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This Week: W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: Yonkers Raceway on Saturday night (May 11) will host two harness racing divisions in the $48,500 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old male pacers and two divisions in the $43,600 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Osterc and driver Yannick Gingras made a three-wide move on the backstretch and overtook leader Cavill Hanover on the final turn on their way to victory in Saturday's (May 4) $118,950 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old trotters at Freehold Raceway. Osterc, the 3-5 favorite, won by 1-1/4 lengths over HL Revadon in 1:57. Skyway Kon Man finished third and Cavill Hanover was fourth. The Dexter Cup is the first stakes race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Osterc is eligible to the Hambletonian, as are HL Revadon and Cavill Hanover. "He had plenty of go," Gingras said about Osterc, a 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion who was making his seasonal debut. "He got a little bit bumpy going around the last turn, but other than that he was perfect. He had a lot of trot and he got the job done. As far as trot-wise, there were no worries anywhere." Osterc, who started from post six in a field reduced to seven horses by the scratch of Big Money Honey, got away in sixth place as HL Revadon went to the early lead. HL Revadon yielded the top spot to Cavill Hanover as the leaders reached the quarter-mile point in :28.2. Cavill Hanover continued to lead through a half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.3. Osterc, who began his move to the front just prior to the midway point and flushed the cover of Dexter Cup elimination winner Whirl Winds K, trotted the final quarter-mile in :29.1 to win for the sixth time in eight career starts. Osterc is trained by Per Engblom, who is in his first year with his own stable after spending the past six years as Jimmy Takter's top assistant. The Dexter Cup was Engblom's first stakes victory. He trains the colt, a son of Cantab Hall out of Oh Oh Hereshecomes who has earned $285,876 lifetime, for breeder-owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk. "That was nice, very nice," Engblom said. "Coming off the last turn Yannick said he hit the wheel and was close to making a break, but he had plenty of trot, so that was a good feeling. I was sure he had enough power, it was just a question of keeping him flat." Osterc paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.40. One race prior to the Dexter, Gingras captured the $66,000 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old female trotters with 6-5 favorite Magical Beliefs. The filly, trained by Linda Toscano, won by a half-length over Cardinale in 1:57.4 with Golden Tricks finishing third. Magical Beliefs, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Frisky Magic who was making her seasonal debut, is owned by Highland Green Farms, South Mountain Stables, and R-And-I Farms. She has won five of 11 career races and earned $201,989. Magical Beliefs, who is not eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2019, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2019 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following this past weekend: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 158; 2. George Brennan - 100; 3. Jason Bartlett - 87; 4. Scott Zeron - 82; 5. Daniel Dube - 77. Trainers: 1. Jim King Jr. - 122; 2. Rene Allard - 77; 3. Ron Burke - 58; 4. Richard Banca - 51; 5. Erv Miller - 50. Owners: 1. Jo Ann Looney-King - 45; 2. Tim Tetrick LLC - 41.5; 3. D R Van Witzenburg - 40; 4. Robert Cooper Stables - 39.1; 5. Royal Wire Products - 37. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action resumes on May 18 at The Meadowlands Racetrack with the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old open trotters and at Yonkers Raceway with eliminations in the Art Rooney for 3-year-old open pacers and the Lismore for 3-year-old filly pacers.   by Paul Ramlow Internet News Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Freehold, NJ --- Osterc and harness racing driver Yannick Gingras made a three-wide move on the backstretch and overtook leader Cavill Hanover on the final turn on their way to victory in Saturday's $118,950 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old trotters at Freehold Raceway. Osterc, the 3-5 favorite, won by 1-1/4 lengths over HL Revadon in 1:57. Skyway Kon Man finished third and Cavill Hanover was fourth. The Dexter Cup is the first stakes race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. Osterc is eligible to the Hambletonian, as are HL Revadon and Cavill Hanover. "He had plenty of go," Gingras said about Osterc, a 2018 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion who was making his seasonal debut. "He got a little bit bumpy going around the last turn, but other than that he was perfect. He had a lot of trot and he got the job done. As far as trot-wise, there were no worries anywhere." Osterc, who started from post six in a field reduced to seven horse by the scratch of Big Money Honey, got away in sixth place as HL Revadon went to the early lead. HL Revadon yielded the top spot to Cavill Hanover as the leaders reached the quarter-mile point in :28.2. Cavill Hanover continued to lead through a half in :57.4 and three-quarters in 1:27.3. Osterc, who began his move to the front just prior to the midway point and flushed the cover of Dexter Cup elimination winner Whirl Winds K, trotted the final quarter-mile in :29.1 to win for the sixth time in eight career starts. Osterc is trained by Per Engblom, who is in his first year with his own stable after spending the past six years as Jimmy Takter's top assistant. The Dexter Cup was Engblom's first stakes victory. He trains the colt, a son of Cantab Hall out of Oh Oh Hereshecomes who has earned $285,876 lifetime, for breeder-owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk. "That was nice, very nice," Engblom said. "Coming off the last turn Yannick said he hit the wheel and was close to making a break, but he had plenty of trot, so that was a good feeling. I was sure he had enough power it was just a question of keeping him flat." Osterc paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.40. Osterc One race prior to the Dexter, Gingras captured the $66,000 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old female trotters with 6-5 favorite Magical Beliefs. The filly, trained by Linda Toscano, won by a half-length over Cardinale in 1:57.4 with Golden Tricks finishing third. Magical Beliefs, a daughter of Cantab Hall out of Frisky Magic who was making her seasonal debut, is owned by Highland Green Farms, South Mountain Stables, and R-And-I Farms. She has won five of 11 career races and earned $201,989. Magical Beliefs, who is not eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.40. Ken Weingartner

