I had to wait until the very last race of Saturday night, the Gold Cup & Saucer, to give me my fourth straight winning weekend. The Bigtown Hero/Wazzup Wazzup exacta box saved it in what was a super dramatic race. There is not one race for more than $100,000 this weekend, but it isn’t always the purse that counts as there are some great races in store for fans at Mohawk with their eliminations for the Metro, Canadian Pacing Classic and She’s A Great Lady plus solid action Friday at Yonkers and Sunday at Harrah’s and Tioga. Good Luck! $44,000 Trot Open Yonkers Raceway 8th race FRIDAY – What a great race with world champion’s Bee A Magician and Arch Madness in the lineup. She may be the only mare in the field and shows just one win in seven starts this year, but Bee A Magician should be able to surprise this field having drawn the rail. This is just her third time ever on a half mile track but I see her wiring the field. Use Arch Madness and Somebody AS in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – He shows nothing but 1’s on his race program lines and Sweet Lou is no question the top pacer in the world this year. He is going for his ninth straight win and sixth straight mile in under 1:48. He is simply amazing for the Ron Burke Stable. Use Foiled Again and Sunshine Beach in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 4th race SATURDAY – As the lone return winners in this preliminary round, I think Shakai Hanover is also the one who can repeat. She has won two of her last three starts for Jamieson Stable and should be at her best again. Use Bedroomconfessions and Aria Hanover in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – After showing everyone he has the gate speed to overcome post eight and get a perfect trip to win off of last week, Sports Bettor should be able to do it again from post seven this week. He gets slim call in very wide open race. Use Go Daddy Go and Lone Survivor in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Canadian Pacing Derby Elims Mohawk 8th race SATURDAY – When it is your home track it means a lot and that is why I am going with State Treasurer. He has seven wins this year and nearly everyone was either at Mohawk or Woodbine. He never got into the hunt last start in Dan Patch at Hoosier Park and should come back with a vengeance in here. Use Captaintreacherous and Ellis Park in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – When you are as well-bred as JK Shesalady is and are on a four-race unbeaten streak to start off your career, you can’t go against such success. As long as she does not get into any road trouble she should win once again. Use Cashaway and Solar Sister in exotic plays. $35,000 Pace She’s A Great Lady Elims Mohawk 10th race SATURDAY – Here is another undefeated young filly who has a passion for racing on the front end and not getting caught from behind. Band Of Angels could be tested well in here but I think she will still emerge as the winner. Use Happy Becky and Dancin Caroll in exotic plays. $40,000 Pace Metro Elims Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Not much to speak of in here EXCEPT for Artspeak. Unbeaten in four career starts this colt has been ranked with Yankee Bounty as the two best colts in the nation and rightly so. He has been hot racing on the front end but shows he can come from behind too. Use Pierce Hanover and Traceur Hanover in exotic plays. $30,000 Pace winners-over $25,000 Harrah’s 9th race SUNDAY – I really tried to pick against P H Supercam in here. I don’t think he will like being away from Yonkers (as he showed last week) and racing in the daylight too. Just have a feeling but then I could not really put my hand on anyone else in the field that could beat. Thus with the rail for the first time in months I guess P H Supercam is the best. Use Great Vintage and Adventure Bound in exotic plays. $10,000 Trot Kindergarten Series Tioga Downs 10th race SUNDAY – What a great match up between Mission Brief and Allerage Star, two of the top young trotting fillies in racing. But I think that Mission Brief has too much front end speed to anyone to keep close enough to her the entire mile and she should win in here. Use Allerage Star and Josie’s Joy in exotic plays.
This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 19 - The spotlight will be on Mohawk Racetrack this Saturday night as two Canadian Pacing Derby eliminations, two Metro Pace eliminations and three She's A Great Lady eliminations will take centre stage. The Canadian Pacing Derby has a rich history as the oldest stakes race in Canada for standardbred racehorses and on Saturday night the sport's top stars will bring their talents north for a pair of six-horse eliminations. 2013 Pepsi North America Winner Captaintreacherous and driver Tim Tetrick will start from post five in the second $40,000 elimination. A two-time Pacer of the Year, Captaintreacherous has had to make the tough transition from age three to four this season, but has still shown his grit and determination facing the big boys. Last Saturday night, 'The Captain' won the $34,000 Preferred in prep for the Canadian Pacing Derby and trainer Tony Alagna was delighted with his performance. "I was happy with his effort, it was a confidence builder he needed going into this week's elimination," said Alagna. "We drew away from Sweet Lou, but we caught Bettors Edge who has been racing really well, so hopefully the short field helps and he gets a fair shot again." 'The Captain' is a big fan of Mohawk Racetrack as he has never lost in six career starts over the Campbellville oval. "He's always been his best up here," said Alagna. "We've had him up here for major races, so he's always been on his game when he came up here. He likes the atmosphere and he seems happy up here." 'The Captain' has two wins in seven starts this season and has never finished out of the money for seasonal earnings topping $176,000 The top horse this season on the WEG circuit, State Treasurer, will line up two spots inside Captaintreacherous. State Treasurer has won the WEG Preferred six times this season and has won seven of his 12 starts for earnings of over $296,000. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, State Treasurer will be driven by WEG's leading driver Chris Christoforou. The hottest horse in harness racing headlines the first elimination. The Ron Burke trainee, Sweet Lou, enters his elimination on a nine-race win streak and having won his last seven starts in 1:47.4 or better Sweet Lou has drawn post two in his elimination and will have his regular pilot Ron Pierce in the sulky. A five-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser, Sweet Lou has made over $3 million in his career, but joining him in his elimination is the richest standardbred in the history of the sport, Foiled Again. Also trained by Ron Burke, Foiled Again has earned over $6.3 million and continues to compete at the top level at the age of ten. Foiled Again, who will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras, is also a previous Canadian Pacing Derby winner having won the 2012 edition. The top five finishers from each elimination will advance to the $650,000 final on Saturday, August 30. Elimination winners may choose their post position for the final. 