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Pompano  Beach, FL- Long time Grand Circuit harness racing trainer/driver Paige H. West, passed away early Sunday morning Nov. 23, 2014, after a long illness. He was 82. He had been a local resident since 1986 after moving from Salisbury, MDs. Mr. West was retired from the harness horse racing business. He was the trainer and sometimes driver of Adios Butler, the Horse of the Year in 1960 and 1961. Purchased as a yearling by 24-year-old West in 1957, Adios Butler would  become harness racing's first Pacing Triple Crown Winner in 1959. Racing free-legged, he would go on to become the fastest Standardbred of all time in 1960 with his 1:54.3 time trial at Lexington’s Red Mile.  “What a great horseman and friend he was,” said fellow driver Lucien Fontaine, “I had known Paige for 57 years and he was the consummate gentleman and one of my mentors. Later in his life he became an avid golfer and had five holes in one.” He is survived by his wife, Lois; sons, Todd (Mary) and Dana; grandchildren, Lauren and Cory; and many friends. No services are being planned. Memorial contributions may be made to St Jude Children's Hospital, 501 St Jude's Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation, 108 F. Old York Road, Hamilton, NJ 08620. Arrangements were made by Kraeer Funeral Home and Cremation Center, 200 N. Federal Hwy., Pompano Beach, FL 33062. Phone: 954.941.4111 By Steve Wolf with files from USTA

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J./ Older trotters were overwhelmed by international star Commander Crowe in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Trot at the Meadowlands on Nov. 22. The 11-year-old gelding showed his heels to his younger rivals and won in a stakes-equaling 1:51.   Driven by Orjan Kihlstrom, Commander Crowe, who left quickly with Arch Madness (George Brenna) and Creatine (Ron Pierce), took over after a first quarter of :27 and a half of :54.4.   It was the mare, Maven (Yannick Gingras), who began a major challenge to Commander Crowe, coming after him from the second tier with Creatine on the pylons looking for room to make a passing bid.   But Commander Crowe was tough on top and would not be denied the Breeders Crown win he has attempted twice before and was unsuccessful. Maven held for second and Creatine settled for third.   "I don’t know why he hasn’t been to the U.S before" Orjan Kihlstrom said., "you have to ask the trainers. He has a lot of races in Europe, he raced in Canada twice, he’s quite old now so it was about time (retirement). He shipped very good this time, he had some problems with that before but this time was good. I tried to keep them behind me, he’s a very tough horse, and still at this age can do a lot of work, he’s just a fantastic horse. I don’t know what’s next for him, you’ll have to ask Fabrice (trainer.) I don’t know for sure if he’ll keep going, this might be the end, but I don’t know what they have decided."   Fabrice Souloy trains Commander Crowe, who was bred in Sweden by Peri Puro. Snogarps Gard owns the winner, who with the victory surpassed the $5 million mark in lifetime earnings at $5,099,590. Sent off at odds of 5-1, Commander Crowe paid $12.00 to win.     by Frank Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown

He has raced more than 100 different horses in the Breeders Crown, earned $6 million in purses and collected 15 trophies over the past 30 years, but for trainer Bob McIntosh the opportunity to add to his remarkable Crown ledger means more to him with every passing year. On Saturday night at the Meadowlands, McIntosh will race two homebred sons of Ponder in the Crown, two-year-old colt pacer Go Daddy Go and aged pacer Thinking Out Loud. "These chances are more special as you get older, and also because more of them are my own (homebreds). Years ago I was buying yearlings or being sent yearlings... but when you raise your own, and you look out into the field, that's what you've got, said McIntosh, 62, with a laugh. "You don't get to pick them and that's when it's special getting them here. I have homebreds with a lot of history with me, going back a few generations. This is not like the '80s or '90s for me. I had to reinvent myself a little bit." Thinking Out Loud, the 2012 North America Cup winner, is a son of Ponder and the Camluck mare Los Angeles, all of which were campaigned by McIntosh, who shares ownership with Al McIntosh Holdings Inc. and C S X Stables. The five-year-old gelding will compete in the Crown against a field of seven open pacers with more than $17 million in purses between them, including all-time richest standardbred and defending champion Foiled Again. "I've been in the business 40-some years and I've never seen a year like this for aged horses. There are a bunch of monsters in here, that's for sure," said McIntosh. "He's capable of beating them if he gets the right trip. He's as good as he could be. There's not a horse in the world who can pace a quarter mile better than him," he said of Thinking Out Loud, who came home in :26.1 in last week's prep race, finishing fourth by a neck, after tinkering with his bridle. McIntosh's other homebred colt, Go Daddy Go, one of 13 Ontario-sired horses competing in the Crown Finals, has earned $373,000 as a freshman. McIntosh shares ownership of the eye-catching chestnut with Ontario's Dave Boyle. "Daddy, he had kind of a tough trip in the elimination (a winning effort in 1:51.1), but I jogged him on Tuesday and he was back in and kicking, fresh as a daisy. He's like his dad, Ponder, just tough." Both of McIntosh's starters will be teamed up with all-time leading Crown driver John Campbell, who has been handed the reins from McIntosh on hundreds of occasions, winning dozens of stakes through the years. Despite all of their individual success in the series, the trainer-driver combination have only won two titles together --Western Shooter (2001) and Artsplace (1992), which still stands as one of the most memorable performances in the Crown's 30-year history. "John and I go way back to when we were kids at Western Fair. He started driving for me 30-some years ago and I always say, when you've got John, you've got AllState -- you're in good hands," said McIntosh, who last won the Breeders Crown in 2005 with Belovedangel. The trainer, a Hall of Famer in both the U.S. and Canada, fondly remembers his first Crown winner, Sunset Warrior at Garden State Park in 1986. "That goes down as one of the special races of my career. We weren't expected to win it and it was just great to be there. I had Bill Gale driving for me and it was his first Breeders Crown, my first Breeders Crown and it's right in the top five or six races of my life." From there, McIntosh won Crowns with a dozen other horses including Camluck, Artsplace, Staying Together, Artiscape, Armbro Affair, Western Shooter Delinquent Account. "The Breeders Crown has meant an awful lot to my career. Basically, many of my horses have gotten really good in the fall so it's been a great stage for me. You know, some of them are slow starting but they finish up well in the fall and I like to think that's about conditioning," he said. "I remember Bill Wellwood saying the same thing about his horses and any time you are in the same breath as Bill Wellwood, it's a good place to be." by Lauren Lee, for the Breeders Crown  

