5 favorite. And he didn’t disappoint. Pete, on the other hand, has been pounding the ISS set throughout the season. He did lose to the only two GC quality horses he faced, Wiggle It Jiggleit and Wakizashi Hanover. Pete, the 4/5 choice, came first up and rolled OSS champ Reverend Hanover, who was the 6/5 second option for his hometown fans. Miki supplemented to this race last year and won his elimination, but he scratched out of the final. His paternal sister, division winner Color’s A Virgin, was also poised to give her young sire his first BC win, but she was too far back and never factored in the final. The latter has had a disappointing year, but she did beat a short field in the Allerage Mare last time out and she has drawn the rail for the BC open mare. Limelight Beach, the other 2014 elimination winner, also scratched out of last year’s final. McWicked won the race and subsequently the division. This year’s edition should prove to be a better race. Atrspeak showed the sort of closing kick that should give the connections of every rival pause, when he swooped home in 26 to nip Waki at the wire in the second elimination. Wiggle, Waki and Artspeak are all staked to the Matron on November 12 and the Progress Pace on November 29, both at Dover Downs. Freaky Feet Pete can supplement to those races for $25,000 each. That would certainly make Marv Bachrad a happy man. Casie Coleman sewed up McWicked’s 2014 division win when she supplemented him to the Progress, which he won for David Miller. The freshman colt pacers are a quiet group. There is no Captain T or Artspeak in that division. The latter had been shut down prior to last year’s BC, which was held a month later, leaving the race to outsider Traceur Hanover and his controversial trainer Corey Johnson. This edition is without the tension that existed between Jeff Gural and Johnson, who was allowed to race despite having received an indefinite suspension for a positive in Ontario. PJ Fraley, the trainer of Shelliscape, was also an issue. Freshman pacer Control The Moment (Well Said) is undefeated but has been kept under wraps in Canada and rarely been tested. He was lucky to escape his elimination with a win. Star attraction Travel Playlist followed up a poor showing in Lexington with another in his elimination and has been scratched from the final. On the filly side, LA Delight wasn’t nominated to the BC, so there will be no face-off with Takter’s undefeated SBSW filly, Pure Country. The latter was a handy winner of her elimination Friday night. Burke’s Yankee Moonshine, a full sister to Yankee Bounty, won the other elimination. Southwind Frank dispatched the opposition with the same measure of surgical precision he’s employed all season in his Friday elimination. The world champion son of Muscle Hill dominates his division to a much greater degree than any other horse in North America. He’s staked to the Valley Victory and the Matron, but as great as he’s been, there’s little chance of him being the second consecutive two-year-old Horse of the Year. Jimmy Takter won both eliminations for freshman trotting fillies. Particularly impressive was the Muscle Hill homebred All The Time, who drew off from Canadian champ Caprice Hill (Kadabra), who had been bet down to 1/5. Haughty, a Donato sister to Aldebaran Eagle coming off an ISS win, took the other split. The sophomore pacing fillies have been a soft and confusing group all year, but Divine Caroline, who came on late to easily win her elimination at 3/5 for David Miller and Joe Holloway, seems to have taken over. Last year Holloway had world Champion Shebestingin and 2012 BC winner Somwherovrarainbow, but Stingin only made three starts during the three months prior to the BC and Rainbow finished tenth. This on top of having Miki scratch out of his final. Perhaps the Rock N Roll Heaven filly will make everything right on Saturday when she starts from the rail. There was no elimination needed to sort out the three-year-old trotting Fillies. Wild Honey, who carried 1/9 Mission Brief to the quarter before picking her up at the end of the Filly Futurity, will start from the three Saturday, while the Muscle Hill world champion has drawn the seven. With wins in the Oaks, KY Filly Futurity, Bluegrass and PA Championship, Wild Honey actually has a better record than her more celebrated rival. A win in the BC would serve as icing on the cake. Does she have a shot at the Dan Patch? Probably about as much as Artspeak, Waki and Pete have of unseating Wiggle. The myth of superiority on the part of Mission Brief has been set in stone. D’One, who beat BAM in the Fresh Yankee and Muscle Hill, won’t get another chance this week as the Kadabra mare has opted for the open. There was no elimination for these divisions. Last year it was Maven who raced in the open while BAM won the mares open. Maven was second to Commander Crowe in the final, but she beat nine boys in her elimination from the ten in a world record 1:52.2. She was exiled to Europe early in the year, where she has had a disappointing campaign. The forecast calls for a dry day in Toronto on Saturday with temps in the 50s—balmy for this time of year—and not much wind. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