15 of the sport's brightest freshman pacing colts and geldings have been split into a pair of eliminations for the chance to race in the $685,000 Metro Pace Final on Saturday August 30. Leading the group of 15 is the Alagna trainee, Artspeak, who is undefeated in four career starts and enters the Metro elim fresh off a victory in the Nassagaweya Stakes last Saturday night. Artspeak and driver Scott Zeron will start from post position five in the first $40,000 elimination. Alagna said he was happy with how Artspeak came out of the Nassagaweya Stakes. "Artspeak jogged back super, everything checks out good," said Alagna. "We are really happy with the way he drew and hopefully he has another good shot this week and takes another step towards the Metro final." The son of Western Ideal - The Art Museum was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase and is owned by the Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and the In The GYM Partners. One of the top local rookies, Traceur Hanover, will meet up with Artspeak for the first time. Trained by Normand Bardier Jr., Traceur Hanover enters this weekend's elimination with three wins in four starts and is also coming off a victory in his Nassagaweya split. Randy Waples sits behind the son of Western Ideal - Transference for owner Richard Berthiaume, who bought Traceur Hanover for the same price as Artspeak at the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. The other $40,000 elimination appears to be a wide-open affair, with seven rookie pacers looking to be in the top five to secure a spot in the rich final. Sports Bettor, who will start from post position seven, is coming off a 69-1 upset victory in his division of the Nassagaweya last Saturday night. Trained by Mark Austin for owner-breeder Frank Gentile, Sports Bettor broke his maiden in style with the Nassagaweya upset. Before his breakthrough in the Nassagaweya, Sports Bettor had finished second in three of his five career starts. Randy Waples will drive the son of Sportswriter - Shellys Delight. Also in the field of seven is this year's Battle of Waterloo winner, Go Daddy Go, who will start from post three for the Hall of Fame connections of driver John Campbell and trained Bob McIntosh. The top five finishers from both eliminations will advance to the $685,000 final on August 30, with elimination winners earning the right to select their post position for the final. The She's A Great Lady has attracted 25 rookie pacing fillies that have been split into three eliminations. Shakai Hanover, a division winner of last Saturday' Eternal Camnation Stakes, headlines the first $35,000 elimination. Trained by Carl Jamieson and driven by Jody Jamieson, Shakai Hanover will start from post position three and has won twice in four career starts. The daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan set a new career mark with her Eternal Camnation victory of 1:52.4 and has earned just under $83,000. The second elimination features undefeated filly Band Of Angels from the Ron Burke barn. A daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven - Time N Again, Band Of Angels has won her first five starts of her career, with all five victories coming in New York Sires Stakes events. She will start from post six with driver Yannick Gingras and ships north with over $133,000 in earnings and a mark of 1:52.3. The final elimination stars another undefeated filly that will have Yannick Gingras in the bike. JK Shesalady won her division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes last Saturday to improve her record to four for four. Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners the 3 Brothers Stable, JK Shesalady has a speed badge of 1:52 and earnings exceeding $68,000. The top three finishers from each elimination and one third place finisher drawn by lot will advance to the $450,000 final on Saturday, August 30. All three rich finals will take place Saturday, August 30 at Mohawk Racetrack. The party will start at 6 p.m. and first race post time is 7:25 p.m. Here are the fields for Saturday night's stakes eliminations. PP/Horse/Driver Race 3 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Thinking Out Loud - John Campbell 2. Sweet Lou - Ron Pierce 3. Captive Audience - James MacDonald 4. Domethatagain - Ron Pierce 5. Sunshine Beach - Chris Christoforou 6. Foiled Again - Yannick Gingras Race 8 - Canadian Pacing Derby Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. Ellis Park - Steve Condren 2. Bettors Edge - Matt Kakaley 3. State Treasurer - Chris Christoforou 4. Modern Legend - James MacDonald 5. Captaintreacherous - Tim Tetrick 6. Clear Vision - Brett Miller Race 6 - Metro Pace Elimination One - Purse: $40,000 1. Lyons Levi Lewis - Yannick Gingras 2. Trading Up - Scott Zeron 3. Go Daddy Go - John Campbell 4. Lone Survivor - David Miller 5. Dudes The Man - David Miller 6. Asap Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Sports Bettor - Randy Waples Race 11 - Metro Pace Elimination Two - Purse: $40,000 1. The Wayfaring Man - Jack Moiseyev 2. Pierce Hanover - Paul Macdonell 3. Amora Beach - Tim Tetrick 4. Some Power - David Miller 5. Artspeak - Scott Zeron 6. Lyons Again - Yannick Gingras 7. Traceur Hanover - Randy Waples 8. Rollin Ring Afire - Matt Kakaley Race 4 - She's A Great Lady Elimination One - Purse: $35,000 1. The Show Returns - Tim Tetrick 2. Bedroomconfessions - Scott Zeron 3. Shakai Hanover - Jody Jamieson 4. Strut My Stuff - John Campbell 5. Palette Tina - Yannick Gingras 6. Aria Hanover - Tim Tetrick 7. Bettor Be Steppin - Corey Callahan 8. Kays Dragon Lady - Matt Kakaley Race 9 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Two - Purse: $35,000 1. Solar Sister - Doug McNair 2. Divine Caroline - Corey Callahan 3. Missy Tap Tina - Tim Tetrick 4. Cashaway - Tim Tetrick 5. Jk Shesalady - Yannick Gingras 6. Well Hello There - Matt Kakaley 7. Southwind Mischief - Chris Christoforou 8. Shesastarreporter - Jonathan Drury 9. Ideal Nuggets - John Campbell Race 10 - She's A Great Lady Elimination Three - Purse: $35,000 1. Float On By - Tim Tetrick 2. Macarena Mama - Chris Christoforou 3. A Plus - Scott Zeron 4. Bin N Heaven - Doug McNair 5. Betty And The Jets - Doug McNair 6. Band Of Angels - Yannick Gingras 7. Happy Becky - David Miller 8. Dancin Caroll - Jack Moiseyev by Mark McKelvie, for WEG Communications.
