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Friday night at the Meadowlands featured the eliminations for the top freshman trotting stakes of the 2014 Championship Meet, the Peter Haughton Memorial colt stake and the Merrie Annabelle for the fairer sex. The Peter Haughton required a single elimination of ten colts after three of the top seasonal earners accepted a bye into next week's $355,500 final. The first seven in the official order of finish would move on. Centurion ATM was the 1:54.2 winner here for trainer driver Ake Svanstedt. The SJ's Caviar colt settled in fourth early as his stable-mate Amicus and The Bank took turns on the lead through early splits of 28.2 and 57.2. Ake steered Centurion ATM over into the passing lane as the field trotted 'round the final bend and as he headed The Bank, that one went offstride, leaving the winner to an open length lead. At the wire it was Centurion ATM trotting home in :28 flat to be clear by three and a half lengths over Uncle Lasse with Cruzado Dela Noche third. The winner is co-owned by European interests Courant AB and Knutsson Trotting. Trainer / driver Svanstedt has had a clear impact on the scene this summer, his first in the US after moving his entire operation from Sweden. With his experience in Europe primarily training older horses, Ake has adjusted quickly to the American emphasis on early speed and clearly will be a player throughout the stakes season. The eliminated horses were The Bank, Broken Record and True Blue Stride. Joining the qualifiers for next Saturday's Hambletonian Day final will be Canepa Hanover, Guess Who's Back and Honor And Serve. The night began with the well-bred three-year-old trotting colt Royal Ice taking advantage of an absolutely delightful evening to break his maiden in a dazzling 1:51.3.  The meet's leading driver Yannick Gingras was aboard for the first time on the son of Muscle Hill from the mare The Ice Queen and he just went to the front and improved his position to an eventual eight length victory. Trond Smedshammer trains the colt (who may have just become an instant Hambletonian contender for next weeks classic), He is owned by Marc Goldberg. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

Heavily favored Solvato (5m Donato Hanover-Solveig-Yankee Glide) won today's V75 Gold Division at Axevalla, Sweden over 2640 meters autostart for a 150,000SEK first prize. Peter Ingves was in the sulky for trainer Veijo Heiskanen as that pair scored in 1.13.4kr by a comfortable two lengths. Ingves drove the race to perfection from post two as he was away fourth and patiently waited for the pace to relax at which time he jetted to the front after 1000 meters and led the remainder of the contest. Solvato won for the ninth time in 40 career outings, now for earnings of 4,577,341SEK. On Track Piraten (6g Kool du Caux-Monrovia-Rite On Line) stayed covered In The Pocket much of the way and secured second for Erik Adielsson as Kaffir Face (7g Dahir de Prelong-Elegance OK-Lindy Lane) had rallied from the back gain second in the lane but flattened in late going to finish third for Lutfi Kolgjini. Earlier on the Axevalla card (before a huge crowd on a bright sunny day) the Bronze Division for 110,000SEK to the winner went to Jeppas Maxi (5g Varenne-Absolutely Perfect-Balanced Image) with Torbjorn Jansson up. This emerging campaigner scored in 1.12.6kr in a close battle with Acriter (5m Gentle Star-Puttan Fri-Super Arnie) and Jorgen Westholm. Italy's Naglo'del Nord (7g Naglo-Entita'del Nord-And Arifant) was third for Peter Ingves. Jeppas Maxi is undefeated in six 2014 starts and has won eight times in nine career starts for 609,897SEK. He's owned by Robert Ekstrom and Aland Pia. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

