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TORONTO, April 16 - After a commanding five and half length victory in her latest outing, Flexible Woman certainly appears to be on her game when she begins in Thursday's opening round of the Celias Counsel Series at Woodbine. The John Bax trainee didn't disappoint her backers last start as Flexible Woman trotted to a 1:59.3 mile over a sloppy track for driver Steve Byron. "She's come back really well this season," Bax said. "That's the type of effort you want to see from a filly early in the season. Her first start was impressive also despite finishing second." The homebred daughter of Federal Flex didn't go though the auction ring as a yearling as Bax bought into the lass from breeder Jim Bullock's Glengate Farm. Last season, the bay earned $29,736 from 10 starts, but the veteran conditioner wasn't satisfied with her campaign. "I was pretty high on her as a baby but there was something bothering her last year," he said. "She would fall apart at the end of a mile. Either something was pinching her or she needed to mature. We couldn't put a finger on it so we gave her time." Bax along with a team of six wintered in Florida, while his son, Matt, prepared Flexible Woman for her three-year-old season at their Peterborough farm. "Matt trained her back this winter and did a fine job and the filly did it the right way," said the veteran conditioner. "So far it's all systems go and we'll play it week by week with her. That's a nice series that she fits into (Celias Counsel) and that should get her well prepared for the summer." Bax remains hopeful that Flexible Woman can compete at the highest level in the provincial program against stablemate and O'Brien Award winner, Riveting Rosie. "It wouldn't surprise me if she turned out to be a Gold filly. I'm optimistic about that," Bax said. "She's got that attitude and fight in her. It's a fine line between ignorance and the will and fight to win. She's on the right side of the line." Bax also provided an update on Riveting Rosie, who captured the Peaceful Way final last year at Mohawk en route to racking up $468,613 in earnings. "She's right where I want her to be," he said. "I trained her in 2:06 in Florida before we shipped her home. I'll likely qualify her a few times and get her ready for the SBOA (Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association). That will be her first stake of the year." Two divisions of the Celias Councel Series will take place on Thursday evening in races two and three. First post time is set for 7:25 p.m. The divisions will line up as follows: Race 2 1. K D Bella 2. Kadabra Lavictoire 3. Serendipitious 4. Tosca 5. Wings Of Ballykeel 6. Jamandra 7. Flexible Woman 8. Windsong Kissntell 9. Wheely Quick Race 3 1. Just Call Me Lady 2. Chippentail 3. Emerald Bling 4. Miss Everything 5. Do The Wheelhouse 6. Movintothecountry 7. Northern Secret 8. Fashion Goddess 9. Amico Love Song 10. Domedomedome The Celias Counsel Series is for three-year-old trotting fillies, who non-winners of $30,000 in 2013. by Greg Gangle, for WEG