Dancin Yankee is now the fastest harness racing horse in the 70-year history of Saratoga Raceway as he sped to an amazing 1:48.4 triumph in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Pace. Driven by Tyler Buter, there was little doubt what he had in mind as Dancin Yankee was on the lead moments after the starting gate pulled away. He sent Dancing Yankee to an amazing :25.1 opening quarter mile on Saratoga’s half mile oval as Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) grabbed the pocket trip. Looking comfortable but aggressive on the lead, Buter had a determined Dancin Yankee on the lead to the half mile marker in :53.4. It was then that Foiled Again and driver Matt Kakaley came first-over to challenge and they gave outside cover to P H Supercam (Jason Barlett). But there was no denying that Dancin Yankee was on a mission as they passed the three-quarters in 1:21, a :27.1 third quarter and once they straighten out for the stretch drive, Dancin Yankee was still full of pace. He pulled away from the field in the stretch to win by three open lengths with a dazzling :27.4 last quarter mile. Heston Blue Chip was able to hold on for second with a game first-over Foiled Again third. The 1:48.4 clocking erased the previous all age track record at Saratoga by one-fifth of a second as Bolt The Duer went in 1:49 just last year. It was the 15th victory this year for Dancin Yankee. The son of Yankee Cruiser is trained by Amber Buter and is owned by the Baron Racing Stable of Horshem, PA and Richard Mombardo of Solon, OH. He paid $3.90 to win. With his victory and winners share of the purse at $130,000, Dancin Yankee became harness racing’s newest millionaire. He now has career earnings of $1,043,462. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Sorry that I had to skip a week due to my trip to Canada and Ireland but we are back in action once again. Hambletonian Day was my third straight winning weekend so as I am on a roll we will lay it all on the line for this weekend. Plenty of top flight racing around the country starting Friday with the Milstein Memorial and consolation Friday at Northfield Park, then Saturday’s action is mainly at Mohawk Raceway for their two-year-old stakes plus some top Preferred events. Saratoga has their Gerrity Memorial and to cap it all off is the Gold Cup & Saucer at Charlottetown Driving Park. Good Luck! $100,000 Pace Carl Milstein 3YO Consolation Northfield Park 8th race FRIDAY – National Debt was an undefeated early season sensation who seems to be coming back to life again. Off his last two starts he shows game finishes and should be able to take advantage of inside position to win in here. Use Limelight Beach and Western Vintage in exotic plays. $400,000 Pace Carl Milstein Memorial 3YO Northfield Park 11th race FRIDAY – With his five-race winning streak on the line, McWicked is in prime form and has beaten most of this field in the past. He is super sharp for trainer Casie Coleman, draws the rail on a half mile and should wire the field once again. Use All Bets Off and Tellitlikeitis in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 2nd race SATURDAY – Undefeated in her early career with four straight wins Happy Becky should have things her own way against this field. She has yet to be defeated on the front end and last start she romped by more than six lengths with ease. Use Bedroomconfessions and The Show Returns in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – Super well-bred JK Shesalady is undefeated in three starts and two back saw her win with ease in 1:52. She has drawn an outside post but that should hinder her ability to win once again. Use Cashaway and Wicked Little Minx in exotic plays. $76,245 Pace Eternal Camnation 2YO Fillies Mohawk Raceway 5th race SATURDAY - This is the weakest of the three divisions but A Plus should be able to take full advantage of that fact despite making only her second pari-mutuel start. She has already shown she can win from on and off the pace and will be tested well in here. Use Ideal Nuggets and Moonlit Dance in exotic plays. $89,924 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – The Wayfaring Man nearly made it a clean sweep in the Dream Maker series, winning last leg and the final. Logical choice in here provided he can continue to improve as they will be flying in here. Use ASAP Hanover and Edison in exotic plays. $34,000 Pace Preferred Mohawk Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Here we have the top two three-year-olds of last year going head and head. Both have had it rough going against seasoned stars but now face each other one again. I am giving the slight edge to Sunshine Beach over Captaintreacherous mainly because Sunshine Beach finally won a couple of starts and that should game him up for big mile. Use Captaintreacherous and Bestofbest Hanover in exotic plays. $260,000 Pace Joe Gerrity, Jr. Memorial Saratoga Harness 9th race SATURDAY – A great slugfest here with top horses going to post. While the Burke Stable has their big guns in Foiled Again and Clear Vision, I am going with Dancin Yankee. He suffered his first loss in six starts last out against Sweet Lou but should be able to come right back with good inside post to beginning winning streak again. Use entry of Foiled Again/Clear Vision and entry of Fat Man’s Alley and P H Supercam in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 9th race pace SATURDAY – Despite having finished second in his last four starts Amora Beach still looms as the betting favorite in here and rightly so. He is a game performer and should be able to take this division either from on or off the pace. Use Traceur Hanover and American Legend in exotic plays. $34,000 Trot Preferred Mohawk Raceway 10th race SATURDAY – If anyone can wire the field in this race it will be Daylon Magician. He did it in his last start with a sharp 1:52.1 triumph, last quarter mile in :27.2. He is facing some tough local foes but can get the job done again. Use Mister Herbie and Wheeling N Dealin in exotic plays. $91,425 Pace Nassagweya 2YO Colts Mohawk Raceway 11th race SATURDAY – Even drawing the outside post eight should not stop Artspeak from remaining undefeated. Talented son of Western Ideal has been perfect in his first three starts and last time out scorched the track at the Meadowlands in 1:50.4 for trainer Tony Alagna. Use Pierce Hanover and Lyons Again in exotic plays. $75,000 Pace Gold Cup & Saucer Charlottetown Driving Park 14th race SATURDAY – This is really the place to be in North America. It’s the Little Brown Jug of Canada and after last year it looks like the Ron Burke Stable wants to win it again. Aracache Hanover was super strong on the front end in his elim win last week and with post two I see him wiring the field and not looking back. Use Wazzup Hanover and Bigtown Hero in exotic plays.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (August 14, 2014) - Saratoga Casino and Raceway is set to welcome some of the country's finest standardbred individual performers during the running of the sixth annual Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Free for All (FFA) Pace on Saturday, August 16. The first post time is scheduled for 7:05pm that evening. This year's Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace features a balanced, high quality field of eight elite horses competing for $260,000. Notable entries in this year's pace include Ron Burke's Foiled Again, who has amassed over $6 million in lifetime wins; and Clear Vision, who currently shares the world record for aged pacers on Â½ mile tracks. The career wins of all the horses in Saturday's pace total over $12 million. The $260,000 Memorial Pace is set for the 9th race of the evening's card. "We are very excited to have such a highly competitive field to go to post in this year's edition of our premier race," said Peter Iovino, Race Secretary at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "Along with the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers and a few quality open handicap races, it should make for a great night of excitement." Guests in attendance will receive a coupon for a free commemorative 2014 'Gerrity Night' t-shirt with the purchase of a $2 race program, while supplies last. Saratoga Springs Equine Officer, Jupiter, will be on hand for photos with guests from 6:30-8:30pm, along with his partner Officer Glenn Barrett. The duo is featured in the recent book, Standardbred Old Friends, which highlights Jupiter's brief career as a trotter at Saratoga Raceway before joining the Saratoga Police Department in 2003. The Memorial was created in 2009 as a pacing series honoring the memory of Joe Gerrity, Jr. and his many contributions. A highly respected leader, inspiration and an icon for Saratoga Raceway and the horse racing industry, he was a breeder of horses in Loudonville, a licensed harness driver and became Chairman of the Board of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (now Saratoga Casino and Raceway) on April 1, 1987. Mr. Gerrity later oversaw the expansion of the facility and the installation of video gaming machines, funding the project in part himself. He also served as a Director for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State for 20 years, and also acted as Treasurer for much of that time. Mr. Gerrity passed away in October of 2005. From Saratoga Raceway & Casino
