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East Rutherford, NJ - This Breakfast With The Babies (BWTB) sponsored by Fashion Farms, final edition, got off with a bang this morning with the Father Patrick filly Sister's Promise coming from mid-pack to win in 1:58.1 / 27.4 for Tim Tetrick. Biding their time as Amazato (Trond Smedshammer) led the field by the half in 1:00.2 and 1:30.2 three panels, when Tetrick fanned Sister's Promise wide in the stretch she sailed by under her own power to win by 3½ lengths over that rival, her last quarter timed in 27.2. Linda Toscano trains the winner for Brittany Farms who paid $120,000 for her at Harrisburg and Fred Hertrich, III is the breeder. Aldebaranwalkabout (Andy Miller) survived the furious close of White Tiger (Anthony McDonald) to win the third in 1:56.2. Left with a long lead after a few broke behind him, the winner passed the three quarters alone in 1:28 while White Tiger was maneuvered around traffic, trotting an individual 27.1 home to just miss. Aldebaran Park bred and owns the winning son of Muscle Hill. The enigmatic Greenshoe made another strong impression this morning with an absolutely effortless 1:55.1 jaunt for Brian Sears, trotting home alone in 27 flat with the driver motionless. With Peter Haughton Memorial eliminations unnecessary, this served as a prep for the $422,350 stake on Hambletonian Day. The Father Patrick colt, a $330,000 Lexington Select buy for Anders Strom as Courant, INC was bred by Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. Donald DuPont won with Roy Dobbins homebred Muscle Hill filly Misscheckmatehill in 2:00. 3, holding Bride (DR Ackerman) at bay through the stretch. Another impressive homebred kicked off the pacing races as the 3 Brothers Stable's JK Mardi Says zipped around the oval all by herself in 1:55.2 for Scott Zeron. Left to a long lead throughout the 1:00.1 half and 1:28.1 three panels, the Somebeachsomewhere filly sprinted home in 27.1 on her own. Nancy Johansson trains her. In the season finale for BWTB the Sweet Lou half-brother to Vintage Master and Great Vintage Division Bell (Josert Fonseca) took a 1:53.4 record for owner/breeders Christina Takter and John Fielding. Jimmy Takter is, of course, the trainer. The day closed with Pure Country, the "Grande Dame" of Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farms zooming around the course in 1:51.3 / 26.1 for Brian Sears as she prepares for the Lady Liberty and the second half of the 2018 campaign. It was just a year ago that trainer Jimmy Takter qualified her in an amazing 1:48 flat which launched the now 5-year-old champion into another Dan Patch award winning season, making her the only female in Standardbred history to win that prestigious award at ages 2,3 and 4. It looks like she's raced herself back into contention for one more shot at the title. Live racing returns tonight when the Hambletonian Oaks eliminations highlight the 12 race card. It's also Seafood Fest with a variety of purveyors offering their culinary delights for you dining pleasure. Post time is 7:15 pm. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The two eliminations for the Jim Doherty Memorial for 2-year-old fillies on the trot were not safe for chalk players Friday night at the Meadowlands. Over a sloppy track that was battered by rain all night long, the first elim saw the top two betting choices go off stride as Susy (9-5) faltered around the first turn and Speed Titan (5-2) on the final turn. That left the door open for the tote board to light up. Special Honor, driven by Andy Miller and trained by Andy's wife Julie, was actually not even in play in the early stages of the race. In fact, at three-quarters she was in front of but one horse (Susy), but the daughter of Father Patrick-Honor Thy Daughter started to gather momentum heading into the stretch, swerved to the two path mid-lane and then found a seam in deep stretch to gun down the fast-closing The Ice Dutchess by a nose in a lifetime-best 1:55.1. Special Honor returned $38.60 to win. The exacta, comprised of an 18-1 shot over a 17-1 chance, returned $434.40. Hanna Dreamgirl, Hanovers Best and Jezzys Legacy were the third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishers, respectively, and earned a berth in next week's $357,450 Doherty Final. The second elim was contested in a deluge, and after 6-1 shot Starita yielded the early lead to 3-5 chalk Beautiful Sin, this result did not appear to be in doubt. The field raced well away from the rail as the rains continued to fall and Beautiful Sin turned for home on a safe 1½-length lead. Or so it appeared. In deep stretch, Beautiful Sin got leg weary and drifted away from the rail. That's when David Miller asked Starita for trot, and she gave him just enough to nip the favorite at the wire by a nose racing along the inside. Starita, a daughter of Trixton-Morningstar, paid $14.00 to win after completing the mile in a lifetime-best 1:55.2. The third- through fifth-place finishers earning a spot in the final were Fate Smiled, Swizzle Sticks and Whispering Oaks. A LITTLE MORE: One astute player in Ontario was the only bettor to survive seven legs of the 20-Cent Survivor Pick-10 and walked away with $15,469. ... David Miller drove three winners on the program, while Brett Miller, Corey Callahan and Andy McCarthy had two apiece. ... All-source wagering on the card totaled $1,621,378. ... Racing resumes at the Big M Saturday at 7:15 p.m. Atop the marquee sit a pair of Hambletonian Oaks eliminations, featuring Manchego, Hey Blondie, Phaetosive and the fastest-ever 3-year-old trotter regardless of sex, Plunge Blue Chip (1:49.4). by Dave Little, for the Meadowlands   

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - July 8, 2018 - The Meadowlands hosted the second leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for 2-year-olds on Friday night. The pacing races competed for $15,000 each while the trotters raced for $20,000 each. The six 2-year-old NJSS races included one division for pacing colts and one for the fillies, the trotters were split into two divisions for the fillies and two divisions for the colts. The first NJSS was raced off the card for 2-year-old pacing colts. Hurrikane Emperor, son of Hurrikane Kingcole, was once again the winner of that division for trainer John McDermott Jr. in 1:56.1. Leaving from post position number two to take the lead, and despite a bobble in the stretch, driver Dan Dube got him back on gait in time to win. Hurrikane Emperor is now two for two in lifetime starts for owners Johnathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing LLC, Pegasis Investment Group and George Viemo. Clintock finished second while Black Dan came in third. Mollydooker, trained by Tony Alagna, took the pacing division for the 2-year-old fillies in the first race of the regular scheduled card. Driver Brett Miller moved Mollydooker first up to take the lead at the half and win in 1:55.1. Owned by Visionary Breeders LLC, the Great Vintage sired Mollydooker has her first lifetime win. Hurrikane Lori Ann and Hurrikanesky dead heated for second. The first division of the 2-year-old trotting fillies, was won by odds on favorite French Cafe trained by Julie Miller. Andy Miller sat patiently with French Cafe and stormed past the competition in the stretch to win in 1:58.1. The Father Patrick filly notched her first win of the season for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Given finished second while Sari Bout It came in third. Joe Holloway's Father Patrick sired Lucius Vorenus took the next race on the card, the first division of the NJSS for 2-year-old trotting colts. Lucius Vorenus and David Miller held off a charging Soul Strong in the stretch to win in 1:58.0. Lucius Vorenus is owned and bred by Crawford Farms Racing. Soul Strong finished a strong second and Gerris Trix was third. Odds on favorite Battenberg gave trainer Joe Holloway the sweep in the NJSS for 2-year-old trotting colts. The son of Trixton was able to find the wire before No Drama Please could catch him in 1:55.4. Owned by Crawford Farms Racing and Val D'Or Farms, Battenberg now has his first lifetime win. Finishing a very close second was No Drama Please and Galixton was third. The last NJSS of the night was for the 2-year-old trotting fillies, where Mother Bonnie upset the favorite for trainer Noel Daley. Andrew McCarthy steered the Trixton sired Mother Bonnie to the front to wire the field in 1:55.0. Mother Bonnie is owned and bred by Robert McNerney and Hauser Bros Rcng Ent LLC. The favorite Special Honor held on for second while Golden Tricks took third place. The final for all the 2-year-old NJSS divisions will be held on Friday, July 13, 2018 at the Meadowlands. