Local horse Platoon Seelster earned his first Gold Series victory of the season at the harness racing meeting at Grand River Raceway on Wednesday night, and a sizeable number of Mount Forest and Harriston residents joined the three-year-old trotter in the winner's circle. "A bunch of family were out, and friends," said driver Ryan Holliday. "Everybody's pretty excited about him, so he's got quite a fan club." Starting from Post 4 - the first inside post they have seen in Gold competition this season - Holliday fired Platoon Seelster to the front and hit the opening quarter in :28.3. Through the :58.4 half and 1:29.2 three-quarters Platoon Seelster continued to lead the pack, with Muscle Up The Goal tucked in behind him and Namesmuscle in the outer lane. Turning for home Muscle Up The Goal attempted to power up the passing lane, but Platoon Seelster battled to a nose victory in 1:57.2. Muscle Up The Goal settled for second with Rubber Duck getting up for third. Fan favourite Dont Rush ran into traffic trouble in the outer lane and finished fifth. "I didn't really care if I cut it but I wanted to be up close you know, because you need to be on the half-mile tracks," said Holliday of the front-end tour. "I was happy to cut it. "He is a tough little horse," the Mount Forest resident continued. "He may not be the best one, but he gives everything he's got, every single time out there." Holliday engineered the win for his father, trainer David Holliday, his wife, co-owner Caroline Holliday, both of Mount Forest, and co-owner Dennis Hannath of Harriston The reinsman says the group is enjoying every experience with the son of Federal Flex, who moved into top spot in the division standings with Wednesday's win. "Everybody says it's easy when you get a good one, they're right," Holliday reflected. "He's simple, all he wears is a set a trotting boots, he tries good, he eats good - he does everything good. He's just a good horse, a pleasure to be around. "We're just trying to take it all in; we've never had one like this." Platoon Seelster will now enjoy a mini-vacation in a field at the Holliday's farm before beginning preparations for the fourth Gold Series event at Mohawk Racetrack on August 17. The other two Gold division winners also earned some special treatment from their connections. In the second $70,000 division driver Chris Christoforou employed the tactics that had proved fruitful for Holliday and sent Covert Operative straight to the front from Post 3. The duo rolled through fractions of :28, :57.4 and 1:27.3 before battling down the stretch to a one-half length victory over fan favourite Citizen Hall in a three-year-old trotting gelding track record 1:57. Caulfield rounded out the top three. Campbellville, ON resident Chris Christoforou engineered the win for trainer Per Henriksen of Norwood, ON and owners Andrea Lea Racing Stables Inc. of Lakefield Gore, QC and ASA Farm of Norwood. The win was the Deweycheatumnhowe son's fifth of the season, but his first ever in Ontario Sires Stakes action. In final division Milton, ON resident Sylvain Filion also went with the proven formula and put Eternal Quest on the lead from Post 1. The favourites rang up fractions of :29.2, 1:00.1 and 1:29.4 before sailing across the wire two and one-quarter lengths on top in 1:58.1. Setanta and Winning Wizard finished second and third. Chad Milner conditions Eternal Quest for Murray Ferguson Jr. of Sutton West, ON. Through five starts this season Eternal Quest, a son of Pilgrims Taj, has now posted one Gold Series win, one Grassroots win and three runner-up finishes in overnight races. Ontario Sires Stakes action continues at Grand River Raceway next Wednesday, July 22 with the second Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Ontario Horse Racing
A member of the greatest harness racing family in Australasia – and arguably the world - Agent Maori is doing his namesake proud. A light-raced youngster, Agent Maori has won three of his four starts, including Tabcorp Park Menangle yesterday. Pleased with the trotter’s progress, trainer Russell Commens believes Agent Maori can replicate the feats of so many of his relatives by becoming a feature winner. As such, Commens has aimed Bathurst Gold Coronet, which is scheduled to be run on March 19. “There is a lot to like about him,” Commens said. “He has a bit of bottom to him and has done nothing but improve this time in. “Since I put half hopples on him his confidence is up, he is trotting better and hasn’t looked back. “You can’t ask