The second annual Australasian Premier Trotting Sale, sponsored by Pryde’s EasiFeed, will be held on Sunday, March 23 at Tabcorp Park Melton, the day following the running of the Group 1 $400,000 Great Southern Star. The sale has attracted 44 nominations – up from 40 last year – and will feature the cream of the crop of Australia's trotting yearlings. And, to give the sale a truly international flavour, 40 percent of the catalogue are out of overseas mares – three USA, 14 NZ and one Europe. Duncan McPherson, a Director of the sales company, said: “The sale represents an opportunity for purchasers to buy at any level of the market. With 18 stallions represented there’s a horse in the sale for every pocket. Never before in Australia has such an offering and variety of yearlings been made available to the Harness industry. “Full credit goes to the vendors of the yearlings who have shown great faith not only in the sale but also in the initiatives taken by Harness Racing Victoria in its efforts to internationalise and globalise the Trotter.” A feature of the sale will be the first Australian crop of former USA superstar and now siring sensation Muscle Hill. He will be represented by two colts, one out of a half-sister to Calder Sensation and to the dam of Blitzthemcalder, and the other from the American-bred Let’s Be Happy, the mother of Vicbred heat winner Verbier. Muscles Yankee, the sire of Muscle Hill, has a single entry, a filly out of the multiple Group 1 winner Adella’s Dash, dam of the SA Trotters Derby winner Glenferrie Dreamer. Muscles Yankee’s highest stakes earning entire son ‘Down Under’, Skyvalley ($322,675), has by far the biggest draft with seven fillies and two colts. The top picks could be the colt out of former top racemare Jauriol, the colt from the sister to Swedish star Yield Boko and fillies out of Aldebaran Dream (Vic. Trotters Oaks) and the Muscles Yankee mare Charming Yankee. Besides Muscles Yankee and his sons, the catalogue boasts stock by established sires such as Angus Hall, Majestic Son, Pegasus Spur, Monarchy and Conch Deville and the exciting newcomers Bacardi Lindy, Federal Flex, Great Success, Lawman, Armbro Variable, The Pres, Bad Boy Truscott, Tennotrump, Aldebaran Yankee and Zooma. Angus Hall, one of America’s most successful sires of all-time, has four nominations including a gelding from the 1:57 $150,000 winning Muscles Yankee mare Lindy’s Two Step, two colts out of mares from the wonderful Maori Miss tribe and a colt from the classics-winning Pinevale Ellason. Another sire with a strong representation at the sale is Majestic Son, last year’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters. His five entries include a half-brother to the Vicbred champion Split Image, a colt out of a half-sister to Skyvalley and Allegro Agitato, a half-brother to the Derby placegetter Our Dreamlover and a filly out of a half-sister to the cup class trotter Danny Cash. While Pegasus Spur, the sire of three Breeders Crown champions, has fillies out of Shez Allrighty ($85,431), Kyvalley Bling (family of Kyvalley Road) and the Muscles Yankee mare Aldebaran Honey and a colt out of Maori Sunshine (Lightfoot Laurels). Other well performed racemares with progeny in the sale include the Trotters Oaks winner Running Pinevale, Speedy Naomi ($77,316), Aldebaran Maori ($74,581), Cloud Chaser (VSTA Cup), Poppy, Strike Destroyer, Enjoy A Champers and the Breeders Crown placegetter Pocket Fantasy. There’s a sister to the dual Vicbred champion Brunelleschi and close relatives to a swag of Group and Cup winning trotters including Galleon’s Assassin, Merinai, Spidergirl, Danny Bouchea, Stoned I Am, National Interest, My Missindependent, Jazz Legend and Tucumcari. All prospective purchasers should note that the $7,000 Vicbred First Win bonus is applicable to Vicbred eligible horses as is Breeders Crown and Need For Speed Series. All purchasers are encouraged to become members of the Victorian Harness Racing Sports Club as owners bonuses are available to all those horses owned by members in selected events during their racing careers. The online catalogue for the Australasian Premier Trotting sale can be viewed at www.austrottingsale.com.au Hard-copy catalogues can be requested from Harness Racing Victoria on phone 8378 0200 in early February. by Peter Wharton

Maharajah showed that he is back in good form and perhaps very competitive in the late January Prix d'Amerique. Today he was away fourth before moving decisively to the lead after 400 meters and he raced comfortably on the lead before drawing away from the competition for a seven length win in 1.13.1kr over pocket sitter Harry Haythrow that was making his 56th start in V75 action. Orjan Kihlstrom teamed the Stefan Hultman trainee for owner public company Travkompaniets Stall AB. The winner scored for the 30th time in 56 career starts, now for earnings of 19,407,453SEK. Maharajah sports a 4-1-1 slate in 11 starts this year, earning 2,836,656SEK. His next start is planned for January 11th. Solvalla Gold Final UET Master Series, 2140 meters autostart, Gr. II, 300,000SEK to winner 1.13.1kr Maharajah (8m Viking Kronos-Chili Khan-Giant Chill), Orjan Kihlstrom Harry Haythrow (7g Rote On Line-Speedy Tilda-Spotlite Lobell), Peter Untersteiner Francois du Gull (6m Jag de Bellouet-Tantiem Gull-Lindy Lane), Eric Lindegren The co-featured Krafft Winterfavoritem for two year-olds went to longshot Snowflake Goj with Torbjorn Jansson up. She rallied late along the pylons to defeat well-bred Global Reality and How Amazing Tooma in a close finish. Solvalla Krafft Winterfavoritem Two Year-Olds, 2140 meters autostart, 200,000SEK to winner.17.2kr Snowflake Goj (2f Goetmals Wood-Mrs Meyer Landsky-Sugarcane Hanover), Torbjorn Jansson Global Reality (2m Federal Flex-Lookout Victory-Valley Victory), Bjorn Goop aboard How Amazing Tooma (2f Banker Hall-Amazing As-Enjoy Lavec), Ulf Nordin up Thomas H. Hicks           Renaissance Partners LLC   Thomas H. Hicks, Managing Partner   3508 Sahara Springs Blvd.   Pompano Beach, FL 33069   www.renaissancelc.com   renparlc@gate.net   954-971-3555 Tel FL Office   704-844-0600 Tel NC Office   954-415-6369 Cel   704-845-1176 Fax           Experience > Value, Integrity, Performance       The information above and attached, if any, may contain privileged and confidential information intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution and duplication of this communication is strictly prohibited. Please notify the sender by email and destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.        