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ  -  June 29, 2018 - The Meadowlands hosted the first leg of NJSS for 2-year-old pacers and trotters on Friday night. The New Jersey harness racing pacing colts raced off the card in a single division while the fillies raced on the card in their single division both for $15,000. The $20,000 NJSS for trotters were split and went two division for both the colts and fillies all on the card. The NJSS for 2-year-old colts was the first contested off the regular card. Hurrikane Emperor left the gait from the rail position to win his first lifetime start in 1:53.1 for trainer John McDermott Jr. The son of Hurrikane Kingcole is owned and bred by Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing LLC and Pegasis Investment Group. Clintock finished second while Black Dan was third. Another John McDermott Jr. trainee Hurrikane Lori Ann took the 2-year-old pacing fillies division in 1:56.4. Sired by Lis Mara the filly is starting her year off right for owners Johnathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing LLC, Pegasis Investment Group and George Viemo. Hurrikanesky took second while Love Love Me Too was third. The first division of the 2-year-old trotting colts went to morning line favorite Greenshoe after making a break at the start. Greenshoe got back on gait and made a huge move heading to the three-quarter pole to win in 1:56.2 for trainer Marcus Melander. The son of Father Patrick is owned by Courant Inc. Lucius Vorenus came in a close second while Sheena’s Boy finished third. The second division of trotting colts was won by another Father Patrick sired 2-year-old, Hudson River. Hudson River trained by Jimmy Takter came first up at the half to take the lead and stop the clock in 1:55.2. This is Hudson River’s first start and first win for owners Christina Takter and Goran Falk. A tight second went to Battenberg while third place was Trix and Stones. The 2-year-old trotting fillies kicked off their first leg in the 9th race with odds on favorite Special Honor taking the field in 1:57.1 for trainer Julie Miller. The Father Patrick sired filly moved to the front at the quarter and cruised home for owners Brittany Farms LLC, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Strita finished second and Devilish Delight came in third. The second division for the fillies was also won by a daughter of Father Patrick. Whispering Oaks nosed out the competition in the lane to win in 1:55.4 for trainer Jimmy Takter. Whispering Oaks is owned by Brixton Medical Inc, Herb Liverman and R A W Equine Inc. French Cafe finished a very close second while Atonement was third. The second leg of NJSS for 2-year-old pacers and trotters will be held on July 6, 2018 at the Meadowlands. by Courtney Stafford, for the SBOANJ  

Manalapan, NJ --- Trainer Scott DiDomenico got his first look at a new addition to his stable during Monday's (June 18) qualifiers for 2-year-olds at Gaitway Farm while trainer Ron Burke got his final look at a number of horses that will soon begin their racing careers. Both were pleased. DiDomenico's newcomer was 2-year-old female pacer So Awesome, who won her qualifier in 1:56.4 with Tim Tetrick in the sulky. So Awesome was purchased by Bill Hartt on June 13 following a qualifying win at Saratoga in 1:57.4 for former owner-trainer Tony Ciuffetelli. So Awesome is a daughter of So Surreal out of Teddy Ballgirl. "She looks like she's pretty good," DiDomenico said. "To this point it looks like she's got a shot to be special. We haven't done much with her, but everything she's done has been professional. So far so good. Hopefully I don't mess her up. It was a good first step." Burke had eight winners among the 11 races for the 2-year-olds. Three from the Burke Brigade picked up their second wins of the three-week qualifying sessions at Gaitway -- male pacers De Los Cielos Deo and Semi Tough as well as female pacer Warrawee Ubeaut. De Los Cielos Deo, a son of Captaintreacherous out of Lisjune, won in 1:52.3. Purchased for $140,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, he is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award-winner I Luv The Nitelife and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Larry Karr, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership. Semi Tough, by Somebeachsomewhere out of Jan It Jackson, won by 12 lengths in 1:53.4. The colt, who was purchased for $115,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, is owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. His family includes stakes-winner Sunshine Beach. Warrawee Ubeaut, a daughter of Sweet Lou out of Great Memories, paced her mile in 1:54.3. She was a $70,000 purchase at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Phil Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and the Weaver Bruscemi partnership. She is a half-sister to O'Brien Award-winning millionaire Warrawee Needy. Burke's remaining winners among 2-year-olds were male pacer Warrawee Unique, female pacer Typhoon, male trotter Cheap Tricks, and female trotters Atonement and Fade Into You. Warrawee Unique, by Sweet Lou out of Queen Fourteen, won in 1:54. Purchased for $160,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale, she is owned by Burke Racing, Crawford Farms, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. His family includes 2010 Metro Pace winner Mystician and Ontario stars Camystic and Lucks Mistress. Typhoon, by A Rocknroll Dance out of Hallie Gallie, won in 1:57.2. She was purchased for $100,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale and is owned by Bill Donovan. Typhoon's second dam is Dan Patch Award-winner Galleria, who is the dam of stakes-winners Gallie Bythe Beach and Western Gallie. Cheap Tricks, by Trixton out of Maud Blue Chip, won in 1:58.1 for owners Burke Racing, Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi. She was purchased for $65,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Fade Into You, by Cantab Hall out of Fortunes Of Fables, won in 1:56.4. She is owned by Burke Racing, Collura, J&T Silva-Purnel & Libby, and Weaver Bruscemi and was purchased for $65,000 at the Lexington Selected Sale. Her family includes stakes-winners Flawless Bluestone and Feed Your Head. Atonement, by Father Patrick out of Swan Hot Mama, won in 2:00. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm, she is owned by Diamond Creek Racing. She is a half-sister to stakes-winner Repentance. Her family also includes stakes-winner Swan For All and Swan In A Million. "For our better ones, this was it," Burke said about the qualifiers. "They might start in an overnight, but a lot of them will go to stakes right off this. "De Los Cielos Deo is probably as good a colt as we've had in a long time. I also thought Semi Tough was very impressive today and Fade Into You, (Warrawee) Ubeaut and (Warrawee) Unique were very good too. For Unique, that was good. His first start (a sixth-place finish) was disappointing; that was totally out of character. We've always thought he was just a step below De Los, and even here they were starting to think it was a tossup. We're thrilled." The day's remaining two winners among 2-year-olds came from the stable of trainer Julie Miller, who won with female trotter Ev's Girl and male trotter No Drama Please. Ev's Girl, by Crazed out of Lindys Lullaby, won in 1:58.4. She is owned by Andy Miller Stable, Harvey Eisman and Little E LLC and was purchased for $29,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. She also won a qualifier on June 4. No Drama Please, by Trixton out of Female Drama, won in 1:57.4. He is owned by Stroy Inc. and was purchased for $54,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale. Trainer Tom Fanning, who like Burke, DiDomenico and Miller is based at Gaitway, sent out his entire group of four 2-year-olds for their debuts on Monday, with female pacer Trillions Hanover (Somebeachsomewhere-Tutu Hanover) losing by a nose to Typhoon and female pacer Unspoken Promise (Somebeachsomewhere-Pucker Up) losing by a neck to So Awesome after leading for nearly the entire mile with Andy Miller in the sulky. "They all went good," Fanning said. "We don't train them in (1):56 before these races, they all went about (2):01. They all paced good. Andy really liked Unspoken Promise. She opened up by like seven (lengths) and got lost on the lead. She was kind of waiting for someone to come up on her. "We'll probably go to (Harrah's Philadelphia) next week (to qualify) and then they'll go in a race depending on how they come out of it. There's not a lot of stress here, a little bit of a home-court advantage. It's just another day for them." Food and refreshments were provided during the three weeks of qualifying at Gaitway Farm by sponsors Colts Neck Equine, Cunningham & Cunningham Equine Insurance, Deo Volente Farms, Dey Equine Veterinarians, Fair Winds Farm, Freehold Raceway, Goshen Yearling Sale, Heritage Hill Farm, Meadowlands Racetrack, Northwood Bloodstock, Preferred Equine, SBOA-NJ, Southwind Farms, Tattersalls, TrotPac, Walnridge Farm, and Wedgewood Pharmacy. by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA 