Osterc will take his first steps on the Hambletonian trail Saturday (May 4) when he faces seven foes in the $118,950 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. Osterc, last season's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion, is making his 2019 harness racing debut after sitting out last week's Dexter elimination thanks to a bye he received for being the field's top money-earner. The Dexter Cup is the traditional first stakes race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Osterc is among five Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the final, along with elimination winner Whirl Winds K, Cavill Hanover, HL Revadon, and Jason's Camden. Osterc will start the Dexter Cup from post No. 6 on Freehold's half-mile oval. Yannick Gingras will drive the colt for trainer Per Engblom and breeder-owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk. Osterc qualified twice ahead of Saturday's start, winning in 1:55 on April 6 at The Meadowlands and finishing second behind pacer Albergo Hanover on April 19 at Freehold. Osterc was timed in 1:56.4. "I was very pleased with that last qualifier," Engblom said. "He was plugs in and strong in that mile. I'm hoping he can go forward from there." Osterc, a son of Cantab Hall-Oh Oh Hereshecomes, won five of seven races last year and earned $226,401. Four of his victories came in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes series, including the final. The remaining win came in a conditioned race. Engblom said he decided to accept the bye and skip the Dexter elimination in the hopes of keeping Osterc fresh through the year. He has the first leg of the sire stakes on May 11. "This is just the beginning of the season," he said. "I'm hoping he is going to have a good season; I don't want to burn him out. We're going to start out in Pennsylvania and if he's good enough he has the Grand Circuit. "I'm very happy with the way he came back. He's going to make some money this year and hopefully we can get a little bit of luck down the road too. He's coming back a little stronger than I anticipated. He doesn't have the greatest of gaits maybe, but he is very honest and gives you what he's got. His two qualifiers were very good. Let's hope that's a good sign for this week." Whirl Winds K, who won the Dexter elimination by a nose over Cavill Hanover, will start the final from post four with George Brennan in the sulky for trainer Rich Gillock. The colt is owned by breeder Bob Key. He has won four of 13 career races and earned $54,965. Two of the victories came last year when Whirl Winds K was limited to four starts. "He had a few little issues and it just took a little while to get him squared away," Gillock said. "Before you knew it, it got to be October before he was able to keep going forward. "He's a nice horse, he just has to get a little better so he can go and be competitive in the bigger races. Hopefully he will. He's got a great attitude about him, so that's a big factor." Saturday's card at Freehold also includes the $66,000 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old female trotters. The race attracted a field of nine, including Hambletonian Oaks eligibles Rush Lane, Golden Tricks, and Presto Change O. The remainder of the group is Cardinale, Big Weezy, Magical Beliefs, Meadowbranch Vicki, Matterlei, and Atonement. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday at Freehold. The Dexter Cup is race 10 and will be preceded by the Lady Suffolk. For the day's complete entries, click here. Following is the field for the $118,950 Dexter Cup. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1-Cotton To You-Andrew McCarthy-Lucas Wallin 2-HL Revadon-Dexter Dunn-Harry Landy 3-Jason's Camden-Andy Miller-Julie Miller 4-Whirl Winds K-George Brennan-Rich Gillock 5-Cavill Hanover-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt 6-Osterc-Yannick Gingras-Per Engblom 7-Big Money Honey-Joe Bongiorno-Travis Alexander 8-Skyway Kon Man-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer Hambletonian eligible: HL Revadon, Jason's Camden, Whirl Winds K, Cavill Hanover, Osterc.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association www.ustrotting.com

Whenever Harvey Eisman is given the opportunity to name a racehorse, he keeps it all in the family. It has nothing to do with harness racing pedigrees, but everything to do with his grandchildren. "It's a fun tradition they've done," said trainer Julie Miller, who trains Jason's Camden, a horse co-owned by Eisman that is named after his son-in-law and year-and-a-half-old grandson. "They get a little kick out of it." Jason's Camden can provide some more thrills in the weeks ahead. On Saturday (April 27), the 3-year-old colt trotter will compete in the $39,650 Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The top-seven finishers from the eight-horse field advance to the $118,950 final on May 4, where they will be joined by bye-recipient Osterc. The Dexter Cup is the traditional first stakes race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes, the sport's premier race for 3-year-old trotters. Jason's Camden is among the Hambletonian-eligible trotters in the Dexter Cup, along with Cavill Hanover, Whirl Winds K, HL Revadon, and Osterc. Eisman co-owns Jason's Camden with the Andy Miller Stable Inc. and Jeff Gural's Little E LLC, which bred the colt. Jason's Camden, a son of Muscle Mass out of Palm Beach Chic, was purchased for $48,000 at the 2017 Standardbred Horse Sale, at which time he was named Palm Beach Muscle. "I'm only a part owner in these horses, but I do get to name quite a few and that's nice," said Eisman, a Michigan resident who has been involved in harness racing since 1977. "All the grandkids go in order naming the horses every year. It was Camden's choice since he was just born and his mother (Julie) came up with Jason's Camden." Some other current horses co-owned by Eisman include Alana's Brilliance, Ev's Girl, Zack's Got The W, and Luv U Bye Click, which is a reference to the way one of Eisman's young granddaughters gets off the phone with him. Jason's Camden won five of nine races last year, finished second on three occasions, and earned $67,750. All his victories came in preliminary rounds of the New York-sired Excelsior "A" Series and he finished second in the final. He also finished second in a division of the Simpson Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia. "He was a pretty nice horse in New York for us, but one of those slow learners and kind of went through the motions to start," Miller said. "I feel like at the end of the year he kind of understood the program and wanted to do his job. "He handled the half-mile track really well (last year) so we thought the Dexter Cup would be a good opening race for him. He showed a lot of consistency last year. He's a nice big horse, an honest horse, very willing. Hopefully we make it to the final and get a good draw there." Jason's Camden, who is making his season's debut in the Dexter Cup, will start Saturday's elimination from post seven with Andy Miller in the sulky. He is 5-1 on the morning line. "He's pretty docile," Julie Miller said. "He just goes about his day and doesn't need constant attention like some of the others. But when you put the race bike on him and get him behind the gate he's all business. "He's primarily staked in New York but we threw in the Hambo. He would be a longshot for that race, but in case he ends up peaking at that time he'd be in there." Cavill Hanover, trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt, is the 5-2 Dexter Cup elimination favorite from post one. Cavill Hanover, also making his seasonal debut, won three of seven races and $67,193 last year. All three victories came on the New York Sire Stakes circuit. Osterc, who received the bye based on earnings, was last year's Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion. He won five of seven races in 2018 and earned $226,401. He is trained by Per Engblom. For Saturday's complete entries at Freehold, click here. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) and the Dexter Cup elimination is race 10.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Maxus did no work to advance to Saturday's (May 5) $133,800 Dexter Cup final for harness racing 3-year-old trotters at Freehold Raceway, but the field's top money-earner might need to work a little bit extra to advance to the winner's circle this weekend. One of three horses to skip last weekend's Dexter Cup elimination thanks to a bye based on career earnings, Maxus drew post No. 7 for the final, which is the season's first stakes race on the road to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian. Only one starting position, post eight, has produced fewer winners than post seven at Freehold's half-mile oval. Vic's Winner, who won the eight-horse Dexter Cup elimination by a neck over On The Ropes in 1:57, will start from post No. 3. On The Ropes drew post one. Post one leads Freehold with a 22.5-percent win rate while post three is 15.4 percent and post seven is 5.2 percent. "You know how it is," said Jimmy Takter, who trains Maxus, "when you're racing on a half-mile track you want to see a decent post." Maxus, who is eligible to the Hambletonian and will be making his seasonal debut in the Dexter Cup, won three of 11 races last year and earned $162,836 for owners Brixton Medical Inc. and Christina Takter. Yannick Gingras will drive the colt in the Dexter Cup. A son of Muscle Hill out of Gerri's Joy, Maxus' wins last season included a division of the Bluegrass Stakes and elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial, where he finished third in the final. He also earned checks in the Peter Haughton Memorial and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. "He was a pretty solid horse last year," Takter said. "He's a pretty gutsy horse. He was always there last year. He raced most of the dances. He just needs a little luck. "He could be (a horse for the Hambletonian). He needs to develop a little bit, but it's a long time until August." Joining Maxus in receiving byes for the Dexter Cup were Julie Miller-trained Don and Trond Smedshammer-trained Perlucky, who both were winners on the New York Sire Stakes circuit last year. Vic's Winner heads to the final with four wins in his past five starts dating to last year. This season, the Joie De Vie Farm and Winbak Farm-owned colt has won two of three races. George Brennan, who guided Vic's Winner to victory in the elimination, will be back to drive the horse in the final. "He was very good," trainer Hermann Heitmann said about Vic's Winner in the elimination. "He showed good gate speed, he came right out, and George drove him just perfect. "I'm very lucky with the No. 3 (post). I'm very happy with that. Everybody will be going for position, we have to make sure we get a good trip out of it. But everything has worked out perfect so far." First race post time is 12:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday, with the Dexter Cup carded as race 10. Two races prior to the Dexter Cup, the $66,400 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old female trotters will be contested. Following is the field for the Dexter Cup. Vic's Winner, Thrust Control, Don, and Maxus are eligible to the Hambletonian. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer 1 - On The Ropes by Chapter Seven - Dan Dube - Ake Svanstedt 2 - Lindy's Big Bang by Explosive Matter - David Miller - R. Nifty Norman 3 - Vic's Winner by Credit Winner - George Brennan - Hermann Heitmann 4 - Thrust Control by Cantab Hall - Brian Sears - Marcus Melander 5 - Don by Credit Winner - Andy Miller - Julie Miller 6 - Credicone by Credtit Winner - Trond Smedshammer - Trond Smedshammer 7 - Maxus by Muscle Hill - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter 8 - Perlucky by Lucky Chucky - Jim Marohn Jr. - Trond Smedshammer For Saturday's complete Freehold entries, click here. Ken Weingartner

This Week: Lady Suffolk and Dexter Cup, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J.; Arthur Cutler Memorial and Graduate Pace first leg, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Chip Noble Memorial and Miami Valley Distaff, Miami Valley Raceway, Lebanon, Ohio. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features the $133,800 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters and the $66,400 Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters on Saturday (May 5). Meadowlands Racetrack offers the $182,500 Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters and two $50,000 divisions in the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers, also on Saturday. Miami Valley Raceway will feature the $102,200 Chip Noble Memorial for older pacing mares and the $81,600 Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Monday (May 7). Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Joie De Vie Farm and Winbak Farm's Vic's Winner took advantage of a pocket trip to nip On The Ropes by a neck in 1:57 in the $44,600 Dexter Cup elimination for 3-year-old trotters on Saturday (April 28) at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the season's first stakes race on the road to the Hambletonian, which is harness racing's premier event for 3-year-old trotters. A total of 11 horses entered the Dexter Cup, one shy of the number necessary to divide the group into two elimination divisions. Therefore, three horses -- Don, Maxus and Perlucky -- received byes based on career earnings and advanced directly to the May 5 final at Freehold. Vic's Winner was among the eight horses that competed Saturday for the remaining five spots in the Dexter Cup final. Trained by Hermann Heitmann and driven by George Brennan, the son of Credit Winner-Victors Vicky took the lead at the opening quarter in :29.1 before yielding to On The Ropes (Ake Svanstedt) at the :58.2 half-mile marker. On The Ropes was still on top at the 1:28 three-quarter pole with Vic's Winner now out and taking aim at the leader. Vic's Winner was just a nose back at the top of the stretch, then got up in the final strides for the neck triumph. Favored Lindy's Big Bang (David Miller) wound up third, 1-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Fourth-place finisher Credicone (Trond Smedshammer) and fifth-place finisher Thrust Control (Tim Tetrick) also qualified for the May 5 final. Vic's Winner was winless in his first two career starts, but capped his 2017 campaign with back-to-back victories with Heitmann, who trained for Joie De Vie in the late 1990s and returned in August. This year, Vic's Winner also has a second in a division of the Bobby Weiss Series and a first-place finish in a conditioned race. He has earned $45,860 lifetime. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 129; 2. Jordan Stratton - 119; 3t. Jason Bartlett - 84; 3t. Yannick Gingras - 84; 5. Daniel Dube - 65. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 102; 2. Ron Burke - 76; 3. Richard Banca - 75; 4. Jim King Jr. - 69; 5. Rene Allard - 65. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci -34; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 30; 4t. Brittany Farms - 25; 4t. Diamond Creek Racing - 25; 4t. Friendship Stables - 25. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit racing next week will feature W.N. Reynolds Memorial contests at Yonkers Raceway for 3-year-old colt and filly pacers.   Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director  