for much more than that.” After racing midfield during his latest outing, gelding cruised to a seven-metre win from Val Gardena, with Maximiser a metre-and-a-half away third. “He did really well especially for his first start back,” Commens said. “He will improve for the run and should be better again next time around.” By Federal Flex, the three-year-old is from Windsongsmaori – an unraced daughter of Inter Dominion winning mare, Sumthingaboutmaori. Sumthingaboutmaori was also successful in the Group Ones Grand Prix and South Australia Trotters’ Cup. The all-conquering ‘Maori’ clan also includes Maori’s Idol, Maori’s Dream, Blitzthemcalder, Calder Sensation, Maori’s Glory, Maori Princess, Noopy Kiosk, Skye Rocket, Tennotrump and Asdenro to name a few. PAUL COURTS
TORONTO, November 20 - Ontario sired three-year-old fillies returned to Woodbine Racetrack Thursday night for the second leg of the Autumn Series. Two $15,000 divisions for both gaits took place in the second round of the three-week series. In the first division for the trotters, Meadowview Vicky returned to victory lane for the second week in a row. The daughter of Muscle Mass was sent to straight to the lead by driver Mario Baillargeon and never looked back. Meadowview Vicky posted fractions of :28.1, :58.4 and 1:28.2 before trotting home in :29.1 to win by a length and a half in 1:57.3. Wings Of Ballykeel finished second after sitting in that position the entire mile, while Oho Diamond took the show spot. Trained by Mark Etsell, Meadowview Vicky has now won a division of the first two legs of the Autumn Series and will have a chance at the series sweep next week. Meadowview Vicky has now won six of 13 career starts for over $50,000 in earnings. She is owned by Meadowview Farms Inc. Meadowview Vicky returned $2.70 to win. Osprey Impact converted off a perfect second over trip from driver Dave Boughton to win the second division. The daughter of Federal Flex was able to pick up the cover of Cs Afternoondelite in the second quarter and followed that filly up to the front. Situated second over and less than two lengths from the lead at the top of the stretch, Osprey Impact tipped off cover and trotted by to score a 1 Â¾ length victory in a career best 1:58.1. Acapulco Hall, who was third along the rail at the top of the lane, got up for second, while Serendipitous, who got a two-hole trip, finished third. Trained by Mario Macri, Osprey Impact finished third in last week's opening leg. The three-year-old filly has now won four of 13 starts this season and banked over $27,000 for owner Paul Larrabee. Osprey Impact returned $32.70 to win. Mach Some Noise recorded her fourth consecutive victory to take the first division for the pacing fillies. The daughter of Mach Three would take control of the race in the second quarter and leave her rivals behind. Mach Some Noise and driver James MacDonald posted a half of :57 and a three-quarter time of 1:25.2, before pacing home in :28.1 to win by 4 lengths in 1:53.3. Artistic Fusion got up for second, while Thrill Chaser finished third. Trained by Tony O'Sullivan, Mach Some Noise will take her four-race win streak into next week's final with an opportunity to record the series sweep. Owned by O'Sullivan Racing Inc, Kirk McKinnon and David Goodrow Stable, Mach Some Noise has now won four of nine career starts and banked over $37,000. The clocking of 1:53.3 is a new lifetime best for the three-year-old filly. A $2 win ticket returned $2.50. In the second division for the pacing fillies, Catlea Seelster never saw the rail, but still got the job done in 1:56.3. Driven by Anthony Macdonald, Catlea Seelster was parked around the first turn in mid-pack. The daughter of Stonebridge Regal would continue her outside journey down the backstretch and was first up at the leader's wheel as they rounded the far turn. In the stretch, Catlea Seelster showed her grit and wore down Debbies Mach to win by a neck. Performing Art took the show spot. Trained by Anthony Montini, Catalea Seelster entered the second leg of the Autumn Series off a seventh place finish in the opening leg. The round two victory is her second win in 15 starts this season and the third win of her career. Owned by Albina Montini and Teresa Davidson, Catlea Seelster has now banked over $33,000 in her career. She paid $14.90 to win. The top ten money earners to enter the final leg will contest next Friday night's final. Leg two action of the Autumn Series continues tomorrow night with the second round for the three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
