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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Victory Hill Farm For information contact Victory Hill Farm at (260) 463-2442 or email email@example.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
Three invitationals headline a star-studded program of harness racing at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, each going for a purse of $150,000. The Jerry Taylor Invitational for colt and gelding pacers is race ten on the fourteen race program. Jerry Taylor was a prominent horse owner for many years, owning horses like Devil's Adversary, Exotic Earl, Sunny Disposition, Mister Karamea, Sands A Flyin, among others. George Morton Levy winner Domethatagain drew post three in the field of eight. The son of Bettors Delight had a perfect trip behind defending champ PH Supercam before gunning him down in the stretch, pacing the mile in 1:51.1, just one-fifth of a second off the stakes record at Yonkers. Millionaire Dancin Yankee is making his ninth start of the season for Baron Racing and Richard Lombardo. The 7-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser is looking to regain the form of last season, where he won eighteen of twenty-nine starts, highlighted by a world record performance (1:48.4) in the Gerrity Pace at Saratoga. Two-time millionaire Clear Vision drew post seven in Sunday's event. The multiple-stakes winner is looking for his first win of the season, finishing on the board in four straight starts against open competition for trainer Ron Burke. The field also includes 2013 Art Rooney winner Doctor Butch (post 1), millionaire and Levy Consolation winner Sapphire City (post 2), Jimmy Takter trained pacer Great Vintage (post 4), Bamond Racing's Mach It So (Post 5), and 2014 Canadian Derby up setter Modern Legend (post 8). The Betsy Ross Invitational for pacing mares is race eleven on the all-star program. Multiple Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner Anndrovette will be looking to add to her $3 million dollar bankroll. Drawing post two for this event, the forty-two time winner, trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., is looking to go back-to-back in the Betsy Ross. She also won this event in 2011. Yagonnakissmeornot drew post six. The 6-year-old daughter of The Panderosa is just shy of one million dollars in career earnings. The Rene Allard trainee is coming into this race off back-to-back wins including a narrow win in the Chip Noble Pace at Miami Valley. She finished a close second after setting the tempo in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers three starts back. The field also includes Ron Burke trainee Sayitall BB (post 1), who had a tremendous season in 2014, thirty-time winner Radar Contact (post 3), Jerseylicious (post 4), Table Talk (post 5), who suffered a heart-breaking loss to Yagonnakissmeornot in the Chip Noble in Ohio, Ooh Bad Shark (post 7), and For The Ladies N (post 8). The Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for trotters is race twelve on the program. It features perhaps the most anticipated matchup in all of harness racing as superstar mare Bee A Magician squares off against the great Father Patrick. Bee A Magician drew post three for the event, with wins against the boys in her first three starts of the season. She is the only female to win the Cutler Memorial, which she did easily in her last start. Approaching three million in career earnings, she looks to be in top form heading into this affair. Jimmy Takter trainee Father Patrick (post 6) has qualified well at The Meadowlands in preparation for his 4-year-old season. The multi stakes winner put an exclamation point on his unforgettable 2014 season, with a win in the Breeders Crown. He is making his first start of the season. The field also includes Lindy's Tru Grit (post 1), Ron Burke trainee Dw's NY Yank (post 2) who is making his 100th start of his career, three time millionaire Market Share (post 4), Meladay's Monet (post 6), millionaire Classic Martine (post 7), and Bourbon Bay (post 8). Sunday will be Family Day at Harrah's Philadelphia. There will be family friendly activities including prize giveaways and much more. The Riverview Terrace will be open for lunch from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM. Michael Bozich