Joie De Vie Farm and harness racing trainer Hermann Heitmann enter this year with three trotters eligible to August’s $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes, and two of their hopefuls will be in action Saturday (April 28) in the $44,600 Dexter Cup elimination at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the season’s first stakes race on the road to the Hambletonian, which is harness racing’s premier event for 3-year-old trotters. A total of 11 horses entered the Dexter Cup, one shy of the number necessary to divide the group into two elimination divisions. Therefore, three horses -- Don, Maxus and Perlucky -- received byes based on career earnings and advanced directly to the May 5 final at Freehold. Joie De Vie Farm’s Chucky De Vie and Vic’s Winner are among the eight horses that will compete Saturday for the remaining five spots in the Dexter Cup final. Completing the elimination field are Lindy’s Big Bang, Dont Press Send, Swedish-bred Midnight Express, Credicone, Thrust Control, and On The Ropes. Chucky De Vie, Don, Dont Press Send, Maxus, Thrust Control, and Vic’s Winner are eligible to the Hambletonian. In addition to Chucky De Vie and Vic’s Winner, Joie De Vie Farm’s No Drama De Vie is eligible to the Hambletonian. “Hopefully one is going to make it,” said Heitmann, who is in his second stint as the trainer for Joie De Vie Farm, which is owned by 89-year-old Antoinette Nigito. “(No Drama De Vie) hasn’t qualified yet. He’s a little bit behind. Chucky had some problems last year, but I think he’s going to be all right this year. I was impressed with (Vic’s Winner) last year. I raced him twice and he won both times and he’s off to a good start this year, too.” Vic’s Winner, co-owned by Joie De Vie Farm and Winbak Farm, was winless in his first two career starts, but capped his 2017 campaign with back-to-back victories with Heitmann, who trained for Joie De Vie in the late 1990s and returned in August. This year, the son of Credit Winner-Victors Vicky has a second in a division of the Bobby Weiss Series and a first-place finish in a conditioned race. He has earned $19,100 lifetime. Chucky De Vie won two of 12 races last year and earned $40,876 while competing primarily on the Maryland circuit for co-owners Joie De Vie Farm and Paul Nigito. He has started once this year, going off stride April 20 at Freehold and finishing last. “He’s good gaited on a (half-mile track) usually; I’m surprised he made a break last week,” Heitmann said. “He had little problems, but I’m pretty sure we straightened it out. “He’s not that big, but he’s strong. I just hope he behaves himself.” If a name counts for anything, Chucky De Vie might have a little something going for him. The son of Charlie De Vie-Bliss is named in honor of trainer Chuck Sylvester, who has won the Hambletonian on four occasions. Heitmann -- who trained harness racing’s richest horse, Foiled Again, during the early portion of the horse’s career -- also worked for Sylvester for six years. But, of course, the first order of business is the Dexter Cup. Lindy’s Big Bang, from the stable of trainer Richard “Nifty” Norman, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Vic’s Winner is the 7-2 second choice. “I think my horses fit very well,” Heitmann said. “Not too many horses in there have raced on a half yet. I think they will be competitive. We drew relatively good; (posts) four and five, I cannot complain. We should be all right. Both can leave the gate, we just haven’t done it yet this year. “We just have to be lucky.” For the complete field for the Dexter Cup elimination, click here. Racing begins at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) at Freehold and the Dexter Cup elim is race No. 9 on the 11-race card. Ken Weingartner

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup elimination, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features a $44,600 Dexter Cup elimination for 3-year-old open trotters. A total of 11 horses dropped into the box for the Dexter, with Don, Maxus and Perlucky earning byes into next week's final. The remaining eight horses will contest the single elimination, with the top five advancing to the final. Complete entries for the race can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Keystone Velocity won his second consecutive George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship, moving to the lead as the field reached the quarter-mile point and retaining the top spot every step of the way from there to defeat Bit Of A Legend N by one length in 1:52 at Yonkers Raceway on Saturday (April 21). Somewhere In L A finished third and Mach It So was fourth in the $532,000 event for older male pacers. Western Fame, who started from post one, led the field around the first turn, followed by Dr J Hanover and Keystone Velocity. Dan Dube then put Keystone Velocity in gear and brushed to the front and recorded fractions of :26.4, :56.2, and 1:23.4 on his way to the win. Keystone Velocity, a 10-year-old stallion, joins Foiled Again as the only back-to-back winners of the Levy. Foiled Again accomplished the feat in 2009 and 2010. "He's a very nice horse," Dube said. "For sure he's better with cover, from behind, but you can do whatever you want with him. When I went to the front and got a breather, it was good." Keystone Velocity, last year's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, has won two of six races this year and earned $320,000. For his career, the son of Western Hanover out of Venus Killean has won 29 of 116 starts and earned $1.64 million. Rene Allard trains Keystone Velocity for owners Allard Racing, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable.. An equipment change helped keep Shartin N going straight and propelled her straight to victory in Saturday's $373,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for older female pacers at Yonkers Raceway. The mare posted a 4-1/2 length victory over Sell A Bit N in 1:52.2. Motu Moonbeam N was third. Shartin N was fourth in the early portion of the race, trailing leader Sell A Bit N, Medusa and Lakeisha Hall. Driver Tim Tetrick moved Shartin N to the front just past the halfway point and never looked back. The fractions for the mile were :27.2, :57, and 1:24. Trainer Jim King Jr. made several changes to Shartin N prior to Saturday's race, the most significant, he said, being the addition of a Murphy blind. "It took right up to tonight to get it done," King said. "We worked on her a lot at home and made some changes. We came up here and warmed her up a couple trips and made some more changes. We put our heads together and came up with a plan and here we are. We did so many different things. The biggest thing was adding the Murphy blind to her to get her to go straight and stop her from being so fussy. I warmed her up a hard trip before we raced to take some of the sting out of her." Added Tetrick, "With the Murphy blind it straightened her up and (King) did a great job. He had her on 'go' tonight." Shartin N is a 5-year-old daughter of Tintin In America out of Bagdarin. She is owned by Richard Poillucci and Jo Ann Looney-King. The mare has won eight of 10 races this year and earned $292,875. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2018, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2018 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Tim Tetrick - 129; 2. Jordan Stratton - 119; 3t. Jason Bartlett - 84; 3t. Yannick Gingras - 84; 5. Daniel Dube - 65. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 102; 2. Ron Burke - 76; 3. Richard Banca - 75; 4. Jim King Jr. - 69; 5. Rene Allard - 65. Owners: 1. Vonknoblauch Stable - 87; 2. Richard Poillucci - 34; 3. Jo Ann Looney-King - 30; 4t. Brittany Farms - 25; 4t. Diamond Creek Racing - 25; 4t. Friendship Stables - 25. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 5); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 5); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares and older pacing mares on Monday (May 7). Paul Ramlow