For Foiled Again, it’s summertime and nothing is easy. But harness racing trainer Ron Burke is confident the 10-year-old pacer will return to prominence again. The three-time defending Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, Foiled Again has won four of 14 starts this year and earned $300,100, but last visited the winner’s circle in mid-April. He will try to snap a 10-race skid when he heads to Saratoga Casino & Raceway for Saturday’s $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial. The entry box for the Gerrity closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday. For his career, Foiled Again has won 80 of 212 races and earned $6.33 million, which is the most money for any harness racing horse in North American history. He has gotten better with age, with the money he has banked since turning age 7 – $4.31 million – being good enough on its own to make him the richest pacer. “I feel bad for him,” Burke said. “He’s super right now. He’s drawn the wrong spots, but he’ll get himself going. He’ll come back.” Since joining the Burke stable in 2008, Foiled Again’s overall win percentage in June, July and August is 19.2 percent, with 11 wins in 57 starts. That makes him 61-for-109 the rest of the year, which is a win rate of 55.9 percent. And he’s hit the board an astounding 103 times in those 109 races. During the months from September through the end of the year, Foiled Again has won 32 of 56 starts since 2007 and finished on the board 54 times. Foiled Again will enter the Gerrity off a sixth-place finish in the U.S. Pacing Championship, where he was beaten by stablemate Sweet Lou by 5-1/2 lengths despite a :25.4 final quarter-mile. In his previous two starts, he was third from post seven in the Battle of Lake Erie at half-mile Northfield Park and eighth in the William R. Haughton Memorial from post 10 at the Meadowlands. At the end of June, he paced the fastest mile of his life, timed in 1:47.1, but finished third to Sweet Lou in a world-record 1:47 mile in the Ben Franklin Pace at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. “You watch the replay [of the U.S. Pacing Championship] and at the wire he’s absolutely airborne,” Burke said. “He came home as fast as anybody. “Now a couple of the smaller tracks are coming up and he’s always been good at Mohawk. We go to Saratoga with him, then Mohawk, and then we go to Harrington [Raceway] or maybe Scioto [Downs]. He’s sharp. He’ll be good.” Mohawk hosts the Canadian Pacing Derby, which Foiled Again won in 2012, on Aug. 30. Eliminations, if necessary, will be Aug. 23. Harrington is home to the Bobby Quillen Memorial, which Foiled Again has won twice and been runner-up three times, on Sept. 15. Eliminations will be a week earlier, if needed. Scioto Downs has the Jim Ewart Memorial Invitational on Sept. 27. Foiled Again ranks No. 6 in earnings among older male pacers this year. The leader is his stablemate, Sweet Lou, with $916,500. The 5-year-old Sweet Lou has a nine-race victory streak after winning last Friday’s Dan Patch Invitational at Hoosier Park in a track-record 1:47.2. For his career, Sweet Lou has won 31 of 67 races and $3.03 million. He was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer and earned $1 million at age 3, but picked up only four wins in 2013. “I thought last year the torch would pass from Foiled to Lou, but I give credit to Foiled, he stepped his game up and Lou didn’t quite come through,” Burke said. “I’m not surprised this year. I don’t know if Foiled has ever run into a horse in the last couple years that’s as sharp as Lou is right now. It’s just a matter of whether Lou can maintain this until the end of the year. “But nothing Foiled does down the road will shock me. He’s just such a good horse.” Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
Dublin, Ireland – You could call it the “Little Brown Jug” of Ireland and most everyone at the track would know what you were talking about. There were horsemen, women and children from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales and they all have great passion for harness racing. Portmarnock Trotting Track is just fifteen minutes from the center of Dublin. The passenger train runs past the backstretch every 20 minutes or so, day and night. We started off the afternoon with a meet and greet featuring Hall of Famers Wally Hennessey (USA/Canada), Roger Huston (USA) Anthony Butt (New Zealand) Heather Vitale and myself. The tented area immediately became packed with nearly 200 race fans both young and old in attendance. After the introductions were made Roger Huston took charge and told some great stories that got the crowd in motion and questions to the guest started to fly. People wanted to know why they still used the Australian jog-cart styled long shafted race bikes down under instead of the American version. Fans wanted to know what it was like for Wally Hennessey to drive Moni Maker all over the racing world and which Roger Huston’s favorite Little Brown Jug races was. Then there was a great live auction with the proceeds going to the Pieta House that is country-wide suicide prevention organization with 15 locations throughout Ireland. I was most proud that horsemen from the USA and Canada donated great items, driving colors autographed from Tim Tetrick, Corey Callahan, George Brennan, David Miller, Jody Jamieson and, of course, Wally Hennessey. Anthony Butt brought over a set of his colors and a special Inter dominion jacket were all bid for feverishly. Bobble heads too (Roger Huston, Jody Jamieson and Corey Callahan) and the Meadowlands sent over Hambletonian caps from last week’s race. The biggest item of all was a used UFO race bike used by Foiled Again from the Ron Burke Stable and that alone brought 3,000 euros ($4,000 US). The auction continues Sunday but I overheard that proceeds just for Saturday may have tipped the scales at over 6,000 euros and could surpass 10,000 after Sunday. Then the racing began and the crowds piled in more and more despite on and off rain showers throughout the day. Portmarnock is not that big a track. The infield is used during the day as a golf driving range so racing did not start until 5 pm. Up until 4 pm a tractor was in the centerfield scooping up golf balls. They race four on the gate and four trailers. Roger Huston called the races from the infield on the second floor of glass trailers. He was sitting on a swivel chair so he could swing around the see horses at the raced down the backstretch. But despite the rain the fans came out, maybe 1,000 strong for the races. And what I found to be the most interesting was the wagering on the races. There are no betting windows and pari-mutuel machines, no self-service bill accepting units. They have actual live bookies. Men taking bets, writing down first names and handing back a business card type voucher, shouting out the odds and parlays, checking their competition and if they were willing, raising their odds a fraction to entice others to come wager with them. A fistful of cash in hand to make quick change before the field lined up behind the starting gate. Some bookies had an LCD board and could change odds in a split second typing away