TORONTO, ON -- After staying put in the first-over position around the far turn, Always B Miki began to slide towards control and quickly roared by pacesetter State Treasurer en route to an open length harness racing victory of 1:49.4 in the second US$35,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace elimination on Saturday, Oct. 17. All Bets Off secured the lead approaching the first turn, but State Treasurer, who was parked out into the first turn, soon brushed to the lead off a :27.1 first quarter. He took the field by the half in :55.2 while Always B Miki edged first over and began to progress towards the top, with Mach It So on his tail. Remaining stride for stride with pocket-rider All Bets Off off a 1:23 third quarter, Always B Miki started to chase down State Treasurer, who was drifting off the pylons slightly. All Bets Off managed to skid up the gap at the inside into the final eighth, but Always B Miki instantaneously powered by him and State Treasurer, drawing clear. ' Bettor's Edge finished second, State Treasurer third, Mach It So fourth, and All Bets Off fifth. Making his second start of the season for the interests of Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter, Always B Miki paid $2.90 to win. He pushed his career earnings to $957,591. The four-year-old horse by Always A Virgin, out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, is trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by David Miller. "He's a fantastic horse," Jimmy Takter said. "We had a long journey here; we had a big bump in May when he got reinjured in the other leg, so I'm really, really pleased to see this horse [win], because he's really a special animal, and he's a very popular horse in the sport, with so many people asking about this horse. Seeing him come back, I thought he looked pretty darn good. I'm so pleased to be a part of his life." "This horse has the right determination, an extremely great set of lungs, and, like David [Miller] said last year, he had some problems steering him, but the horse never got tired," Takter also said. "Like in the Meadowlands Pace, he was three wide and finished second; the whole race he was outside. Standing here, I was nervous; I didn't like post one. But when they went off, I knew he was going to be right there." "You've got to be patient with them," Takter also said regarding Always B Miki's return to racing. "An injury takes time [to heal], and you have to listen to him [the horse]. He did very well; he was standing in his stall for a long time, and a lot of horses get frustrated doing that. He was able to keep his weight, so it's a heck of a story really. For this horse, he won the Breeders Crown elimination last year [in the 3-year-old colt pace], and never got an opportunity to show what a great horse he was in the final." Always B Miki by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
TORONTO, ON - Divine Caroline is living up to her name. The daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven has been absolutely divine in October, winning three consecutive races, including a $32,465 elimination of the Breeders Crown for harness racing three-year-old filly pacers Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. This was a horse who could only cobble together one win in 11 starts in her rookie season, but she's been sensational as a sophomore, in particular the last few weeks. She posted a lifetime mark with a 1:49 2/5 victory the week before in a division of the Glen Garnsey Memorial at the Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. The ship to Canada had little effect as she is so sharp now. Driven by Dave Miller for trainer Joe Holloway, Divine Caroline followed first-over cover after half a mile and into the stretch, after which she strutted her elegant stride to take the lead halfway from the wire and won by an easy 2¾ lengths in 1:51 3/5. She was the 3-5 favorite in the field of nine. "She's very good in coming off the pace," Holloway said."She's blossomed inside of the last month and it's a good time of the year. It's tough for horses to stay good all year." Stablemate Bettor Be Steppin was the better of the two earlier in the year and also the more dominant one last year. Bettor Be Steppin finished fifth in her elimination earlier in the card to advance to the final. Divine Caroline is owned by Val D'or Farms, Theodore Gewertz, Rojan Stables and Michael Ouriel. Val D'or Farms, Gewertz and Rojan Stables own Bettor Be Steppin. "Earlier in the year Bettor Be Steppin was the better of the two and right now Caroline's racing great," Holloway added. "Earlier in the year she wasn't winning, but she wasn't getting beat by much. She seemed to put it together as of late. She's gotten bigger. Through the course of the summer, she's grown almost a hand. She's a tall mare, starting to fill out. I think she's going to be a force next year because she's going to be so much bigger and stronger."' Divine Caroline paid $3.30, $2.40, $2.10. Bedroomconfessions placed second and paid $5.00 and $3.40. Sassa Hanover, who overtook early pacesetter Band Of Angels to take lead at the half mark and held that place into the top of the stretch, paid $3.40 to show. With her sixth win in 19 starts this year and her seventh in 30 career starts, Divine Caroline increased her career bankroll to more than $470,000. $500,000 BREEDERS CROWN FINAL- 3 YEAR OLD PACING FILLIES. 1 Divine Caroline - D Miller J Holloway 2 Bettor Be Steppin - C Callahan J Holloway 3 Solar Sister - D McNair R McNair 4 Bedroomconfessions - Ti Tetrick T Alagna 5 Mosquito Blue Chip - C Callahan P Jessop 6 Southwind Roulette - Y Gingras R Burke 7 Frost Damage Blues - B Sears T Fanning 8 The Show Returns - J Campbell C Ryder 9 Stacia Hanover - S Zeron S Elliott 10 Sassa Hanover - M Kakaley R Burke AE:1 Wrangler Magic - S Filion S Larocque AE:2 Wicked Little Minx - B Miller N Johansson Divine Caroline Perry Lefko for the Breeders Crown
The Thursday afternoon harness racing feature from Harrah's Philadelphia was a trotting event for winner's Over $25,000 lifetime carrying a purse for the same amount. Race favorite DW's NY Yank (Yannick Gingras) was coming off of a fifth place finish in the Dayton Trotting Derby. He won a similar race here at Harrah's Philly just three starts ago. Starting from post eight, he had to overcome an early tussle for the lead, battling with seventeen time winner Classic Belisima (Corey Callahan) before clearing past a quarter in :28.1. After a rated second quarter of :29.1 (:57.2 half), DW's NY Yank faced a fresh challenger in high percentage winner Boffin (Geo. Napolitano Jr.). They battled beyond three-quarters (1:25.3). That's when longshot Sumatra (Dave Miller) made his move. The 4-year-old son of Muscles Yankee swung off of cover from second-over position, and was able to sweep on by to win in 1:54.3. DW's NY Yank finished second, while Boffin was third. It was the third win in the last five starts for the Tom Fanning trainee, and the twelfth of his career. Sumatra ($19.20) is owned by Joseph Smith. Michael Bozich