Freehold, NJ --- Lord Cromwell and driver John Campbell moved to the lead on the backstretch and were never threatened from there, cruising to a 5-1/4 length win in Saturday's $143,737 Dexter Cup for harness racing 3-year-old male trotters in a stakes- and track-record 1:55 at Freehold Raceway. Gustavo Fring finished second and Southwind Cobra was third. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands. Southwind Cobra, who started from post five, took the early lead from Sir John F and reached the opening quarter-mile in :28.1. Lord Cromwell, the 4-5 favorite, was on the move after Southwind Cobra hit the half in :57.3 and was in front by the time he reached three-quarters in 1:26.4. "I knew they were going to trot out of there and he's actually better from behind," Campbell said. "Once I spoke to him at the five-eighths, he was gone. He actually finished well within himself. I was very happy with the trip. He was very handy. I think he's got a pretty good future." Said winning trainer Ed Hart, "I loved the post position. A lot of it is post position on a half-mile track. We drew good and John drove him perfect and everything worked out. "He's got a big set of lungs. He just goes." Lord Cromwell, bred and owned by Carolyn Atherton, is not eligible to the Hambletonian. The horse was limited to four starts last year because of sickness and complications from being gelded. "Looking right now, I'm sorry that we didn't," Hart said about the Hambletonian. "You never know. He's staked a bit lightly. Last year we couldn't really stake him heavily." Lord Cromwell paid $3.60, $2.80, $2.40. Lord Cromwell The previous stakes record of 1:55.3 was set by Anders Bluestone in the 2009 Dexter Cup. Anders Bluestone shared the track record for a 3-year-old male trotter with Keystone Activator. "He was super today," Hart said about Lord Cromwell. "He's just a really nice horse." Lord Cromwell, by Chapter Seven out of the mare Oh Oh Its Magic, is 2-for-2 this year and won two of his four races last season. He has earned $97,588 in his career. Campbell, who is retiring in July to become president of the Hambletonian Society, won for the 10,655th time in his Hall of Fame career. He pushed his lifetime purses to $299.61 million. He ranks first all-time in driver earnings, leading No. 2 Ron Pierce by $84 million, and is ninth in wins. Driver Yannick Gingras won both $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. In the first division, Gingras guided Princess Aurora to victory by 4-3/4 lengths over Sparkle Plenty in 1:57. Royal Pinot finished third. Princess Aurora, trained by Jimmy Takter, is owned by breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She is 2-for-2 this season and has won five of 13 career races, earning $309,277. Princess Aurora, who is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks, is by Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Vulcanize. Princess Aurora In the second division, Romancing Rachel won by five lengths over Celebrity Ruth in 1:57.3. Southwind Prius was third. Romancing Rachel is trained by Ron Burke, who owns the filly with Howard Taylor and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. It was her first win in four tries this year and second victory in 15 career starts. She has earned $59,655. Also eligible to the Oaks, Romancing Rachel is by Muscle Hill out of the mare Tady's Comer. Romancing Rachel Ken Weingartner

Ron Burke is unsure what to expect from Southwind Cobra. There is no question, the harness racing trainer says, the horse is talented. There remains question whether he will fulfill his potential. Southwind Cobra might give Burke and his fellow owners some indication on Saturday when he faces seven rivals in the $143,737 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old male trotters at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the first Grand Circuit race on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian Stakes. Four of the eight Dexter Cup finalists are eligible to the Hambletonian: Southwind Cobra, Another Chapter, Earl Variera, and Sir John F. Another Chapter won one of last weekend's two Dexter Cup eliminations. Lord Cromwell won the other. Southwind Cobra did not compete in the elims because Burke elected to take a bye, based on career earnings, to the final. "We thought at the beginning of last year he was our best 2-year-old," said Burke, who owns Southwind Cobra with Jack Piatt II, Larry Karr, and the partnership of Mark Weaver and Mike Bruscemi. "He was a disappointment. There were points where he would show some things, but then there were points where he would show nothing. It was inconsistency and a lack of, really, wanting to win. "It's wait-and-see with him. He has all the talent in the world. He just needs to put it together." Southwind Cobra is a son of Muscle Hill, the 2009 Hambletonian winner and Horse of the Year, out of the mare Caerphilly. He was purchased for $120,000 at the 2015 Lexington Selected Sale and his family includes stakes-winner No Pan No Gain (the dam of Burke-trained millionaire Crazy Wow) and, more distantly, Hall of Famer Proximity. Last year Southwind Cobra won two of 13 races and earned $96,296. Both wins came on the Grand Circuit, in divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Tompkins-Geers, and his mark of 1:53.3 was fifth best among all 2-year-old male trotters in 2016. But he went off stride in eliminations for the Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial and Breeders Crown and failed to advance to any of those finals. Southwind Cobra has raced once this season, finishing third in a conditioned race at the Meadowlands on April 21. Burke was happy the Dexter Cup attracted a number of starters (17) that required one horse to take a bye so the group could be divided into two eight-horse eliminations on Freehold's half-mile oval. "I wanted the bye," said Burke, who won the 2015 Dexter Cup with Habitat. "I thought (Southwind Cobra's) first race was just all right. I wasn't thrilled with it. I was looking to give him a week off, but didn't think I would have the opportunity. Then when I got the bye it gave me a week to train him and get him ready. "I trained him (Wednesday) on the half-mile track at Gaitway. I wasn't sure how he would handle the half, but he got around it perfect. It didn't seem like it affected him at all. I look for him to be sharp hopefully." Southwind Cobra will start the Dexter Cup final from post No. 5. Elim winners Lord Cromwell will leave from post two and Another Chapter from post eight. Another Chapter, who broke his maiden