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON — During the winter of 2010-11 long time Boston Bruins fans Joe MacIsaac was watching his team play the Toronto Maple Leafs while thinking up names for the latest foal from partner Carolyn Williston’s broodmare Chelemark Gizmo. As the Boston faithful chanted ‘Thank You Kessel’ — referencing the 2009 trade deal that sent Phil Kessel to the Leafs in exchange for draft picks that would become Boston stars Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton — MacIsaac thought, ‘Why not?’ and weeks later the name Thankyoukessel was approved by Standardbred Canada. Thankyoukessel made his racing debut in the summer of 2012 and over the past two years has amassed a consistent record of seven wins, two seconds and three thirds in 19 starts for earnings of $212,445. Competing at the Ontario Sires Stakes (OSS) Gold Series level this season the gelding has posted two wins, two thirds and one fifth, ranking him second in the point standings heading into Saturday night’s $200,000 Super Final at Mohawk Racetrack. “He started off the year good with a win down in London and he really, really didn’t give us a bad race all year,” says Moffat resident MacIsaac. “He doesn’t do a whole lot wrong; he’s a pretty nice boy.” In addition to his successes in the Gold Series, Thankyoukessel also captured the Canadian Breeders Championship at Mohawk on July 20 in a personal best 1:54.2 and his sophomore debut in a May 2 overnight event at Woodbine Racetrack. The Ken Warkentin gelding has surpassed the standard set by his full-sister Witch Way, who was a Gold Final winner and earned $170,833 in her career. “The best thing about that mare, all her foals have been good gaited,” says MacIsaac, who raced a two-year-old Federal Flex half-brother to Thankyoukessel this summer and will start training a yearling Federal Flex brother this fall. “That makes it a lot easier to get them to the races.” Thankyoukessel and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville will make their run at the OSS division title from Post 3 in Saturday’s seventh race and MacIsaac is expecting another exciting show from the talented Ontario-sired colts. Point leader Buddy Hally will start from Post 4, Goodtimes and Mid-Summer Challenge winner Flanagan Memory gets Post 7, and Yonkers Trot Elimination winner and reigning Super Final champion Creampuff Macdaddy will start from Post 9. “I don’t know how it will end up shaping up,” notes the trainer, “But Flanagan Memory looks like the horse to beat.” Thankyoukessel finished third to Flanagan Memory in the Sept. 20 Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack, a mile timed in 1:53.3, and MacIsaac is not sure the gelding can alter that result on Saturday. However, whether Thankyoukessel finishes off his sophomore stakes campaign with a win or a loss, MacIsaac and Williston will head home just as happy with the trotter’s efforts as Boston fans have been with the Kessel trade. “We’re just looking forward to tomorrow (Saturday). I hope things work out for him and he gets a piece of it, but regardless, it’s been a great year for us,” MacIsaac explains. “Anything he gets will be a bonus for us right now. We’re going to enjoy it any way.” Post time for Mohawk Racetrack’s Saturday, Sept, 28 program is 7:25 pm, with the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals featured in Races 2 through 5 and 7 through 10. For complete entries please go to http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0928mohsn.dat Ontario Sires Stakes

One of the Elitloppet favorites, Maharajah (Sweden), has been scratched from his elimination on Sunday. Of the remaining harness racing entrants in that elimination, the early wagering favorites are Formula One, Timoko and Neste Effe. Favored in the second elimination are Sebastian K, Brad de Veluwe and Nahar.

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society's 2013 stallion auction has now concluded. OSAS extends sincere appreciation to the harness racing farms and stallion owners who generously donated the breedings and to everyone who bid on this year's auction.

The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society will once again be conducting a stallion auction as a fundraiser this year, thanks to the incredible generosity of the stallion owners, but with a different twist.

If the Canadian harness racing scene isn't in tatters now it soon will be if reports from Ontario breeding giant Seelster Farms are anything to go by.

After several recent arrivals, winter harness racing training is starting into full swing at Spring Garden Ranch. The restaurant is open every day from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. with a Sunday brunch. Qualifiers will be held weekly in March and a matinee day is scheduled the last Saturday in March, if weather and entries permit.

Winter residents at Winter Miles Trotting Center in Astor, Fla., include harness racing world champion 2-year-old and Breeders Crown winner, millionaire Sweet Lou p,3,1:47.4s from the Burke brigade and 2011 Hambletonian runner-up Whiskey Tax 4,1:54.2s from Tom and June Durand's stable.

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