The three-year-old trotting fillies completed their Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots regular season Thursday at Flamboro Downs in five $18,000 divisions. The fastest division was dominated by Stormont Kate and Bruce Richardson who got the girls by the opening marker in :29, the half in :59.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.3 and were home easily in 1:58.2. Chelseas Chance was second followed by Torches Star. Richardson, of Arthur, Ontario, owns and trains the winner, a daughter of Kadabra who was recording her fourth win this year. Stormont Kate is the second foal from a half-sister to $912,000 winner Lord Stormont. KD Bella was the early leader in the first division, getting the field by the first quarter in :29.2, the half in :59.2 and three-quarters in 1:28.4. As the field was half-way through the final turn KD Bella went offstride allowing Viva Bayama to inherit the lead but Flexible Woman closed hard through the stretch to win in 1:59.3 for Steve Byron. Viva Bayama was a neck behind in second while Magic Factory was a close third. John Bax trains the winner, a daughter of Federal Flex he co-owns with breeder Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Ontario. This was the third win of the year for Flexible Woman. The second division saw Erin Hall and Travis Henry in the lead early and that pair trotted by the opening quarter in :28.2 and the half in :59.2. Serendipitious took over the lead by the 1:29.2 three-quarters but was overtaken in deep stretch by Mystical Wishes who hit the wire first in 1:59. Serendipitious held for second while Ja El Diamond was third. A daughter of Muscle Mass trained by Tony Alagna for owners Mystical Marker Farms and Peggy Hood of Indiana, Mystical Wishes was notching her seventh win in 12 starts this year. Lenny Mac and Scott Coulter went to the top first in the third division, and never gave up that position through fractions of :30.1, 1:01.1, 1:30.2 and was home easily in 2:00. Osprey Impact took second while Do The Wheelhouse finished third. Trainer Bob McIntosh bred and co-owns the winner, a daughter of Kadabra, with Earl Hill of Ohsweken, Ontario. This was Lenny Mac’s third win of her sophomore campaign. The final split was controlled the entire mile by Northern Secret who was by the first panel in :28.4, the half in :59.2, the three-quarters in 1:29.1 and was home first in 1:59.1. Doweeypuffandhow was second followed by Wawona. Mario Baillargeon was up behind the winner, trained by his brother Ben who co-owns with Nunzio Vena of Bolton and Santo Veno of Brampton, Ontario. The Angus Hall miss earned a new life record with tonight’s effort, her second win this year. This was the final Grassroots event for this group. The top point earners will now face off in the Semi-Finals on September 20 at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s races, please clickFlamboro Results - September 11. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
There were four divisions of 2 year old trotters for the Balanced Image Trot eliminations hit the track as part of an 11 race card on Saturday night at Hanover Raceway. In the first elimination, a trio of breakers and some fancy stickhandling by driver Ryan Holliday got Platoon Seelster to the lead by the quarter mile marker in 30.2. The 2 year old son of Federal Flex led from start to finish in times of 1:01.1, 1:32.1 and the mile in 2:01.1. Race favorite Mandeville who has 3 OSS grassroots wins on larger tracks broke early and managed to fight his way back to second by the 3 quarter mile marker but when Keith Oliver tried to overtake Platoon Seelster around the final turn he went off stride again and lost his chances at a spot in the final. Irish Scotch owned by Paul Lindsey of Fergus inherited second place after the miscue. Platoon Seelster is owned by Ryan Holidays wife Caroline, and Dennis Hannath of Harriston. Hannath says the 2 year was 1 of 2 yearlings they bought at the London sale, however, the other one had to be put down, after it was injured following a tornado near Tottenham. Hannath says he’s extremely happy with the geldings performance, and as for the final, Hannath says he doesn’t care where he finishes, he’s just happy to make it to the final. The second division was won by Allies Gift in times of 30.0, 1:00.1, 1:30.1 and 2:00.4 for a Quebec Ownership group, and driver Anthony Haughan. Leg 3 was won by Gee Okeefe for owners Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang