Since there were only two nights of live racing in the past seven days at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the Oktoberfest festivities on the grounds, it seems like a good time to look at the broader picture of harness racing through the Pocono lens. This is the time of year when people start to talk about yearend awards and horses of the year and things like that. We've been graced with the presence of many of the year's best, so let's examine the performances of the Top 10 horses in the latest Breeders Crown/Hambletonian poll when they travelled to MSPD this year. Four out of the top ten, #8 JK Shesalady, #7 Artspeak, #5 He's Watching, and #4 Trixton, have not appeared at Pocono. (Trixton, this year's Hambletonian champ, did have a winning qualifier at Pocono.) The other six have not only raced here, but they've all picked up at least one victory on the Pocono oval this year, often in impressive fashion. #10 Sandbetweenurtoes, a 3-year-old pacing filly from the Larry Remmen barn, just suffered the first loss of her season with a disappointing seventh in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships at Harrah's at Philadelphia. But her lone voyage at Pocono was successful, as she rallied from an early deficit to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on August 9 in 1:50. #9 Lifetime Pursuit wasn't quite on top of her game when she raced at Pocono earlier in the meet, going once across the board in three starts with the win coming in a Pennsylvania All Stars race in June. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Jimmy Takter barn has been sizzling since, winning her last five races including the Hambletonian Oaks and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final in her age group. It's been an amazing 3-year-old season for pacing colt Mcwicked, trained by Casie Coleman. Much of that success took place at MSPD. He's won three of four at Pocono in 2014. Although his record includes wins in the prestigious Adios and in the Pennsylvania Championships, his signature victory for the year was likely his incredible effort in winning the Max Hempt Memorial pace at Pocono in June in a world-record time of 1:47:3. The #3 horse on the list is Father Patrick, who has made an impact everywhere he's raced but has been absolutely spotless at Pocono. The 3-year-old trotting colt went four-for-four at Pocono as a 2-year-old, including a Breeders Crown title. He has won all four of his starts at MSPD this year as well, the highlight of those coming in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial trot in June when he won in 1:50:2, the fastest ever trotting time for a 3-year-old on a 5/8-mile oval. On that same night in June, #2 Sweet Lou, a 5-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn, was solidifying his amazing return to prominence in the sport. After struggling in the early part of the season, which included a ho-hum 3rd in an Open at Pocono in May, Sweet Lou found the stride that made him such a force early in his career. In the Ben Franklin at Pocono on that fateful June night, the stallion dominated a stellar field with the fastest pacing time ever on a 5/8-mile oval of 1:47. The #1 horse on the list has been a revelation all year long and his one start at Pocono was one for the ages. Of course, I'm talking about the sublime Sebastian K, the eight-year-old trotting stallion trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt who has won eight of his nine 2014 races, usually in record-breaking fashion, despite never have raced in the U.S. prior to this year. In his lone start at Pocono in an Open trot on that same June 28 that saw so many incendiary performances, Sebastian K stole the show with a win in 1:49, the fastest mile trotted on any track of any size in the history of the sport. As you can tell, many of the superstars of the sport have left indelible marks on the Pocono racing wars in 2014. There is still a lot of racing to go in the season before such things as yearend awards are decided. But when those honors are chosen, it's likely that some of the most compelling evidence for those choices will come courtesy of action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs
Freehold, NJ --- Father Patrick won the Canadian Trotting Classic last weekend and became the first harness racing horse this season to surpass $1 million. The 3-year-old male trotter also moved up one spot in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, from fourth to third. Older male trotter Sebastian K remained the unanimous choice at No. 1, followed by older male pacer Sweet Lou. Four of the horses in the Top 10 race at the Delaware County Fair this week. Lifetime Pursuit, who is No. 9, is in Wednesday’s Buckette for 3-year-olde female trotters and No. 10 Sandbetweenurtoes is in Wednesday’s Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers. On Thursday, No. 5 He’s Watching and No. 6 McWicked are in the Little Brown Jug for 3-year-old male pacers. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 18 – 9/16/2014 Rank Name (First Place Votes) A/G/S Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (35) 8th 9-8-1-0 $620,603 350 1 2 Sweet Lou 5ph 14-10-1-1 $940,533 298 2 3 Father Patrick 3tc 11-9-1-0 $1,136,901 257 4 4 Trixton 3tc 11-8-1-1 $893,370 217 3 5 He’s Watching 3pc 9-5-2-1 $801,578 205 5 6 McWicked 3pc 13-9-3-0 $908,266 162 6 7 Artspeak 2pc 6-6-0-0 $437,825 109 7 8 JK She’salady 2pf 6-6-0-0 $302,600 70 8 9 Lifetime Pursuit 3tf 12-7-1-2 $611,791 51 10 10 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 9-8-0-0 $248,598 44 9 Also: Shake It Cerry (39), Mission Brief (29), Nuncio (16), JK Endofanera (15), Yankee Bounty (12), Dancin Yankee (11), Lyonssomewhere (8), Classic Martine, Foiled Again (7), Market Share (6), Modern Family (5), Somewhere In LA (2), All Bets Off, Billy Flynn, Clear Vision, Habitat, I Like My Boss (1). by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; American-National, Balmoral Park, Crete. Ill; Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; Milton Stake final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Centaur Trot, Kentuckiana Stallion Management and The Elevation, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Prix D'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Wednesday (Sept. 17) at Delaware with the $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $89,475 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $64,646 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 18) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day are the $121,000 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $118,300 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $59,445 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters, the $58,045 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $51,000 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers. Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Wednesday with the $73,000 American-National for 2-year-old colt trotters and the $57,200 American-National for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday card at The Red Mile will feature four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 20) with the C$286,000 Milton Stake final for older pacing mares. Hoosier Park on Saturday will host the $250,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $225,000 (est.) Centaur for Open trotters, the $200,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly trotters and the $150,000 (est.) Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers. Rounding out the busy week of Grand Circuit racing, on Sunday (Sept. 21) Hippodrome 3R will offer the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete for 4-year-old pacers, plus a C$50,000 Prix D'Ete consolation. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Mohawk Racetrack this past Saturday, with the finals of four stakes, led by the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic for sophomore male trotters. Father Patrick, the 1-5 choice with driver Yannick Gingras, scored a popular 1-3/4 length victory in a time of 1:52.4. Father Patrick captured the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic in a time of 1:52.4. Trainer Jimmy Takter held more than a strong hand going into this year's renewal for 3-year-old trotters, sending out Hambletonian winner Trixton and Father Patrick, last year's divisional champion who had been expected to win the Meadowlands showcase event in August but made an unexpected early break. The toteboard reflected that, as Father Patrick was 1-5, Trixton 9-5 when they went behind the gate, while their five rivals ranged from 18-1 to 80-1. The two favorites, both of whom had won eight of their 10 starts this year, were expected to duke it out but this time it was Trixton, driven by Takter, who went off-stride at the start to eliminate himself. It wasn't a walk in the park but the win at least put aside the nightmare of this year's Hambletonian for Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream. Parked in fourth for the first half-mile, as Damfoolrmillionair took the field through a quarter in :26.4 and the half in :55.2, Gingras sent Father Patrick up to challenge the pacesetter, took over before the three-quarters was reached in 1:24, then powered home for the win in 1:52.4. E L Titan came on for second, with Harper Blue Chip third. The winner is owned by the Father Patrick Stable. On Monday (Sept. 15), the venerable 10-year-old pacing superstar Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) prevailed in the eighth annual $220,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in 1:50.2. Foiled Again held off Clear Vision to win the Quillen Memorial in 1:50.2. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables, Foiled Again assumed command from his rail post position just past the quarter-mile in :26.3. He led the rich field of eight, whose combined lifetime bankroll is near $15 million, to the half-mile in :55.1 and three-quarters in 1:23.1. Stablemate Clear Vision, who won the 2013 Quillen, received his marching orders from driver Brett Miller at the half-mile and battled first over but could not get closer than a half-length from Foiled Again at the wire. Bettor's Edge finished third. Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history, boosted his lifetime bankroll to more than $6.6 million. It was his sixth consecutive year in Harrington's marquee event. Clear Vision was making his fourth consecutive start. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,025; 2. Tim Tetrick - 583; 3. David Miller - 506.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 443.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 321. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,335.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 815; 3. Tony Alagna - 245: 4. Erv Miller - 244; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 222. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 291.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 263.75; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 187; 4. Robert Key - 185; 5. Bamond Racing - 167.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as eliminations in the Allerage for open pacers and trotters. Scioto Downs will also be hosting a Grand Circuit event, the $200,000 (est.) Jim Ewart Memorial for open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 13 - Father Patrick, the 1-5 choice with harness racing driver Yannick Gingras, scored a popular one and three-quarter length victory in the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Trainer Jimmy Takter held more than a strong hand going into this year's renewal for three-year-old trotters, sending out Hambletonian winner Trixton, a son of 2009 Classic winner Muscle Hill and Father Patrick, last year's divisional champion who had been expected to win the Meadowlands showcase event in August but made an unexpected early break. The toteboard reflected that, as Father Patrick was 1-5, Trixton 9-5 when they went behind the gate, while their five rivals ranged from 18-1 to 80-1. The two favourites, both of whom had won eight of their 10 starts this year, were expected to duke it out but this time it was Trixton, driven by Takter, who went off stride at the start to eliminate himself. It wasn't a walk in the park but the win at least put aside the nightmare of this year's Hambletonian for Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream. Parked in fourth for the first half-mile, as Damfoolrmillionair took the field through a quarter in :26.4 and the half in :55.2, Gingras sent Father Patrick up to challenge the pacesetter, took over before the three-quarters was reached in 1:24, then powered home for the win in 1:52.4. E L Titan came on for second, with Harper Blue Chip third. Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, of which Torontonian John Fielding is a partner, Father Patrick had won 15 straight prior to his gaffe in the Hambletonian. Since then, he'd won two of three and was hammered down to heavy favouritism in the Classic. "It's definitely huge (winning the Canadian Trotting Classic)," said Gingras. "That race (Hambletonian) is one I'd like to forget. He's a great horse. From here on out, I think he'll be the best horse, no doubt. He went a huge trip. He was out the whole way, never saw the rail. When I made my move, it was never in doubt." Added Fielding, "It was just a fantastic effort tonight. We've always thought this colt was the best colt I've ever owned. Jimmy, his wife Christina and myself have owned many, many great horses over the years. But this colt ranks up as probably number one of all of them. It was disappointing at the Hambletonian but tonight he was fantastic. It was just a great thrill. Tonight he showed himself well." With the win, Father Patrick went well over the $1 million in earnings for the season and is now closing in on the $2 million mark in career earnings. Prior to tonight, six of the last 10 winners of the Canadian Trotting Classic, including the last two (Royalty For Life in 2013, Market Share in 2012) had also prevailed in the storied Hambletonian. Takter previously won the Classic on two occasions, but surprisingly it had been awhile. Kadabra took the 2002 edition while Red Xing won in 1997. Father Patrick paid $2.70, $2.10 (no show wagering), combining with E L Titan ($14.60) for a $45.80 (6-1) exactor. A 6-1-2 (Harper Blue Chip) triactor was worth $158.10 while a $1 Superfecta [6-1-2-7 (Damfoolrmillioinair)] came back $282.20. Mark McKelvie
Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.
Last weekend I was on a pretty good roll and ended up picking 12 winners out of 14 races and turned a $2 per race win wager into a $16.00 profit for the weekend! This weekend we have so much great racing throughout North America we can’t cover it all. Mohawk’s has the richest purses but Yonkers and Balmoral have their “Super Nights” Sire Stakes finals and in toll there are millions in purse money to be given away Saturday. Good Luck! $225,000 Pace Final NYSS 3YO Fillies Yonkers Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – I tried a few times to find anyone in this race that can beat Spreester. But I couldn’t. She has been sensational having won six of her last eight starts and the two losses were by a head and neck. She can win from on and off the pace. Use Table Talk and Major Dancer in exotic plays. $385,000 Trot Final Peaceful Way 2YO Fillies Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – It is going to be hit or miss with Mission Brief once again. Superb filly is lightning fast but a bit erratic. If she minds her manners she wires the field. If she breaks she is totally out of it. My money is that she stays flat and sets a track record! Use Jolene Jolene and Stubborn Belle in exotic plays. $225,000 Trot Final NYSS 2YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – With just six career starts, Buen Camino has been outstanding for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer with four wins, last three straight and has found new life on the front end. Can wire the field even from post 6. Use Crazy Wow and Wings Of Royalty in exotic plays. $390,000 Trot Final William Wellwood Memorial Mohawk 5th race SATURDAY – This could end up being a very competitive race. I like Uncle Lassie as he shows awesome front end speed and thus he should be able to go right to the lead and not look back. But some others in here could prevent him from getting away with it. Use Habitat and Alderbaran Eagle in exotic plays. $162,000 Pace Final ISS 2YO Fillies Balmoral Park 4th race SATURDAY – Mr. Leland’s Filly may be on a five-race win streak but I have a feeling that Sportsmuffler could bring an end to that. He has been super sharp in her last two starts including 1 :54.3 triumph that if repeated could make her a lot richer after this race. Use Mr. Leland’s Filly and Lex in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace Final NYSS 2YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Just in his last two starts Betting Exchange has shown me enough. He wins from on and off the pace impressively. Can handle a half mile oval and I think for the big bucks in here he can wire the field tonight. Use Southwind Masimo and Cartoon Daddy in exotic plays. $409,000 Trot Final Elegant Image 3YO Fillies Mohawk 7th race SATURDAY – She may have not been right in her only two losses this year so Shake It Cerry is back to her winning ways and should be able to either get the jump on the field early or bide her time, work her way to the front and win once again for the Jimmy Takter Stable. Use Designed To Be and Sweetie Hearts in exotic plays. $225,000 Trot Final NYSS 3YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Boy oh boy will this be a great showdown race. Flyhawk El Durado vs Gural Hanover. Both are superb trotters this season and if they finish in a dead heat that would be too cool. I have to give the edge and my vote in here to Gural Hanover as he has now won his last eight starts, wiring the field most times and is part of an entry with Lukas Hall, but it was a coin toss to pick one over the other. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Daley Lovin in exotic plays. $682,000 Trot Canadian Trotting Classic 3YO Colts Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – I was one of the only ones to say that on a big track that Trixton can beat Father Patrick and I was right on Hambletonian Day and I think I will be right again in here. Two great horses will go at it but right now I like Trixton to beat his stable mate. Use Father Patrick and Harper Blue Chip in exotics. $145,000 Pace Final ISS 3YO Colts Balmoral Park 9th race SATURDAY – Erv Miller’s Unlocked has been super game with his four straight wins, all in stakes events. Grinds his way to the top in most cases by the opening quarter mile and has yet to be caught in a month. Use Fox Valley Deuce and Sleazeburgernfries in exotic plays. $186,000 Pace Final ISS 2YO Colts Balmoral Park 14th race SATURDAY – Very good match up in this Super Night finale. I ended up going with Lucpark and he has the great Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee in the sulky and that can make a difference. He has won last two starts both by a neck after getting perfect trips and Magee can work his magic once again. Use Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova in exotic plays. $220,000 Pace Final Bobby Quillen Memorial Harrington Raceway 8th race MONDAY - We will one day see trainer Ron Burke have every starter in a stakes race from his barn? We nearly did in here as he has five of the eight in the final from his stable. I am going with the class of the field, Foiled Again. He nearly won this last year and off his excellent 1:51.3 score in his elim last week he seems prime with the rail to wire the field once again. Use Clear Vision and Easy Again in exotic plays.
