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Harness Racing This Week: Art Rooney eliminations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; Betsy Ross, Jerry Taylor and Maxie Lee Memorial, Harrah’s Philadelphia, Chester, Pa.; and The Graduate first leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will take place at three locations this week. Action begins on Saturday (May 23) as Yonkers Raceway will hold a pair of $40,000 eliminations in the Art Rooney Pace for 3-year-old males. On Sunday afternoon (May 24), Harrah’s Philadelphia will host the $150,000 Betsy Ross for older female pacers, the $150,000 Jerry Taylor for older male pacers and the $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial for older trotters. Memorial Day Monday (May 25) at Tioga Downs will feature the $50,000 (est.) first leg of The Graduate Series for 4-year-old open pacers and open trotters. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: While there is a long history of brilliant mares defeating the older horses at the Free For All trotting level in harness racing, it had never happened in the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial. That all changed on a rainy Saturday night (May 16) at The Meadowlands. Bee A Magician, the overwhelming 4-5 favorite, did what had yet to be done as she emerged victorious, winning the $183,650 Cutler final in 1:51.2. She became the first mare in the 17-year history of the race to win the historic event. Driver Brian Sears put his mare on the front end at the half-mile marker and she coasted to an easy win by two lengths. Wind Of The North finished second with Melady’s Monet third. It was the same result as the week prior in the prep for the Cutler. Sears was very proud of Bee A Magician after the race. “She’s just such a pleasure,” said Sears. “Last year was tough for her, there was a lot of traveling and it was a long season. But right now, she is just really fresh and really sharp. It is hard to keep them this sharp all year long, but hopefully she keeps going forward.” Bee A Magician won for the 34th time in 50 lifetime starts and her lifetime earnings surpassed $2.86 million. She is trained by Nifty Norman for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. All Bets Off lived up to his 3-5 favorite status to win the $188,057 Confederation Cup for 4-year-old pacers on Sunday night (May 17) at Flamboro Downs. Driven by Matt Kakaley for trainer Ron Burke, All Bets Off followed up his track record performance in last week’s elimination with a 1:51.3 front-end score in Sunday’s rich final. In the final quarter, All Bets Off put aside the first up bid of Ideal Cowboy and created separation on Limelight Beach to cruise home and score a 1-3/4 length victory in 1:51.3. Bettorever came from eighth at the three-quarter pole to finish second, while Big Boy Dreams finished third. Limelight Beach and Ideal Cowboy picked up the final two checks, as they finished fourth and fifth. A son of Bettor's Delight, All Bets Off now has two wins in three starts this season for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stb Corp. and the Estate of Rosemary J. Shelswell. The 4-year-old pacer picked up his 17th career win Sunday evening and pushed his bankroll to more than $1.2 million. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Daniel Dube – 145; 2. Yannick Gingras – 126; 3. Jason Bartlett – 123; 4. George Brennan – 92; 5. Brian Sears – 88. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke – 208; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. – 161; 3. Rene Allard – 125; 4. Mark Silva – 45; 5. Tony O’Sullivan – 32. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing – 144.5; 2. Burke Racing - 56.05; 3. Weaver Bruscemi – 53.55; 4. Allard Racing – 41.6; 5. Jeff Snyder – 35. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at two different racetracks next weekend. The Raceway at Western Fair District will host the Molson Pace on Friday (May 29) and Yonkers Raceway offers the Art Rooney and Lismore finals on Saturday (May 30). by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, The Grand Circuit 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 - Harness Racing This Week: Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and TVG Series Pace, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Confederation Cup final, Flamboro Downs, Dundas, Ontario; and Miss Versatility first leg, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Meadowlands Racetrack this week will feature the $183,650 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the $50,000 TVG Series for older pacers on Saturday (May 16). Heading into the early part of next week, Flamboro Downs will host the C$226,575 Confederation Cup final for 4-year-old open pacers on Sunday (May 17), while