of Ohio and driver Dave Boughton who qualified 3 horses for the final. Boughton said the 2 year old filly who leads her OSS class this year was really easy to drive and had plenty of gas left in the tank. Gee Okeefe led from start to finish in times of 29.3, 1:01.0, 1:31.1 and the mile in 2:01.1. The final leg was won by another Chris Beaver trained gelding. Caulfield is owned by Synerco Ventures of Toronto and also led from start to finish by driver Boughton in times of 30.0, 1:02.1, 1:33.2 and the mile in 2:02.4. The post position draw was completed in front of the grandstand after race 10 and ended up as follows. Balanced Image Final Saturday August 30th $70,600 Purse Gee Okeefe Caulfield Allies Gift Desis Dream Cheque the Magic Platoon Seelster Pilgrims Joy Irish Scotch Hanover also played host to the Grey Bruce Spinal Cord Injury group. Spokesperson Merv Breadner of Owen Sound says thanks to Hanover Raceway they have been able to raise over 10,000 dollars for people with spinal cord injuries in Grey and Bruce Counties over the past 8 years. Breadner says the money is used to help people with spinal cord injuries get adjusted and purchase much needed equipment. Racing resumes Saturday August 30th with the Balanced Image final headlining the card. Posttime is 7:15pm. From the press box at Hanover Raceway
Harness racing three-year-old trotting colts bred and raised by Dr. Mike Wilson’s Warrawee Farm of Rockwood, Ontario, captured two of the six $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions tonight at Grand River Raceway. The fastest victory of the night was recorded by Warrawee Promesse who was on top through every fraction, :28.4, :58.4, 1:28.2, and was home with more than three lengths to spare in 1:57.2. Striking Hurricane was second followed by Enthusiast. Trainer Wayne Henry was in the sulky behind the Windsong Espoir gelding he co-owns with Fred Brayford of Alliston, Ontario. It was the fourth consecutive victory for Warrawee Promesse who came into tonight’s contest fresh from a sweep of the Dream Of Glory series at Hanover Raceway. Warrawee Promesse’s former stablemate at the farm, Warrawee Preferred, used different tactics to capture his division for trainer Per Henriksen. They watched as Passed Dat Point carved out fractions of :29, :59 and 1:30.1 but were first at the wire reached in 2:01.3 over Tymal Showman and Passed Dat Point. Henriksen’s Asa Farm of Norwood, Ontario, shares ownership of son of Federal Flex with breeder Mike Wilson of Rockwood and Darryl Drain of Tweed, Ontario. This was the first victory in seven starts this year for Warrawee Preferred whose dam is a half-sister to $1.8 million winner Here Comes Herbie. Henry’s brother Trevor captured the first division with Aventure in 1:58 over Oliver Slik and Massacaia. Aventure finished second to Warrawee Promesse in the Dream Of Glory final after winning an elimination. He is trained by Bill Bud for owner Orville Rursch of Illinois. This was the fifth win in 14 tries this year for the Muscle Mass colt. Another Muscle Mass winner came in the second division when Phil Hudon and R Choochoo Charlie connected for a 1:57.3 score to defeat Stonebridge Rich and Redemption Road. Elizabeth and Tom Rankin of St. Catharines, Ontario, own the winner trained by Mark Steacy. The remaining two divisions were captured by Hetties Commander (The Pres) in 1:58.3 for Bruce Richardson and trainer Michel Rivest who co-owns with Gary Silliphant and Denis Rivest and Me The Boss (Keystone Nordic) and driver Scott Coulter in 1:59.1 for trainer Steve Charlton and owner Larocque Racing Stable of Thornhill, Ontario. The next Grassroots test for this group goes August 21 at Rideau Carleton Raceway. The full results from tonight’s contest Ontario Sire Stakes
Archangel's world-record 1:50 performance in last week's John Cashman Jr. Memorial eliminations might have surprised some observers, but not his driver, Yannick Gingras. "I kind of thought it was coming," Gingras said. "He's had a couple miles where he's shown that kind of brilliance, but he was unlucky." The 5-year-old trotter, who sat out last season because of stallion duty, is the 4-1 second choice in Saturday's $300,650 Cashman Memorial final. The Cashman, formerly called the Nat Ray, is for older trotters and has attracted a star-studded field that includes world champion Sebastian K, two-time Dan Patch Award winner Market Share, and numerous other stakes winners. Sebastian K, who won his Cashman elim in 1:51, is the 3-5 morning line favorite