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J./ Heavy race favorite Shake It Cerry, with harness racing driver Ron Piece in the bike, waited mid-pack and then swept three wide to win the Breeders Crown $500,000 Three-Year-Old Filly Trot in a harness racing stakes-record 1:52.2 mile at the Meadowlands on Nov. 21. It was trainer Jimmy Takter's 19th Breeders Crown winner. Shake It Cerry sat fifth early as Riveting Rose took the early lead. Just after the :27.1 first quarter, Takter's other filly, Lifetime Pursuit, took over. Shake It Cerry was sixth until Cee Bee Yes went first over and she followed as the half went in :55.3. Shake It Cerry came out around the turn and went three wide to begin a strong brush to the lead, with three-quarters in 1:24.4 and a masterful command of the field. She soared home to win by 2¼ lengths. Cee Bee Yes held for second as Struck By Lindy made up enough ground mid-stretch to just miss catching her, getting third. "Just the way things worked out," said Ron Pierce after the trip. "They were mixing up real good and we decided to relax a bit. We found a live helmet to take us up the last turn anyway and carried it the rest, I just sat there. she just cruised by ‘em. Very little encouragement. Jimmy did a great job with her I just can’t say enough about her." Solveig's Breeders bred Shake It Cerry for owners Solveig's Racing Partners. She paid just $2.40 to win. Shake It Cerry by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown  

Classy harness racing mare Sensational Gabby has been installed a clear favourite for next week’s Group One thanks to her victory at Gloucester Park last night. Outclassing a strong field in the Norms Daughter Classic, Sensational Gabby is clearly the one to beat in the Mares’ Classic at the same venue. The Ross Olivieri-trained pacer has been in devastating form this season, winning four of her last five starts, including the Members Sprint, Stratton Cup and Mount Eden Sprint in stylish fashion. Thrilled with the daughter of Yankee Sensation, Olivieri has set his sights on several key targets, including the Western Australia Cup. Success in the time-honoured event will see Sensational Gabby become just the 10th member of the ‘fairer sex’ to emerge triumphant at Australian Grand Circuit level since the its inception in 1976. As it stands, the elite sorority Baby Bling, Blossom Lady, Fair Clue, Ima Spicey Lombo, Kyms Girl, Murdoch Miss, Napoleon Stone, Norms Daughter and Tailamade Lombo. Fair Clue and Murdoch Miss were the ground breakers, with the duo racing their way into the history books in 1981. Fair Clue secured the Tasmanian Championship for trainer Jack Arnol, with Henry Pullen in the cart. Trained by Len Sugars and driven by reinsman-son, Ross Sugars, Murdoch Miss captured the South Australia Cup. Five years after Fair Clue’s record success, Napoleon Stone upstaged the ‘boys’ in Tassie. Trained and driven by Wayne Rattray, Napoleon Stone began from the front row to rate 1:18.6 – just two-tenths of a second outside the record. Blossom Lady joined the crew nine years later with a ‘tough as nails’ performance in the 1995 A G Hunter Cup at Moonee Valley. Driven by Anthony Butt, the daughter of Farm Timer shrugged off a 30-metre back mark to establish a track record 2:00.6 for the 3280-metre marathon. No doubt some readers are thinking Blossom Lady won two Hunter Cups for trainer Derek Jones, but her first win in 1994 was when the prestigious handicap was not a Grand Circuit event. A year later exciting Western Australia, Norms Daughter, became the toast of the industry when she scored an empathic win in the famed Miracle Mile at Harold Park. Trained by Neil Lloyd and driven by Kellie Kersley, Norms Daughter rated 1:55.6 over 1760 metres, with her time equalling the race record established by Westburn Grant in 1990. Three years later Tailamade Lombo annexed the Tasmania Pacing Championship for co-trainers Noel Alexander and Jayne Davies. Driven by Chris Alford, the daughter of Troublemaker beat Our Sir Vancelot and Anvils Star to become the third mare on the feature’s honour roll. Tailamade Lombo returned to the Apple Isle the following season to complete consecutive wins in the Group One when she accounted for Turbo Tyson and Zyuganov Leis. New Zealander Kyms Girl was the industry’s latest ‘glamour girl’ when she annxed the Treuer Memorial in 2001. Trained and driven by Colin De Filippi, the daughter of Man Around Town beat Holmes D G and Yulestar, rating 2:01.8 for the 2540 metres. Ima Spicey Lombo then became the first mare to secure the Australian Pacing Championship when triumphant at Gloucester Park in 2011. Trained by Olivieri and driven by Chris Lewis, Ima Spicey Lombo beat Mysta Magical Mach and Alzona in 1:56.2 for the 2100 metres. Baby Bling became the last member of the sorority when she blitzed the boys in the 2013 Miracle Mile at Menangle. The rank outsider of the field, Baby Bling covered the 1609-metre dash in 1:50.5 – just two-tenths of a second outside Smoken Up’s race record. As for Sensational Gabby’s latest triumph, she rated 1:54.4 over 1730 metres, with Libertybelle Midfew and Am Opulent filling the placings. PAUL COURTS