East Rutherford, NJ - Breakfast With The Babies sponsored by Jules Siegel's Fashion Farms took place at The Meadowlands on a grand Saturday morning with clear skies, little breeze and temps in the mid-70's at 10am.   It turned out to be Father Patrick day as that first crop sire had five winners in the seven trotting races. an impressive showing indeed.   Trotting fillies opened the card with Whispering Oaks a 1:57.3 win, the second in a many appearances for the imposing $100,000 (LEX Select) Father Patrick filly. Yannick Gingras sat chilly with Whispering Oaks tight on the back of Frauline Blucher (Marcus Johansson) as that rival set moderate fractions, then tipped his charge as they turned home and she exploded by with a 28 flat final quarter.   Jimmy Takter trains the winner for Brixton Medical, Herb Liverman and RAW Equine. Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband are the breeders.   Father Patrick got another credit when Devilish Delight won the second race in 1:58 / 28.4 for Andy McCarthy. She did it all on her own, setting comfortable fractions then sprinted home to easily hold Caviart Jenny (Johansson) and the rest of the field at bay. Tom Dillion paid $80,000 for Devilish Delight in Lexington last fall, buying from breeder Kentuckiana Farms. Jonas Czernyson trains.   Special Honor by, guess who, Father Patrick took the third for Andy Miller in 1:58.1 / 27.4. She converted a perfect trip, tracking Given (Gingras) until headstretch then ground past that stubborn rival as they neared the wire. Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld bred and own Special Honor.   The fourth race this morning saw two talented, well-bred filly trotters square-off and it went as if scripted. The Muscle Hill x Sina lass Beautiful Sin (Gingras) wore down French Café (Andy Miller), another Father Patrick this one from Creamy Mimi, through a stretch-long battle to win in 1:56.4 / 28.1.   While Isolde (Dave Miller) was rank on the lead early through fast fractions, French Café followed in the pocket before gliding by that rival around the final bend with Beautiful Sin in close pursuit. In the stretch both fillies dug in gamely and it did take a photo to determine Beautiful Sin as the winner. Lennart Agrin paid $480,000 for Beautiful Sin at the Lexington sale last fall and she races under his SRF Stable banner for trainer Jimmy Takter. Jeff Gural and the Moon Goddesses bred and raised the winner.   Colt trotters came around in the 5th and Kredit Karma (David Miller) led all the way to win in 1:58.2 / 27.4 over Amico Mio B (Jordan Stratton). The winner was a $110,000 (LEX Select) Credit Winner bred by Steve Jones and Fair Winds Farm and now owned by Our Horse Cents Stable. Marcus Melander is the trainer.   Hudson River became yet another credit for Father Patrick when he won in 1:58.2 with trainer Jimmy Takter at the lines. Hudson River took the field by the 1:00.3 half, yielded to stablemate and eventual second place finisher Gerris Trix (Gingras) then trotted by that one in deep stretch for the score. Hudson River is a homebred racing for Christina Takter and Goran Falk.   Saving perhaps the best for last and making five winners on the day for Father Patrick was the highly regarded colt Greenshoe. He turned heads when he won in 1:55 with the greatest of ease two weeks ago and returned with another impressive win this morning, albeit a bit slower in 1:56.1 / 28.1 with Brian Sears driving for trainer Marcus Melander.   Greenshoe was pretty fresh scoring and anxious behind the gate but Sears was able to soothe him away with the good colt Don't Let'em (Gingras) landing on his back. Moderate fractions ensued with no real trotting done until midway through the stretch when Gingras moved Don't Let'em out to challenge and made a bit ground but couldn't threaten the winner. Anders Strom using his nom d'course of Courant, Inc bought the Greenshoe in Lexington last fall for $330,000 from breeders Libfeld and Katz.   JK American Beauty took the first pacing race in 1:56.1 for Tim Tetrick. She was just up over Wicked N Wonderful (Gingras) with Mollydooker going off stride when pacing fast at the wire. Nancy Johansson trains the American Ideal filly for owner/breeder 3 Brothers Stable.   Hurrikane Norakane (Dan Dube) was a 1:56.3 winner for trainer John Mc Dermott, Jr. Trapped until very late, when a seam appeared the Art Major filly shot through to nip Odds On Clearwater (Scott Zeron). Jonathan Klee Racing, Kuhen Racing, Pegasis Investments and George Vierno own the $24,000 Harrisburg purchase who was bred by Twinbrook LTD.   Blood Money (Gingras), representing the first crop by Sweet Lou, took the 10th in 1:54.2 / 27 just holding off the furious late rally of Hurrikane Emperor (Dube). The homebred is now two for two for Takter and Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing.   The exact same connections came right back to win the last of the 2-year-old races with Blacklight in 1:56 / 27.2. Yannick held the Somebeachsomewhere colt from champion mare I Luv The Nitelife well back early then unleashed him in deep stretch to nail Waterway (Brett Miller) in the last step. Another good Diamond Creek homebred prospect in the Takter barn.   Hey Blondie took a handy qualifier in 1:53.2 for Andy McCarthy in a race where Tactical Landing set brisk fractions before rolling off stride as they turned home.   Live racing tonight at The Meadowlands highlighting the annual appearance by the Camel and Ostriches.   by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands    

Nevele R Stud is thrilled to announce another exciting addition to their already elite trotting sires ranks, in the form of arguably North America's best young square-gaiter in recent years Father Patrick t2, 1:52.2f; t3, 1:50.4f ($2,600,571) - the richest and fastest son of champion harness racing sire Cantab Hall. The US and Canadian 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year in 2013 and US 3YO Trotting Colt of the Year in 2014, Father Patrick was an exceptional racehorse, winning 23 races and $2.6 million in stakes. As a 2-year-old Father Patrick won 10 of his 11 starts with 7 of these in sub 1:55 times, including a world record performance of 1:52.2 when taking out a Breeders Crown elimination at Pocono Downs. His major victories at 2 included the $500,000 Breeders Crown Final, the $365,000 Wellwood Memorial by five and a half lengths, the $280,000 Peter Haughton Memorial, the Champlain Stakes (again by a margin of five lengths) and the Bluegrass Stakes at The Red Mile, Lexington. As a 3-year-old, Father Patrick was the richest standardbred of the year, winning a massive $1.7 million in stakes in a very fruitful season that saw the outstanding youngster record back-to-back victories in the Breeders Crown, as well as wins in the Beal Memorial, Canadian Trotting Classic, Stanley Dancer Memorial, Zweig Memorial, American-National Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Final. Father Patrick took his lifetime mark of 1:50.4 when defeating recent Elitloppet winner Nuncio in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono Downs. His time remains the fastest ever recorded by a 3-year-old colt or gelding on a 5/8ths of a mile track and the equal fastest by any 3-year-old trotter. Trained by Jimmy Takter throughout his career, Father Patrick was rated by the legendary conditioner as the "best horse" that he had ever trained  - high praise when you consider Takter has had the likes of Moni Maker, Malabar Man, See You At Peelers, Pampered Princess, Kadabra, Passionate Glide and Pinkman, to name  just a few,  through his barn over the years. Father Patrick is certainly the complete package when it comes to choosing a stallion for your trotting broodmare this season, as he not only boasts unrivalled racetrack performance but also some of the best bloodlines available in the world. His sire Cantab Hall is currently the leading US All Age Trotting Sire and was himself a million dollar