International trotters headlined today’s card at Les Sables d’Olonne with their Grand Prix for €50,000 going to Uhlan de Val reined by trainer Cedric Megissier. The six year-old son of Islero de Bellouet-Indiana Beautiful-Beautiful Somolli scored narrowly for his eighth career win, now for €815,390. The 1.7/1 favorite, a winner in 1.14.8kr over 2775 meters, held off veteran Roi du Lupin (9g Fleuron Perrine-Helia de Saint-Pol) with J-M Bazire at the lines for trainer/owner J-P Marmion. He’s a 27 time winner of almost €1.7 million. The day’s Quinte+ race of the day had a jackpot of €5.4 million. That race was the Gran Prix de Pontorson atHippodrome de la Mont-Saint Michel. 18 starters battled for the €35,000 purse over 2675 meters, and Sullighan scored in 1.14.4kr as the 1.7/1 favorite for Mme. C. Hallais-Dersoir. JLC Dersoir trains the winner for Ecurie Jeloca. He’s an eight year-old gelded son of Sancho Panca-Terre de Sauoreuil and he defeated the Damien Bonne teamed Samourai Purple. Good racing has also taken place at various European venues this week. Today at Skelleftea, Juliano Rags (6m Juliano Star-Julia Rags-Super Arnie) took the 3140 meters feature worth 100,000SEK to the winner. Noralf Braekken teamed this winner to his 13th career victory now for earnings of 1,833,026SEK. The Norwegian entrant was timed in 1.14kr over the extended distance as he defeated Mellby Vargtass and Bo Eklof, with third to Denmark’s Bradley reined by Robert Bergh. On the same card Valnes Chilly took the co-feature, also with 100,000SEK first prize, as the six year-old mare by Fill V-Chilly Creek-Giant Chill scored over 2140 meters (turning start) in a good 1.12.9kr, her third 2014 victory. Yesterday at Jagersro (SWE) the featured Elitserien Final (100,000SEK to the winner) over 2140 meters autostart went o favored From Dust To Dawn (3m From Above-Emotional Dust-Banker Hall) with Johnny Takter at the lines for Dusty Stables. He scored in 1.15kr for his fourth career win in just seven starts. His dam Emotional Dust was a good one (1:56, US$195,683) and is from Web Dust (Sugarcane Hanover-US Sushi). On that card the co-featured mile autostart event for older trotters went to I Won’t Dance (8g Angus Hall-Do Si Do Hanover-Valley Victory). He scored in 1.11.4kr for Joakim Lofgren to record his 23rd career win in 78 starts for earnings of 6,435,387SEK. Obi Wan was second for Flemming Jensen. Lofgren also scored with lightly raced Bella Bourbon (3f Ready Cash-Stella Pride-Love You) in 1.15.7kr over 2140 meters from the turning start. On July 14 at Beaumont de Lomagne (FR) trainer Vincent Martens won both of the top races. Ouch (7g Viking Kronos-Hot Enough-Malabar Man) took the €35,000 purse Gran Prix Dynavena Maisagri Duren in 1.14.8kr over 2550 meters. Christophe Martens reined the winner to his 13th career win as the 2.8/1 choice. The Menhammer Stuteri -bred winner defeated 61/1 longshot Renato Alstare. The monte Prix de Caen went to Martens conditioned United Face (6g Viking Kronos-Pretty I-Sharif di Jesolo) as the even-money choice with Damien Bonne aboard  in 1.15.2kr over 2550 meters for a purse of €25,000. On July 13 at Amiens (FR) the Prix Vismie for €35,000 drew 16 European starters. Sweden’s Head Line (7g Rite On Line-Farapoli IT-Napoletano) scored for Anthony Duperche, driving for trainer Antonio Ripoll-Rigo. This pair overcame a 25 meter handicap to win timed in 1.16kr. The same day grass-turf experts (16 starters) contested the Saint Jean de Monts for €25,000 over 2625 meters. Super Berry Chenou (8g Jardy-Finaline-Quel Soro) scored at 4.4/1 for J-P Monclin driving for trainer Jean Baudron and owner Ecurie Etoile NV  to earn his 11th win for €193,960 career earnings. Ulk Blue (6m Love You-Just Blue-Cygnus d’Odysse) ended second for Eric Raffin. At L’isle/Sorgue the Gran Pris de Trot de la Ville sur la Sorgue for €32,000, over 2650 meters, went to 3/1 odds Uppercut du Gui (6g Opus Viervil-Altesse du Maroif) reined by Stephane Cingland for Ecurie Franck Anne. He scored in 1.17.2kr for victory eight in his career. At Francheville (FR) J-P Dubois won with homebred Bella Flore (3f Sam Bourbon-Queen Flore-Vikings Way) in the Prix Vanika du Ruel over 2475 meters. Patrick Chevrier trains this one as she recorded the maiden win. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

Southland owned pacer Scarymclearry, who won five races including the Group Two Australasian Young Drivers Stakes in Australia when trained by Menangle trainer David Thorn, is back in New Zealand and will be tried by John and Josh Dickie as a trotter. The six-year-old son of Elsu, who has won $137,456 in stakes and paced a 1:52.3 mile, qualified twice as a trotter in Australia running 2:00.2 in his first trial and 1:57.7 the second time around. However, he then had one race where he broke badly in the score-up and the stewards told Thorn he would have to trial on multiple occasions to gain clearance to race again. That’s when it all became too hard and his syndicate of owners, headed by Vin Nally, opted to bring the gelding home. Originally it was planned that he would return to Southland, however after Nally received an out of the blue phone call from Josh Dickie a 50/50 deal was struck to race the pacer come trotter in the north. Dickie, who won the Australasian Young Drivers Stakes aboard the gelding, was obviously aware of Scarymcleary’s ability to trot and offered to train the speedy type for nothing in return for a half share. Scarymclearry, who won eight races when trained in Southland by Tony Barron and has won 13 races in total, under Australian rules would have had to race as a Free-For-All trotter but by returning to his homeland he will get the opportunity to start fresh as a maiden trotter. The Dolamite Syndicate owned gelding returned to New Zealand last month and began work with the Dickie’s last week. By Mitchell Robertson