In the fall of 1984 harness racing opened its doors to an innovative collection of stakes races known as the Breeders Crown. Borrowing in some ways from its thoroughbred cousins, the Standardbred powers that be put together a series of races at racetracks across North America designed to promote the sport and define champions. Throughout 30 years the Breeders Crown has had many changes with races added and subtracted, and formats molded to fit the times. Yet looking back to 1984, and the inaugural Breeders Crown, it's clear the year was significant both in its assemblage of horseflesh as well as a showcase for traditional trainers and the budding emergence of catch-drivers. The very first Breeders Crown took place on October 5. It was the second week of the annual Red Mile Grand Circuit with 2-year-old male trotters split into two elimination races and a final on the same day. Hard to believe looking back that 2-year-old trotters were allowed to race twice in the same day, but there were no complaints, as Facebook and Twitter had yet to be invented. Workaholic, a finely bred son of Speedy Crown, captured the race off and became the first Breeders Crown champion. The victory would showcase the enormous driving skill of Berndt Lindstedt. One of Sweden's finest had been a secret to many in North America, but when given the reins behind a horse from the late-Hakan Wallner's stable, he generally managed to pick up a few lengths. That first afternoon of Breeders Crown action perhaps opened the door to a new way of thinking in the industry. In the very first Breeders Crown race, a still young but emerging superstar named John Campbell picked up the "catch-drive" behind the winless Sven Hanover and managed to guide the son of Super Bowl to a 26-1 upset victory. A week earlier the accomplished trainer Jimmy Arthur had driven Sven Hanover in Grand Circuit action. There were just eight Breeders Crown races held in 1984 with championships for the 2- and 3-year-olds of both gaits and sexes. Just a week after Workaholic had made history the stage was set for the apparent coronation of the brilliant Nihilator in the 2-year-old pacing colt event slated for The Meadows. From the first crop of the great Niatross, Nihilator had been breathtaking in his first season at the races and entered the Crown unblemished the odds-on favorite. Dragons Lair was a mercurial pacing colt trained and driven by Jeff Mallet from the first crop by Tyler B, a highly respected chaser of Niatross during his racing career but at the same time a full brother to the champion Tarport Hap. Ironically Niatross and Tyler B would have the cream of their first crops duel in the first Breeders Crown event for pacers. Nihilator entered the Crown with an entourage. Hailing from the powerful Bill Haughton stable, Nihilator, after winning his elimination heat, was joined in the final by stablemates Pershing Square and Flight Of Fire. What was significant on this night was the placement of Pershing Square and Tommy Haughton. While Nihilator had the rail position, Pershing Square had post two and his driver would use it in what looked to be a search (for Dragons Lair) and destroy mission. Without question on paper and on the track, it appeared as if all the cards were stacked against Dragons Lair. The Jeff Mallet-trained and driven colt lost his elimination to Nihilator and drew post three directly outside elimination winners Nihilator and Pershing Square. From the outset there appeared to be collective strategy from the Haughton camp. Pershing Square (also from Niatross' first crop) and Tommy Haughton left with authority and appeared on a mission to keep Dragons Lair from seeing the front end. The early pace appeared suicidal for the times, with Dragons Lair needing a :26.3 opening quarter to get to the front. It's hard to put in perspective just how fast that was at the time, but it would probably translate to :25 in modern times. Needless to say, many in the crowd had to believe that Dragons Lair would be completely cooked by the opening quarter and would never be able to hold off Nihilator when that colt came calling. To the surprise of many it wasn't Dragons Lair that was short on air in the late stages but the rest of the field. Mallet had gotten a little bit of a breather and Nihilator put in a challenge on the backstretch but at no point did he appear eager to go by. The victory by Dragons Lair was indeed a David vs Goliath moment that put the Breeders Crown permanently on the map to stay. "Even though I was on the losing end I have to say that it was an incredibly exciting time," said Bob Boni, who selected Nihilator as part of choice group from Niatross' first crop for Lou Guida. It wasn't that long after his triumph that Guida purchased a significant interest in Dragons Lair. While Guida's investment appeared at the time to be a way of protecting his own interests, Dragons Lair would never prove to be up to the task of racing with Nihilator again. Neither Dragons Lair nor Nihilator turned into successful stallions, with the exception of one significant colt by the name of Dragon Again. The son of Dragons Lair would etch his name in the history books as the sire of Breeders Crown winner and richest pacer of all time Foiled Again, a legitimate contender to capture his second straight Crown at the Meadowlands on November 22. Two sensational pacing fillies battled in the first Breeders Crown for juveniles, held on October 19 at Maywood Park. Stienam, the 2-5 favorite for Hall of Fame driver Buddy Gilmour, was upset by the Tyler B-sired Amneris, with John Campbell urging the Nordin Stable-entrant by in a photo finish. The two would rekindle their battle a year later with Stienam equaling the score earning the 3-year-old championship. Amneris would have limited success as a broodmare, but her rival would see her name appear on Breeders Crown champions to the current era. Stienam's daughter Stienams Girl produced the 1997 Breeders Crown 3-year-old filly pace champion Stienams Place. In 2010 Stienams Place's filly Put On A Show would also capture the 3-year-old filly pacing title event. Sadly, none of the four winning fillies from the first class of Breeders Crown champions would have an impact on future generations. Conifer (2YO Filly Trot), Fancy Crown (3YO Filly Trot) and Naughty But Nice (3YO Filly Pace) had brief broodmare careers and insignificant impact on the future of the breed. The first 3-year-old colt pace took place at Northlands Park in Western Canada on October 14, on a cold and windy day. Perhaps this Crown race ushered in the era of the power of a catch-driver, as pre-race second choice Guts saw his regular pilot William O'Donnell elect to drive Troublemaker for trainer Gene Riegle and owner George Segal. O'Donnell's wise decision led to an upset victory by Troublemaker and perhaps proved to the racing world how astute a catch-driver can be. O'Donnell followed race favorite and local hero On The Road Again's cover and marched to a 6-1 mild upset. On November 16, Baltic Speed gave Team Nordin its second Crown champion when he captured the 3-year-old colt trotting event at Pompano Park. The son of Speedy Somolli led a one-two-three finish for the stable with Sandy Bowl and Giorgio D following him home. Some 30 years later another impressive stable with Sweden roots, that of Jimmy Takter, may be set up for a similar sweep with the top rated Father Patrick and Nuncio in the line-up at the Meadowlands. Certainly the Nordin stable and that of Hakan Wallner had to have an impact on a young Jimmy Takter coming to America. While