East Rutherford, NJ --- Some of harness racing's biggest stars, including five Dan Patch Award winners, were in qualifier action Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack, where they were greeted by an unseasonably cold morning and stiff headwind in the stretch. Three of the Dan Patch Award winners - older trotters Father Patrick, Market Share and Bee A Magician - met in the ninth of the day's 16 qualifiers, but it was Kevin McDermott-trained Melady's Monet who led them all to the finish line. Melady's Monet, who has raced in the Opens during the winter at the Meadowlands and has won five of eight starts this season, won by 1-1/4 lengths over Father Patrick in 1:54.4. Market Share was third and Bee A Magician fourth, both timed in 1:56. Four-year-old Father Patrick, making his first trip of the season to the track, and driver Yannick Gingras were content to sit behind Melady's Monet through the stretch after fractions of :29.1, :57.4, and 1:27. No harness racing horse earned more money last year than Father Patrick, who banked $1.69 million. He was a divisional Dan Patch Award winner at both ages 2 and 3. "(Father) Patrick looked fantastic," trainer Jimmy Takter said. "Yannick said he was just crawling over (Melady's Monet), but he didn't want to make a sprint of it." Father Patrick, whose wins in 2014 included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters, Canadian Trotting Classic and Beal Memorial, has done stallion duty while preparing for this season. "He loves it," Takter said. "Everything is good. He's filled out quite a bit; he's much more stout." Bee A Magician, a 5-year-old mare who was the Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year in 2013, was making her final qualifying start prior to the Miami Valley Distaff on May 3. "She was good," trainer Nifty Norman said. "She's come back really good. I'm very happy with her. (Driver Brian Sears) likes to qualify nice and simple, but he's very happy with her. If he's happy, I'm happy." Market Share, a 6-year-old who has won $3.68 million in his career and received Dan Patch Award honors at ages 3 and 4, was making his first qualifying start as he gets ready for the Cutler Memorial (eliminations May 9) at the Meadowlands. "It was pretty much what we expected," trainer Linda Toscano said. "We've kind of gone back to basics and we knew we were going to race him just at the end of the mile. It was such a tough qualifier; we don't really have anything to prove. We just needed to get some work under him. "He'll come back and qualify again next week and he should be the better for it. If he acts like he's good for the Cutler, we'll go to the Cutler. He'll tell us." Pinkman, who was voted the 2014 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, was the only award-winner to win his qualifier. The Takter-trainee won by three-quarters of a length over stablemate Uncle Lasse in 1:55.1. Aldebaran Eagle and Cruzado Dela Noche, who each won an International Stallion Stakes division last year, were third and fourth, respectively, followed by Breeders Crown runner-up Muscle Diamond. Last season, Pinkman won six of eight races and earned $566,960. Named after a character from the television series, "Breaking Bad," the gelding's victories included the Breeders Crown, in a stakes-record-equaling 1:53.2, and Valley Victory Stakes. "Pinkman is so lazy," Takter said. "He does what you ask of him. It's not impressive at all, but that's him. And he wins. He might be one of those horses we always underestimate." Artspeak, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best 2-year-old male pacer, made his first qualifying effort Saturday, but went off stride approaching the three-quarters point and finished 10th. Hurrikane Ali, trained by John McDermott Jr., won in 1:51.4. Last year, Artspeak won eight of 10 races and earned $742,185, with top wins coming in the Metro Pace and Governor's Cup. He went off stride in both losses. "He loses his focus sometimes when he comes first over like that," trainer Tony Alagna said. "He did it the other day training up here. He just doesn't pay attention. (Driver Scott Zeron) says he felt perfect, he just loses his focus. If he's on a helmet, he doesn't do it. But he's got to be able to come first over as well. "I'm going to take his hobbles back in a little bit more because they're still two inches longer than they were last year. We'll train him next week and make sure he's OK before we put him back in to qualify. That's why we gave ourselves some extra time, just to make sure, because he's done it before. It's frustrating, but if training horses was easy everybody would do it. We'll fix it and he'll be as good as ever." Takter sent out four qualifier winners, with 3-year-old filly trotters Wild Honey (1:55.1), Lilu Hanover (1:57.4) and Fly Angel Fly (1:56.3) joining Pinkman in victory. Takter's 3-year-old male trotters The Bank, Walter White and French Laundry finished second through fourth behind Crazy Wow in another qualifier featuring multiple stakes winners. "I thought they qualified very good," Takter said. "It's tough weather; the wind is tough, but I'm happy with all of them." Crazy Wow, who won last year's New York Sire Stakes championship for 2-year-old male trotters, was making his debut for