The Christchurch earthquakes and rebuild have thrown up a lot of characters in the last few years and none are any bigger than the owner of Southern Demolition, Alan Edge. This larger than life character, who has earned a reputation for being brusque and tough talking in the teak tough demolition game, is one of the major players in the massive demolition industry that has sprung up since the Christchurch earthquakes. The Edge name has also been around in Canterbury harness racing circles since the involvement of Alan's father Noel nearly fifty years ago. Today Alan's brother Neil trains a handy team from Maddisons Road in Weedons just south of Christchurch and its here that Alan has honed his driving skills in recent years on members of Neil's team. Always highly competitive throughout a very successful sporting career, Alan has become a regular in the amateur driving events. At last Sunday's Oamaru meeting Alan took the drive behind the well tried Edge stable runner Alta Capone. Drawn wide at nine, Alan dropped Alta Capone out to last early in the 2600 meters  mobile event and thats where he stayed until joining the three wide train at the 1100 meters mark. Getting a lovely drag into the race from there, Alta Capone finished stoutly in the straight to just get his nose in front at the right time. This was the fifth win lifetime for the son of The Big Dog who is owned by Alan and Neil and took his stake earnings to $28,973. Alta Capone paced the 2600 meters in 3:19.6, a mile rate of 2:03.5 with closing sectionals of 58.2 and 29 in the bitter winter conditions. This was Alan's third win in an Amateur drivers race along with seven placings from just 25 drives. If Sundays inch perfect drive is anything to go by, it certainly wont be Alans last winning drive. Hrnesslink Media