Takter early in his career was loyal to trotters specifically, he, like the Nordins, would adapt to American racing and influence the pacing side of Breeders Crown lore. Baltic Speed was a good son of Speedy Somolli, but showed no similarity to the dominant racetrack ability of his sire. Had anyone been asked in 1984 to predict if any of the four male champions would go on to stallion duty and be successful, it's hard to conceive Baltic Speed would have topped the list. Looking back, it is crystal clear that Baltic Speed, the 1984 Breeders Crown champion, is the single most influential stallion in North America over the last 30 years. His very first crop included a pair of world-class horses in international champion Peace Corps ($4.1 million) and Valley Victory. While Peace Corps made a dramatic impact on the world stage as a racehorse, capturing four Breeders Crown events during her brilliant career, Valley Victory's short-lived racing career (BC 2YO champ in 1988) is not what he'll be remembered for most. Valley Victory has changed the shape of trotting for years to come through his sons, grandsons and great grandsons, despite being a horse with serious fertility issues. Valley Victory's sons and daughters made a significant impact in the mid-90's with Victory Dream ('94), the filly Continentalvictory ('96) and Muscles Yankee ('98) winning the sport's most coveted prize: The Hambletonian. Valley Victory's impression on the Crown was incredible during that period. He sired 2-year-old filly champions Lookout Victory ('94), Continentalvictory ('95), My Dolly ('97), Musical Victory ('98), while his son Victory Dream continued with Dream Of Joy ('99) from his second crop. Victory Dream produced Hambletonian winner Self Possessed ('99) from his first crop and after retiring from the racetrack, Self Possessed produced the sport's leading trotting stallion Cantab Hall from his first crop. Six of the last seven juvenile colt Breeders Crown champions are direct descendants of Valley Victory. His grandson Muscle Hill captured consecutive Breeders Crown events in 2008 and 2009 and has made his mark on the breed as the sire of 2014 Hambletonian winner Trixton. Some memories last forever. For those old enough to have witnessed the epic Dragons Lair-Nihilator battle of 1984 it says everything about what the Breeders Crown started as and would become today. By Jay Bergman, for the Breeders Crown

On the eve of the 31st edition of the Breeders Crown series, and the first time all 12 events have been hosted by The Meadowlands, there is a surfeit of information to help you handicap, reflect, reminisce and immerse yourself in all aspects of the Crowning of champions. All press kit and media guide materials are available at http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/BC2014MediaGuide.html The Breeders Crown portion of the Hambletonian Society website has been revamped and redesigned so check it out here: http://www.hambletonian.org/ and explore the brand new features and the Breeders Crown social media feed by clicking on http://hambo1.weebly.com/ For a stroll down memory lane check out the excellent features put together by Dave Briggs, Lauren and Dave Landry at http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/BC30Years.pdf and by Hoof beats http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/YDOHJG1.PDFf The connections of 115 horses are dreaming about standing in the Crown winners circle, hoisting the crystal trophy high. Read how some of those dream came true at http://www.hambletonian.org/resources/BCDreams.pdf Free program pages are available courtesy of Trackmaster on the Breeders Crown mini-site at U.S. trotting.com here: http://www.ustrotting.com/trackside/breeders_crown/index.cfm Finally, if picking winners and making money is your goal, checkout then Breeders Crown analysis from the Horse Players Monthly at http://horseplayersassociation.org/novissue.pdf and at http://thebigm.com and http://www.drf.com/news/harness-racing. Listen to experts Mike Curci and Pete Kleinhans on Sirius-XM radio for a Friday, Nov. 21 recap and live gate-to-wire coverage Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9-11:00 p.m. http://www.siriusxm.com/ Post time for both nights is 7:15 p.m. by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown  

Harness racing fans worldwide can watch the Miracle Mile barrier draw as it unfolds on Sunday. With the remainder of the invitations to the Grand Circuit event expected to be extended on Saturday night, the draw will be conducted during the popular luncheon at Tabcorp Park Menangle the following afternoon. Officials have announced the draw will be streamed via the Trots TV section of harnessmediacentre.com.au as of 12:15. As it stands, three positions are still up for grabs with the winner of Saturday night’s Cordina Sprint guaranteed a position in the elite field. Defending champion Beautide was the first invited and will be joined in the November 29 showdown by Avonnova, For A Reason, Terror To Love and Christen Me. PAUL COURTS

East Rutherford, NJ - As part of the continuing effort to insure a level playing field for those horsemen racing at The Meadowlands, samples have been taken from many of the horses competing in Breeders Crown races this weekend and will be sent to various labs equipped with the most current testing equipment available at the expense of The Meadowlands.   A number of trainers that ordinarily would not be competing at The Meadowlands will race in the Breeders Crown due to the rules for paid in events that govern these races. Their horses will be tested, along with a cross-section of all other trainers.   The Meadowlands requires all trainers to complete and sign a racing application that provides for out-of-competition testing at the request of the track before they participate at the meet.   "I'd like to be crystal clear on this issue. My partners and I did not make the financial investment, nor do we intend to endure the endless parade of headaches associated with running the Meadowlands in order to provide a place for dishonest people to race their horses," was Chairman Jeff Gural's statement on the topic.   "We thank the horsemen for being cooperative in the testing procedures as we continue to try and level the playing field for all of the participants. We wish safety and success to everyone," said Meadowlands General Manager / CEO Jason Settlemoir.   From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