trainer Ron Burke after spending last season with Dan O'Mara. Crazy Wow won in 1:54.1. "He was very good," Burke said. "I wasn't surprised, but he was even better than I thought he would be." Burke also had wins with 3-year-old filly pacers Happiness (1:53.1) and Southwind Roulette (1:53.3). JK Endofanera, who won the 2014 North America Cup, finished second to Larry Remmen-trained Somesizesomestyle in 1:51.3 in a qualifier for older male pacers. Somesizesomestyle was a Breeders Crown runner-up in 2014. "Overall I thought it was real good," Burke said. "I was happy with JK Endofanera; he was strong for his first start. My better horses were what they should have been. They improved today. That's all you're looking for, improvement each time." Steve Elliott had two qualifier winners, with 3-year-old male trotter Twain Drive (1:56.2) and 3-year-old male pacer Artistic Major (1:53.2). Toscano's Dapper Don won a qualifier for 3-year-old male trotters in 1:58.2 and Alagna's 4-year-old male trotter Propulsion won in 1:55. Other winners were Wayne Givens' 5-year-old pacing mare Jerseylicious (1:51.4) and Monte Gelrod's 3-year-old male pacer Maxdaddy Blue Chip (1:52.3). For the complete charts of Saturday's qualifiers, click here. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 17, 2015) - Whom Shall I Fear, the full-brother to Father Patrick and a $475,000 yearling, served notice that he is a three year old trotter to watch in 2015 with a compelling harness racing performance in his 2015 debut at The Meadowlands. Released from the gate as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite, Yannick Gingras guided Whom Shall I Fear towards the rear of the field while following what would turn out to be a live outer flow. Danish Durango would establish the early lead through a 28.2 opening quarter, but quickly felt a challenge from Clifton Beach who he released going past the three-eighths marker. But, Whom Shall I Fear was tracking that trotter every step of the early stages and Gingras guided his three year old to the lead past the half-mile in 57.3. From there, the race was over as Whom Shall I Fear created separation on Clifton Beach and all the rest, gliding past three quarters in 1:26.2. The lead would expand from that point with the final margin listed as 10 lengths in the end. The final time was an impressive 1:53.3, including a 27.1 final quarter under no pressure. Starzinner was a distant second with Madman Hall third. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for Whom Shall I Fear Stable. He is eligible to both The Hambletonian and The Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. There is a new kid on the block when it comes to the open trotters at The Meadowlands and his name is Wind Of The North. The Daryl Bier trainee has gone back to back at the top trotting level after his win Friday night. Surprisingly dismissed at 5-1, Wind Of The North left for position and sat third on the pylons early in the mile as Lindy’s Tru Grit, the overwhelming 1/5 favorite (coupled with Master Of Law) established a rapid 26.2 opening quarter. The favorite would continue to dictate the tempo through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.3 while turning for home with a diminishing lead. Appomattox mounted a challenge from out of the pocket while Master Of Law ranged up off a live cover trip. As Lindy’s Tru Grit tired, Wind Of The North quietly began to rally up the pylons and he powered through the stretch to grab the victory in the final strides in 1:52. Appomattox finished second with Master Of Law third. Wind Of The North was driven to victory again by Dave Miller for Daryl Bier and Joann Dombeck. There was no single winner in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, that carryover has grown to $83,210. The last race Jackpot Hi-5 also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $52,142 into the last race on Saturday. The 13-race Saturday program will feature the opening round of the Whata Baron series. In addition the Spring Preview debuts for the pacing colts and fillies. Post time is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali
Jimmy Takter-trained Canepa Hanover and Whom Shall I Fear headline a group of 12 harness racing Hambletonian hopefuls scheduled to qualify Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Whom Shall I Fear and Canepa Hanover both battled maturity and health issues last season at age 2, combining for only 11 starts and one victory. Canepa Hanover, who made six starts, won a Peter Haughton prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. He went off stride in three races, including the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Cressida Hanover, Canepa Hanover is a half-brother to 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. The colt sold for $300,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Whom Shall I Fear was winless in five starts last year, but finished second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. The colt is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick and sold - under the name Custom Fit - for a Lexington Selected Sale-record $475,000 in 2013. "They are huge horses, big horses," said Takter, who won last year's Hambletonian with Trixton and is a three-time winner of the trotting classic. "Canepa started getting more problems after a couple starts. But he was in the Peter Haughton, so at least he showed that kind of ability. He was probably one of the fastest colts early. "But both of them have come back super. I never turned them out; I kept them around and kept going with them. I actually wish they would have been out a couple of weeks earlier, but the weather hasn't cooperated. I'm very excited to go up with both of them. They should be able to qualify very nice and we'll see where we're heading." Other Hambletonian-eligible male trotters entered in Saturday's qualifiers are Explosive Brother, Fashion Creditor, Finish Line, Handover The Money, Michael's Pearl, Natural Kemp, P Mac Attack, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Natural Kemp, who last year won one of two starts for trainer Ake Svanstedt, is a son of Muscles Yankee out of the stakes-winning mare Impressive Kemp. His family includes last year's Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. Svanstedt also trains Handover The Money, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Handover The Money, a son of Andover Hall-CR Sister Suzie, is a half-brother to 2010 Yonkers Trot winner On The Tab whose family also includes Dan Patch Award winner CR Kay Suzie. Stonebridge Force, by Muscle Hill out of Cream Puff, is a half-brother to 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce. Trond Smedshammer, who won the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong's Legacy, trains and drives Finish Line, a son of Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher whose family includes past Smedshammer star - and Dan Patch Award winner - Blur. Explosive Brother, a son of Explosive Matter-Meadowbranch Irene in the stable of trainer Noel Daley, is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Mr Muscleman. Fashion Creditor, now in the stable of trainer Tom Fanning, finished third in a division of the International Stallion Stakes last year. He is a son of Credit Winner-Bon Voyage. P Mac Attack is by Muscle Hill and out of the stakes-winning mare Under My Thumb. He is trained by Nancy Johansson. Michael's Pearl is from the stable of Bruce Lauer. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes will be contested Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, with eliminations and final on the same day. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA
The second edition of the $400,000 (est.) Hambletonian Maturity Stake attracted 25 eligibles, including Dan Patch Trotter of the Year, the filly Shake It Cerry and Dan Patch sophomore trotting colt of the year, Father Patrick. Both are trained by Jimmy Takter. The Maturity moves to Saturday, July 18, a night worth $2.6 million, anchored by the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace, will take place at the New Meadowlands Racetrack in Rutherford, NJ. Created by the Hambletonian Society and the Meadowlands as a racing opportunity solely for 4-year-olds previously eligible to the Hambletonian and Oaks, the inaugural event drew a field of 14 that included the 2013 Oaks winner and Dan Patch Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician and the Hambletonian champion, Royalty For Life. The first edition was won by Your So Vain and Ake Svanstadt. The Maturity was created in 2011 when the Hambletonian Society saw an opportunity to provide an additional stake event for four-year-olds returning to the races. A total of 25 horses: 14 stallions, nine geldings, and two mares made the February 15 payment. Six of the 11 starters in last year's Hambletonian remained eligible to the Maturity: Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Father Patrick, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, and Resolve. Shake It Cerry will be joined by Celebrity Artemis as the only two eligible females. Also paid into the Maturity are top NY Sires Stakes performer Gural Hanover, Indiana star Rose Run Parker, and EL Titan who defeated Father Patrick in the Carl Erskine Trot. Those two stallions will both race and breed this year. Like the Hambletonian and Oaks, the Maturity racing conditions prohibit the use of Lasix, the only race day medication permitted in New Jersey and entrants are subject to out of competition testing. The distance of a mile and