East Rutherford, NJ - No fewer than seven major Grand Circuit stakes will populate the Saturday night card at The Meadowlands, led by the track's signature race, The Meadowlands Pace.   The all-star lineup begins with a pair of high-stakes preps for trotting's top prizes, the August 2 Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks.   Race four is the $317,000 Stanley Dancer Memorial three-year-old colt trot which will be the stage for last year's top freshman Father Patrick to battle Trixton who has emerged as a worthy adversary this season. It is the first time these two have met, the occasion made even more intriguing by the fact that both are trained in the Jimmy Takter stable.   Oddsmaker Darin Zoccali has Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) listed as a strong morning line favorite at 4/5 from post nine, while Trixton is at 3/1 from post twelve in the second tier with trainer Takter aboard.   The $213,500 Delvin Miller Memorial for sophomore trotting fillies also pits last year's finest against emerging talent. Shake It Cerry was clearly the best of a very talented crop last season, easily winning year end awards for the Takter stable and regular driver Ron Pierce. She has transitioned successfully to sophomore status winning four of five starts this season and is the 9/5 choice from post seven.   Her only loss required the world record 1:51.3 effort by Designed To Be at Pocono last month. It was the second time Designed To Be has assaulted the record books, having taken the two-year-old title with her 1:52.2 mile last fall in Lexington. She will have Brian Sears aboard for trainer Julie Miller on Saturday.   The remarkably fast Cooler Schooner is the fastest freshman trotter ever, regardless of sex by virtue of her amazing 1:51.3 win last summer at Pocono. She is sometimes guilty of self-sabotage but can never be dismissed. The Campbell brothers, John and Jim will conspire to manage that wicked speed toward its best use.   The new shooter in this division is Heaven's Door another who demonstrated great talent at two for Ross Croghan but it took until this year for her mind to catch up to her speed. She was sold over the winter and moved into the Ake Svanstedt barn where she has flourished. She won last month's NJSS final in a stakes record 1:52 with great ease and is facing the division's best now for her new connections and adds another element of suspense.   Next up (race six) will be the $212,500 Mistletoe Shalee for sophomore pacing fillies, another contentious contest. Sandbetweenurtoes raced but once at two for Tony Alagna but showed such promise in her first few starts at three that the brothers Remmen, Ray and Larry, bought her for John Grant and she hasn't lost since. She was the winner of last week's elimination in 1:49.1 with Brett Miller aboard and will likely be the post time fave off a 5/2 morning line.   Precocious Beauty was the divisional leader last year for the McNair barn and has yet to find that form thus far at three, though last week's race was encouraging. Takter's Uffizi Hanover won the 2013 Breeders Crown and the Fan Hanover this year for her regular pilot, newly minted Hall of Famer David Miller.   The older dames race on the pace for $178,450 in the cleverly named Golden Girls stake in the seventh race. Joe Holloway has always had a way with the ladies, training several distaff champions over the years and has a formidable pair in this one. Somwherovarainbow has well over a million in career earnings and has been in deadly form for Joe since early spring with six wins from ten starts, among those the Bluechip Matchmaker final. Brian Sears drives.   Her stable mate Shebestingin is the fastest female Standardbred ever, having seared The Red Mile clay in an eye-popping 1:47 flat last fall. She has yet to beat the best of this division since graduating into the open ranks but her speed make her a danger for David Miller.   The race favorite at 2/1 is the iron-tough race mare Androvette. Her story has been told many times but never gets old, particularly for her connections. She vaults over $3million lifetime with a win in this stake for trainer PJ Fraley and her constant racing companion Tim Tetrick.   Just when you think, "Well, this just can't get any better," you come to the meat of the card. Race 8 contains the finest Free For All pacers in the land racing for $463,300 in the WR Haughton Memorial, one of the biggest events of their season. The lifetime earnings for these ten horses are just north of the $20 million mark.   Captaintreacherous is the two time defending Pacer of the Year and a winner of over $3million in his racing career for trainer Tony Alagna. He's developed into a fan favorite with his gritty, never give up style and he'll need every bit of that heart, a large dose of speed and another clever steer from Tetrick on Saturday. He's drawn a favorable post starting just inside the 8/5 favorite, Sweet Lou.   Sweet Lou has flashed brilliance from the start for his connections and still holds the freshman pacing world speed record. Now five year of age, he's in the best form of his career and has been invincible since paired with driver Ron Pierce in May. Together they are five for five, all in 1:48.3 or faster culminating with a world record 1:47 the hard way at Pocono in the Franklin, the fastest mile on a five-eighths track in history.   Sweet Lou is one of a formidable four horse armada sent out in the Haughton by Meadowlands and national leading trainer Ron Burke. The four Burke horses alone have amassed a staggering $12million in career earnings led by the richest pacer in history, ageless wonder Foiled Again at $6.3 million. Foiled will have to overcome the extreme outside post for his regular driver Yannick Gingras in this battle.   The $776,000 Meadowlands Pace is race nine on the star studded extravaganza and has been well covered in many arenas, so for our purposes let's just say it shapes up to be a very exciting and contentious race, as is usually the case in the absence of a clear division leader.   Among the deepest and most contentious divisions this season is the older trotting mares. The returning Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's division leader Maven and pair of four year old mares that have blossomed into trotting divas, Perfect Alliance and Classic Martine will all meet among a field of eight in the $40,000 Miss Versatility in race ten.   It's one for the ages this Saturday night at The Meadowlands with over $2.5 million in purses offered over the 13 race card, including four $100,000 finals for state bred freshmen. Post time is 6:30pm and it's going to be well attended, so if you're thinking of coming out make your reservations now. If not, the Haughton and Pace will be carried live on the CBS Sports Network and the TVG Racing network.   From the Meadowlands Media Relations Office

After nine races over three days the NZ representative at the Amateur Drivers World Championship has finished a highly commendable fifth. Raced at the Finnish tracks of Riihimaki, Tampere & Helsinki, Jeff Darby racked up a trio each of 2nds and 3rds The championship was won by the Finnish driver Jäane Räisänen by a one points margin from the Swiss driver Joey Vignoni with a single point back to the Dutch driver Wim Brouwer. Not only did Jeff Darby have to overcome the challenges of the language and the different race rules and equipment but also the fact that he had never driven a trotter in a race before. A fact that amazed the locals who know nothing but trotters. At the invite of the organizers Jeff arrived several days before the championship and was able to gain valuable pre champs experience race driving. He clearly learnt quickly to post the best result by a New Zealander in an Amateur Championship staged in Europe. Full results and video at http://www.fegat.info/blog/ Harness Racing New Zealand