for trainer-driver Ake Svanstedt. Sebastian K, an 8-year-old standout from Sweden who is in his first season of racing in North America, holds the record for history's fastest mile thanks to his 1:49 victory in June at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Archangel's 1:50 mile is the fastest ever on a one-mile oval, breaking the record of 1:50.1 that was shared by Donato Hanover, Muscle Hill, Chapter Seven, Giant Diablo, Lucky Jim, and Sebastian K. The 1:49 mile by Sebastian K in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs came on a five-eighths-mile track. Archangel was second to Sebastian K on the final turn of that race, but went off stride and finished seventh. "He was going to trot 1:49 a few weeks ago at Pocono if he didn't make a break," Gingras said. "Around the last turn he just overtrotted a little bit, but I still had the earplugs in. Ake was already driving on his and I had trot behind him. Whether I would have gone by or not, we'll never know, and the record is his. But my horse was going to trot 1:49 too." Archangel entered his Cashman elimination off a 10th-place finish in the Maple Leaf Trot, where he went off stride early in the race. Gingras was not the driver in Canada because he was racing Foiled Again at Northfield in the Battle of Lake Erie. "He's a little bit of a tricky horse, you need to know him, and unfortunately he made a break," Gingras said. "He's a little bit grabby. You've got to know him a little bit. Sometimes he'll throw in a funny step, he's got those little quirks about him, but once you know him he's pretty good." Archangel, trained by Ron Burke for owners Alan Hainsworth's Legendary Standardbred Farm and Clare Semer, has won two of 10 races this year and 16 of 41 in his career while earning $1.02 million. His top win came in the 2012 Yonkers Trot. He has two wins, two seconds and a third in his last seven starts. "He's a horse that didn't race for a full year, so you know it's going to take him six, seven, eight, nine starts to get going," Gingras said. "He was trotting a little further in the stretch each week, so I thought he was going in the right direction. Hopefully he keeps going forward from here on out. I don't think you've seen the bottom of him yet." The Cashman Memorial is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday, which also includes the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. The Cashman, Oaks, and Hambletonian will air during Saturday's national telecast, which begins at 4 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Following is the Cashman field in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sebastian K, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt, 3-5; 2. Your So Vain, Mike Lachance, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1; 3. Arch Madness, Brian Sears, Trond Smedshammer, 20-1; 4. Archangel, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 4-1; 5. Uncle Peter, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 15-1; 6. Appomattox, Brett Miller, Liisa Vatanen, 50-1; 7. Mister Herbie, John Campbell, Mark Ford, 20-1; 8. Intimidate, Ron Pierce, Luc Blais, 8-1; 9. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 9-2; 10. Sevruga, George Brennan, Kevin Carr, 50-1. HARNESS RACING NOTEBOOK John Campbell will try to extend his record for Hambletonian wins to seven when he drives Nuncio in Saturday's 89th edition of the trotting classic. The Hall of Famer has a legitimate chance to win the race, even with prohibitive favorite Father Patrick in the field, but that's not what makes Campbell most happy. "I'm just so happy anytime I get the chance to be part of the Hambletonian," said Campbell, who has raced in every Hambletonian final but two since 1983. "When you have a horse that figures in it, that makes it more special, no question about it, but it's the best we have to offer and I never take it for granted." Nuncio is the only horse to beat Father Patrick, on July 12, 2013. Father Patrick has won 15 consecutive races since then, but drew the unenviable No. 10 post for Saturday's Hambletonian. No horse has ever won a Hambletonian final from post 10. "I'm happy with the draw; it gives me options going out of the gate," Campbell said. "I'm going to be forwardly placed, or try to be, there's no question about that. I think the unknown is how many underneath me and on the outside are going to leave. I think there's going to be a lot of action in the first quarter of the mile, it just depends how hot that is and how many