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 9 - The $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic headlines an outstanding harness racing stakes filled card this Saturday evening at Mohawk Racetrack. Along with this year's 'Trotting Classic', the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes are also carded for Saturday night. In total, over $2 million in purses are up for grabs on the 13-race card. The Canadian Trotting Classic is annually Canada's richest race for trotters. Established in 1976, the 'Trotting Classic' has been won by some of harness racing's greatest trotters, including Armbro Goal ('88), Yankee Paco ('00), Windsongs Legacy ('04), Donato Hanover ('07), Deweycheatumnhowe ('08) and Muscle Hill ('09). Leading the group of seven for this year's 'Trotting Classic' is the Jimmy Takter trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton. Father Patrick (PP6), last year's Two-year-old Trotter of the Year on both sides of the border, has won 18 of his 21 career starts and is coming into the 'Trotting Classic' off victories in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial and the $260,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. A son of Cantab Hall - Gala Dream, Father Patrick, who will be driven by Yannick Gingras, won last year's William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk and is undefeated in three starts over the Campbellville oval. Father Patrick enters the $682,000 'Trotting Classic' with career earnings of more than $1.5 million. Trixton (PP5), this year's $1 million Hambletonian winner, is looking to defeat his stablemate once again in a rich stakes event and continue his dominance at Mohawk. Driven by trainer Jimmy Takter, Trixton captured this year's Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but never got the chance to go head-to-head with his stablemate as Father Patrick made a break at the start. A son of Muscle Hill - Emilie Cas El, Trixton has had plenty of success at Mohawk this season. He won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 and most recently captured the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes on August 30. He also holds the Mohawk Track Record for a three-year-old trotter of 1:51.3. Trixton has won 12 of 18 career starts and is approaching millionaire status with $961,876 in career earnings. Takter is seeking his third Canadian Trotting Classic title as a trainer and second as a driver. He trained and drove Red Xing to victory in 1997 and conditioned the great Kadabra in 2002. While most of the fanfare will surround the Tatker duo, local standout Harper Blue Chip will be looking to steal the spotlight. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip (PP2) has dominated the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has held his own against Grand Circuit company. Harper Blue Chip finished third in the Hambletonian, won by Trixton, and fourth in the $500,000 Beal Memorial at Pocono, which was won by Father Patrick. Steacy will be looking for his second 'Trotting Classic' crown after he won the 2006 edition with Harper Blue Chip's sire, Majestic Son. Most recently, Harper Blue Chip made a rare appearance off the board when he finished fourth in the Simcoe Stakes, but driver Sylvain Filion was happy with the way his colt raced. "I thought he raced really well. He had a real bad post (post position ten)," said Filion. "He trotted large down the lane and had lots of trot at the wire." The luck of the draw was on Harper Blue Chip's side in the 'Trotting Classic', as he will start from post two and Filion hopes to build off that luck. "There's a lot of good horses in there, but we drew good and with a lucky trip you never know." As for what kind of trip Harper Blue Chip will need, Filion believes in a small field of seven the closer the better. "I think you've got to try and be close, especially in a short field like that. If you stay back there probably won't be a lot of early speed, so you will need to be close to the front." The son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin has won eight of 18 career starts and has a bankroll of $547,749. The other four starters in this year's Canadian Trotting Classic are E L Titan (PP1 - Chris Christoforou), Muscle Matters (PP3 - Mario Baillargeon), Il Sogno Dream (PP4 - Aaron Merriman) and Damfoolrmillionair (PP7 - Randy Waples). The 'Trotting Classic' is carded as Race 9 this Saturday night. The $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes, which has normally been contested in June, will be making it's Canadian Trotting Classic night debut. 11 of the sport's best sophomore trotting fillies will contest the rich final. Just like the 'Trotting Classic', Jimmy Takter sends out the favourite in the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry (PP7) has won 16 of 21 career starts and banked over $1.2 million in career earnings. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry was a Breeders Crown champion as a two-year-old and this year has won events such as the Del Miller Memorial and Zweig Filly Trot. Takter will also send out Scream And Shout (PP6 - Brett Miller) and has already won the Elegantimage three times with Southwind Allaire ('03), Pampered Princess ('07) and Lantern Kronos ('08). Completing the field are Demanding Sam (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Tosca (PP2 - Per Henriksen), Riveting Rosie (PP3 - Paul Macdonell), Vanity Matters (PP4 - Scott Zeron), Chivaree Hanover (PP5 - Doug McNair), Sweetie Hearts (PP8 - Randy Waples), Heavens Door (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt), Muscle Babe (PP10 - James MacDonald) and Designed To Be (PP11 - Sylvain Filion). The Elegantimage Stakes is carded as Race 7. The top freshman trotters will also be on display Saturday night. The $385,000 Peaceful Way Stakes, for two-year-old filly trotters, features a World Champion in the group of ten that will line up behind the gate. Mission Brief, a daughter of Muscle Hill, won her elimination last week in a World Record time of 1:52.1. Trained by Ron Burke, Mission Brief had equaled the World Record in the Merrie Annabelle Stakes on August 2 at the Meadowlands, but in her Peaceful Way elimination she took sole possession of the World Record with her 3 Â¾ length victory. Following the elimination, driver Yannick Gingras said she could've gone even faster. "She had plenty left, she is scary scary fast," said Gingras. "When she raced in the Merrie Annabelle I told Ronnie (Burke) after the race I still have another second...believe me she could've won in 1:51 and change tonight." Mission Brief's connections selected post position five as her starting spot on Saturday night. The other elimination was won by Jolene Jolene, a daughter of Muscle Hill trained by Jonas Czernyson, in a career best equaling 1:55.1. Driven by David Miller, Jolene Jolene has won three consecutive starts and finished second to Mission Brief in the Merrie Annabelle. She will start from post position three on Saturday evening. Completing the field for the Peaceful Way Stakes are Stubborn Belle (PP1 - Paul Macdonell), Danielle Hall (PP2 - Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (PP4 - Roger Mayotte), Southwind Champane (PP6 - Steve Byron), Dynamite Dame (PP7 - Sylvain Filion), Amoureuse Hanover (PP8 - Doug McNair), Juanitas Fury (PP9 - Steve Condren) and Lady Caterina (PP10 - Phil Hudon). The Peaceful Way is carded as Race 3. Two eliminations were contested last Saturday to decide which ten two-year-old colts and geldings would advance to the final of the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial. Uncle Lasse, a full brother to Shake It Cerry, won the first elimination in a career best time of 1:54.4. Trained by Takter, Uncle Lasse has won three of six career starts and has never been worse than third. He will start from post position three with driver Ron Pierce. The second elimination went to Lookslikeachpndale, a son of Muscle Hill trained by Luc Blais, in a career best 1:56.2. The 'elim' victory broke the maiden of Lookslikeachpndale and allowed his connections to select their post for the final. Lookslikeachpndale will start from post position two with driver Sylvain Filion. Completing the field for the William Wellwood Memorial are Gifted Way (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Dont Rush (PP4 - Chris Christoforou), Aldebaran Eagle (PP5 - Doug McNair), Habitat (PP6 - Yannick Gingras), Jetpedia (PP7 - Mike Saftic), Southwind Stryker (PP8 - Steve Condren), Wheels Ah Smoking (PP9 - Ake Svanstedt) and Big Rich (PP10 - Steve Condren). The William Wellwood Memorial is carded as Race 5. Also on Saturday, two $35,000 eliminations for the Milton Stakes will be contested. 