Jubilation quickly turned to heartbreak in a pair of trotting events at Balmoral Park on Wednesday, July 9th as a pair of diamond gaiters looked to be home free only to have late miscues cost them what looked to be sure victories in these state-bred stake events.   In what looked like it was going to a replay of their last two encounters Macie Rae (Ryan Anderson) carved out splits of 28.0, 58.1 & 1:27.3 and appeared to be holding firm to the wire before going off stride with less than a sixteenth of a mile to go. That allowed the pocket sitting Bailey's Wish and driver Dave Magee to capitalize on their good fortune as they zipped right on by for the victory in the $10,000 Fox Valley Diva Stake for state-bred three-year-old trotting fillies. Macie Rae settled for the place spot while Lora Lee Breeze (Matt Krueger) was a distant third.   The three-quarter-length triumph in a career best of 1:56.1 pushed the daughter of Southwind Breeze--Jen's career record to 7-6-3 in 22 starts for owners James Bafia and Eugene White. The good looking brown filly has also banked a hefty $151,983 while under the guidance of conditioner Dirk Simpson who is zeroing in on the 1,000 victory plateau.   In the first of two $5,000 divisions of the Psychic Spirit Stake for ICF two-year-old trotting colts Southrncomfortzone (John De Long) looked to be home free after a pocket sitting journey behind Captain Greedy and driver-trainer J.D. Finn. That's when disaster struck for that colt as he "jumped it off" allowing Captain Greedy, who had put up splits of 29.3, 1:00.2 & 1:31.2 to reclaim the lead and cruise to a six-length triumph in 1:59.4. Cardinal Yankee (Mike Brink) rallied to be second while Pizzalicious (Dale Hiteman) was moved from fourth to third because of the disqualification of Southrncomfortzone.   The win was the third in four starts for the son of Yankee Valor--Tropical Trixie who now has $6,692 in career earnings.   The second division of the Psychic Spirit proved to be far less dramatic as the Herman Wheeler owned and trained Fox Valley Qatar made it three in a row to open his career posting an impressive 2 ¾ length victory in a career best of 1:58.3.   After saving ground while Allpowernoemotion (Ronnie Gillespie) put up splits of 30.1, 1:00 & 1:29.2, driver Todd Warren eased Fox Valley Qatar through the passing lane and the gelded son of Pizzazzed--Armbro Bahrain responded beautifully as he charged right by the tiring pace setter for an easy score. Allpowernoemotion held on for second while RT Habenero (Robert Taylor) rallied to be third.   Fox Valley Qatar now sports career earnings of $5,625 and looks like he'll be the one to beat heading into the State Fair Stakes at Springfield in August.   by Tom Kelley, for Balmoral Park

The competing amateurs in the C.K.G. Billings Trotting Series stepped back in time this weekend when they traveled to the Cradle of the Trotter in the Land O' Goshen and compete over Historic Track, the National Historic Landmark and the world's oldest harness track. It was back to the way racing used to be over the track that has been in existence since the late 1830's and the place where the sports great progenitor, Hambletonian was shown to the attending crowds. Three Billings trots were contested on July 5 and the winning drivers included, "Joltin' Joe" Pennacchio, Dave "Steady As" Yarock, and Bob "the Headhunter" Hechkoff. In his contest, which was the first of the three, Pennacchio got to drive Steve "You're Never Too" Oldford's old warrior, Celtic Merchant, since Oldford is in Finland representing the U.S. in the World Cup of Amateur Racing. And Pennacchio did him proud. When the gate sprung he sent Celtic Merchant to the lead and they were never in trouble as the old warrior trotted through fractions of :30.0; 1:01:1 and 1:31.2 before finishing in 2:01.3 some four lengths ahead of Drill Sergeant Sam and driver Tony "the Capo" Verruso. Two lengths farther back in third place was Some Kinda Spunky, driven by "Johnny On The Spot" Kolkowski. The second Billings trot was inundated with breaking horses with four of the seven trotters going off-stride in the race which made it Quite Easy for Rompaway Alvin (Dave Yarock), the eventual winner. Rodeo Red and "Smokin' Joe" Faraldo took command after they left from the four hole and they were comfortable on the lead especially when Keystone Sadie driven by Peter "Sycamore Ventures" Gerry made a break at the half and caused problems for two others. Although Yarock pulled the two hole going to the half with his trotter Rompaway Alan proved to be stronger than Faraldo's Rodeo Red when the two trotters raced eyeball to eyeball up the backside and when Rodeo Red went off-stride on the final turn Rompaway Alvin romped away to a 19-length triumph in a time of 2:01:1. Rodeo Red got back on stride and took home second money while Martz Creek Rex finished third for Scott "the Money Man" Price A final Billings trot saw Bob Hechkoff leave swiftly with Get Packin from the pole and go wire to wire for a 2:02.4 triumph. But victory came hard at the end of the mile as Scott "the Driving Doctor" Woogen and Armstead Kyra charged at the leader at the top of the stretch and they slowly erased the two-length lead that Get Packin had. However, Hechkoff's trotter hung gamely and rebuffed Armstead Kyra to score a neck victory over the good doctor's mare. Third place went to Nearly Uncle driven by "Bullet Bob" Davis. By John Manzi