Two of the trademark harness racing crystal trophies that have graced the Breeders Crown championship series since 1984 will bear additional etching from this year forward - in memory of two men whose influence on the creation of the series and on the greater sphere of harness racing cannot be understated. The Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Pace trophy has been named the Max C. Hempt Memorial Trophy and its trotting counterpart has been named in memory of John Simpson Sr. Max C. Hempt was a director of the Hambletonian Society from 1957-1989 and president of the Society from 1966-1984. The creation of the Breeders Crown series in 1983 evolved under his administration, and he was the original chairman of the first Breeders Crown committee. The renowned Hempt breeding farm produced many champions bearing the prefix "Keystone" to reflect their Pennsylvania origins, including two Horse of the Year winners in Stenographer and Keystone Ore. In addition to being a major breeder, Hempt was a successful amateur driver, a U.S. Trotting Association director for 21 years, and a vice-president and trustee of The Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted in 1979. He was also co-owner of the great Fancy Crown, who was "Crowned" in the inaugural sophomore filly trot in 1984. The Breeders Crown Three-Year-Old Filly Trot Trophy will be entitled the John F. Simpson Sr. A successful driver-trainer of his era, in 1951 Simpson was designated by Lawrence Sheppard of the dynastic Hanover Shoe Farms to guide the fortunes of the "Shoe" Farms breeding, racing and training interests for many years. Simpson Sr. served as a director of the Hambletonian Society from 1971 until his death in 1995, and was on the original Breeders Crown committee that helped shape and direct the Breeders Crown championship series. Hanover Shoe Farms is the longest-running sponsor of both the Hambletonian and the Breeders Crown, and created the Simpson Stakes for two and three-year-old trotters and pacers. The list of champions trained and driven by Simpson Sr, and those bred by Hanover under his direction are too long to list, but encompass every major race around the globe. These trophies join the H. A. Grant Jr. Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Pace Trophy and the John Cashman Jr Memorial Three-Year-Old Colt Trot Trophy. The Hambletonian Society, which owns and administrates the Breeders Crown races, will continue to designate Breeders Crown memorial trophies annually, as a tribute to the legacies of those who have guided the 30-year-old series so successfully. Crystal Apex Awards and Design of Sheridan, Ontario, handcrafts the winner's trophies that feature 12-inch high crystal monoliths individually deep-etched to carry the ornate Breeders Crown logo. Each crystal piece is mounted atop a tiered, ebonized wood base upon which a plaque is hand engraved with the name of the Breeders Crown champion. by Moira Fanning, for the Breeders Crown  

This Week: Breeders Crown finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will be at Meadowlands Racetrack this Friday (Nov. 21) and Saturday (Nov. 22) for 12 Breeders Crown championships. The Friday card features four of the Breeders Crown events: the $593,750 3-Year-Old Filly Pace, the $500,000 3-Year-Old Filly Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Filly Trot and the $250,000 Mare Trot. The Saturday card offers eight Breeders Crown races: the $531,250 3-Year-Old Colt Pace, the $500,000 Open Trot, the $500,000 3-Year-Old Colt Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Colt Trot, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Colt Pace, the $500,000 2-Year-Old Filly Pace, the $400,000 Open Pace and the $281,250 Mare Pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Seven classes competed in Breeders Crown eliminations this past weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. Let's take a look at some of the highlights: On Friday, JK She'salady increased her unbeaten streak to 11 with new driver Tim Tetrick, winning a $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination for 2-year-old filly pacers in 1:51.1. JK She'salady did it the hard way, with a prolonged first-over grind. She faced Sassa Hanover in the stretch, than pulled away to a 2-3/4 length victory. Color's A Virgin captured her 3-year-old filly pace Breeders Crown elimination, finishing in 1:51, 1-1/2 lengths ahead of second place finisher Precocious Beauty. Color's A Virgin extended her winning streak to seven with the victory. The Jugette winner is coming into the final in top form following this first-over victory with Trace Tetrick in the sulky. On Saturday at The Meadowlands, the Breeders Crown eliminations continued with Maven and driver Yannick Gingras finishing on top in a $25,000 Open Trot elimination race in 1:52.2. Maven was the only mare in the race, starting from post ten to win by a neck over Your So Vain and driver Ake Svanstadt. Maven, who was purchased for $750,000 earlier this month at the Standardbred Mixed Sale, was making her first start for new owner Herb Liverman and trainer Jimmy Takter. Always B Miki ran his winning streak to five as he and driver David Miller captured their $25,000 Breeders Crown elimination race on Saturday at The Meadowlands, finishing in 1:50. This win means that Always B Miki has earned a chance to win back his $62,500 supplement fee this Saturday in the $531,250 final. JK Endofanera and driver Ron Pierce moved to the lead early but ended up finishing second, a neck behind Always B Miki. 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 - 2,157; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,127; 3. David Miller - 988.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 797.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 642. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,345.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,828; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 406; 5. Tony Alagna - 332. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 514.23; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 464.23; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 332; 4. Brittany Farms - 294.45; 5. Robert Key - 272. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next week at Meadowlands Racetrack with the TVG Series championships for older pacers and trotters, while Dover Downs will host eliminations in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - A once-in-a-generation harness racing horse will race at Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment Friday night November 21 at 7:15 p.m. White Bliss, a registered white Standardbred, will make his second career start in Friday's first race. The race kicks off a championship weekend at "The Big M" featuring the $5.5 million Breeders Crown, a 12-race series that annually helps determine harness racing's year-end champions. White Standardbreds make up less than one-percent of the entire breed. In fact, the odds of White Bliss being born completely white was a 1 in 200,000 longshot since his parents were both bay or brown in color. White Bliss is the first white standardbred born to bay-colored parents in North America since 1998. "We are delighted that White Bliss can make his final start of the season at The Meadowlands," said Swedish owner Tristan Sjoberg. "Due to a bout of colic and then illness he has made his debut very late in the season, but he has improved with each qualifier." White Bliss was purchased at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, PA for an impressive $240,000 by Sjoberg, who bought the horse as a Christmas present for his mother. Trained by fellow Swede Ake Svanstedt, White Bliss finished third in his first career race on November 11 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. "He was boxed in for most of his debut race, but showed an impressive turn of speed in the lightning lane on the home stretch," explained Sjoberg. "We are hoping that he can develop further over the winter months and we have set our sights on most of the major stakes races in 2015. After Friday he heads down to Florida to work on his tan for a few months before training for the 3YO season starts in earnest. In the stable at Legend Farm, he is placed right next to Sebastian K so I hope 'Seabass' has given Bliss some tips how to run fast." The $5.5 million Breeders Crown championships will also be raced at "The Big M" this weekend. From the Meadowlands Press Box

This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 6) for eight Matron Stakes for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. Here is the schedule of races in the order in which they will be contested: Race 1-$203,800 2-year-old filly trot; Race 2-$237,500 2-year-old colt trot; Race 6-$199,600 2-year-old filly pace; Race 7-$193,200 2-year-old colt pace; Race 8-$160,950 3-year-old filly trot; Race 10-$200,350 3-year-old colt trot; Race 11-$186,550 3-year-old colt pace; Race 12-$179,200 3-year-old filly pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Hoosier Park and Vernon Downs shared the Grand Circuit spotlight last weekend as each track had several stakes on their respective cards. There were surprises at Hoosier Park on Oct. 31, in addition to the blowing snow that was part of the scene. Father Patrick couldn't get past E L Titan in the $230,000 Carl Erskine Trot and Always B Miki made a power move into the wind down the backstretch and still pulled away to a 2-1/2 length victory in the $275,000 Monument Circle. E L Titan and Ron Pierce pulled one of the biggest upsets of the evening in the Carl Erskine Trot as the duo were able to hold off the heavily favored Father Patrick late in the lane to score in 1:57.2. At the wire, the margin of victory was three-quarters of a length and E L Titan was able to survive a judge's inquiry to score his third win of the season. For E L Titan, it was his sixth lifetime victory from 12 career outings. The son of Muscle Hill-Courtney Hall increased his seasonal earnings to $363,212 for trainer Riina Rekila and owner Erkki Laakkonen. Always B Miki and David Miller brushed to the lead at the half in the $275,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers and were never caught in a 1:52 mile. Always B Miki was a 2-1/2 length winner over Limelight Beach (Yannick Gingras) with Somewhere In LA (Brett Miller) third. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper is owned by Bluewood Stable, Val D'Or Farms and Roll The Dice Stable and is trained by Joe Holloway. The victory was the 11th in 18 season's starts for Always B Miki and lifted his season's earnings to $778,982. On Nov. 1 at Vernon Downs, driver Yannick Gingras took home gold in three of the four stakes races on the 11-race closing night program. His stakes hat trick began in the $178,000 Artiscape distaff pace, where he kept double millionaire Rocklamation ($7.30) off a strenuous early pace. Second-over on the far turn behind Shelliscape (John Campbell), Gingras moved the 6-year-old Rocknroll Hanover mare three-wide at head-stretch, drawing clear of the pacesetting Somwherovrarainbow (David Miller) en route to a three length, 1:50.2 win. Triple millionaire Anndrovette (Tim Tetrick) faded to fourth after tracking from the pocket through the race's middle stages. Ron Burke trains Rocklamation for the Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45 and the J&T Silva Stables. Gingras came right back in the $240,500 Kindergarten Classic for 2-year-old trotting colts, holding sway with French Laundry ($5.90) after a middle move to the fore. Clearing the front just past a :57.1 half-mile, the son of Muscles Yankee-Creamy Mimi held off a first-over challenge from Airman Batten (Lewayne Miller), subsequently keeping pocket rival Boots N Chains (Corey Callahan) at bay for a 1-3/4 length triumph in 1:54.4. Jimmy Takter trains French Laundry for the partnership of Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Gingras won his third stakes of the night in the $178,000 Muscle Hill distaff trot, retaining his usual drive aboard Maven ($5.10) in her pari-mutuel debut for trainer Ron Burke, and turning in a sensational track-record effort. The 5-year-old Glidemaster mare took the lead from the sharply-clearing Bee A Magician (Brian Sears) after a :26.3 initial quarter, controlling the terms through a :57.4 middle half while keeping the first-over Classic Martine (Tim Tetrick) at bay through the stretch. Maven would not be denied in the extended battle, defeating Classic Martine by a half-length in 1:52, a track record for older trotting mares. William Donovan owns the internationally-acclaimed Maven. 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 eli Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 2,030; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,087; 3. David Miller - 944.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 695.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 628. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,217.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,679; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 379; 5. Tony Alagna - 332. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 494; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 444; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 317; 4. Brittany Farms - 274.45; 5. Robert Key - 272. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Meadowlands Racetrack with Breeders Crown eliminations scheduled in all 12 categories (2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and older horse and mare pacers and trotters. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