16 of the sport's finest pacing mares have been split into two eight horse eliminations (Races 6 and 10). The first elimination features millionaire pacing mares Drop The Ball (PP2 - Corey Callahan), Camille (PP4 - Yannick Gingras), Krispy Apple (PP6 - Tim Tetrick) and Monkey On My Wheel (PP7 - Chris Christoforou). Completing the field are Aunt Caroline (PP1 - Scott Zeron), Mattie Terror Girl (PP3 - Scott Zeron), Summertime Lea (PP5 - Yannick Gingras) and Jerseylicious (PP8 - Brett Miller). In the second elimination, Rocklamation (PP8 - Yannick Gingras), last year's Milton Stakes winner, is back to defend her title. Trained by Ron Burke, the six-year-old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover has earned over $2 million in her career. However, Rocklamation is not the richest mare in the field as that honour is held by Anndrovette (PP7 - Tim Tetrick). Trained by PJ Fraley, Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes back in June for the third consecutive year, has career earnings of more than $3 million. The other seven mares in the field are Charisma Hanover (PP1 - Yannick Gingras), Radar Contact (PP2 - Jack Moiseyev), Voelz Hanover (PP3 - Randy Waples), Ferrari Sena (PP4 - Sylvain Filion), Yagonnakissmeornot (PP5 - Jody Jamieson) and Shelliscape (PP6 - Tim Tetrick). The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $286,000 final on Saturday, September 20. This Saturday night, Mohawk will also be holding 'Fan Appreciation Night' The first 1,000 fans on-track will receive a $5 food voucher and prizes will be given away after every race. More details are available at www.MohawkRacetrack.com Post time this Saturday is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Glenn Van Camp says there are similarities between 3-year-old gelding trotter Damfoolrmillionair and his award-winning half-brother San Pail. Whether the two will have similar careers still remains unknown, but Van Camp would be happy even if Damfoolrmillionair is only half as good. Damfoolrmillionair is among seven horses competing in Saturday's C$682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old trotters at Mohawk Racetrack. He will start from post seven with driver Randy Waples at the lines for trainer Brad Maxwell. The field also includes Hambletonian winner Trixton and newly crowned Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Father Patrick, both from the stable of trainer Jimmy Takter. Damfoolrmillionair enters the CTC off a second-place finish to Trixton in the Simcoe Stakes on Aug. 30 at Mohawk. For the year, he has won four of nine starts and earned $96,311 for owners Glenn and Paul Van Camp, as the P G Van Camp Stables. Of course, San Pail has won $3.01 million in his career, is a three-time winner of the Maple Leaf Trot, and was 2011 Horse of the Year in both the U.S. and Canada. Glenn Van Camp bred San Pail and co-owns the now 10-year-old gelding, slowed by injury the last several years, with Rod Hughes. "This fella has got four white feet and San Pail doesn't, but he's quite a bit like him," Van Camp said about Damfoolrmillionair. "If you watch a video of him and San Pail, they've got about the same gait. Which isn't a bad gait. I said if he ever were half as good, he'd be a heck of a horse. That would be awful nice. "All we can do is keep our fingers crossed. Randy says he's got a lot of similarities, so that's good. You can't get much better than to be as good as that. We're quite pleased with him so far, so that's the main thing." The Van Camps bought Damfoolrmillionair, then named Bosston Whitesocks, for $33,000 at the 2012 Standardbred Horse Sale. He is a son of stallion Muscles Yankee out of the mare Village Beauty. Van Camp owned Village Beauty until 2006, when she was purchased by current owner Alvin Beiler. "Brad was down at the sale and said he kind of liked the looks of the colt, so I said buy him," said Van Camp, adding with a laugh. "We changed the name because my father-in-law, who also was in the horse business all his life, said there are only two people that can be in the horse business, either a damn fool or a millionaire." Damfoolrmillionair won one of seven starts last year and finished second to Harper Blue Chip in a division of the Champlain Stakes. He also was third in his elimination for the William Wellwood Memorial, behind Harper Blue Chip and Il Sogno Dream, but finished eighth in the final after drawing post No. 9. He finished the season with a fifth-place finish in a division of the International Stallion Stakes, but was beaten only 1-1/4 lengths by Outburst despite starting from post eight in the eight-horse field. This year, Damfoolrmillionair competed in conditioned races until facing a stakes field in the Simcoe. He was eligible to the Hambletonian, but Van Camp said the horse "just wasn't ready." "He was coming along slowly, but that's what we were planning on doing anyway, bringing him along slowly." Damfoolrmillionair has finished no worse than third in any start this season, and held his own despite starting inside of post seven only twice in his last seven outings. "It's a good thing there isn't 10 horses in the (Canadian Trotting Classic), otherwise we'd have the 10 hole," Van Camp joked. "It's a smaller field, but we drew exactly the way we normally do. "He's a pretty good little horse," he added about Damfoolrmillionair. "He's raced very well all year. He's been in the money every time, but this is another step up for him. When you finish second to Trixton, you're doing alright. That Trixton is a very good horse. We've got our fingers crossed for Saturday night." Following is the Canadian Trotting Classic field in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. E L Titan, Chris Christoforou, Riina Rekila; 2. Harper Blue Chip, Sylvain Filion, Mark Steacy; 3. Muscle Matters, Mario Baillargeon, Benoit Baillargeon; 4. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, Chris Beaver; 5. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, Jimmy Takter; 6. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 7. Damfoolrmillionair, Randy Waples, Brad Maxwell. By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Freehold, NJ --- Lifetime Pursuit won the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship for 3-year-old female trotters, her fifth victory in a row, and moved into the Top 10 in this week’s Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll. The filly is the only newcomer in the rankings. Sebastian K, who was idle last week, remained unanimously No. 1 and none of the horses in the top six changed positions. Also winning PaSS championships were No. 4 Father Patrick, for 3-year-old male trotters, and No. 6 McWicked, for 3-year-old male pacers. Sandbetweenurtoes lost in the PaSS final for 3-year-old female pacers, her first defeat of the season, and dropped from seventh to ninth in the poll. Three-year-old male pacer JK Endofanera dropped from the Top 10. Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 17 – 9/9/2014 Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (35) 8th 9-8-1-0 $620,603 350 1 2 Sweet Lou 5ph 14-10-1-1 $940,533 296 2 3 Trixton 3tc 10-8-1-1 $887,232 272 3 4 Father Patrick 3tc 10-8-1-0 $830,001 227 4 5 He’s Watching 3pc 9-5-2-1 $801,578 191 5 6 McWicked 3pc 13-9-3-0 $908,266 158 6 7 Artspeak 2pc 6-6-0-0 $437,825 89 8 8 JK She’salady 2pf 6-6-0-0 $302,600 54 10 9 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 9-8-0-0 $248,598 53 7 10 Lifetime Pursuit 3tf 12-7-1-2 $611,791 46 -- Also: Mission Brief (38), JK Endofanera, Nuncio (30), Dancin Yankee (26), Shake It Cerry (22), Classic Martine (9), Yankee Bounty (8), Lyonssomewhere (7), Market Share (6), Modern Family (5), All Bets Off (3), I Like My Boss, Somewhere In LA (2), Billy Flynn (1). Compiled by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Harrah’s Philadelphia harness racing track in Chester, PA was the scene of the $1.2 million Pennsylvania Sire Stakes Championship finals for three-year-old trotters and pacers Sunday. Four $260,000 finals plus four $50,000 consolation races were featured on the race program. McWicked may have established himself as the early race favorite for Little Brown Jug as he once again defeated a stellar field of three-year-old colt pacers in winning his PASS final. Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras) was the first on the lead with McWicked and driver David Miller securing the two-hole spot to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.4. Miller then immediately moved McWicked to the outside and took command. They went untested past the half mile marker in :54.2. It was then that driver Brett Miller came first-over with Somewhere In L A but they were unable to look McWicked in the eye by the three-quarters in 1:22. With the remainder of the stretch to go, Miller kept McWicked in gear and they were able to go on to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:48.4. Limelight Beach came on for second place with Somewhere In L A third. Sired by McArdle, it was the ninth win in thirteen starts for McWicked, who is trained by Casie Coleman and owned by the S S G Stables of North Boston, NY. McWicked paid $2.80 to win as the 2/5 wagering favorite. With the winner's share of the purse at $130,000, McWicked became harness racing's newest million career winner. Lifetime Pursuit continued her winning ways since capturing the Hambletonian Oaks with her fifth straight win, capturing the $260,000 PASS Championship final for three-year-old trotting fillies in a track record clocking of 1:53.2. Driven by Yannick Gingras, Lifetime Pursuit floated out of the starting gate as Take The Money (Dave Palone) went to the early lead with Cantabs Fortune (Scott Zeron) grabbing the two-hold spot. By the opening quarter mile in :28.4, Gingras moved Lifetime Pursuit to the lead for good. They led to the half in :56.3 as Designed To Be and driver Brian Sears came first-over to challenge but through the backstretch to the three-quarters in 1:25, they were unable to collar Lifetime Pursuit. Then as they straighten out in the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit kicked in another gear and pulled away for a three and one-quarter length triumph. Designed To Be held for second place with Struck By Lindy (David Miller) third. Trained by Jimmy Takter and breeder/owner Brittany Farms, it was the seventh win this year for Lifetime Pursuit, a daughter of Cantab Hall. She paid $2.80 to win. Only two races later did trainer Jimmy Takter get to come back to the winner’s circle again, this time to celebrate as his Father Patrick won the PASS final for three-year-old trotting colts. It was stable mate Nuncio and driver John Campbell the first out of the gate, taking the lead from Don Dorado (Tim Tetrick) as Father Patrick floated on the outside for driver Yannick Gingras. But after the opening quarter in :27, Gingras urged Father Patrick on and they took command of the race for good. Past the half in :55.1 and then the three-quarters in 1:24.3 with just a minor challenge from Wheelsandthelegman (David Miller) who trained a first-over effort in vain. Then in the stretch, Campbell ducked to the inside with Nuncio to try a challenge but they could not gain any ground as Father Patrick and Gingras breezed to a one length triumph in 1:52.4. Nuncio was second with Don Dorado third. Sired by Cantab Hall, it was the eighth win in ten starts this year for Father Patrick. He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ and paid $2.40 to win. Sandbetweenurtoes saw her eight race unbeaten streak come to an end in the three-year-old filly pace final as she was unable to lead the entire mile, folding up as they came down the stretch and finished seventh. The race was won by 11-1 Weeper and driver Dave Palone, who were able to follow the outside flow third over behind Southwind Silence (Matt Kakaley) who was following first-over Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick) from the half mile marker. Weeper tipped out four-wide on the final turn and was able to gun down the field to win by one and one-quarter lengths in 1:51.1. Also Encouraging (David Miller) was second with Beach Gal third. Sired by Allamerican Native and trained by Kelly O’Donnell, it was the fifth win in ten starts this year for Weeper. She is locally owned by the Bay Pond Racing Stable of Paoli, PA and paid $25.40 to win. In the four $50,000 PASS consolation divisions, one for each class, saw the following winners. Somestartsomewhere (Yannick Gingras) won the three-year-old pacing colt consolation for trainer Ron Burke by a head over Kingofthejungle (Tony Morgan) in 1:50.4 and paid $32.20 to win. Ake Svanstedt’s Highest Peak won the filly trot consolation, wiring the field with ease by four open lengths in 1:56.1 for driver Tim Tetrick, paying $5.40 to win. The Linda Toscano trained Uva Hanover captured the trotting colt consolation race with a neck triumph for driver Tim Tetrick over Amped Up Hanover (Yannick Gingras) in 1:54. Katie Said and driver Marcus Miller won the filly pace consolation with game first-over move en route to a two and one-quarter length victory in 1:51. Trained by Julie Miller, Katie Said paid $5.00 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Well it was bound to happen but last week was the first time in five weeks that I did not have a winning weekend with my selections. Oh well, on to bigger and better this weekend! Tons and I mean tons of great racing action both sides of the border this weekend. We will be covering the PASS Championships at Pocono Downs plus some of the Simcoe and Champlain action at Mohawk then off to Harrah’s on Sunday for their excellent PASS Championship card. It’s amazing how some of these championship finals for state-bred trotters and pacers feature the top of the class in some great battle. Just a testimonial to how strong the Pennsylvania breeding program is. Good Luck! $123,120 Pace Champlain Stake 2YO Open Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – While there is only one return winner in this field it is still very competitive. I’m going with Lyons Levi Lewis, who despite showing just one win in seven starts this year he has been racing against the best and is coming off a decent second place finish in the $667,000 Metro Pace last week. Use Thinkofagameplan and Freedomformysoul in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace Open Pocono Downs 8th race SATURDAY – Really nice field assembled here. I am going with the “old man” Golden Receiver as he has been on a roll as of late and still can show his heels to his younger rivals. Won last two starts against this group and can take another one. Use Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 9th race SATURDAY - With four wins and a third in only her five lifetime starts and a 1:51.4 lifetime mark two starts back right here at Pocono Downs, it’s tough to even think about going against Southwind Roulette. She is on a three-race win streak and has beaten most of these fillies already. Use Aria Hanover and Ginger Tree Alexis in exotic plays. $107,538 Pace Simcoe Stake 3YO Open Mohawk 11th race SATURDAY – After watching both Jet Airway and Melmerby Beach go at each other the last two weeks this was a tough call. But last week Melmerby Beach showed he can win in here and with any kind of live cover today he could score again. Use Jet Airway and Three of Clubs in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Fillies Pocono Downs 10th race SATURDAY – When it comes to young trotters there is none better in the business than Jimmy Takter and he has a very good one here in Wild Honey. She is on a four-race winning streak, already has a record of 1:55 and always wins when she cuts the mile, four of five times this year. Use Speak To Me and Gatka Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 11th race SATURDAY – You cannot, of course, ignore perfection, and that’s Billy Flynn this season. The son of Cantab Hall is 6 for 6 