Scott Woogen's path to sitting behind racehorses began on a New York City basketball court, in a scene reminiscent of a Damon Runyon tale. Woogen, who will have two horses he bred and owns competing in Landmark Stakes at Goshen Historic Track in New York on Friday and will be driving there in amateur races on Saturday, was introduced to harness racing as a teenager in the Bronx when he was offered a job selling handicapping sheets outside Yonkers Raceway. The offer came from a police officer who spotted Woogen and his friends playing basketball in the school yard. "I was probably the youngest and smallest kid, but fairly aggressive, and I told him I could do whatever he wanted," Woogen said. "His moonlighting job was printing his own handicap sheet called the Top Trotter. I sold them for 25 cents and also sold programs for 75 cents. I got $5 a night. "I started reading the programs and taking an occasional bus up there to Yonkers Raceway and watched the races. I really liked it. When I was old enough, I got working papers and worked a little bit in the stable area on the weekends. If I hadn't been playing basketball that day, I wouldn't know anything about horses. It was kind of a quirk of fate." That quirk of fate has led Woogen, who now is a gastroenterologist living in Virginia, around the world. He began driving in races, even winning a collegiate event held at Roosevelt Raceway while representing Columbia University as a sophomore. He gave up driving to pursue his medical career, but returned to the track 17 years ago to compete as an amateur, often in the Billings Series, where he is known as the "Driving Doctor." He has won 127 races as an amateur and competed in Germany, Finland, Italy, Spain, Russia, Estonia, and New Zealand. "It's been a really nice hobby," Woogen said. "It's been a lot of fun; I really enjoy it." On Friday, Woogen will send out KJ Brenda in the $11,547 Landmark Stakes for 3-year-old female trotters and K J Ben in the $12,520 Landmark Stakes for 2-year-old pacers. Both horses are trained by Gary Messenger. Last year, KJ Brenda - the "K J" is for Woogen's fiancée Kathy Jean and Brenda is Messenger's wife - finished second in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. She has won two of 10 career races, hit the board a total of eight times, and earned $80,821. "She came back this year and her first couple starts she bled and we had to put her on Lasix and she's been getting better," Woogen said. "We're excited about her chances to go down to Kentucky and get some of that sire stakes money." K J Ben, named in honor of Kathy Jean's first grandson, Benjamin, is making his debut after winning a qualifier at Ocean Downs in 2:00.1. "We're excited about his prospects," Woogen said. Jim Taggart Jr. is listed to drive KJ Brenda and Jason Bartlett is listed on K J Ben. So why doesn't Woogen drive those horses in the stakes? "There's a reason why I'm in the amateur races," Woogen said, laughing. "It's a lot of fun and I think I can hold my own against the amateurs, but it's a little tougher to drive against the professionals. I'll leave that up to the professionals. I'm just excited that we have some horses that might do a little bit of good this year." Friday's nine-race Landmark Stakes card is part of the Grand Circuit visit to Historic Track. Saturday features the New York Sire Stakes Excelsior Series and Billings Amateur Drivers Series. Sunday is Hall of Fame Day, which includes a race featuring drivers in the Harness Racing Hall of Fame along with 2014 inductee David Miller. Post time each day is 1 p.m. for the first race. Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Some Or Lis (Lis Mara-Grabbersome) was the longest shot on the board in the $7,200 feature race at Vernon Downs on Saturday night, but that did not prevent him from storming past the entire field to score an upset harness racing win in 1:51.4.   The early stages of the race featured a speed duel between You Bet Your Glass (Frank Davis) and I Do Hanover (Chris Lems), who was parked on the outside for the majority of the mile. Those two set some fast fractions early on, covering a quarter in 25.4 and a half in 53.4. That early speed ended up being the undoing of the duo, both of whom finished out of the top three. After hitting three quarters of a mile in 1:22.4, You Bet Your Glass and I Do Hanover faded in the stretch and Some Or Lis (Claude Huckabone III) came all the way from last in the field of six at the top of the stretch to win at 20-1.   The second-longest shot in the field, The Green Knight (John Macdonald) at 14-1, finished second. The exacta ended up paying $240 with the two longshots comprising it. Buckeye Baddler (Truman Gale) sat behind the early speed battle in third position and started to rally through on the inside in the stretch as the leaders fell back, but the closers also passed him by and he had to settle for third.   The complete order of finish was: Some Or Lis, The Green Knight, Buckeye Baddler, I Do Hanover, You Bet Your Glass, and Stonebridge Master. Some Or Lis is owned by Richard Dow of Holland Patent, New York and trained by Stephen Marsh.   The driving star of the night was John Macdonald who scored three victories and three seconds on the 11-race program. He was a winner with Bandini in the 1st race, MacKenzie's Bliss in the 7th race, and That's Ideal in the 9th race. He was second with The Green Knight in the 2nd race, Beignet in the 8th race, and Tactical Attack in the 11th race.   No live racing on Thursday with a concert being held by Jerrod Niemann and Love & Theft. The concert benefits The Food Bank of Central New York. Tickets are available for $15 and the Chairman of American Racing and Entertainment, Jeff Gural, will be personally donating $10 for every ticket sold to the Food Bank of Central New York with a goal of raising $100,000 to benefit the Food Bank.   Live racing will resume at Vernon Downs on Friday, July 4 with a 6:45pm post time. The Friday program will feature the first leg of the Racing Under Saddle Series. There will be a special July 4th Fireworks Display following the conclusion of the live racing program.   by Michael Chamberlain, Vernon Downs Publicity    