Mohawk will host their first Grand Circuit race of the year on Monday (May 18) with the C$40,000 (est.) first leg of the Miss Versatility Series for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the Meadowlands races can be found by clicking on this link, while the Flamboro and Mohawk races can be viewed on this link. Last time: Meadowlands Racetrack was the site for most of the Grand Circuit action this past weekend and the prep for the Arthur Cutler Memorial took center stage. If the first two starts of her 2015 campaign are any indication, Bee A Magician will be a force to be reckoned with once again. On Saturday night (May 9) at The Meadowlands, she not only defeated the boys in the $50,000 Cutler Prep, she destroyed them. Escaping at 12-1, despite coming off a track record performance at Yonkers, Bee A Magician was dismissed by the punters from post position 10. Off the gate, driver Scott Zeron asked his champion mare for a little speed, but his plan wasn't to make the lead. Bee A Magician did lead at the first point of call, which she reached in :27.4, but she would relinquish that lead to DW's NY Yank, who briefly went off-stride at the start. The Ron Burke-trainee would lead the field past the half-mile in :55.4. Bee A Magician continued to draft in the pocket behind the leader past three-quarters in 1:24.3. But from there, the mare made her move. Bee A Magician opened up daylight in the stretch and was a geared down and ultra-impressive winner in 1:51.3. Wind Of The North rallied well to finish second, with Melady's Monet holding onto third despite a tough first-over trip. The magnificent mare is owned by Melvin Hartman, Marvin Katz and David McDuffee and is trained by Nifty Norman. For Bee A Magician, it was her 33rd victory from 49 career starts. Her earnings continue to close in on $2.8 million. All Bets Off and Let's Drink On It scored impressive victories Sunday night (May 10) at Flamboro Downs in the eliminations for the Confederation Cup. A group of 16 4-year-old pacers were split into two $16,600 eliminations to determine the field for next Sunday's C$226,575 Confederation Cup final. In the first elimination, All Bets Off established a new Flamboro Downs track record with a dominant 1:50.4 victory. All Bets Off paced away from his competition in the final quarter to score a 3-1/2 length victory. Bettorever, who was seventh at the three-quarter pole, was able to split his way between rivals on the final turn to finish second, while National Debt and Big Boy Dreams finished third and fourth, securing spots in the final. All Bets Off's clocking of 1:50.4 set a new track record for an older pacer, shaving a fifth of a second off the previous mark of 1:51 set in 2007 by Rare Jewel. A son of Bettor's Delight, All Bets Off is trained by Ron Burke for the ownership group of Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stb Corp. and the Estate of Rosemary J. Shelswell. Let's Drink On It got a perfect second-over trip to score an impressive five length victory in the second elimination. Driver Billy Davis Jr. sent Let's Drink On It three-wide at the three-quarter pole to sweep around the leaders and the Joe Seekman trainee responded by pacing off to an easy victory in 1:51.4. Somewhere Fancy came on late to finish second, while Ideal Cowboy and Limelight Beach qualified for the final by finishing third and fourth, respectively. A son of Art Official, Let's Drink On It now has two wins in four starts in his 4-year-old season. He is owned by Tina Seekman, Larry Bond, Hal Hewitt and Vincent Boido Jr. Sunday's elimination victory gives Let's Drink On It 15 career wins and pushes his bankroll to $625,389. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Daniel Dube - 145; 2. Jason Bartlett - 123; 3. Yannick Gingras - 106; 4. George Brennan - 92; 5. Tim Tetrick - 87. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 188; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 154; 3. Rene Allard - 125; 4. Mark Silva - 45; 5. Tony O'Sullivan - 32. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 138.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 53.55; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 53.55; 4. Allard Racing - 41.6; 5. Jeff Snyder - 35. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place at Yonkers Raceway, Harrah's Philadelphia and Tioga Downs next weekend. Yonkers Raceway offers eliminations in the Art Rooney and Lismore on Saturday (May 23); Harrah's Philadelphia will hold the Betsy Ross for pacing mares, the Jerry Taylor for pacing horses and the Maxie Lee Memorial for trotters on Sunday (May 24); and Tioga Downs will host the first leg of The Graduate for 4-year-old pacers and trotters on Memorial Day Monday (May 25). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