are involved." Nuncio, a son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ stable, has won 10 of 17 career races and never finished worse than second. The colt is trained by Jimmy Takter, who also is the trainer of Father Patrick and Hambletonian contender Trixton. Six of Nuncio's seven runner-up finishes have come against Father Patrick. "I know Nuncio is going into the race in good shape," Campbell said. "He's raced well every start of his life and I don't expect that to change. Father Patrick, believe me, he's earned all the accolades he's gotten. His 15-race win streak is incredible. But at the same time, I'm going to try to upset him on Saturday. "You have to race against the competition, whatever it is that year. [Nuncio] ran into a horse that has a chance to be one of the all-time greats. But I'm hoping he doesn't add the Hambletonian to his resume." Nuncio will try to give Melander his second Hambletonian victory. He was the owner, trainer and driver of 2001 winner Scarlet Knight. Part of Nuncio's success this year is because the horse has been able to relax in races. Last season, Nuncio led at the half-mile point in eight of 10 starts. This year, it's only happened once in seven races. "He wouldn't be in the Hambletonian if it wasn't for the job that Jimmy did over the winter," Campbell said. "When he came back, we made a special effort to keep him quiet and race him from off the pace and make sure he didn't get into the same mode as last year. "Last year was just him being very talented and he got so exuberant that I couldn't rate him during the middle part of the mile and it cost him a couple of races. Now he's to the point where I can leave hard with him and still control him, and that's vital. If he wasn't that way going into the Hambletonian, it would compromise his chances dramatically." Aaron Merriman will get his first drive in the Hambletonian on Saturday. He is North America's leading driver in wins, with 452. Over the past 55 years, these are the drivers who ended the season No. 1 in wins and also drove in the Hambletonian final that same year: Dave Palone (2012, Stormin Normand, and 1999, Cherry Hills), Jody Jamieson (2009, Federal Flex), Tim Tetrick (2007, Pampered Princess), and Jack Moiseyev (1991, Giant Victory). Moiseyev is the only driver to win the Hambletonian in the same year he was No. 1. Merriman, a 36-year-old Ohio native with nearly 6,600 lifetime wins, will drive 50-1 longshot Il Sogno Dream in the Hambletonian. The horse is owned by Bill Manes, Dan Manes, Leonard Christopher and Randy Christopher. He is trained by Chris Beaver. "It doesn't matter what my odds are, it's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm just really excited," Merriman said. "I feel blessed I'm even involved in the race day. Even if I was the presenter of a trophy, I'd be happy. It's the premier event in harness racing and I'm very excited." Of the 11 drivers in this year's Hambletonian, four have won the race at least once previously. John Campbell (Nuncio) holds the record with six triumphs, followed by Ron Pierce (Royal Ice) with three, Brian Sears (Harper Blue Chip) two, and Tim Tetrick (Don Dorado) one. Sears won last year's Hambletonian with Royalty For Life. If he wins again this season, he will be the first driver to win the Hambletonian in back-to-back years since John Campbell in 1987-88. Jimmy Takter and Trond Smedshammer are the only trainers in this year's Hambletonian with previous victories. Takter - who sends out favorites Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton - won in 2010 with Muscle Massive and 1997 with Malabar Man. Smedshammer, who trains Royal Ice, won in 2004 with Windsong's Legacy. Trainer Nancy Johansson is making her first start in the Hambletonian, with Resolve, but she is no stranger to the race. She is the daughter of two-time winning trainer Jimmy Takter and was the caretaker of the 2010 Hambletonian winner, Muscle Massive. "That helps me tons," Johansson said. "I don't really feel stressed out. I think a lot of people in my situation would be a little more stressed out, but I kind of expect to be here because we were always there working for my dad. And most of the times, I took care of those horses. "There's a lot of pressure to take care of a good horse. I always say caretakers are so underrated because every day that horse is their charge. It's your job to make sure they don't get hurt, or if they're sick you need to notice in time so something can be done. I feel like I've had that pressure