This Week: Monument Circle, Carl Erskine Trot, Hoosier Park Pacing Derby, Nadia Lobell and Moni Maker, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind. and Artiscape, Muscle Hill and Kindergarten finals, Vernon Downs, Vernon, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action this week will get underway on Friday (Oct. 31) at Hoosier Park with five stakes races on the card. Leading the way is the $275,000 Monument Circle for 3-year-old colt pacers. Also on tap will be the $230,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $211,500 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby for older pacers, the $193,000 Moni Maker for 3-year-old filly trotters and the $176,500 Nadia Lobell for 3-year-old filly pacers. The Saturday (Nov. 1) card at Vernon Downs features the $250,500 Kindergarten Series final for 2-year-old trotting fillies, the $240,500 Kindergarten Series final for 2-year-old trotting colts, the $178,000 Artiscape for older pacing mares and the $178,000 Muscle Hill for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway, Woodbine Racetrack and Hollywood Dayton Raceway all had major stakes last weekend during an extremely busy Grand Circuit weekend. Natural Herbie grinds out win the International Trot   In an already long race -- at the nontraditional distance of 1-1/4 miles -- Natural Herbie went even longer to win Saturday's $250,000 International Trot Preview Invitational at Yonkers Raceway. Racing on the outside much of the way, Natural Herbie battled through a field of international stars to win in 2:24.4 at odds of 9-1. European standout Commander Crowe finished second, three-quarters of a length behind, and Bee A Magician, the lone female in the eight-horse field, was third. Obrigado was fourth and Arch Madness fifth. Natural Herbie, purchased by trainer/driver Verlin Yoder just prior to the start of his racing career as a 2-year-old, has won 12 of 23 races this year and 24 of 46 lifetime, with earnings of $749,841. Nuncio won Saturday's $500,000 Yonkers Trot for 3-year-olds at Yonkers Raceway, giving trainer Jimmy Takter a sweep of the Trotting Triple Crown. Sent off at odds of 1-9, Nuncio (Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle) and driver John Campbell won the Yonkers Trot by 2-1/4 lengths over Datsyuk in 1:56. Resolve finished third. Takter, who won the Hambletonian Stakes with Trixton, picked up the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot with Nuncio. Owned by Stefan Melander's Stall TZ Inc., Nuncio has won 10 of 15 races this year and earned $1.29 million. He finished second in the Hambletonian. All Bets Off went to the front as soon as the gate opened and never was challenged on his way to winning Saturday's $500,000 Messenger Stakes for 3-year-old pacers at Yonkers Raceway. Driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke, All Bets Off (Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope) won by 2-3/4 lengths over Luck Be Withyou in 1:51.1, with McWicked third. The time was the fastest ever for a Messenger Stakes at Yonkers. The finest 2-year-olds in harness racing were on display Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack for the Fall Four Stakes. Made up of the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid, the Fall Four Stakes has been an annual showcase of the best freshmen in the sport. Leading the winners of the four stakes was JK She'salady, who improved to a perfect ten for ten with another victory in the $377,360 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old pacing fillies. Sent off as the heavy 1-5 favorite, JK She'salady and Yannick Gingras got away fifth and sat along the rail until the midway point of the race. Around the final turn, Gingras sent JK She'salady first up to challenge the leader, The Show Returns, as the fillies were on even terms at the three-quarter pole in 1:24. JK She'salady came off the turn and quickly created separation with the field and cruised home to an impressive looking 1-1/2 length victory in 1:52.1. Solar Sister took the place spot, while Ideal Nuggets finished third. A daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady, JK She'salady is trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stable. She returned $2.50 to win. On Friday at Hollywood Dayton Raceway, the night was supposed to belong to Foiled Again and Creatine, but although each raced very creditably neither was able to capture a Grand Circuit Dayton Derby. Instead stablemate Clear Vision literally nosed out Foiled Again in the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby, lowering the track record to 1:49, and Market Share pulled a mild upset in the $162,000 Dayton Trotting Derby, establishing a new track trot standard with the 1:52.4 clocking. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,925; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,062; 3. David Miller - 894.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 635.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 613. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,122.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,599; 3. Erv Miller - 441.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 349; 5. Tony Alagna - 332. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 478.55; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 428.55; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 317; 4. Robert Key - 272; 5. Brittany Farms - 258.45. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs with eight Matron Stakes for 2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters set for Thursday (Nov. 6). by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Creatine, trained by Bob Stewart for owner/breeder Diamond Creek Racing, is on a roll. The 4-year-old trotter has won the $173,000 Allerage Stake at The Red Mile in a career best 1:51.2 on Oct. 5, followed by a three length win in the $166,300 American-National at Balmoral on Oct. 11. This Friday, he's headed to the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby at Hollywood Gaming Dayton Raceway, where he has post six in the nine horse field. Dan Noble will drive, as he has in two of Creatine's last three starts. The card also includes the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby, headlined by the Ron Burke-trained duo of Foiled Again - the richest harness racing horse in North American history with $6.70 million - and Clear Vision, as well as 18-race winner Dancin Yankee. Creatine's form change has been a welcome one for Stewart, after a summer with no stakes wins at the top level of the sport. Creatine has $322,571 in 13 starts this year, all of