With The Championship Meet upon us, The harness racing Grand Circuit took center stage on Friday night at The Meadowlands. The three year old filly pacers contested the $43,106 W.N. Reynolds Memorial. On paper it was a very competitive field of seven and it played out that way on the racetrack. Bettor Be Steppin, sent off as a very slight 8/5 favorite would dictate the terms establishing a tempo of 27, 55.4 and 1:24. She turned for home with the 9/5 second choice, Happiness right on her back. Bedroomconfessions was grinding away first over, with Divine Caroline riding her cover. With just an eighth of a mile to go, these four fillies lined up across the track. Happiness found room at the pylons and sprinted through to the tune of a 26.3 final quarter to win going away in the end. Divine Caroline rallied off cover to finish up second with Bedroomconfessions third. Happiness was driven to victory by Yannick Gingras for Ron Burke who co-owns the filly with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. The 1:50.3 clocking was a lifetime mark for the three year old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. The $39,816 John Simpson Memorial for three year old filly trotters was also a part of the Grand Circuit action on Friday night. Riley's Dream was bet down to 3/5 favoritism, but she would find herself locked in throughout the first three-quarters of a mile as Shaqline never found the pylons and remained parked out outside Riley's Dream throughout. In the meantime, Rules Of The Road showed tremendous early speed for Dave Miller as she reeled off fractions of 27.1, 56.1 and 1:25.1 while trotting unopposed on the lead throughout the mile. Turning for home, Rules Of The Road kicked away from the field and she was never threatened, winning in 1:54. The win was one of four on the night for Dave Miller and the winner is eligible to The Hambletonian Oaks for trainer Janice Connor who co-owns the filly with Arden Homestead Stable. A field of six top mares went to the gate in the $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. Sayitall BB was the aggressor moving to the front and leading the charge around the track, reaching the half-mile in 55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. The Breeders Crown winner turned for home with the lead, but the field began to close in. With mares coming from anywhere, the mare coming fastest of all was the one closing from last, Weeper. She appeared on the far left of the screen and sprinted home to a sub-26 second final quarter to win. Weeper was driven by Brett Miller for Jimmy Takter and owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Weeper is eligible to all the major stakes for the mare pacers at The Meadowlands, including the TVG Championships. Jerseylicious returned a winner on Friday night at The Meadowlands, winning an upper level condition event for fillies and mares pacers. Sent off as the overwhelming 1/5 favorite Jerseylicious secured a pocket trip behind the speedy That Woman Hanover. But Dave Miller decided it was time to move with three-eighths of a mile to go and he pulled the pocket with Jerseylicious, securing the lead prior to the three quarter pole. From there, the five year old daughter of Western Ideal opened up several lengths and was able to fend off the late brush of Beautiful Lady to score in 1:50.4, just three-fifths off her lifetime mark. Jerseylicious is well-staked at The Meadowlands, including eligibility to the TVG Championship for the Pacing Mares, Golden Girls and The Lady Liberty. Muscle Network made it back to back wins Friday. The former Valley Victory Champion made it five wins from 13 career starts with his 1:53.3 winning performance. His earnings are now past $335,000 lifetime and he is eligible to The Graduate series which gets underway on Memorial Day at Tioga Downs. Hambletonian Eligibles were prominent on the program Friday night and a couple of them won. Saboro Hanover won a maiden event for Nifty Norman and Dave Miller. The $75,000 Harrisburg yearling was equipped with trotting hobbles and responded by sprinting a visually impressive final quarter to score in a sharp 1:54.3. Additionally, Dapper Don, making his three year old debut, scored in impressive first-over fashion in 1:55.4. The connections have a Hambletonian-ring to them, being the same that won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share, including driver Tim Tetrick, who was very high on the colt. "He's come a long way," said Tetrick. "He let me drive him how I wanted, let me put him where I wanted. He's matured. Current Crisis and Robert Krivelin were victories in the $15,000 GSY Amateur Final. Despite a frenzy of action that saw trotters stacked three and four wide on the first turn, Krivelin was able to secure a position near the lead where he tracked Mr Ridgetaker