plus earning US 2YO Trotting Colt and Trotter of the Year. Cantab Hall has established himself as one of the most influential trotting sires in North America, having sired the winners of over $59 million, 168 $100,000 earners, 29 in 1:53 and 7 millionaires including Wild Honey, Explosive Matter,  Uncle Peter and Pastor Stephen. Father Patrick's maternal line is no less illustrious with his dam Gala Dream (by Enjoy Lavec) also leaving, in addition to Father Patrick, another US 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year and millionaire square-gaiter, Pastor Stephen t3, 1:52.8 ($1,058,188) and the $100,000+ earners Whom Shall I Fear t3, 1:52.8 ($163,935) and Stan The Man 1:53.6 ($182,144) from 6 foals of racing age. His second dam Maple Frosting (by Valley Victory), also an outstanding producer, has left the world champion 2005 US and Canadian 2YO Trotting Colt of the Year Chocolatier t3, 1:53 ($1,328,250) (making it an incredible three US 2YO Trotting Colts of the Year in the first two generations), along with the multiple stakes race winner Sugar Trader t3, 1:53.8 ($734,610). Chocolatier has since gone on to be a successful sire in Sweden with his best offspring to date the  champion mare Your Highness (SEK9,000,537) - the winner of the Copenhagen Cup, Olympic Trot and Oslo Grand Prix so far in 2016. Standing at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania and commanding the same service fee as his sire, US$20,000, Father Patrick served a restricted book of mares whilst still racing in 2015 and has had a terrific book of close to 130 mares this year.  His first crop of foals look outstanding types and can be viewed on the Diamond Creek Farm website (www.diamondcreekfarm.com) and Facebook page. Available in Australasia via frozen semen, Father Patrick's fee for the 2016-17 season is NZ$9,000 +GST (AU$9,900 incl GST). The service fee is pay on live foal and he is included in the Nevele R multiple mare discounts. There is limited semen available and bookings will be taken on a first in first served basis. For more information or bookings please visit nevelerstud.co.nz or phone the Nevele R office 03 349 8627, Nikki Reed 0274 346 401 or from Australia free-phone 1800 150 855.

Whom Shall I Fear 3,1:52.4, the Cantab Hall full brother to 2 and 3-year-old World Champion Father Patrick and to 2-year-old champion Pastor Stephen, has been retired from harness racing and will stand the 2016 breeding season at Victory Hill Farm in Indiana.   His stud fee has been set at $2,500.   He was the top-priced yearling of 2013 when he was purchased for $475,000 by Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. Takter's wife Christina owned the colt, along with a partnership that consisted of John Fielding, Brixton Medical, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband and the colt's breeder, Brittany Farms.   "He's simply a gorgeous horse," said Brittany manager Art Zubrod. "His dam, Gala Dream, has produced four $100,000 yearlings and pair of sale-toppers. And I think he's definitely one of her best. He's nearly the spitting image, in terms of both looks and conformation, to Father Patrick."   Whom Shall I Fear was stakes-placed in Grand Circuit action at 2 and began his 3-year-old season with tremendous promise. He won his first four starts in stakes action and took a mark of 1:52.4, then went on to compete in major events like the Dancer Memorial, Earl Beal, Colonial, Zweig, Bluegrass and Matron against top colts like "Trotter of the Year" Pinkman, Crazy Wow, and Habitat.   "When it comes to Whom Shall I Fear, I don't think I've ever been more disappointed by a horse," said trainer Jimmy Takter.   "At the beginning of the year I knew he was the one, but he got sick on us three times. I never could get him back to where he was at the start of the season. It's a shame... he's such a magnificent-looking animal. He'll make a top sire, I just know it."   Those interested in additional information or a booking application should contact Victory Hill Farm by calling (260) 463-2442 or emailing info@victoryhillfarm.com.   Victory Hill Farm   For information contact Victory Hill Farm at (260) 463-2442 or email info@victoryhillfarm.com    

These are a few of the significant events, performances and trends that occurred in the sport of harness racing during 2015. Ron Pierce, the 59-year-old Hall of Fame driver who was third on the money list last year, with almost $11 million and 448 wins, has been absent for most of the season. He drove in 503 races in January, February and the first week of March before shutting it down for neck and back surgery. The problem with his neck was corrected, but his back has never come around, to the point where he raised retirement as a real possibility when interviewed in August. Pierce has won 9,569 races and earned $215 million during his career. But beyond that measurable success, in the straight and narrow public world of harness racing Pierce is one of the few genuine characters; there’s nothing better than a post-race interview with Rockin Ron. He is sorely missed. Let’s hope his health improves to the point where he’s back driving in 2016. Restricted races for four-year-olds early in the season has been a hot topic of late, and with the advent of the Graduate series we’re seeing it come to fruition. However, it’s noteworthy that JL Cruze, who earned only $25,000 at three, won the Graduate final as well as the Hambletonian Maturity, while Doo Wop Hanover, who had some success but was not a major figure as a colt, won the Graduate Pace final. Contributions from the high profile four-year-olds that folks were anxious to keep on the track, on the other hand, have been lacking. Father Patrick started off with a win in the Maxie Lee, but he lost two legs of the Graduate and was sixth behind JL Cruze in the final. And he finished last in the Hambletonian Maturity. His stablemate Nuncio had a very good year—in Europe. Horse of the Year JK She’salady suffered her first loss in her Fan Hanover elimination, and dropped the final to 0 for 4 Wrangler Magic. Dan Patch winner Color’s A Virgin didn’t get going until the fall; Dan Patch winner McWicked never really got going; Pace winner He’s Watching retired in July; Shake It Cerry fell short of expectations…. After a five year run, Harness Racing Update ceased publication with the October 11 issue. The online newsletter which appeared in one’s email box from two to four times a week, depending on the season, had become the primary source of unfiltered information on the sport for many. However, advertisers never came through in sufficient numbers to sustain the operation for publisher Bill Finley and his staff. They didn’t run the formulaic puff pieces that prevail in the sport’s media wing. Shortly before HRU closed shop trainer Ron Burke told Finley that, “HRU was the worst thing that ever happened to harness racing.” Perhaps “If you don’t have something positive to say, don’t say anything at all” should have been their motto? Two years ago this month we lost The Canadian Sportsman after a 143 year run. This is not an encouraging trend. At a USTA Summit in July forty movers and shakers from various sectors of the sport put their heads together and came up with strategic moves that will hopefully expand and improve the sport. The USTA has lost 7,588 members over the past decade, while during that same stretch 7,395 fewer foals were born. It was decided that dedicating a larger slice of the purse pie to younger horses would help address the latter concern. And a series of initiatives, some involving social media, will take flight in 2016, with the aim of adding new owners. Strategies for using some of the slots dollars for marketing purposes were proposed. The need for gamblers, not fans, was raised. Are elimination races, which cause friction between horsemen and bettors, necessary was another topic up for discussion.  