them in stakes or open races. "On the surface it looks like a change of drivers, but it's not," he said. "We brought him back from New Jersey (where he was based most of the summer), did a little minor throat surgery and I think that moved him to the next level. "We actually did a little throat surgery last year and he raced very well after it. We did it again this year and he's really raced well. He's raced well every time except once at Hoosier Park. It was three hours and a half to get up there (for a $22,000 Invitational Trot in which he finished fourth after fading from the lead). We got within a half hour of the track and there was a fatality wreck in front of us. We sat on the interstate for an hour and a half and the ambulances and fire trucks were going by with sirens blaring. He tied up a little that night but other than that, he's raced very well since then. "It wasn't like he was racing bad before, but he kept drawing outside and just getting rough trips and the 14 hole (in the Hambletonian Maturity on July 5). He's put it together now and it looks like we're going to have a good rest of the fall." The throat ailment from which he's now recovered had no particular symptoms and Stewart said it was his wife who led to indirectly discovering the problem. "I give my wife (veterinarian Dr. Lynda Stewart) all the credit," said Stewart. "One night at The Meadowlands, Lynda said to have the veterinarian in the paddock scope him. We did and he was flipping his palate. He actually had a little ulcer on his throat where he had flipped his palate previously. So that's when we brought him home and did the laser surgery at Dr. Wes Sutter's clinic here in Lexington." Aside from his throat, Stewart says Creatine's age also worked against him earlier in the year. "He was a victim, I think, of the way things are set up this year with no 4-year-old races starting out," he said. "His very first start we went to Scioto Downs and raced against Market Share and Modern Family and then right into Sebastian K, who was on a serious roll at the time. He had a time getting his feet underneath him. "Much to his credit, he was not used to getting beaten very often at three and mentally, he was able to work his way through it and not lose his desire. Even with maturity, racing against the older horses right off the bat is awful tough." Stewart and Creatine will head to Dayton from their home base near Lexington, Ky., after some fresh air, a "must" in Creatine's schedule. "He's got a routine, he gets turned out every day," says Stewart. "It will just be a one day trip. He likes being turned out every day -- religiously, even Sunday and in the rain." In the Dayton Pacing Derby, 10-year-old Foiled Again will try to pick up career win No. 83 after consecutive losses by a head, in the American-National Stakes and Allerage Farms Open Pace. His victories this season include the Bobby Quillen Memorial. Clear Vision, who has won $2.15 million lifetime, is coming off a third-place finish in the American-National. Dancin Yankee has won 18 of 28 starts this season, with his victory total ranking No. 4 among all harness racing horses in North America. His connections paid $15,000 to supplement into the race. Here is the field for the $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby, race 12, post time 10:15 p.m., with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Fearless Man, Rick Zeron, Rick Zeron; 2. DW's NY Yank, Brett Miller, Ron Burke; 3. Opening Night, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Jim Campbell; 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano; 5. Fusion Man, TBA, Jeff Smith; 6. Creatine, Dan Noble, Bob Stewart; 7. Daylon Magician, Jack Moiseyev, Jack Moiseyev; 8. Southwind Pepino, Hugh Beatty, Hugh Beatty; 9. Wishing Stone, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; AE: Lindy's Tru Grit, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci. Here is the field for the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby, race 11, post time 9:55 p.m., with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Night Pro, Ronnie Wrenn Jr., Dale Decker; 2. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke; 3. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke; 4. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Thomas Wallace; 5. Santa Fe Beachboy, Josh Sutton, Brian Brown; 6. Beach Memories, Dave Palone, Brian Brown; 7. Dancin Yankee, Tyler Buter, Todd Buter. by Ellen Harvey, for Harness Racing Communications

DAYTON, OH. - Foiled Again and Creatine have been installed as the morning line favorites for the $122,000 Dayton Pacing Derby and $160,000 Dayton Trotting Derby when the new track presents its first-ever Grand Circuit stakes on Friday night. Both will have plenty of competition, however, as the sixteen horses in the two races have combined earnings of $22,982,846-an average of $1,436,428. As the richest harness horse in history Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) has been designated the slight favorite in the pace at 9-5 opening odds. Stablemate Clear Vision (Brett Miller), who will be uncoupled in the wagering with Ohio State Racing Commission permission, will launch at 2-1 when the betting windows open. Also expected to get ample public support is local track record holder Dancin Yankee (Tyler Buter), a $15,000 supplement to the race who comes in off two consecutive wins at Dayton in aged Ohio Sires Stakes action. Based largely on his recent 1:51 triumph at Dayton, he'll open at 7-2, just better than Night Pro (Ronnie Wrenn Jr.) who will open at 9-2 from the rail. Others in the elite field of seven will be Apprentice Hanover (Jody Jamieson) at 6-1, Santa Fe Beachboy (Josh Sutton) 8-1 and Beach Memories (Dave Palone) 10-1. A full field of nine have declared into the trot with Creatine (Dan Noble), based on wins in both the American National and Allerage stakes in his last two starts, earning 5-2 morning line favoritism. Market Share (Tim Tetrick), the richest of four millionaire trotters in the field, is second choice at 3-1, followed by Wishing Stone (Gingras) at 7-2 and Daylon Magician (Jack Moiseyev) at 9-2. There are a host of longshot possibilities for punters looking for longer odds. A case can be made for every horse in the field as all have won in 1:53 or faster this season. DW's NY Yank (Miller) 6-1, Fusion Man (TBA) 8-1, Fearless Man (Rick Zeron) 10-1, Opening Night (Wrenn Jr.) 12-1 and Southwind Pepino (Hugh Beatty) are the other combatants. First race post time is 6:35 on Friday night with the Dayton Derbies slated as races 11 and 12 on the 14-race program. From the press box at Dayton Raceway  

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