with his elim victory, is a half-brother to stakes-winner Spider Blue Chip. Sir John F, who won at Freehold the week prior to finishing third in the Dexter Cup elimination captured by Another Chapter, is from the stable of four-time Dexter Cup winner Jimmy Takter. Sir John F, who drew post one, is a half-brother to Ontario star Emoticon Hanover, who finished second to Broadway Donna in last season's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters. Earl Variera, winless in six career races, will start from post three for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt, who won last year's Dexter Cup with Dante. Saturday's Freehold card also includes two $36,850 divisions of the Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters. Princess Aurora, a stakes-winner last season and runner-up to Ariana G in the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, leads a group of three Hambletonian Oaks eligibles (with Pennys N Dimes and Sparkle Plenty) in the first division. Romancing Rachel and Winter Sweet Frost are the Oaks eligible in the second division. Following is the Dexter Cup field in post order with listed drivers and trainers. The Dexter is race 10, with a 3:30 p.m. estimated post time. PP-Horse-Sire-Driver-Trainer-ML 1 - Sir John F - Donato Hanover - Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-5/2 2 - Lord Cromwell - Chapter Seven - John Campbell-Ed Hart-9/2 3 - Earl Variera - Explosive Matter - Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-25/1 4 - Gustavo Fring - Explosive Matter - Eric Carlson-Gilbert Garcia-Herrera-9/2 5 - Southwind Cobra - Muscle Hill - Joe Bongiorno-Ron Burke-4/1 6 - Southwind Cruze - Chapter Seven - Andy Miller-Julie Miller-9/2 7 - Arch Credit - Credit Winner - Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-25/1 8 - Another Chapter - Chapter Seven - Brian Sears-Mark Silva-12/1 Click here for Saturday's complete Freehold card. Ken Weingartner

Freehold, NJ --- Brian Burton has no idea what to expect in the weeks ahead, but he is looking forward to finding out. Burton is the harness racing driver of Ei Ei O, another pacing-sired trotter from the stable of breeder/owner/trainer Richard Hans. The lightly raced 3-year-old is eligible to this year’s Hambletonian Stakes, but will first have to prove himself on the Grand Circuit stage. His first opportunity is Saturday when the road to the Hambletonian begins with two eliminations for the Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. The Dexter Cup is the traditional launch of the Hambletonian chase and eight of the 17 horses entered in this year’s event are also staked to harness racing’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters. The first eight-horse elimination features, in post order, Another Chapter, Southwind Cruze, Sir John F, Texican, Explosive, Eternal Patrol, Lars Perry, and Southwind Woody. The second division has Gustavo Fring, Madison Muscle, Muscle High, Lord Cromwell, Ei Ei O, Earl Variera, Arch Credit, and Muzzy’s Muscles. The connections of Southwind Cobra accepted a bye based on career purses. Joining Ei Ei O as Hambletonian eligible are Another Chapter, Sir John F, Eternal Patrol, Southwind Woody, Madison Muscle, Earl Variera, and Southwind Cobra. Southwind Cobra’s foes in the May 6 Dexter Cup final will be the top three finishers from each elimination plus one fourth-place finisher chosen by lot. Ei Ei O is a son of pacer Cam’s Rocket out of the trotting mare My Baby Momma. His granddam is Kora’s Trotter, who with Cam’s Rocket produced Hans’ multiple-stakes-winning world champion Googoo Gaagaa. Unraced at age 2 because of a minor leg injury, Ei Ei O has won his only two races this year, both with Burton in the sulky. The colt heads to his Dexter Cup elimination off an 11-1/2 length victory in 1:55 at Rosecroft Raceway. In his debut, a 1:57 triumph at Rosecroft, he trotted his back half in :56. “It’s very exciting; I’m grateful to Richard for giving me the opportunity to drive this trotter,” Burton said. “Richard has said this horse could be as good, or better, than Goo. I guess we’re getting ready to start finding this stuff out.” The 39-year-old Burton was last fall’s leading trainer at Rosecroft Raceway, where he also drives regularly. Burton followed his father, Martin, into harness racing, but not before getting English and journalism degrees and trying his hand at several other professions, including sports writing and sales. Burton and Hans, both Maryland residents, began working together last year. Burton drove Hans’ Maryland Sire Stakes standout Hybrid Henry (also by Cam’s Rocket) last season at age 2. Ei Ei O is inexperienced, but possesses a similarly fluid stride as Googoo Gaagaa. In 2012, Googoo Gaagaa won the Beal Memorial in a world-record 1:50.4 and captured the Colonial by a neck over Hambletonian champion Market Share. Googoo Gaagaa was not eligible to the Hambletonian. “I know it’s just Rosecroft and competition wise it’s not what (Ei Ei O’s) going to face on Saturday, but the speed and the ability that he showed, and the bottomless tank he’s showed so far, has been really impressive,” Burton said. “His greenness is his biggest obstacle. “It’s unconventional breeding, but the greatest thing about the Cam’s Rocket breed is they all try. And most, like EI, get around turns like they’re pacers. There’s no hitch in theses horses’ giddy up.” Burton is not going to think about the Hambletonian, but is hoping Ei Ei O can provide thrills this year. “We’ve got to get by Saturday first,” said Burton, who has won 396 career races as a driver, including four at Freehold. “Hopefully we do well and get into the final. “I talked to (Googoo Gaagaa’s regular driver) Corey Callahan and said this could be the ride of a lifetime. He said, ‘You’re right, it could be.’ He gave me a little bit of advice about driving EI on Saturday and we’ll go from there.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features two $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. Seventeen horses entered the race, with Southwind Cobra getting a bye into the final. The remaining 16 will compete in a pair of eight-horse eliminations on Saturday (April 29). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Keystone Velocity charged through the stretch to overtake pacesetting McWicked and then held off Somewhere In L A by a head to win Saturday's (April 22) $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship for older male pacers in 1:51.2 over a track labeled "good" at Yonkers Raceway. Even-money favorite Missile J finished third and Bit Of A Legend N, the defending champion, was fourth. McWicked led the field around the first turn, but Keystone Velocity moved to the front prior to the opening quarter-mile, which was reached in :26.1. McWicked regained the top spot prior to the halfway point, in :54.4, and set the pace from there until the top of the stretch when Keystone Velocity moved to the passing lane and kicked home to victory. "We had to be up close," winning driver Daniel Dube said. "It worked out real good. He was really good today. I was hoping (McWicked) could bring me to the top of the stretch because on the last turn I had a lot of horse. He was real strong; he's a nice little horse." Dube drove Keystone Velocity for trainer Rene Allard, who owns the horse with Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. The 9-year-old stallion has won three of seven races this year and earned $323,000 in purses. For his career, Keystone Velocity has won 22 of 95 starts and banked $863,971. Sent off at odds of 11-1, he paid $24.80 to win. Earlier on the card, Mackenzie A won the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for pacing mares by 2-1/4 lengths over Medusa in 1:53.1. Divas Image was third and favorite Mach It A Par finished fourth. Jordan Stratton drove Mackenzie A for owners Harry von Knoblauch Stable and Ellen Kinser. The 5-year-old mare is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Kept For Pleasure. Mackenzie A has won two of eight races this year and earned $205,800. Going off at odds of 5-1, she paid $12.80 to win. "The trip just worked out perfect," Stratton said. "Mach It A Par got used hard. She's a tough mare, but she's usually a little better from behind. But she had to make the move and it worked out for us. It was the plan to race (Mackenzie A) from behind, but I didn't know it would work out like that. It worked out for the best I guess." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3. Matt Kakaley - 91; 4. Tim Tetrick - 61; 5. Daniel Dube - 59. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2. Richard Banca - 86; 3. Rene Allard - 59; 4. Scott DiDomenico - 37; 5. Ron Burke - 36. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Bamond Racing - 22.5; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 21.7; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 21.7; 4t. T L P Stable - 21.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 6); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 6); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Sunday (May 7) and older pacing mares on Monday (May 8). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Ake Svanstedt says Dante possesses the ability to cover short distances extremely quickly. On Saturday, the harness racing colt used that skill to win the $140,800 Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. Starting from post seven, Dante and trainer-driver Svanstedt blazed to the front prior to the first turn and coasted from there, winning the Dexter Cup by 1-3/4 lengths over Cufflink Hanover. Credevie finished third. The time for the mile was 1:59.4 over a track labeled good. Dante, part of the favored entry with Dominion Beach, paid $4.20 to win. Dante benefited from several horses --- including Dominion Beach --- going off stride in the first turn, which enabled Svanstedt and his horse to separate from the field by several lengths. Dominion Beach rallied from more than a dozen lengths back, going three wide at the halfway point, to get alongside Dante on the backstretch, but was unable to sustain his drive in the stretch. Dominion Beach finished fifth, beaten by 4-1/4 lengths. Dante and Dominion Beach won their respective Dexter Cup eliminations last weekend. "He's very quick and he feels much better this time after his last race," said Svanstedt, who trains Dante for owner Anders Strom's Courant A B stable. "He's in very good shape. (The horses making breaks) made it more easy for us. It was an easy race; not so fast." Dante, a son of Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Michelle's Angel, was purchased as a yearling for $355,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to millionaire Archangel. Last year, Dante was winless in two races. This year he is 2-for-2. "He's a different horse," Svanstedt said. "He was very nervous last year. He was stressed last year and did not trot so good. He was always pulling. Now he is nice to drive. He's grown up and is a much better horse." The Dexter Cup is the first major stakes event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Dante is not eligible to the Hambletonian, but is staked to races on the New York circuit as well as the Breeders Crown. Earlier on the card, Dazzling Dollars won the $58,000 Lady Suffolk Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters by a half-length over Southwind Hope in 2:00. Curikee finished third. Dazzling Dollars went off at 10-1 and paid $22.60 to win. Favored entry-mates Flowers N Songs and American Gal K both went off stride. Trond Smedshammer trains and drives Dazzling Dollars for owner Purple Haze Stables. Dazzling Dollars has won two of 10 career races and earned $128,624. The filly, by Cash Hall out of Designed To Dazzle, won a division of the New York Sire Stakes last year and finished second in the NYSS championship. Ken Weingartner

Harness racing trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman and driver David Miller have teamed up to win a number of open stakes races in recent years, but never with a horse they owned together. That could change Saturday. Miller and Norman share ownership of Cufflink Hanover, who is the 2-1 morning line favorite in Saturday's $140,800 Dexter Cup at Freehold Raceway. The gelding has won four of 10 career races, including his Dexter Cup elimination last weekend in 1:57.3 --- the fastest of the three elims for the event --- and earned $70,914. Cufflink Hanover will start the Dexter Cup final from post three, with Miller in the sulky. Miller on Wednesday became the third driver in harness racing history to surpass $200 million in career purses. "We hope we can have a little fun with him; that was the idea," said Norman, whose major stakes wins with Miller include the 2012 Hambletonian Oaks with Personal Style and a 2009 Breeders Crown with Poof She's Gone. "We'll see how it goes. "He raced good last week and got a good draw. We'll have to see how the race goes, but he's going to show up there." The Dexter Cup is the first major stakes event for 3-year-old trotters on the road to August's $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year's Dexter Cup winner, Habitat, reached the Hambletonian and finished seventh in the final. Less than a month later, he won the Yonkers Trot. In 2013, Dexter Cup runner-up Dontyouforgetit also went on to race in the Hambletonian and four years ago Market Share competed in the Dexter Cup --- he lost a shoe early in the race and went off stride --- and later won the Hambletonian. Cufflink Hanover, Dominion Beach, and Dante won last week's Dexter Cup eliminations. They are joined in Saturday's final by second-place finishers Steed, Sir Royson, and Inukchuk Chuck. Two third-place finishers chosen by lot, Credevie and Hillman, also advanced to the final. Dominion Beach and Steed are eligible to the Hambletonian. Stakes-winner Dominion Beach, trained by Nancy Johansson, and lightly-raced Dante, trained by Ake Svanstedt, will race as an entry because both are owned by Anders Strom's Courant A B. Dante, a son of Credit Winner out of the stakes-winning mare Michelle's Angel purchased as a yearling for $355,000 at the 2014 Lexington Selected Sale, is a full brother to millionaire Archangel. Cufflink Hanover was selected by Miller and purchased for $30,000 as a yearling at the 2014 Standardbred Horse Sale. A son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Savoire Faire, his family includes 1995 Horse of the Year CR Kay Suzie and multiple-stakes-winner CR Renegade. "When I broke him for David, I liked him," said Norman, who owns horses under the Enzed Racing Stable. "I just liked his gait. He had a great gait and a good attitude. He's a nice-looking horse. He was easy to like." Although Cufflink Hanover is not eligible to the Hambletonian, the horse's stakes schedule