USTA reps promised to carry the feedback from every sector to those in a position to address those issues. The elevated prices being paid for decent older stock at the sales is one manifestation of the horse shortage in North America. On the pacing side, this situation is being dealt with in part by importing more horses from Down Under. It costs $12,900 to ship a horse here from Australia and $15,600 to bring one from New Zealand. Back in the 70s plane loads of expatriated pacers arrived regularly in Los Angeles and at JFK in New York. The abbreviated program lines that accompanied them confused bettors and fostered some dicey situations for regulators. And nothing has changed in that regard. Joe Bellino and his trainer Tony O’Sullivan and trainer Darran Cassar have been volume players in this market. On the trotting side, we seem to be supplying the Europeans with ready-made high end stock, which is creating the sort of situation we had this year where the NA based aged male trotting class was as soft as whipped butter. Last year Nuncio, Maven and Creatine campaigned all, or most, in Creatine’s case, of the year in Europe. And just this month Oaks winner Wild Honey, Uncle Lasse and French Laundry have been sold to Swedish interests. Cobalt was in the news last year, but interest in its effect on Standardbred race horses has increased in 2015. Kentucky regulators decided to issue a warning for levels 25 ppb and up and a more severe sanction for anything above 50 ppb. The Ohio Racing Commission is conducting a study involving five Standardbreds, while the USTA is funding a study centered on eight healthy, trained Standardbreds. The Ontario Racing Commission approved adding a cobalt test to those performed on any horse routinely targeted for testing. Trainer Aaron Lambert, who was bounced from The Meadowlands due to s cobalt positive in 2014, had another with Dynamic Youth at Pocono Downs in June. And hall of famer Chuck Sylvester was suspended for 15 days and fined $500 at the same track for a positive with the filly Murderer’s Row in June. Much of the controversy over what does and doesn’t constitute an acceptable cobalt level should be stripped away after the data from these studies is reported. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

With Father Patrick's racing career now completed, breeder and co-owner Adam Bowden is looking forward to the next phase of the trotter's career as a fulltime stallion. The 4-year-old Father Patrick did double duty this season as a race horse and stallion. Diamond Creek Farm, owned by Bowden and his father Chris, is managing the multiple Dan Patch Award honoree's breeding career. Bowden said he learned earlier this week that Father Patrick would be retired because of a lung infection. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Father Patrick won 23 of 33 lifetime races, finished second on six occasions, and earned $2.55 million. He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable, a group made up of Brixton Medical Inc., Diamond Creek Farm LLC, John Fielding, Christina Takter, Brittany Farms, and the partnership of Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. Father Patrick is a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream. He is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winner Pastor Stephen as well as stakes-winner Whom Shall I Fear. His mother, Gala Dream, is a half-sister to Dan Patch Award winner Chocolatier and stakes-winner Sugar Trader. "Pedigree, looks, race record - he checks all the boxes," Bowden said. "It doesn't hurt that Jimmy said he's the best horse he ever trained. He had class and charisma on the track and he exhibited the same qualities in the breeding shed this year. He took to his job easily. He was able to differentiate between breeding and racing. We were happy." Bowden said Father Patrick bred 73 mares this year and 58 are in foal. "That was sort of a trial run and now we're ready for the big leagues," Bowden said. "We were very happy, considering there were weeks where he only bred twice because of a race. He had an intermittent schedule throughout the year between qualifying and racing. But everybody was flexible with us and he got a great group of mares." Father Patrick's wins included the Breeders Crown at ages 2 and 3 plus last year's Canadian Trotting Classic, Earl Beal Jr. Memorial, Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial, Stanley Dancer Memorial, and American-National Stakes. In 2013, his victories also included the William Wellwood Memorial and Peter Haughton Memorial. His 1:50.2 win in the Beal at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old on a five-eighths-mile track. He also holds the world record for a 2-year-old colt on the same sized oval, with a mark of 1:52.1. This year, Father Patrick won one of five starts - capturing the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational by two lengths over Bee A Magician on May 24 at Harrah's Philadelphia - finished second twice and earned $120,995. He finished sixth in his final two races, the most recent on July 18 in the Hambletonian Maturity. His runner-up efforts came to JL Cruze in preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series. "Even though he lost to JL Cruze, he lost by a neck and a half-length in 1:51 and 1:50.4," Bowden said. "You can't complain about those two efforts. Clearly in his last two races something wasn't right. "But Father Patrick is a great horse and we expect great things from his foals." Two-year-old Breeder's Crown Final Three-year-old Breeder's Crown Father Patrick in a world record 1:50.2 Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Freehold, NJ --- JL Cruze’s upset of Father Patrick in a division of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters helped to vault the harness racing gelding into this week’s Top 10 in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. JL Cruze, who has won 12 of 14 races this year and never been worse than second, won by a neck over Father Patrick in 1:51 and lands at No. 5 in this week’s rankings. Also joining the Top 10, at No. 9, is 4-year-old gelding pacer Rockeyed Optimist, who captured a division of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old pacers last weekend at the Meadowlands. Rockeyed Optimist has nine victories and one second-place finish in 10 starts this season. Otherwise, little changed in the Top 10, with idle 3-year-old male pacer Wiggle It Jiggleit remaining in the No. 1 spot, followed by Charlie Hill Memorial-winning 5-year-old female trotter Bee A Magician in second. Artspeak, another 3-year-old male pacer who was idle last week, moved to third as Father Patrick dropped to fourth. Rankings based on the votes of harness racing media representatives on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 4 – 6/9/2015 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Wiggle It Jiggleit (24) 3pg 9-9-0-0 $135,742 315 1 2 Bee A Magician (4) 5tm 5-4-1-0 $270,735 300 2 3 Artspeak (5) 3pc 2-2-0-0 $60,000 219 4 4 Father Patrick (1) 4th 2-1-1-0 $89,062 191 3 5 JL Cruze 4tg 14-12-2-0 $183,638 153 -- 6 Mission Brief 3tf 2-2-0-0 $62,500 132 5 7 In The Arsenal 3pc 3-3-0-0 $185,525 129 6 8 JK She’salady (1) 3pf 1-1-0-0 $15,525 84 8 9 Rockeyed Optimist 4pg 10-9-1-0 $153,525 79 -- 10 Pinkman 3tg 2-2-0-0 $63,821 56 10 Also: Shake It Cerry (49); Doo Wop Hanover (42); All Bets Off, Radar Contact (25); JK Endofanera (22); State Treasurer (21); Habitat (15); Uncle Lasse (10); Canepa Hanover (9); Frau Blucher (7); Hurrikane Ali, Wakizashi Hanover (6); Ideal Cowboy (5); Bourbon Bay, Color’s A Virgin, P H Supercam (4); Domethatagain, Solar Sister (3); Split The House, Whom Shall I Fear (2); Crazy Wow, Let’s Drink On It, Modern Legend (1). by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications  

With 13 horses entered into both the trotting and pacing division of The Graduate at The Meadowlands for harness racing four year olds, each event was split into two divisions, worth $56,250 each.   The big name on the program was Father Patrick, last year's three year old trotter of the year with career earnings of more than $2.5 Million. Installed as a 1/5 morning line favorite, Father Patrick went off as the 1/9 choice. He was gathered back off the gate as JL Cruze was intent on the lead through an opening quarter of 26.4. As J L Cruze began to slow the pace down, Father Patrick launched his move and grabbed the lead going past the half-mile in 56.1. Father Patrick still led past three-quarters in 1:24.1 with JL Cruze in close pursuit. As the field turned for home, JL Cruze ripped out of the pocket and Yannick Gingras called to his champion. JL Cruze began to drift out, but he was closing in on the favorite and despite drifting through the stretch, JL Cruze was able to get up in the shadow of the wire over Father Patrick in 1:51. Resolve was third.   Dave Miller spoke to JL Cruze's ability after the race. "John (Campbell) actually talked to me the other day at Chesster (Philadelphia) and he told me I'd like him," said Miller. "He showed tonight he can go with the Free For All trotters." JL Cruze has now won 12 of 14 starts this season and has not lost a race since the second round of the Charles Singer Memorial in February. He is trained by Eric Ell and owned by Kenneth Wood, Ditmar Jr. and Iaquinta. The 1:51 clocking was a lifetime mark.   