Champion harness racing reinsman Dexter Dunn may be home and hosed in the National Drivers’ Premiership, but the battle among the juniors is still on in earnest. And although Samantha Ottley’s recent link up with the powerful Dunn stable has made her a warm favourite to take this year’s junior drivers’ title, a double from Sailesh Abernethy at Cambridge last night has brought him right back into contention. Abernethy, who is now on 41 wins, just one win behind Ottley, guided Hudey Haxwell to an all of the way victory in the first race on the card, before doubling the dose in the fourth event when adopting similar tactics aboard the Andrew Grant trained Heart Of Jessie. Abernethy has three drives at Alexandra Park tonight, while Ottley, who has already set a record for the most wins by a junior female reinswoman in a season, has numbers on her side, with five drives at Forbury Park tonight and six drives at Rangiora on Sunday. Meanwhile, Amatuer driver Michelle Northcott nearly pulled off a remarkable double when finishing second aboard Easy For Cullen in the last race on the card.  The dual-coded Northcott, who is employeed by Graeme Rogerson, had earlier in the day flown down to Otago’s Wingatui Thoroughbred meeting, where she was victorious in an amatuer riders’ event aboard a galloper she owns herself in Mr Nobody. By Mitchell Robertson  

The 2 Titans Racing Stable and the Fowlerville Horsemen are hosting qualifying and gate training on Sunday, June 22. The event will begin at 1 p.m. at the Fowlerville Fairgrounds. All horses must enter on Thursday, June 19, by calling the fair office (517-223-8186) or Claudia's Cary-Davidson's cell (517-294-0003) between 9-11 a.m. (EDT). Qualifying horses will go first and gate training to follow. Five horses on the gate. Stalls are available on a first-come basis (NO STRAW PLEASE). Gate training colts will be classified by age, speed, and gait for schooling. The Fowlerville Horsemen committee will offer hotdogs and brats for a picnic. Please bring a dish to pass if you can. Everyone will be welcome for lunch. Please note the following rules: 1) Only licensed drivers and trainers on the track; 2) Race bikes only for schooling horses; 3) Drivers must be in colors; 4) Eligibility papers and Coggins required for qualifying horses. Special thanks to 2 Titans Racing Stable for sponsoring this event. Their generous donation has paid for the race officials required to conduct this year's event. For updates and further details, visit Fowlerville Harness Horsemen on Facebook or our website (Rock-N-Horsestandardbreds.com). From the Fowlerville Harness Horsemen    