for trainer Staffan Lind and has beaten everyone else in this field already. Can score from on or off the helmet and continue winning ways. Use Piercewave Hanover and Honor And Serve in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 2YO Colts Pocono Downs 12th race SATURDAY – Here is one of the top colts in the nation. Yankee Bounty is undefeated in six starts but last week was really tested and still held on. Gets tested once again with big money on the line but should get the job done. Use Wakizashi Hanover and Tomy Terror in exotic plays. $50,000 Trot Open Pocono Downs 13th race SATURDAY – From a betting standpoint you just can’t go against the entry today of Wishing Stone and Market Share. May be separate trainers but both are world class trotters and should be able to handle this decent group. Use Sevruga and Arch Madness in exotic plays. $50,000 Pace PASS Consolation 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 7th race SUNDAY – Had to include this field even though it’s not a final, it’s still jammed with top fillies. Katie Said gets the nod as she has been razor sharp as of late with three wins in last four starts on the Grand Circuit including a lifetime best 1:49.2 clocking. Use Marathon Day and Tyra in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – Since her big score in the Hambletonian Oaks, Lifetime Pursuit has yet to lose either in the PASS or on the Grand Circuit. She is razor sharp for the Takter Stable and while this race is no cake-walk she should still be able to win off her recent form. Use Designed To Be and Take The Money in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 10th race SUNDAY – What a great line-up for this final as nearly every horse has had a major score this year. McWicked is the horse to beat in here and rightly so off his championship season and he draws the rail to boot. He is most likely using this race as his final prep before heading out to the Little Brown Jug and thus will be all out for the rich purse. Use Somewhere In L A and Limelight Beach in exotic plays. $260,000 Trot PASS Final 3YO Colts Harrah’s 11th race SUNDAY – Despite his Hambletonian nightmare, Father Patrick has been nearly perfect his entire career. Last week he vented against same in Zweig Memorial and held the field at bay with an easy impressive score. He should be able to do the same inhere. Use Nuncio and Datsyuk in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace PASS Final 3YO Fillies Harrah’s 12th race SUNDAY – After her 20 length qualifying romp last week I have no doubt that Sandbetweenurtoes will leave from the rail in here and not look back and that no one will catch her. Undefeated filly is super and goes for her ninth straight win. Tough field but she has shown this season that she is one of the best in the nation. Use Allstar Rating and Weeper in exotic plays.
Christina Takter, one of the top owners in the sport and wife of Hall of Fame driver/trainer Jimmy Takter, will be honored as the 2014 Lady Pace Honoree during the Grand Circuit meet at the Delaware County Fair. Takter is a native of Sweden and came to the United States in the early 1980s at the age of 19. Mrs. Takter has co-owned some of the sports top performers, including Father Patrick, Shake It Cerry, Corky, Guccio, Pastor Stephen, Uncle Peter, See You At Peelers and the 2014 Hambletonian champion Trixon. Mrs. Takter takes a major role in the day-to-day operation of the couples large racing stable and their farm in East Windsor, NJ. The Takters have four children; Tiffany, Jenny, Nancy, and Jimmy, Jr., by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug
Some of the best 3-year-old pacers and trotters will be on hand for a blockbuster harness racing card this Sunday (September 7) at Harrah's Philadelphia. Four Pennsylvania Sire Stakes will be contested, each going for a purse of $260,000. The 3-year-old filly trotting championship is headlined by Brittany Farm's Lifetime Pursuit (Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace). The Jimmy Takter trainee has banked over $750,000 in her career, winning 12 of her 22 lifetime starts. The Hambletonian Oaks winner is coming off of an impressive performance in the Simcoe at Mohawk, and is looking to extend her winning streak to five. Other contenders include the runner-up in the Hambo Oaks Designed To Be (Donato Hanover-Sheer Soul) who is also coming off of a victory in a division of the Simcoe at Mohawk, and Take The Money (Donato Hanover-Repititions) who finished third in the Hambo Oaks. Millionaire trotter Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream) headlines the 3-year-old colt & gelding trot. Considered by many as the top trotter in the country, Father Patrick made an uncharacteristic break in the Hambletonian as the heavy favorite. After getting upset in the Tompkins-Geers at Tioga, he quickly got back on track with a win in the Zweig Memorial at Vernon. Top threats include another millionaire trotter in stablemate Nuncio (Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle) who was a heartbreaking second to Trixton in the Hambo, and Datysuk (Explosive Matter-Pink Ribbons) who upset Father Patrick at Tioga. The 3-year-old filly pacing championship figures to be a wide open affair. Bradley Grant's Sandbetweenurtoes (Somebeachsomewhere-Al's Girl) has won 8 of 9 races, including a game win in the Missletoe Shalee at The Meadowlands. Ron Burke trainee Allstar Rating (Four Starzzz Shark-Credit Rating) was sharp at the Meadows in victory three starts back, and that was followed up by a tough loss to Sandbetweenurtoes in PASS action at Pocono. Dave Menary trainee Beach Gal (Somebeachsomewhere-Trinity Islands) was flying in the stretch at Mohawk last start in The Simcoe. She is also a PASS winner, with several sub 1:50 efforts under her belt. S S G Stable's McWicked (McArdle-Western Sahara) is the probable favorite in the 3-year-old colt & gelding championship. The Adios winner is coming off of a victory in PASS action at The Meadows. The Casie Coleman trainee has a chance to surpass the million dollar mark in career earnings with a first or a second place finish. Contenders include Limelight Beach (Somebeachsomewhere-Benear) who is coming off of back-to-back near misses in the Millstein Consolation and a PASS event, Somewhere IN L A (Somebeachsomewhere-West Of L A) who is coming off of a narrow defeat at the hands of McWicked in a PASS event last time out, and Sometimes Said (Well Said-Lady Sometimes) who has won three races in a row since a difficult journey hampered his chances in The Meadowlands Pace. Post time at Harrah's Philadelphia is 12:40 PM. Mike Bozich
This Week: Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y.; Simcoe Stakes, Champlain Stakes, William Wellwood Memorial eliminations and Peaceful Way eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Bobby Quillen Memorial eliminations, Harrington Raceway, Harrington, Del. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 4) at Tioga Downs with three divisions in the $86,006 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $82,008 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk commences on Thursday (Sept.4) with two C$30,000 eliminations in the Peaceful Way for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Friday (Sept. 5) Mohawk card features two C$30,000 eliminations in the William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters. The Saturday (Sept. 6) program is highlighted by two divisions in the C$246,240 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the C$235,114 Champlain Stakes for 2-year-old filly pacers and two divisions in the C$213,576 Simcoe Stakes for 3-year-old colt pacers. Grand Circuit action heads to Delaware on Monday (Sept. 8) at Harrington Raceway with two $20,000 eliminations in the Bobby Quillen Memorial for open pacers. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Vernon Downs this past Friday (Aug. 29) with a trio of lucrative events, led by the $340,000 Zweig Memorial for 3-year-old open trotters, which featured the return of Father Patrick (Cantab Hall-Gala Dream) to his winning ways. Father Patrick was a 1:52.2 winner in the Zweig Memorial. Father Patrick (Yannick Gingras) assumed the lead almost immediately and led all the way home to win in an impressive time of 1:52.2. His entry-mate, Hambletonian runner-up Nuncio (John Campbell), tracked Father Patrick all the way but could never get the upper hand on him and had to settle for second. Flyhawk El Durado (Mark MacDonald), who had scored wins in four consecutive New York Sire Stakes races entering the Zweig, finished third after tracking the entry pretty much throughout the event. Superstar trotter Sebastian K also came to Vernon Downs on Friday night to score in the $236,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot. While it was anticipated that Sebastian K (Korean-Gabriella K) might just blaze to the front and set a new track record time, it was a far more tactical performance from the Ake Svanstedt trainee. He did seize the lead immediately after the start, but then driver Svanstedt settled the horse in nicely to go through a quarter in :28.1, the half in :57.3, and three-quarters in 1:26.3. This relatively unhurried pace allowed Archangel (Yannick Gingras) and Market Share (Tim Tetrick) to make challenges to the leader, but Sebastian K had plenty left in the tank to win in a final time of 1:53, which did equal the older horse track record time set by For You Almostfree in 2013. Archangel settled for second and Market Share was third. The $150,000 filly division of the Zweig was also held on Friday night and was won by Shake It Cerry (Donato Hanover-Solveig), who rallied up the inside in the stretch to pass rivals Heaven's Door and Bikini So Teeny. Her victory came in a time of 1:53.4. Shake It Cerry was driven to victory by Ron Pierce for trainer Jimmy Takter. Artspeak won the Metro Pace for driver Scott Zeron. Mohawk Racetrack's Saturday (Aug. 30) program featured a trio of major stakes. Proving that he is indeed the continent's best 2-year-old colt pacer, prohibitive favorite Artspeak demolished his opponents in the $613,640 Metro Pace, the richest race in North America for juvenile pacers. Driven by Scott Zeron and trained by Tony Alagna, Artspeak had entered the Metro final off a similarly easy win in his elimination. In fact, his smallest margin of victory has been 1-3/4 lengths. Longshot Lone Survivor took the field through an opening quarter in :26.3 and the half in :55.3. However, Hall of Famer John Campbell had Go Daddy Do, the other elim winner, on the march from fourth, while Zeron followed him. Go Daddy Go took over at the three-quarters in 1:23.3, but was no match for the winner down the stretch, eventually fading to fifth. Lyons Levi Lewis came on for second, with Lyons Again third. Modern Legend, a 66-1 shot with David Miller in the sulky for trainer David Drew, mowed down a field of the finest older pacers in North America to win the $583,280 Canadian Pacing Derby. His final time of 1:47.2 equaled the stakes, track and Canadian record. Modern Legend, second-over turning for home, blew by the leaders and pulled away to score by three lengths over Foiled Again, with Clear Vision third and Captive Audience fourth. Favored Sweet Lou, who had taken over before a half in :53, got to the three-quarters in a sizzling 1:20.1, but could not sustain the pace, eventually fading to sixth. Heavy favorite JK She'salady tied the track, Canadian and world record of 1:50.1 when she coasted to a four length win in the $441,600 She's A Great Lady Stakes. Driven by Yannick Gingras for trainer Nancy Johansson, the daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady thus kept her record unblemished, now a perfect six-for-six after her dazzling display in this year's renewal of the rich stake for 2-year-old filly pacers. JK She'salady, coming first over from fourth, blasted by another unbeaten filly, Band Of Angels, after the half in :55, got to the three-quarters in 1:22.1 and kept cruising through the lane to win in dominant fashion. Lyonssomewhere held off the late charging He's Watching to take the 60th Cane Pace. Tioga Downs held one of its banner days of the 2014 racing season on Monday (Sept. 2) with the $437,325 Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown, in the spotlight. Geoffrey Lyons Mound's Lyonssomewhere led from start to finish and posted an upset at odds of 19-1 with a 1:49.4 score. Yannick Gingras was in the bike for trainer Jimmy Takter as the son of Somebeachsomewhere-Miss Kitty Hanover posted his fifth win in nine season's starts, lifting his 2014 earnings to $370,892. Turning for home, Lyonssomewhere was never seriously challenged until the very end of the mile, when prohibitive favorite He's Watching finally made a valiant charge, only to fall short at the wire by a half-length in the 1:49.4 clocking. Doo Wop Hanover rallied to finish third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 931; 2. Tim Tetrick - 536; 3. David Miller - 441.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 421.5; 5. Brett Miller - 266. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,231.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 729; 3. Tony Alagna - 205; 4. PJ Fraley - 204; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 202. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 269.85; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 242.35; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 182; 4. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 5. Robert Key - 135. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Balmoral Park, The Red Mile, Tioga Downs, Mohawk Racetrack and Harrington Raceway. Balmoral will host American-National eliminations for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; The Red Mile will feature a leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; Tioga will host W.N. Reynolds Memorial races for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers; Mohawk will feature the Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, William Wellwood Memorial and Peaceful Way, as well as the Milton Stake eliminations for pacing mares; and Harrington will host the final of the Bobby Quillen Memorial. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 2 - Seven three-year-old trotters were entered Tuesday morning for the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic on Saturday, September 13. With only seven horses entered, eliminations are not required for this year's edition of the 'Trotting Classic.' Headlining the group of seven is the Jimmy Takter trained duo of Father Patrick and Trixton. Father Patrick is coming into the Canadian Trotting Classic off a victory last Friday night in the $340,000 Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs. A son of Cantab Hall - Gala Dream, Father Patrick has won 17 of his 20 career starts, including capturing last year's William Wellwood Memorial at Mohawk in a Track and Canadian record time of 1:53.4. Father Patrick was named last year's Two-year-old Trotting Colt of the Year on both sides of the border and has earned $1,452,396 in his career. The other half of the Takter duo, Trixton, most recently won the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes last Saturday night at Mohawk. A son of Muscle Hill - Emilie Cas El, Trixton won this year's $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on August 2. He also found success earlier this season at Mohawk when he won the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14 in a Track and Canadian record clocking of 1:51.3. Trixton has 12 victories in 18 career starts for earnings of more than $960,000. Also joining the Takter duo in the rich final is Ontario Sires Stakes star Harper Blue Chip. Trained by Mark Steacy, Harper Blue Chip won this year's Canadian Breeders Championship and finished third in the Hambletonian. A son of Canadian Trotting Classic winner Majestic Son, Harper Blue Chip has visited the winner's circle eight times in his career for earnings of more than $547,000. The other four horses in this year's Canadian Trotting Classic field are Damfoolrmillionair, E L Titan, Il Sogno Dream and Muscle Matters. Established in 1976, the Canadian Trotting Classic has been won by many great trotters including, Joie de Vie, Giant Victory, Yankee Paco, Kadabra, Mr Muscleman, Windsongs Legacy, Donato Hanover, Deweycheatumnhowe and Muscle Hill. Also on Tuesday morning, 11 three-year-old trotting fillies were entered for this year's Elegantimage Stakes. Those 11 fillies will go directly to the $409,000 final on Canadian Trotting Classic night (September 13). Leading the group of fillies is Shake It Cerry, a winner of more than $1.2 million, from the Jimmy Takter barn. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry is coming off a victory in the $150,000 filly edition of the Zweig Memorial last Friday at Vernon Downs. Shake It Cerry has won 16 of 21 career starts and has won many notable stakes events, including the Del Miller Memorial back in July and last year's two-year-old filly trot Breeders Crown. Also highlighting the group of 11 is the Julie Miller trained Designed To Be. The daughter of Donato Hanover - Sheer Soul won a division of the $103,845 Simcoe Stakes last Friday night at Mohawk. Designed To Be has won three times and has never been worst than third in seven starts this season. She has seven career victories for earnings of more than $593,000 and has only missed board once in 15 career starts. Muscle Babe and Riveting Rosie are two of four Ontario sired fillies in the field. Trained by Dave Menary, Muscle Babe has won four times in 10 starts this season, including the $178,287 SBOA Stakes on May 31 at Mohawk. She has six wins in 18 career starts and career earnings exceeding $248,000. Riveting Rosie was last year's Two-year-old Filly Trotter of the Year in Canada. She only lost twice last season in eight starts and captured $374,000 Peaceful Way Stakes at Mohawk. Trained by John Bax, Riveting Rosie has not had nearly as much success this season, but recently picked up her first win of 2014 in a $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event at Grand River Raceway on August 13. Riveting Rosie has won seven times in 18 career starts for earnings of more than $550,000. Here is the full field for the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes on Saturday, September 13. Chivaree Hanover Demanding Sam Designed To Be Heavens Door Muscle Babe Riveting Rosie Scream And Shout Shake It Cerry Sweetie Hearts Tosca Vanity Matters Along with the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage Stakes finals on September 13, Mohawk will also have the finals for the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial and the $385,000 Peaceful Way. Also on that evening, Mohawk will be hosting customer appreciation night. Visit www.MohawkRacetrack.com for more details in the coming days. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
WILKES-BARRE PA -The cream of the crop of this year's Pennsylvania-sired two-year-old trotters and pacers will gather together this Saturday night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for their $1,240,000 Championships Night program. The horses,in both the $260,000 finals and the $50,000 consolations, earned their way into these races by having the highest pointtotals based on finish position in four PaSS preliminaries raced at the state's tracks over the last two months. The four Championship events are slotted for races nine through twelve on Saturday's 16-race card at Pocono; here's a look at them in the order they will be conducted: TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:51.1, Economy Terror, 2007) These fillies have been very competitive among themselves, as this is the only of the four divisions that will find no four-time prelim winner looking for a sweep in the Championship. (In fact, there has never been a "sweeper" in the 2PF class since a record of prelim points was started in 2002, a fact which will obviously stay intact in 2014; what's more, the prelim pointleader has not won the 2PF Championship since Lady Annie in 2007.) Aria Hanover (post two, driver Tim Tetrick listed) and Southwind Roulette (post five, Yannick Gingras) figure to be the focal points of attention after showing three wins and a third in their prelims to be tied for the top in this group. Southwind Roulette was third in her first PaSS start, then has taken her last three; among the conquered in her final prelim was ... Aria Hanover, who had won three straight going into that event. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING FILLIES (stakes record - 1:54.3, Sand Violent Blu, 2011, and Designed To Be, 2013) In contrast to their pacing counterparts, two 2TFs have swept their four prelims and their Championship: Coulantine in 2004, and Fashion Feline in 2009. And the leading pointwinner has won their Championship in each of the last three years (the stake speed setters with Frau Blucher in between). Looking to add herself the "sweeper" ranks is Wild Honey (post seven, Yannick Gingras). In keeping her record unblemished in the prelims last time out, Wild Honey defeated Gatka Hanover (post eight, Ron Pierce), who had also won her three prelims heretofore, by a half-length. Neither filly will particularly benefit from their outside post draw, making this shape up as a very tough affair. TWO-YEAR-OLD TROTTING COLTS (stakes record - 1:54.3, Stormin Normand, 2011) In setting this division's speed mark, Stormin Normand also completed the "Sire Stakes sweep," the only 2TC to have accomplished the feat. Attempting to emulate the "Storm" will be Billy Flynn (post four, Brett Miller), 6 for 6 in his young career. But there are three two-time Sire Stakes prelim winners in this field - Honor And Serve, Lima Pride, and Piercewave Hanover - plus Walter White, a horse who came within a head of Billy Flynn two starts back, so no one is conceding the honors to the unbeaten horse going in. TWO-YEAR-OLD PACING COLTS (stakes record - 1:50.2, One More Laugh, 2009) Like his colt counterpart on the trotting side, Stormin Normand, One More Laugh became his division's only sweeper when he set the stakes mark five years back. (The leading prelim pointleader has won the 2PC in three of the last five years, including Allstar Partner last year.) Probably set to draw the majority of the focus here is Yankee Bounty (post three, Yannick Gingras), who like Billy Flynn is both 6 for 6 lifetime and unbeaten in the Sires prelims. But also like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty had a horse who gave him a scare - Wazikashi Hanover came within a neck of an upset last time -- and again like Billy Flynn, Yankee Bounty faces three opponents with multiple PaSS prelim wins: McArdles Lightning (who had three) along with Dragon Eddy and Lost For Words (two each). THE UNDERCARD There will be $50,000 consolations for each of the four Sire Stakes divisions' horses who came up just shy in trying to earn themselves a place in the final. It does seem strange to call a contest an "undercard" event when the field of eight has combined earnings of $12,112,270, especially when the first three horses in the post parade have bankrolled $9,956,663 among them. But this is a special field, for a special race - the $50,000 Modern Family Trot, honoring the recently-deceased free-for-aller who was based with the Daryl Bier stable right at Pocono, and who was competitive with this national group the last two years. Those "first three horses," by the way, are Wishing Stone, Market Share, and Arch Madness, and when mixed with Sevruga and four other hard-hitters they should give a fit tribute to their fallen fellow competitor. There will also be a $50,000 Invitational Pace, the Adieu to the Almost Summer Pace (no doubt if this race were held in the western part of the state, it would be called the Adios to the Almost Summer Pace, but that's another story). Millionaires Golden Receiver and Bolt The Duer will draw attention here, along with two sharp four-year-olds on three-race winning streaks: Sunfire Blue Chip and Mach It So. The first of Saturday's 16 races is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (And of course on Sunday afternoon, the $1,240,000 PA Sire Stakes 3YO Championships Day will be held at Harrah's Philadelphia, likely to feature a few horse you may have heard of -- Father Patrick and Nuncio, McWicked and Smewhere In L A, Shake It Cerry, Sandbetweenurtoes, horses like that. The draw for those races is tomorrow [Wednesday].) From the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen's Association