a lot before. I've seen my dad deal with the pressure. It doesn't really bother me because I'm used to it." Howard Taylor, who is among the owners of 20-1 Hambletonian longshot Doncango, never expected to have a starter in this year's race. Doncango has raced only once this year, winning on July 25. "I have tickets for the Billy Joel concert Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center, so I had to scramble to rearrange my plans," Taylor said with a laugh. "In about February or so, [Doncango] got injured. We have just been rehabbing him and bringing him back slowly and he got a late start. "We have a lot of year left and [trainer Ake Svanstedt] thinks he'll be heard from for the rest of the year. But I was a little surprised that he entered the horse in the Hambletonian." Taylor has had two previous starters in the Hambletonian. He is looking for his first win. "It would be a dream," Taylor said about Doncango winning. "It would be a shock, but it would be a dream." Ron Pierce can tie Berndt Lindstedt for most Hambletonian Oaks wins by a driver, with four, if he guides Shake It Cerry to victory Saturday. She is trained by Jimmy Takter, who with a triumph would move into sole possession of second place in trainer wins. Takter is tied with Glen Garnsey with three Oaks titles. Jan Johnson leads the way with six. Shake It Cerry, who has won six of seven races this year and was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female trotter, is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "She's good," Takter said earlier in the week. "It was good we didn't have to extend her too much [in the Oaks prep, a 1:54.4 win]. The Hambletonian Oaks won't go like that. The race next week, they're going to mix it up a little bit. "I think she's the best one. The only time she got defeated, she had a bad trip. She's sound, everything is good with her. She is ready to go a big mile. She'll take [Pierce] home. She's not known to give up in the stretch." Prior to this Saturday, trainer Julie Miller's only Hambletonian Oaks starter was 90-1 longshot Timelesswinner Two in 2009. Timelesswinner Two finished eighth. This year, she is sending out three fillies in the Oaks including morning line favorite Designed To Be. Starting from post one with driver Brian Sears, Designed To Be has won two of four starts this year. She was second to Shake It Cerry, who drew post 11 in the Oaks, in last week's prep. "She's had a little bit of traffic trouble her last two starts," Miller said. "I give a lot of credit to Brian. He knows my filly and he's been able to control her during the pedestrian second quarters we've been going. I'm excited for [the final]. Obviously, I'd like to see them go a little more [early fractions] in the race. We'll see how it plays out. I have all the confidence in the world in Brian and Designed To Be." Miller's other starters in the Oaks are 12-1 Take The Money and 20-1 Cee Bee Yes. "Take The Money had a nice win in the Reynolds [on July 19]," Miller said. "She proved to me that she should be in here. She seems to be a horse that's better with a week off in between starts. So that's why we [skipped the Oaks prep and] gave her the week off rather than go three weeks in a row. "[Cee Bee Yes] is my sleeper. She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus [Miller] gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." Saturday's card, which begins at noon, features the Hambletonian Day returns of 2012 Hambletonian winner Market Share and 2013 Hambletonian Oaks winner Bee A Magician. Bee A Magician, the 2013 Horse of the Year, is the 4-5 favorite in the $52,000 Ima Lula Series final for 4-year-old female trotters. Market Share is the 9-2 third choice in the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters. Here is a look at the morning line choices for Hambletonian Day's top races. $52,000 Ima Lula: Bee A Magician 4-5, Classic Martine 7-5, Handover Belle 8-1. $100,000 Miss New Jersey: Gettingreadytoroll 2-1, Act Now 3-1, Blixtra 9-2. $225,000 New Jersey Classic: Doo Wop Hanover 9-5, Western Vintage 5-2, Bushwacker 9-2. $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship: Sweet Lou 4-5, Captaintreacherous 7-2, Thinking Out Loud 6-1. $352,050 Merrie Annabelle: Mission Brief 4-5, Lock Down Lindy 3-1, Gatka Hanover 5-1. $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial: Guess Whos Back 2-1, Canepa Hanover 5-2, Centurion ATM 3-1. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Amped Up Hanover 8-5, Southwind Poseidon 7-2, Marathon Man 9-2. $50,000 Townsend Ackerman: Outburst 3-1, Sumatra 7-2, Hillustrious 9-2. $75,000 Vincennes: Master Of Law 3-1, Southwind Pepino 7-2, D'Orsay 9-2. $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial: Sebastian K 3-5, Archangel 4-1, Market Share 9-2. $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks: Designed To Be 2-1, Shake It Cerry 5-2, Heaven's Door 9-2. $1 million Hambletonian: Father Patrick 4-5, Trixton 7-2, Nuncio 9-2. $177,750 Lady Liberty: Rocklamation 5-2, Drop The Ball 3-1, Somwherovrarainbow 7-2. by Ken Weingartner, Harness Racing Communications