on their keyboard. Others had dry erase boards that would smear in the rain so they had to wipe them with their sleeves in order to post the new odds. Some were dressed in nice suits with loud ties, one had a top hat. It just made the races more interesting than I had seen before. It was wagering at its grass roots. Legalized bookies encourage punters to come forward and try their luck. And everyone loved Roger Huston’s race calls. He had them cheering for the field at the half mile and the finish of each race. And the fans applauded the winners and losers after every event. And then once the races were over, the party did not stop. The bar at the track was packed from the start of the first race and was still going strong when I left to come back to the hotel at near midnight. Everyone was having a great time. I just hope some of them remembered to get a little rest because everyone was looking forward to the Sunday card and hoping for Mother Nature to provide them with a sunny, dry afternoon, especially for the final of the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Pace Final. We started out Day 2 in Dublin, Ireland sorta on the wrong foot, perhaps even the wrong side of the bed. As some of us (me) overslept because of our 36-hour first day, I missed the trip to the Guiness Factory, so Stephanie (my wife) and I talked with the lobby desk people and they turned us on to a pleasant surprise. The Village of Malahide. We took a taxi and within 20 minutes was at the entrance to the Malahide Castle and its lavish 1,000 acres grounds. We walked up what seemed to be a half mile tree-laden drive, stopped to watch youngsters playing cricket, just like kids in America playing organized baseball, on the beautifully manicured lawns of the palatial estate. Then we reached the castle and its stunning four-acre walled gardens, all first built in the 12th century. The Talbot Family owned and lived there for almost 800 years. The castle is full furnished and magnificent. We then took a quick walking tour into the Malahide Village with its picturesque streets decorated with flower displays, lovely store fronts and boat marina. Then back to the hotel and to get ready for the harness racing at Portmarnock. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
A total of 15 two-year-old colt and filly pacers have entered the 3rd annual Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial this weekend at Portmarnock Trotting Track in Dublin, Ireland. There will be three five horse field elimination divisions on Saturday, August 9 with the top two official finishers and the fastest two third place finishers to return the very next day, Sunday, August 10, for the finale. Each preliminary round will race for a purse of 750 euros ($1,000 US) and the final will go for a record 18,500 euros ($25,000 US), making it the richest stakes race ever in the history of harness racing in both Ireland and Great Britain and the richest pacing event ever in all of Europe. One of the three divisions will be for fillies and the fillies that advance to the final will then draw for the inside post positions. The draw for post positions will not take place until Saturday afternoon before the start of the race card at Portmarnock, that way all owners, trainers and drivers will be on hand for the draws. The same will take place on Sunday. Currently the 6/4 favourite and leading contender is Alexander Camden, who was the highest priced yearling ever sold in Ireland and the United Kingdom last season, fetching £38,000 sterling ($53,000 US) at the York Standardbred Sale last year. His is sired by Cambest out of Lola making him a full brother to two sub 1:49 pacers Canyon Wind and Paragon. In his short career on the track, Alexander Camden seems to be living up to his purchase price as the good looking youngster is being trained by English maestro Mick Lord for Scottish owner Davy Morton. In his four races so far, the colt has two wins and two seconds with his fastest victory in 2:02.3 at York Raceway, the UKs premier half mile track. However, the fastest of the freshman pacers so far this season is a filly, Carmel Camden, who is owned and trained by Dubliners Derek and James Delaney, who originally developed and sponsored the race back in 2012 in memory of their younger brother Vincent, who tragically past away in 2011 at age 27. Since the inception of the event, the brothers have dearly sought to have a runner in the line-up and last October they acquired Carmel Camden, a £12,000 sterling ($17,000US) daughter of No Pan Intended out of Pan Cullottes, who were both US Breeders Crown winners respectively back in 2003. Carmel Camden is the second choice in the early wagering at odds of 7/4. She has made three starts so far and remains undefeated. Her fastest win was 2:01.7 over Portmarnock’s half mile oval, just a few ticks shy of tying the track record for two-year-old fillies. Another top prospect is Titanium, who was a bargain £3,400 sterling ($5,000 US) yearling purchase and is by super sire Hasty Hall, who has dominated the ranks of the juvenile classic winners in the UK in recent years. Owned and driven by leading lady driver Vicky Gill of Yorkshire and trained by Vicky’s Dad, John Gill, of the Emerald Stables, Titanium has won two of his three starts so far and has a personal best time of 2.02.2. Vicky and dad John won this race just last year with Camden Tino, so the combination know just what it takes to win the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial. Titanium is listed at odds of 7-1. Other contenders include Lyons Premier at 5-1, another son of Hasty Hall, who has two impressive starts so far, a strong win at York Raceway in 2:03.3 for Welsh owner/breeder Geoff Mound. Mound races pacers all over Canada and the USA under the Lyons prefix. Just last week Lyons Premier won a colts division Breeders Crown in the UK by six open lengths in 2:07.2 in defeating It’s My Check with Titanium third over a heavy wet track.; Mikey Camden at 12-1, is by Cambest, who is a £27,000 sterling ($38,000US) yearling purchase, has one win after three starts in 2:03.1 and locally owned Meadowbranch Ideal, an imported son of Western Ideal who has been impressive in three qualifiers so far, but as yet to win at the Dublin venue. He is 7-1. Listed below are the 15 horses entered in the Ladbroke’s Vincent Delaney Memorial Pacing Series for two-year-olds. Morning line odds for the punters are listed next to the name of each horse. 6/4 Alexander Camden 7/4 Carmel Camden (f) 5 Lyons Premier 6 Coalford Tetrick 7 Titanium 7 Its My Check 7 Meadowbranch Ideal 12 Mikey Camden 12 Watch Your Back (f) 16 Rhyds Gambler 16 Ballyhill Jimmy 25 Showtime Big Cigar 25 Meadowbranch Millie (f) 33 Regal Sensation (f) 40 Springhill Nancy (f) (f) denotes a filly Handicapper Thomas Bennett has put the race in summary. “Based on all known form this looks like a straightforward match between Carmel Camden and Alexander Camden,” Bennett said, “with the latter just getting the nod. Top trainer Mick Lord has gradually built up momentum with the colt and is improving rapidly whilst a filly has never won this event going against the chances of Carmel Camden. Titanium could upstage the pair of them and Lyons Premier, Coalford Tetrick and Its My Check boast solid credentials and are more than capable of causing a shock.” In addition to the Delaney Memorial with it eliminations on Saturday and final on Sunday, there are other top race events over the weekend. “We had more than 150 horses entered for this weekend,” said Derek Delaney, “That is a great number for any weekend meet. Looks like everyone wants to be part of the racing action at Portmarnock.” The supporting card over the weekend will feature the Oakwood Stud Three-Year-Old Derby; the Paul Murtagh Senior Memorial 4YO Championship and the Elvin/Delaney FFA Trot. On Saturday starting at 3:00 pm guests at the track are invited to a meet and greet with the three Hall of Famers who have come to Ireland for the event. They are world-class drivers Wally Hennessey from the USA/Canada, New Zealand’s Anthony Butt and calling the major races both days is world-renowned track announcer, Roger Huston. At 3:30 pm will be the drawing of post positions for Saturday’s race card followed by the special charity auction