On the pacing side, the first division featured a North America Cup winner in J K Endofanera and the new kid on the block, the razor sharp Rockeyed Optimist. The betting public settled on the North America Cup champion as the 4/5 favorite, with Rockeyed Optimist close behind at 6/5.   The early lead would go to Limelight Beach, last year's Little Brown Jug winner, who reached the opening panel in a swift 25.4. At that point, JK Endofanera made his move for the lead and he cleared the front with Gingras before the half-mile in 53.3. Rockeyed Optimist was shown racetrack at this point and he ranged up alongside the leader and the two favorites hooked up past three-quarters in 1:21.2. The pair turned for home while racing on even terms, but Rockeyed Optimist began to wear down JK Endofanera through the stretch and he would reach the wire in 1:48 for Tim Tetrick, one of his four wins on the card.   The win was the ninth from ten starts this year for Rockeyed Optimist and the seventh in a row for the son of Rocknroll Hanover who surpassed $200,000 in career earnings with the win. JK Endofanera held second with Limelight Beach third.   Rockeyed Optimist is owned by Anthony Perrretti, Berkner, A & B Stable and Battaglia.   The Tim Tetrick/Steve Elliot theme continued in the second division of The Graduate in the form of Doo Wop Hanover who was released as the 2/5 favorite. He would not disappoint, winning in 1:48. He would rally from off the pace which was initially established by Rock Out through an opening quarter of 26.1. All Bets Off launched a bid down the backstretch and grabbed the lead before the half-mile of 54. Things tightened up moving towards the far turn and Bushwacker, who was racing along the pylons got rank and went off-stride. But, All Bets Off was clear of trouble, going past three-quarters in 1:21.3. At that time, Doo Wop Hanover was tracking the cover of Somewhere In L A and he flipped three wide for the stretch drive and began to close into the margin through the stretch. The two favorites paced down to the wire together, with Doo Wop Hanover reaching the wire first in 1:48, All Bets Off was second and Bushwacker overcame the miscue to finish third.   Doo Wop Hanover is owned by Peter Blood and Rick Berks.   Both Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover have scored in both the first and second legs of the Graduate. The third leg takes place in two weeks on Friday, June 19th.   Back on the trotting side, the first division pitted the mare and defending Trotter of the Year, Shake It Cerry against the very fast Gural Hanover. Shake It Cerry was sent off as the 1/2 favorite and lived up to the billing. She would track the speed of Gural Hanover throughout the mile, through fractions of 26.4, 55.1 and 1:23.3, before pulling the pocket in the stretch and powerfully trotting past Gural Hanover to win in a very sharp 1:51.4. The win was the 25th in Shake It Cerry's career from just 33 starts and her earnings are now beyond $2.1 Million. She is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners and was trained and driven to victory by Jimmy Takter.   On the wagering front, neither jackpot was hit in the super hi-5. The fifth race carryover grew to $149,789 while the last race carryover now stands at $126,693.   Total handle for the 13-race Saturday program was $3,225,452 a 20-percent increase over Belmont Day 2014. The on-track handle was also up nearly 15-percent.   Racing returns on Friday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

East Rutherford, NJ - When the notion to keep Harness Racing’s brightest stars on the racetrack beyond their three-year-old season was being considered by Jeff Gural as far back as 2010, it was the lure of having a "marquee" horse to promote that fueled his campaign to change the conditions of stakes to that end. Known as the “Gural rule” and currently in place for most of the major stakes, that vision is coming into focus as the 2015 Grand Circuit season gets underway in earnest.   To succeed, this initiative requires that rare equine athlete with talent and charisma enough to hold the attention of existing fans and pique the interest of new ones. Those qualities may well be embodied in the remarkably gifted trotter, Father Patrick. Crowned as the leader in his division at both two and three, Father Patrick has been touted by no less an authority that his Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter as “the best horse I have ever trained”. The career winner of more than $2.5 million boasts a long list of accomplishments and just may possess the necessary "Star Power”.    Father Patrick was bred by George Segal’s Brittany Farms and purchased from the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale for $100,000 by Jimmy Takter for a group that included Brittany, Brixton Medical, John Fielding, Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld, Sam Goldband and Christina Takter. Adam Bowden came in after his freshman season to secure the breeding rights for his Diamond Creek Farm.     With his Dan Patch award-winning sophomore season complete and faced with another year on the track, members of the Father Patrick Stable contemplated how they might make the best of it. The group ultimately chose to implement a practice that is commonplace in Europe but heretofore untested in the US. Their decision was to breed Father Patrick to a limited book of top mares while he was being prepared for and embarking upon his four-year-old campaign; a decision that creates a new realm of possibilities if successful and the dual-purpose use of top horses in the US should become a viable option.     As winter turned to spring, Takter trained Father Patrick at his East Windsor, NJ farm and shipped him to nearby Walnridge Farm a few times each week to be bred. Throughout the course of this "double-duty" Father Patrick responded brilliantly on both fronts. By late April he was ready to race.    After three impressive qualifiers, Father Patrick had his baptism by fire in the $150,000 Maxie Lee facing the best older trotters around. Chief among the competition was 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, a five-year-old mare that was coming into the race off a pair of dominant performances in the Arthur Cutler Memorial.   The match-up of Father Patrick vs Bee A Magician, billed as the “Race of the Year” to that point, could not have been possible without Father Patrick’s return to the track at age four, which would have to be considered unlikely if not for the Gural rule. Father Patrick’s ability to compete with that group was proven out by his effortless 1:52.1 wire-to-wire romp in the Maxie Lee.    Yannick Gingras knows the horse well, having driven Father Patrick in virtually every race since the start of his career and spoke of his impressions on the physical and mental maturation from age three to four.   “I think breeding him has had a positive effect, he’s definitely changed from a boy to a man this year,” was Yannick’s take. “He is a smart horse that allows you to race him any way and the gait and athletic ability were always there for him, but this season he is more aggressive in a good way. I trained him several times this winter and could feel a difference, more power and determination.   “To be honest he was a tired horse by the end of last season. It was a lot of racing and shipping around for him and he won the Breeders Crown pretty much on talent and instinct. Knowing that, I was concerned how he might come back but he’s been so good I’m now wondering what he might be able to do even beyond this year. Granted it is very early but I feel he’s the kind of horse that could compete with the best International horses if the owners were to continue racing him. Personally, I’d love a chance to race him against the Europeans and test them with the very best we have when he's at the top of his game.”   With the world's fastest trotter Sebastian K's return to racing imminent, expatriate Maven rumored to be state-side this fall, TVG champ Intimidate sharpening his game in Canada, Natural Herbie rounding into form in the Midwest, European invader Mr Picolit qualifying tomorrow at The Meadowlands and Elitlopp winner Magic Tonight reportedly headed this way the possibilities for a fantastic trotting season right here in the good old US of A are intriguing, to say the least.    There are many components to advancing the "Gural Rule" and when asked by the industry to provide racing opportunities for the newly minted four-year-olds to gain seasoning as they prepare to compete with the older set, Gural responded by resurrecting the Graduate Series restricted to horses of that age. The four race series will provide over $1 million in total purses for the group with $250,000 Finals for both trotters and pacers set for early July at The Meadowlands.   The second leg of the Graduate comes up this Saturday at The Meadowlands and Father Patrick will participate in the eleventh race, facing six rivals for a purse of $56,250. His presence adds luster to the Belmont Day live program, offering customers a chance to see the best both breeds have to offer in one day.   There are four Graduate races on the Saturday night card, two for pacers with the finest of that group set to slug it out and a pair of trots with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry headlining the other division.   The Meadowlands offers a terrific venue in which to enjoy American Pharoah’s Triple Crown quest without the throng that will crowd into Belmont Park. Details on what the afternoon/evening at The Meadowlands has to offer including the second annual Seafood Fest are listed on the website. Post time on Saturday is 7:15pm.   Meadowlands Media Relations Department 