ANDERSON, Ind.-June 11, 2014 - Sam Widger notched the 5,000th win of his career after he piloted Brooklyn's Z Tam to victory in a condition pace at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Wednesday, June 11. The 1:56.2 victory marked a lifetime best performance for the four-year-old daughter of Electric Yankee-Slick Fit and a career milestone for the 50-year-old reinsman. Trained by Mike Murphy, Brooklyn's Z Tam was able to take advantage of a perfect second-over trip to record the first win of her 4-year-old campaign. Owned by Connie Blakeman, Brooklyn's Z Tam now sports a career bankroll of $24,870. Hoosier Park's Vice President and General Manager, Rick Moore, along with Widger's friends and fellow drivers were in the winner's circle to congratulate and acknowledge his accomplishment. "On behalf of Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, I'd like to congratulate Sam on win number 5,000," Moore noted. "Through his professionalism and attitude, Sam is a great ambassador for our sport. We wish Sam continued success for the remainder of this season and throughout his career. We look forward to watching him win many more races at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino." Now in his 28th season as a driver, Widger completed his ninth season with purse earnings surpassing the $2.5 million mark in 2013. The veteran reinsman has gone over the $3 million mark in purse earnings four times in the last eight years and has finished among the top ten drivers at Hoosier Park every season he has competed. Widger also received a spot in the Hoosier Park history books when he guided Bolt The Duer to victory in the 2013 installment of Hoosier Park's most prestigious race, the $250,000 Dan Patch Invitational. Widger, who has a farm in Beecher, IL that he shares with his wife, Nancy, and his five children, loves to hunt, fish and also enjoys helping out on the family farm in his spare time. Widger remains humble when considering his career and accredits much of his success to hard work, determination and perseverance. "God willing, trainers willing, and owners willing, we'll just keep on going," Widger said after his win. "I count my blessings every day, not only with the harness racing, but with family as well. I'm as rich as anybody could be when it comes to family." Widger is currently third on the 2014 leading driver standings at Hoosier Park with 65 trips to the winner's circle and over $640,000 in purse earnings. Trace Tetrick leads all drivers with 97 victories while Tyler Smith is just behind him in second with 92 wins. Live racing at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino will continue on Thursday, June 12 with a 14-race card highlighted by the $17,500 Fillies and Mares Preferred trot. With a daily post time of 5:15 p.m., live racing will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule through November 15. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park

Following a hiatus of several years, the Canterbury Branches of the Standardbred Breeders Association, Owners Association, and the Trainers & Drivers Association, are combining to resurrect an Awards dinner to recognise the achievements of local harness racing participants. The event will be staged in the Silks Lounge at Addington Raceway on Saturday 27 September and will comprise of a buffet dinner interspersed with the presentation of the awards by Master of Ceremonies, Mark McNamara. Guests should arrive from 6:30pm onwards with the function itself commencing at 7:15. Numbers are limited to 300 and the ticket price is $50 per person, which includes an introductory drink and antipasto platter. The criteria for the winners will differ from those presented at the National Awards function, in that they will not necessarily be given to the Season leaders. More information on this aspect of the evening will be forthcoming in the near future. Should you wish to book tickets or require more information, please contact the following: OWNERS Assn: Barry Dent 021 653 499 bcdent@ihug.co.nz Greg Crawford 027 778 9493 gregc.doublee@xtra.co.nz HORSEMANS Assn: Ken Barron 027 4372532 kenbarron@xtra.co.nz Peter Cook 3433 713 petecee@clear.net.nz BREEDERS Assn: Robyn Boyle 027 2173643 boyles4@xtra.co.nz Noel Kennard 3479699 noel@goharness.co.nz By Peter Cook                            

Top junior horsewoman Samantha Ottley crept within one win of Sailesh Abernethy in the Junior Drivers’ premiership when guiding Secret Lotion to victory at Nelson yesterday. In doing so, she also notched up her first win for Robert and John Dunn, after recently joining forces with the powerful Woodened Beach stable. “Colin (DeFilippi) is pretty quiet at the moment so he had a chat to John Dunn and suggested that I go and work for them for a while to increase my chances of winning the Junior Drivers’ premiership,” said Ottley. ”I am very grateful to Colin and Julie and of course the Dunns for giving me this opportunity,” said Ottley. “It’s my last season as a junior so it’s now or never as far as winning the premiership goes,” she added. Ottley now sits on 38 wins for the season with North Island reinsman Saliesh Abernethy on 39. Brad Williamson currently sits in third with 29 wins to date. “I really wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of Colin (DeFillipi),”advised Ottley. “He has been my mentor and continues to help me achieve the best results possible,” she enthused. The Dunns have done a bit of a swap with the DeFilippi stable and have sent junior horsewoman Loren Lester to work for DeFilippi stable during Ottley’s absence. “I just hope it works out well for everyone in the finish,” concluded Ottley. Meanwhile, the Nelson Winter Cup Prelude, was taken out by Beckinsale, who clung on win over the fast-finish Fifth Edition at odds of $38.30 and $7.40. Other impressive winners on the day included debut maiden winners Wesley Silcox and Robbie Burns, both whom should have no problems measuring up in C1 company on Sunday. By Mitchell Robertson

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