eighth provides a fairer shot for the possibility of 16 starters in the race. All starters in the race will receive money, with the winner receiving 50% of the purse. One percent of the total purse will be paid to the owners of those finalists finishing 6 through last. The remainder of the purse for the Maturity will be divided 50-24 -16-10% for the horses finishing second through fifth. Owned & Serviced by The Hambletonian Society, Inc; Hosted by The New Meadowlands Racetrack 4-Year-Old Open Trot in 2015 - $400,000 Est., Saturday, July 18, at The New Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ Entrance fee of $8,000 is due with the declaration Owner(s) Horse Gender Sire Dam Trainer Celebrity Farms CELEBRITY ARTEMIS M Andover Hall Celebrity Feeling Sam Stathis PG Van Camp Stb. DAMFOOLRMILLIONAIR G Muscles Yankee Village Beauty Brad Maxwell Leonard Buckner & Charlie Norris DATSYUK G Explosive Matter Pink Ribbons Charlie Norris Reima Kuisla Stable DD'S HITMAN H Donato Hanover Deedee's Destiny Ake Svanstedt Kelly Walker Stable DON DORADO G Donato Hanover Quintessential K Bob Baggitt Jr. EMP Invest OY E L TITAN H Muscle Hill Courtney Hall Riina Rekila Celebrity Farms ELDORADO OF GOLD S G Celebrity Secret Trace Of Gold Sam Stathis John Grasso Stable EXPRESSIVE ACTION H Conway Hall Yetta's Angel John Grasso Father Patrick Stable FATHER PATRICK H Cantab Hall Gala Dream Jimmy Takter Burke Racing, Weaver-Bruscemi, Little E LLC & Panhellenic Stable GURAL HANOVER G Crazed Givemearing Ron Burke Landmark 6 Racing, David MacDonald, David K Reid & George Judson HARPER BLUE CHIP H Majestic Son Winning Jonlin Mark Steacy Roy Dobbins HILL I AM H Muscle Hill I'm A Checkmate Dennis Laterza Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher & Rand Christopher IL SOGNO DREAM H Cantab Hall Le Reve Christopher Beaver Chris Ryder MADEWELL HANOVER G Yankee Glide Mayday Hanover Chris Ryder Robert J. Key MISTER B'S WAY H Conway Hall Winning Missbrenda Rich Gillock Lindy Farms of Conn, Barbato & Rudolph MR LINDY H Cantab Hall Lindy'sleadinglady Frank M. Antonacci F. Bellino & Sons LLC MUSCLE NETWORK H Muscle Hill India Hall Ake Svanstadt Diamond Creek Racing ODDS ON AMETHYST G Muscle Hill Mystical Sunshine JimmyTakter Brittany Farms, Katz, Libfeld & Goldband, Sbrocco & Little E LLC PROPULSION H Muscle Hill Danae Tony Alagna Hans Enggren RESOLVE H Muscle Hill Anikawiesahalee Ake Svanstadt Burke Racing, Weaver-Bruscemi & W. Haas ROSE RUN PARKER G Jailhouse Jesse Centergy Ron Burke Solveig’s Racing Partners SHAKE IT CERRY M Donato Hanover Solveig Jimmy Takter Robert J. Key SKATES N PLATES H Revenue S Pleasure Skate Jim Arledge Jr. Joseph Smith SUMATRA G Muscles Yankee Lola Seelster Tom Fanning Nick Salenetri TWO HIP DIP H Glidemaster Mayflower Volo Nick Salenetri 23 Trotting Horses/Geldings, 2 Mares
MANALAPAN, NJ – February 9, 2015 -- Hambletonian winner Trixton and Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year Father Patrick have joined the New Jersey stallion ranks in 2015. Eight stallions – four pacers and four trotters- are currently registered in the Garden State. Trixton, the New Jersey Standardbred of the Year, stands at Deo Volente Farms in Flemington, NJ, for a fee of $12,000. The Jimmy Takter trainee is owned by the Trixton Syndication. His book for 2015 is full. At three, the son of Muscle Hill won eight of 11 starts and retired with a career record of 12 wins, two seconds and two thirds from 19 starts for earnings of $947,057 and a mark of 1:50.3. Father Patrick remains in training with Takter as a four-year-old while also standing at Walnridge Farm of Cream Ridge, NJ, for a fee of $30,000. His book is nearly full with only a few bookings available. The son of Cantab Hall closed out his three-year-old campaign with a victory in the $500,000 Breeders Crown, compiling a record of 12 wins and three seconds in 17 starts for earnings of nearly $1.7 million. Lifetime, Father Patrick has 22 wins and four seconds from 28 starts and earnings of $2,437,138 with a mark of 1:50.2. He is owned by the Father Patrick Stable of East Windsor, NJ. The list of 2015 New Jersey stallions with gait, fee, farm and contact information: 2015 REGISTERED STALLIONS Stallion Gait Fee Farm Standing Farm Manager Phone Great Vintage P $2,000 Walnridge Farm Dr.Richard Meirs 609 758-8208 Hurrikane King Cole P private Walnridge Farm Dr.Richard Meirs 609 758-8208 If I Can Dream P $3,500 Deo Volente Farm Fidencio Cervantez 908 782-4848 Philos Hanover P private Last Cance Farm Tom Cancelliere 201 726-8660 Calchips Brute T $3,000 Walnridge Farm Dr.Richard Meirs 609 758-8208 Father Patrick T $30,000 Walnridge Farm Dr.Richard Meirs 609 758-8208 Opening Night T private Walnridge Farm Dr.Richard Meirs 609 758-8208 Trixton T $12,000 Deo Volente Farm Fidencio Cervantez 908 782-4848