Freehold, NJ --- After dominating winter harness racing events at the Meadowlands and Pocono earlier this year, JL Cruze is ready to face his toughest test of the season. He is heading to Saturday’s (June 6) second round of the Graduate Series for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M, where he will meet a field that includes two-time Dan Patch Award winner Father Patrick. The race is the second of two Graduate divisions for the trotters, with 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry headlining the first group. The card also includes two second-round Graduate divisions for 4-year-old pacers, featuring winter series sensation Rockeyed Optimist meeting stakes stars JK Endofanera, Luck Be Withyou, and Limelight Beach in the first division. JL Cruze brings a seven-race win streak to Saturday’s start. For the year, he has won 11 of 13 races, including the Super Bowl, Singer Memorial, Shiaway St Pat and Weiss series championships. He has won $155,513 for owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar and Stephen Iaquinta, who purchased the horse for $37,000 at November’s Standardbred Horse Sale Mixed Sale. The group purchased JL Cruze -- who had three wins in 14 races prior to the sale -- because he fit favorable non-winners conditions at Dover Downs, where the owners race frequently. Now he will get the opportunity to race against world champion Father Patrick, who won the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational on May 24 at Harrah’s Philadelphia in his only start so far this season. “He’s been unbelievable,” trainer Eric Ell said. “We didn’t know what we had bought when we bought him. We just knew we had a young trotter that fit some cheaper classes at Dover. We just popped him in a couple of those (winter) series in case he turned out to be something, and he did. “It’s been a fun ride, that’s for sure. I’m looking forward to racing the big boys. We’re going to see if we can go with them or not.” JL Cruze’s most recent start came April 21 at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, where he won the Weiss final by a length over Opulent Yankee in 1:52.4. He prepped for his return in the Graduate by finishing second to Gural Hanover in a qualifier on May 30 at the Meadowlands. He was timed in 1:52.1 with a :26.4 last quarter-mile despite being on the mend from a cut he suffered on his right front foot three weeks earlier. “He’s doing good,” Ell said. “He grabbed his quarter on his right front foot and he was really sore. I couldn’t do much with him and couldn’t get him trained. It was a freak thing; he’s never done it before. But he qualified well. It looks like he’s going to be OK for Saturday. “The sky is the limit for him. He just keeps getting better all the time. After the Weiss final I gave him some time off, which he needed. I gave him two weeks completely off in the field and then I started bringing him back. He really needed the time. He was able to put some weight back on and get freshened up again. We’ll see what happens on Saturday.” John Campbell has been the regular driver of JL Cruze, but on Saturday will be in Canada for stakes races at Mohawk. David Miller will drive JL Cruze, who will start from post three in a seven-horse field. Father Patrick, who has won 23 of 29 career races and earned $2.51 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group, will leave from post five with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. The remainder of the field is Resolve, Rompaway Galaxy, Opulent Yankee, Uva Hanover, and Madewell Hanover. In the first division, Shake It Cerry -- the only female in the field -- will start from post two with Takter driving. Shake It Cerry has won 24 of 32 career races and earned $2.08 million for Solveig’s Racing Partners. The remainder of the field is DD’s Hitman, Muscle Network, Gural Hanover, Datsyuk, and Sumatra. Shake It Cerry and Opulent Yankee, trained by Julie Miller, won first-round Graduate divisions, held May 25 at Tioga Downs. The third round is June 19 and the $250,000 final is July 11. On the pacing side, Rockeyed Optimist and Doo Wop Hanover -- both from the stable of trainer Steve Elliott -- won the first-round divisions at Tioga. Doo Wop Hanover romped by 7-1/2 lengths over stablemate Rock Out in 1:47.4. It was the fastest mile in Tioga Downs’ history. Doo Wop Hanover will start from post No. 1 in the second of the two divisions for pacers Saturday. He is joined by Bushwacker, Somewhere In L A, Lyonssomewhere, All Bets Off, Rock Out, and Mattamerican. Rockeyed Optimist leaves from post four in his division, which includes JK Endofanera, Luck Be Withyou, Caviart Luca, Limelight Beach, and Somesizesomestyle. The third round for pacers is June 19 and the $250,000 final is July 3. “They’re all good, knock on wood,” Elliott said about his three starters. “(Doo Wop) is real good right now. He’s always been good. He was a little unmanageable at times, if you left with him he wouldn’t come back to you. We rigged him a little differently and he seems fine. “I think Rockeyed is better coming from behind, but he’s become more versatile and learned how to race. Rock Out is faster than he shows he is. He’s going to be better as the year goes on.” JK Endofanera, whose stakes victories in 2014 included the North America Cup, is making his second start of the season. He won the first round of the TVG Free For All Series for older pacers on May 16 at the Meadowlands, giving him 15 wins in 28 career starts and earnings of $1.50 million. Limelight Beach won last year’s Little Brown Jug while Luck Be Withyou was the Breeders Crown champion at age 2. All Bets Off won the 2014 Art Rooney Pace and Messenger Stakes. Lyonssomewhere captured the Cane Pace and Mattamerican won the Horseman Stakes. “There are a lot of good 4-year-olds out there,” Elliott said. “It’s a tough transition from (age) 3 to 4. I want to keep (my horses) against 4-year-olds so they mature the right way. Hopefully, anyway. “I don’t know if there are any easy races, they go fast everywhere all the time. But it helps when you have nice horses.” by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications 

Chester, PA --- Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter has seen his share of great trotters over the years and he thinks Father Patrick is among them. The 4-year-old Father Patrick, who was a division champion at ages 2 and 3, made his 4-year-old debut a winning one by capturing Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters by two lengths over Bee A Magician in 1:52.1 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lindy's Tru Grit finished third. Father Patrick's time equaled the track record for a 4-year-old male trotter. "If everything stays perfect I think he's going to be very dominant," said Takter, whose past stars include Horse of the Year Award winners Moni Maker and Malabar Man. "I really do. I've been around greatness, and I think he's going to be a horse people talk about for many, many years." Father Patrick has won 23 of 29 career races and earned $2.51 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. Takter also visited the winner's circle following the inaugural $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers, which was won by his Great Vintage by three-quarters of a length over Dancin Yankee in 1:50.2. Mach It So finished third. Radar Contact won the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by a neck over Anndrovette, who