Some things change, and some things stay the same. That was the case when two-year-old trotting fillies made their way to Mohawk Racetrack for Thursday’s septet of OSS Grassroots divisions. The duo of trainer John Bax and driver Paul MacDonell has been lethal with young trotters since Lassie was a pup, and they proved it once again during Thursday’s 12-race card. Flexceptional had a shaky start in her assignment, but she had a perfect finish for the tandem of MacDonell and Bax. The filly was stacked up third-over going into the final turn, but when MacDonell tipped her off cover turning for her she used a :29.2 closing quarter to win by three-quarters of a length over Dewy Take A Selfie in 2:01. Third prize went to Its A Hotty. Sent off at odds of 16-1, the daughter of Federal Flex-Maurel Hanover won at first asking for owner Dave Hudson of Dallas, Texas. The youngster was purchased for $10,000 from last year’s Lexington Select Yearling Sale. To view the rest of the story click here.
HARRINGTON, Del. - Chris Giaccio, Victor Kirby, Matt Ivory and CH Metz's Please Okay ($12, Victor Kirby) set a new track record and national season's mark on half-mile tracks for 3-year-old trotting fillies Sunday at Harrington Raceway with a 1:57 triumph. Trained by Kirby, the Federal Flex filly made a strong charge approaching the final turn and drew clear of her rivals by four lengths. Canadian-sired Please Okay is scheduled to compete in the upcoming Ontario Sire Stakes. The previous track record was co-held by TP Lucy and Ms. Virginia. In the 13th race, two veteran pacers finished in a dead heat as 10-year-old Wainui Tabman N and 13-year-old Sharky Osborne could not be separated at the wire for a 1:56.3 co-victory. It was the 60th career win for Sharky Osborne. Jon Roberts had four winners on the program. Allan Davis had three, while George Dennis had a double. Racing continues at Harrington on a Sunday through Wednesday schedule with the exception of Thursday July 3, which will be the closing night of the spring season. by Matt Sparacino, for Harrington Raceway
TORONTO, April 24 - After making a miscue as the heavy-favourite in last week's opening round of the Celias Counsel Series, Flexible Woman regained her form as she took the faster of two divisions Thursday evening at Woodbine. Sent off as the 4/5 favourite, Flexible Woman and driver Steve Byron stopped the clock in 1:56.4, a new career best. Byron and Flexible Woman led gate-to-wire through panels of :27.1, :56.3 and 1:27.1, before edging away from her eight rivals to win by half a length. K D Bella (Mike Saftic) came on to finish second, with Serendipitious (Jody Jamieson) third. Trained by John Bax for Parkhill Stud Farm and breeder Glengate Farms, Flexible Woman increased her bankroll to $49,986. The daughter of Federal Flex-Womanlee now has a 2-1-0 record from four starts this season. In the other division, Magic Feeling and Mike Saftic stunned their rivals at 50-1. Sent off as the second choice, Wings Of Ballykeel (Sylvain Filion) was first to the front, but elected to allow a parked-out Domedomedome (Jack Moiseyev) to the position of command at the opening quarter in :28. Heading towards the half, Magic Feeling was still on the outside and crossed over to make the front, but Wings Of Ballykeel quickly regained control before the mid-way point in :58.1. Wings of Ballykeel continued to lead her seven rivals past three-quarters in 1:28.3. Down the stretch, Wings Of Ballykeel was still on the lead, but Magic Feeling would get the best of her rival in deep stretch to complete the upset. Post time favourite Just Call Me Lady (Trevor Ritchie) rallied off cover to finish third. Trained and co-owned by Frank O'Reilly along with John Fielding and Isidoro Russo, Magic Feeling made her first start of the season a winning one as her bankroll sits at $7,500. The daughter of Kadabra paid $103.00 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.