with proceeds going to the Peita House of Ireland, which is a center for the prevention of self-harm or suicide. The top item in the auction is a UFO racing sulky from world famous trainer Ron Burke. This bike was used on many of the Burke Stables top horses, including world champion Foiled Again. There will also be six sets of driver’s autographed colours from some of the top horsemen in harness racing. The racing will get underway Saturday starting at 5:00 pm. In addition, there will be 18 services to stallion at stud here in Ireland and some in the UK. All the donation from these proceeds will be presented to the representatives from the Pieta House during Sunday’s race program. Ladbroke’s, the premier sponsor of the Vincent Delaney Memorial, is also giving out a 5 euro match play wager to everyone that comes out to track on Sunday. Entertainment for the children each day will include a Playbus, face-painting, balloonist, candy cart, a colouring competition and a free goody bag for all the children. Sunday’s first race post time is 2:00 pm and there will be a competition for the Best Dressed Lady, Best Dressed Gentleman and the Best Dressed Couple with some wonderful prizes including a Designer Dress Hire, Hotel Break, Pampering Vouchers and much more. by Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com
Feature story appeared Sunday in Dublin's Independent Newspaper
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
East Rutherford, NJ - The $257,700 United States Pacing Championship (USPC) will provide the stage for nine of the finest in the aged pacing division to do battle on Hambletonian Day at The Meadowlands. A testament to the quality of the group is the fact that the combined career earnings of these nine pacers is in excess of $20 million. Among the chief contenders in Saturday's race is Captaintreacherous who dominated his division and was subsequently named "Pacer of the Year" as a freshman and sophomore, a distinction he shares with only the immortal Niatross. Faced this season at age four with graduation into the open ranks to battle the best of the older set was expected to be a daunting task and the competition has been fierce. Captaintreacherous was born to be a star with the pedigree and presence to demand $250,000 at the 2011 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. He came from the greatly anticipated first crop of champion racehorse Somebeachsomewhere and boasts a very accomplished maternal line. White Birch Farm bred and raised the colt and when Myron Bell and Tony Alagna saw him during their annual farm canvass they agreed he was priority one. The winning bid was made by Bell on behalf of a partnership that included George Segal's Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz, Joe Sbrocco and Myron and Stephanie Bell's Riverview Farm. White Birch proprietor Michael Parisi was offered a stake and remained a partner on the horse as well. They would choose the nom de course Captaintreacherous Racing for this endeavor. Myron Bell has been the racing manager for George Segal's Brittany Farms for more than thirty years. Throughout their relationship many of the sport's stars both on the track and in the breeding shed have campaigned under the Brittany banner. Over the past decade, Myron has managed a number of partnerships that include several high-profile Standardbred owners and breeders with remarkable results. Captaintreacherous represents the culmination of a lifetime spent breeding, buying and racing the best. "My groups, such as Captaintreacherous Racing, are looking for that top horse that we can race successfully at the highest level and then hopefully have a future in the breeding shed. I could not do any of this without their confidence and support," said Bell. "We bought just one colt from Somebeachsomewhere's first crop and our aim was to buy the best one. "Captaintreacherous was the number one colt from that crop, in our opinion. He showed beautifully and offered the best pedigree that I'd seen for years. He had all of the attributes that we seek; conformation, attitude, ability...and he had no weaknesses." Things began well for Captaintreacherous. He seared through his two-year-old campaign with Tim Tetrick joining the team as his regular driver, listing the Wilson and Metro among eight wins in ten starts for over $900,000 and his first "Pacer of the Year" title. Brought back at three with great expectations, "The Captain" exceeded even those lofty ambitions and ran the table with the North America Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Breeders Crown among his thirteen triumphs and $2 million in seasonal earnings. Along the way Captaintreacherous captured the hearts of racing fans with his grit and determination, often appearing on the brink of defeat only to battle back and get to the wire first. His talent and will; coupled with his breeding and imposing presence, drew the attention of several suitors for his services as a stallion. Ultimately it would be industry leader Hanover Shoe Farms whose participation in a syndication agreement led to a decision to stand Captaintreacherous at their Pennsylvania nursery when he goes to stud in 2015. "It is absolutely imperative that you have a strong syndicate when the horse goes to stud," Bell opined. "You need breeders with the right mares to want the horse to succeed and support him with those mares. If they are shareholders they are enhancing their own interests as well as that of the horse. After the first two seasons in the shed, when a new star retires to stud, if you don't have that support, interest wanes and you have a few down years even if the horse hits. "We sold a few shares of the horse to serious breeders after his freshman season to establish value. There was understandably great interest in "Captain" last year and by Lexington we had a few serious offers to stand him. Hanover bought a significant interest in him and they have the type of mares we seek to give him a chance to be his best. We will syndicate him further at the end of this racing season and he will go to stud at Hanover." For his career, Captaintreacherous has won 22 of 31 starts and over $3.1 million, averaging a remarkable $100,000 per start. He won the Meadowlands Maturity his first race this season, but is winless in his last four starts. In Saturday's USPC as "The Captain" looks to move forward off a wicked tune-up in last week's prep, he finds himself starting from post eight, just outside Sweet Lou who has won seven straight and been the star of this division thus far in 2014. "We had no illusions that he was going to go through this season against these types of horses without getting beat. I think he has raced well in each of his starts this year and was fantastic last week, pacing his last half in :52 flat. Sweet Lou has been very good, but I don't fear him. My feeling is that "Captain" is improving in each race and will continue to improve. He needs to get lucky at the draw and you always need racing luck, that's a given. "Tony Alagna and Tim Tetrick have done a marvelous job racing Captaintreacherous. To campaign a horse at that level over three seasons, keep him fit, healthy and sound is a testament to Tony and his crew. Tim handles the pressure that comes with the job beautifully and deserves tremendous credit for his body of work driving "Captain". It truly "takes a village" to campaign a horse like this and I really feel that we have yet to see his best. "One of the most gratifying elements of this ride has been the response to Captaintreacherous by the harness community and particularly the racing fans," Myron said in closing. "He has given the ownership group many thrills and the enthusiasm shown by his fans is right at the top of that list." The complete field: UNITED STATES PACING CHAMPIONSHIP - $257,700 1. GOLDEN RECEIVER CoCallahan JaHuff 2. STATE TREASURER DaMiller IaMoore 3. THINKING OUT LOUD JCampbell RoMcintosh 4. SUNFIRE BLUE CHIP ScZeron JiTakter 5. FOILED AGAIN YaGingras RoBurke 6. BETTOR'S EDGE MaKakaley RoBurke 7. SWEET LOU RoPierce RoBurke 8. CAPTAINTREACHEROUS TiTetrick ToAlagna 9. CLEAR VISION BrAMiller RoBurke The US Pacing Championship is race five on Saturday's All-Star Hambletonian card and clearly one of the most anticipated races of the day. The fifteen-race program begins at noon, gates open at 10:00am with the annual Hambo hat giveaway. The Hambletonian may be viewed on CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30pm. Find more information including access to a free Hambo Day program by visiting The Meadowlands website. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands
Sweet Lou and driver Ron Pierce have teamed to win seven consecutive races, but Pierce believes he deserves none of the credit for the hot streak. He also believes the best is yet to come. Sweet Lou, who has won 29 of 65 lifetime races and $2.78 million in purses, is enjoying the best stretch of his award-winning career as he heads into Saturday’s $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship at Meadowlands Racetrack. Sweet Lou, who starts from post seven, faces eight foes, including Captaintreacherous, State Treasurer, Golden Receiver, and Ron Burke-trained stablemates Foiled Again, Bettor’s Edge, and Clear Vision. The race is part of a stakes-filled Hambletonian Day card at the Big M. Among the other highlights are the $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters, and the $1 million Hambletonian for 3-year-old trotters. Coverage of the card will air throughout the afternoon on TVG and from 4-5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. “It’s just unbelievable how good they have him right now,” Pierce said about Sweet Lou. “The Burke crew really has him sharp. “It’s not me, believe me, it’s the horse. The horse is doing everything pretty much on his own. I’m just a passenger. I think if any of the top guys would’ve gotten on this horse he’d be doing the same thing. I’m giving all the credit to the Burkes and their crew. They’re doing all the work. All I do is sit there.” Pierce started driving Sweet Lou in May and the two have teamed to win the Ben Franklin Pace, William R. Haughton Memorial, and Roll With Joe stakes during their seven races together. It is Sweet Lou’s longest win streak, topping his six consecutive victories bridging his 2- and 3-year-old seasons. Sweet Lou was the 2011 Dan Patch Award winner as harness racing’s best 2-year-old male pacer and earned more than $1 million at age 3, but endured a stretch of just four wins in 31 starts prior to his recent surge. “I wasn’t sure [what to expect],” Pierce said, looking back to when he started driving Sweet Lou. “I’d raced against him plenty, but no I didn’t really think he was going to be winning these kinds of races so easily. I just happened to get on him at the right time. “It’s such a pleasure to race this horse because he’s so good. You can do anything you want to do. If you want to take back, you take back; if you want to go forward, all you have to do is feed him racetrack. And then he’ll come right back to you once he gets to the top. It’s just a pleasure. It’s a thrill.” Sweet Lou, owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Larry Karr, and Phil Collura, still holds the world record of 1:49 for a 2-year-old pacer and this season became the fastest horse ever on a five-eighths-mile track when he captured the Ben Franklin in 1:47 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. The fastest race mile in history is 1:46.4, a mark shared by Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy, and He’s Watching. But Pierce thinks Sweet Lou could take down that mark sometime in the future. “If Ronnie tells me to shatter the world record, I will,” Pierce said. “He could do it, no problem. But I want to keep him within himself for as long as I can. It’s better for him. The longer I can go without stretching him out, the better off he’s going to be in the long run. I’m not going to be showboating or anything like that. “But I’m sure Ronnie is going to come to me one of these days under the right conditions and say to go ahead and shatter the world record. And then I will.” Following is the U.S. Pacing Championship field in post order with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Golden Receiver, Corey Callahan, Jake Huff; 2. State Treasurer, David Miller, Ian Moore; 3. Thinking Out Loud, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh; 4. Sunfire Blue Chip, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 5. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 6. Bettor’s Edge, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke; 7. Sweet Lou, Ron Pierce, Ron Burke; 8. Captaintreacherous, Tim Tetrick, Tony Alagna; 9. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit actions kicks off this Friday (July 25) at The Meadows with four divisions in the $80,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (July 26) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final and $30,000 Adios consolation for 3-year-old colt pacers, a single division in the $114,175 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $65,310 Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the $54,952 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Meadowlands Racetrack will offer four sets of elimination races this week, with all the finals slated for the Hambletonian card of Saturday (Aug. 2). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host two $20,000 eliminations in the Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $50,000 eliminations in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters and a single $40,000 elimination in the Lady Liberty for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Intimidate, trained by Luc Blais and driven by Sylvain Filion, pulled off a 45-1 upset over the heavily favored Sebastian K in the $560,790 Maple Leaf Trot this past Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Intimidate won the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose over Sebastian K. Sent postward as the 1-5 favorite, Sebastian K got away in second behind post ten starter Modern Family who was sent hard to the lead over the 'sloppy' track to post an opening quarter of :26.4. In the second quarter, trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt sent Sebastian K to the lead and controlled the race through the middle half with fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.4. Intimidate got away in sixth and picked up cover in the second quarter behind Flanagan Memory and was towed around the final turn second-over and just a few lengths away from Sebastian K. In the stretch, Sebastian K continued to dig in and tried to hold off his challengers, but Intimidate in the final stride nailed the heavy favorite to win the 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in 1:54.2. Market Share, the 2013 Maple Leaf Trot winner, came off the rail and made a late charge on the far outside to finish third. The Maple Leaf Trot victory was the third win in seven starts this season for Intimidate, a 5-year-old son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, owned by Determination and Judith Farrow. In other Grand Circuit action over the weekend, Clear Vision broke the Northfield Park track record for older pacing geldings, posting a 1:49.3 win in the 29th edition of the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, The Panhellenic Stable and James Koran. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Brett Miller to drive. Clear Vision started from post four and immediately advanced a position when Bolt The Duer made an uncharacteristic break to his inside. He was still sitting third at the :26.2 opening quarter. Miller pulled Clear Vision in the second panel and he remained first-over through times of :54.2 and 1:22. Clear Vision locked horns with pacesetter Night Pro in the last turn and bested him by two lengths in the stretch, stopping the timer at 1:49.3. Foiled Again finished third. In The Arsenal (Eric Goodell) never had an anxious moment this past Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace in 1:56.4. In the Arsenal opened 2-3/4 lengths on the field in and out of the final turn. A pocketed Rock N' Roll World cosmetically cut the final margin down to three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Third went to a stubborn Parklane Eagle. Second choice In the Arsenal, a White Birch Farm homebred son of American Ideal-Ladyotra trained by Kelvin Harrison, returned $6.30 for his second win in three seasonal/career starts. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 437; 2. Tim Tetrick - 434; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 767.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 397; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 184; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 177.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 160.3; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Tioga Downs. Meadowlands Racetrack will host nine Grand Circuit events, led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Balmoral Park will contest Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. Tioga Downs will race Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Batavia, NY - As the 68th season of live harness racing gets underway at Batavia Downs this Wednesday evening (July 23), fans will be welcomed back with an aggressive schedule of racing and promotions that will run through December 6. Racing will be conducted on a Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule from opening night through Labor Day, when the racing schedule changes to a Tuesday Wednesday, Friday, Saturday format. Post time is 6:35 except for Sundays, which will convene at 1:15. There are also two special matinee cards slated for Labor Day (Sept. 1) and Columbus Day (Oct. 13) that will also have a 1:15 post. Todd Haight, Batavia Downs Director/Manager of live racing said "We're extremely happy to begin the new meet with increased purses as this year we'll payout an additional $200,000. Although our main lobby entrance is still under construction, many other areas of our remodel are complete. Customers will find the new Paddock Room betting area a great place to spend the night as it features new flat screen TV's." A plentitude of wagers that carry low minimum investments are available this year. There are four $1 Daily Double wagers; early (races1-2), mid (races 4-5), late (races 8-9) and late-late (races 11-12). A $1 exacta and 50-cent trifecta is offered in every race as well as a 10-cent superfecta in all races except races one and seven. Lastly there is a 50-cent pick-4 in race 3, a 50-cent pick-5 in race 5, a $2 pick-6 in race 7 and a $.50 pick-3 in race 10. Every Wednesday beginning July 30, Batavia Downs racing will be broadcast live on Time-Warner cable channel 98 in Rochester. Tuesdays will be added after Labor Day. Race analyst Ashley Holliday will return as host and be seen in seven western and central New York counties throughout the meet. This year's racing schedule will be highlighted by eight divisions of the lucrative New York Sire Stake (NYSS) series that will bring with it some of the finest standardbreds in North America. Both the NYSS and Excelsior series will be contested on July 27, August 1-13-17-20-27-31 and September 6. Then on October 18, the tracks' signature event, the12th annual (est. $50,000) Robert J. Kane Memorial Pace will attract some of the best Open class pacers from the U.S. and Canada to vie for the top prize. This race has featured top horses like Foiled Again over the years and was responsible for lowering the all-time track record in 2011 when Aracache Hanover blistered the course in 1:51.1. Last year's leading driver Shawn McDonough and top trainer John Mungillo will both be back to defend their titles. But there will be stiff competition from their local peers and some new stables taking up residency on the grounds. Race secretary Joe Zambito commented "We have a few new trainers shipping in including Leonard Segall from Florida and Dave Wackford from Iowa. We will also have several stables shipping in to race from other tracks and have already received entries from them." "This year we added a new fillies and mares Open trot to the condition sheet and it has been well received by the horsemen. That race, along with the regular Open trot, will be written on Sunday for the duration of those afternoon dates" Zambito also noted. Fans will be treated to a seemingly endless list of events and giveaways throughout the meet. A total of 23 special promotions are slated for the 72 date meet, starting with opening night when free racing programs and magnet racing schedules will be distributed. July 27 is Thurman Thomas bobble-head night. The former Buffalo Bill great and NFL Hall of Famer is the official spokesman for Batavia Downs Gaming. Thomas will be at Batavia Downs in person on July 30 as a guest bartender for the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester benefit night at the races. He will be in the clubhouse and that presents a great opportunity to get your bobble-head signed by the man himself. In conjunction with the United States Trotting Association, the "Back to the Track" 2014 tour makes a stop at the Genesee County oval on August 2 and brings with it a list of activities. Harness racing bingo will provide 5 full card bingo winners that will receive a $100 betting voucher each. Other giveaways will include Back to the Track T-shirts and assorted driver bobble-heads. August 24 is the most popular all-age race day of the year. The wiener dog races will highlight Family Fun Day at the Downs. Ten heats of eight wiener dogs each will go postward to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights. Family events will start during the live harness races and include free pony rides, face painting, and a clown and caricature artist. With the New York Sire Stake in town on August 31, there will be a free NYSS baseball cap giveaway. Fans will receive a ticket throughout the course of the day that can be redeemed as long as supplies last. And Labor Day features the annual driver's bike race. Local reinsmen show they are comfortable in more than one kind of "bike" as they tour the Downs oval on ten-speeds. After the winner is crowned, the eight bikes will be given away to fans in random drawings. For more information on all the events at Batavia Downs this year, logon to www.bataviadownsgaming.com . There you can get full race schedules, entries, results and you can watch all the race replays immediately after every race has been declared official. By Tim Bojarski, for Batavia Downs
If you look in the dictionary for harness racing lingo, there will be a photograph of Clear Vision under the expression, “grind it out”, as the tough and gritty pacer was able to come first-over on Northfield Park’s half mile oval and grind out an impressive win in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie Saturday. Not only did the horse have to race overland to victory but his clocking of 1:49.3 surpassed the previous track mark of 1:49.4 for older geldings that was held by Maltese Falcon Driven by Brett Miller (who also had driven Maltese Falcon), Clear Vision waited as Night Pro (Peter Wrenn) outgunned Beach Memories (Josh Sutton) and forced them to take a backseat in second place as Bolt The Duer (Mark MacDonald) made a speed break trying for the lead. Going to the opening quarter mile in a quick :26.2, Night Pro set up command but before the half mile marker in :54.2, there was Brett Miller and Clear Vision coming first-over and giving stable mate Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) great second-over cover. Past the three-quarters in 1:22, Clear Vision was able to collar Night Pro and then as they started down the stretch, Clear Vision found another gear and pulled away from Night Pro to win by two open lengths. Night Pro held for second with Foiled Again third. “I drove this horse a lot last year,” Brett Miller said. “In my opinion his best racing is first over and when I got to be first over tonight I was lovin it because this horse is so game. He can go on the outside for so long and he showed it again tonight. “He is as good as any of them,” Miller said. “When Bolt The Duer made a break that changed the whole race. I felt that he was going to cut the mile and I was going to get away in fourth. His misfortune was my fortune because that left me first over the way he likes it.” Trained by Ron Burke, it was the third win this year for Clear Vision. The eight-year-old gelded son of Western Hanover is owned by the Burk Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, the Panhellenic Stable Group and Jim Koran. He paid $10.80 to win. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com