won last year's race. Ooh Bad Shark was third. The Maxie Lee field featured a deep group of trotters, including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician as well as division champions Classic Martine and Market Share, who won last year's edition of the event. Father Patrick and Bee A Magician were among four horses to go for the lead on the first turn and Father Patrick got to the front before the group neared the second turn. The opening quarter was :27.1, followed by a half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.2. Bee A Magician tried to launch a challenge coming off the final turn, but Father Patrick yielded no ground. "He did it so easy too," winning driver Yannick Gingras said. "The earplugs are still in; I never really called on him. I let him trot the last eighth (of a mile). "Bee A Magician got the right trip, but with those kinds of fractions maybe I got a little bit of a jump on her. But she's a great horse and I was definitely worried around the turn when Brian (Sears) pulled because I knew she would give me a run. But he just showed what kind of horse he is." A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal debut by qualifying three times, with his final effort being a 1:52 victory at the Meadowlands on May 16. "Last week we wanted to get him a race but weren't able to, so I treated that (qualifier) as a race," Gingras said. "We went decent fractions and he stretched his legs out a little. I knew he was about as ready as he could be. He's not in peak, peak form yet, but he was good enough to win today." In addition to preparing for his racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty. He made three trips to the breeding farm in the week leading up to the Maxie Lee. "It's individual," Takter said about whether breeding and racing could work for all horses. "I know horses that won't go at all; when you start breeding them they lose total interest in racing. In his case, it hasn't been negative. So far so good." Great Vintage also has done stud duty, but after he bred just a handful of mares this year Takter decided it was better to give him a chance again on the racetrack. Great Vintage had been "retired" after suffering a ligament injury last August. A 7-year-old son of American Ideal out of the mare Art's Vintage, Great Vintage is 2-for-2 this season. He has won 28 of 95 career races and earned $793,108. "He came back very happy," Takter said. "He got hurt in the fall last year, so I thought he was done. But he came back sounder and better. He was a really good 2-year-old, but he got hurt in the paddock when he was turned out so he didn't come back good as a 3-year-old. He had a bad injury on the knee. "He raced good (in the two years) after that. He's a good horse. He's a brother to ($2.1-million-earner) Vintage Master, so he's got a license to play. He's a tough horse." Takter trains Great Vintage for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk. In the Betsy Ross, Radar Contact went to the front in the opening quarter-mile and never looked back, holding off multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette at the wire. A 7-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway out of the mare Topville Cyberwave, Radar Contact has won six of 16 races this year and finished worse than second only twice. For her career, she has 31 victories in 97 starts and $877,006 in purses. Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley for owners Charles Stillings and Dean Ehrgott. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter looks at Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia and can't help but be impressed. "It's like a mini Elitloppet," Takter said, referring to the famed invitational in Sweden that brings together an international field of 16 trotters. "This would have been a top field in Elitloppet elimination, anyway. It's going to be a great race." Takter's Father Patrick - who on Sunday makes his debut as a 4-year-old - is among four trotters entered in the Maxie Lee with Dan Patch Awards on their resumes. The others are Bee A Magician, who was harness racing's 2013 Horse of the Year, Market Share, and Classic Martine. The race is part of a star-studded card that also features the $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers and the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers. Father Patrick, who received Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3 and was the sport's top money-winner last season, drew post five with driver Yannick Gingras and is 7-2 on the morning line. He has won 22 of 28 career starts and earned $2.43 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal bow with three qualifiers. He was second to Melady's Monet in the first in 1:55, then won in 1:53.3 and 1:52. "Everything is much better than I expected," Takter said. "The horse had three qualifiers and he was stronger in every one of them. The last one was in (1):52 with the plugs left in; (Gingras) never really asked him anything. The horse is ready." In addition to getting ready for the racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty. "It hasn't hurt him," Takter said. "He's going to breed three times this week. He's got a busy schedule, this guy. He doesn't seem to mind it. We've been fortunate that it hasn't been that hot. Sometimes when they've got to ship back and forth and breed, you just want to make sure their weight stays right." Bee A Magician, who on Saturday became the first female trotter to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and is No. 1 in the first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, drew post three and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The 5-year-old mare is 3-for-3 this season, defeating male rivals in all of her starts. She won the Cutler in 1:51.2, which is the season's best time for any trotter. Her trainer, Nifty Norman, also is impressed with the Maxie Lee lineup. "I would say that's the best field she's met - maybe in her life," Norman said. "That's a really, really good field. I think we got probably the best draw out of that crew so we'll see how it shakes out. "You couldn't be more pleased with her," he added. "She's been fantastic every start and maybe got better each start. I'm thrilled." Classic Martine, who received last year's Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, got post seven and is 5-2. She has won two of three races this season, including the Miami Valley Distaff at Miami Valley Raceway in a track-record 1:52.2. Market Share, a Dan Patch Award honoree in 2012 and 2013, drew post four and is 8-1. "This is (Father Patrick's) first time racing against aged horses," Takter said. "Bee A Magician has really impressed me this year. She's a horse that's going to be tough to beat. But I feel optimistic. I think he can give her a run for the money. Classic Martine has been racing really good and you can't rule out Market Share with the class he has." Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 20-1 2. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-1 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 2-1 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1 5. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 6. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott, 12-1 7. Classic Martine, George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes, 5-2 8. Bourbon Bay, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson, 15-1 Following is the field for the Jerry Taylor Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Doctor Butch, John Campbell, Linda Toscano, 6-1 2. Sapphire City, Mark MacDonald, Paul Blumenfeld, 20-1 3. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 2-1 4. Great Vintage, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 10-1 5. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2 6. Dancin Yankee, Brett Miller, Josh Green, 15-1 7. Clear Vision, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1 8. Modern Legend, James MacDonald, David Drew, 6-1 Following is the field for the Betsy Ross Mare Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1 2. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-1 3. Radar Contact, John Campbell, Noel Daley, 9-2 4. Jerseylicious, David Miller, Wayne Givens, 9-1 5. Table Talk, Andy Miller, Bart Dalious, 20-1 6. Yagonnakissmeornot, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 9-5 7. Ooh Bad Shark, Allan Davis, William Wiggins, 12-1 8. For The Ladies N, Brian Sears, Peter Tritton, 20-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

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