includes the Yonkers Trot, Currier & Ives, Keystone Classic, Matron, and Tompkins-Geers. "We didn't think he was a top-level horse," Norman said. "He's kind of a second tier horse, but he's a nice solid horse. He acts like he can get around a half-mile track good, which should help." In the Dexter, the entry of Dominion Beach and Dante is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. Dominion Beach will start from post five with driver Marcus Johansson while Dante will leave from post seven with Svanstedt at the lines. Dominion Beach, a son of Muscle Hill out of the Dan Patch Award-winning mare Windylane Hanover, has won two of three races this year, including his Dexter elim in 1:58. A full brother to multiple-stakes-winner Muscle Diamond, Dominion Beach has won three of 12 races lifetime and earned $98,267. Dante won his Dexter elimination in 1:58.3 in his seasonal debut. The colt was winless in two races last season. Sir Royson, from the stable of trainer Linda Toscano, drew post No. 1 and is 7-2 on the morning line. Sir Royson, who has won three of six career races and finished off the board only once, will be driven by Jim Marohn Jr. Steed, trained by Richard Johnson, will start from post eight in the eight-horse field and is 4-1 on the morning line. Matt Kakaley is the driver. "The other winners of the eliminations drew outside of us, so I think we got the best draw of the winners," Norman said. "I think (Sir Royson) is pretty decent too. It's one of those half-mile track races and we'll just have to see how things go. We'll need a little bit of luck but he should be right there." Ken Weingartner

Saturday April 30th Freehold Raceway set the stage for harness racing three-year-old colt trotters in eliminations of the Dexter Cup. The first elimination was taken by Cufflink Hanover, the son of Andover Hall. He settled in for a two-hole trip behind the favorite Steed. Cufflink Hanover took the lead in the stretch to win in a brisk 1:57.3 for driver David Miller. The three-year old colt trotter is trained by Nifty Norman and has secured a spot in the Dexter final. Dominion Beach was favored to win the second elimination and did just that. Marcus Johansson and Dominion Beach held off a late surge by Sir Royson in the stretch to win in 1:58.0. Trained by Nancy Johansson the Muscle Beach colt looks to repeat in the final. Dante driven and trained by Ake Svanstedt took the lead from the word go and never looked back in the third and final elimination. The son of Credit Winner defeated the favorite Inukchuk Chuck in 1:58.3. The $140,800 final will be held on Derby Day, Saturday May 7th, at Freehold Raceway. The three winners will be accompanied by the three-second place finishers: Steed, Sir Royson and Inukchuk Chuck, and two of the third place finishers. Credevie, Cloud Nine Hanover and Hillman will draw for the two remaining spots in the final, by lot. Courtney Stafford

This Week: Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features three $16,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. A total of 18 horses entered the Dexter Cup, so each elimination will feature six horses. The first two finishers in each elimination will return for the final. The remaining two finalists will be drawn by lot from the three horses finishing third in the eliminations. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The George Morton Levy Series for open pacers and Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for open pacing mares wrapped up this past weekend at Yonkers Raceway. Odds-on favorite Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton) was the best Free-For-Aller entering and the best exiting this past Saturday night, winning the $609,000 final of the Levy. Bit Of A Legend N, after winning all five of his series prelims, drew post position two in the final. He was away third early, behind pole-sitting Take It Back Terry (George Brennan) and that one's stablemate, All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley). All Bets Off, from post five, paid a :27 price for the first lead. Stratton, wanting no part of a three-hole, quickly moved Bit Of A Legend N to the front, finding a :55.2 intermission. Take It Back Terry then took out of third, trying his luck down the backside the second time, with P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) happily accepting that one's tow. However, Take It Back Terry never came close to Bit Of A Legend N who maintained an open lead in and out of a 1:23.1 three-quarters. The advantage was 1-1/2 lengths entering the lane and Bit Of A Legend N was about to close the sale. All Bets Off ducked in but never threatened as the people's preference won by a length in a life-best 1:51. Texican N (Yannick Gingras), stablemate of the winner, rallied for third, with P H Supercam and Take It Back Terry earning the minor cash. For Bit Of A Legend N, a 7-year-old son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his eighth win in 10 seasonal starts. Yagonnakissmeornot (Daniel Dube), second-best in this race a season ago, rolled from off the pace Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $309,800 final of the Blue Chip Matchmaker for pacing mares. Unhurried early from post position four, Yagonnakissmeornot watched as Krispy Apple (Jason Bartlett) was launched from behind the eight-ball. She was met by Sell A Bit N (Jordan Stratton), with the latter retaking before a :27.1 opening quarter-mile. Sell A Bit N continued to lead at the :55.3 half as Lady Shadow (Corey Callahan) took out of third. That one moved toward the leader while Yagonnakissmeornot had some ground to make up from second-over. A :27.4 third quarter (1:23.2) did enough to make leader and challenger a bit susceptible, though Sell A Bit N had 1-1/2 lengths in and out of the final turn. As that was happening, Yagonnakissmeornot was getting the memo and roaring through the lane. She picked off the pacesetter, whipping Sell A Bit N by a pair of going-away lengths in a life best 1:51.4. Sell A Bit N held second, with a third-over Al Raza N (David Miller) third. For Yagonnakissmeornot , a 7-year-old daughter of The Panderosa co-owned as Allard Racing by trainer Rene Allard. Yves Sarazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her fourth win in seven seasonal starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jordan Stratton - 161.5; 2. Daniel Dube - 100; 3. George Brennan - 96; 4. Jason Bartlett - 90; 5. Tim Tetrick - 69. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 134.5; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 128; 3. Rene Allard - 105; 4. Ron Burke - 93; 5. Richard Banca - 42. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch - 134.5; 2. Bamond Racing - 75; 3t. Durazzano Stable - 35; 3t. Allard Racing - 35; 5t. Burke Racing Stable - 25.45; 5t. Weaver Bruscemi - 25.45. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, Miami Valley Raceway and Flamboro Downs. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 7). Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Eltlopp Playoff for older trotters on Sunday (May 8), Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting and pacing mares that same day, while Flamboro Downs will host eliminations for the Confederation Cup for 4-year-old open pacers as part of their May 8 card. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

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