who was very wide early and Bambino Hall. Kriven guided his trotter to the lead past the half-mile pole and Current Crisis opened up daylight from there, soaring past three-quarters and romping to an easy triumph. Hannah Miller was forced very wide behind stalled trotters coming off the bend and finished with a flourish to be second while Jenny Melander and All About Justice checked in third. Robert Krivelin trains and drives Current Crisis for the Hero Stables. The win was the 25th in the career of the six year old trotter, sending his earnings to nearly $240,000. On the wagering front, the 11th race on the program featured the fourth largest payout in the history of The Meadowlands and the second largest trifecta of all time. It was a perfect storm, as Two Hip Dip, Donnie Darko and Lock Down Lindy, the three favorites all broke stride. Battle Mage avoided any trouble and scored the 32-1 upset. Cutup Hanover was second at 34-1 and Silverhill Volo was third at 99-1. That combination resulted in a $2 trifecta return of $62,559.60. The largest trifecta of all time came nearly twenty years ago and returned over $88,000 for a $2 return. The only larger payouts were a pick-6 that yielded over a $100,000 return and the recent $200,000 jackpot that was paid out in the Super Hi-5. The total handle of $2,597,671 was a ten-percent increase over this same Friday in 2014. Racing resumes on Saturday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. There are carryovers in both $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers, with the fifth race carryover now standing at $108,703 and the last race carryover growing to $83,532. Darin Zoccali

This week's harness racing: John Simpson Memorial Stakes, W.N. Reynolds Memorial and Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Prep/TVG Free For All Series, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Confederation Cup eliminations, Flamboro Downs, Dundas, Ont. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Meadowlands Racetrack this week begins on Friday (May 8) with the $43,106 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers and the $39,816 John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (May 9) card at The Big M features the $50,000 Arthur J. Cutler Memorial Prep for older trotters, part of the TVG Free For All Series. Flamboro Downs on Sunday (May 10) will host C$20,000 Confederation Cup eliminations for 4-year-old open pacers. Complete entries for the Meadowlands races can be found by clicking on this link; Flamboro Downs races can be viewed at this link. Last time: Sophomore male trotters and older mares of both gaits were in the spotlight last weekend with Grand Circuit action at Freehold Raceway and Miami Valley Raceway. Habitat was a wire-to-wire winner in 1:56.4 in the Dexter Cup. Habitat made life easy for driver Yannick Gingras in Saturday's (May 2) $133,170 Dexter Cup, taking the lead after the first turn and cruising to a 3-3/4 length win over Divisionist in 1:56.4 at Freehold Raceway. A son of Conway Hall-Habit's Best, the colt is trained by Ron Burke and owned by Burke Racing, Our Horse Cents Stables, and Weaver Bruscemi. Habitat was making his seasonal debut in the Dexter Cup. He led the field through fractions of :28.2, :58.4 and 1:27.4 on his way to victory. "On the backstretch, I could tell they were coming a little bit so I just opened him up a little so I wouldn't have to rush him in the last turn," Gingras said. "He was never in doubt." Gabe The Bear Dean finished third, followed by Apostles Creed, Sixteen Encores, Ha Taylor, Broken Record and Bavaro. Grand Circuit action produced two new track records on closing day (May 3) of the 2015 meet at Miami Valley Raceway. Reigning older Mare Trotter of the Year Classic Martine powered to the fastest trotting mile in the two-year history of Miami Valley -- 1:52.2 -- in The Miami Valley Distaff. Classic Martine and Tim Tetrick rallied on the outside to win The Miami Valley Distaff in a track-record 1:52.2. Despite drawing the outside number nine post position in the $86,500 race, driver Tim Tetrick sent Classic Martine directly on her way, immediately reaching the quarter station on top in :27. At that point Tetrick let favored Shake It Cerry (Yannick Gingras) take the lead going to the :56 halfway station. Daylon Miracle (Aaron Merriman) launched a first-over attack just past the half with Charmed Life (Jody Jamieson) in tow. Daylon Miracle had a neck advantage by the three-quarters in 1:23.3 with Shake It Cerry second, Charmed Life third and Classic Martine fourth. At the top of the stretch the field fanned out with six mares still within three lengths. Classic Martine had the most trot down the lane, holding off Charmed Life, who was making a strong bid along the pylons on the inside. Daylon Miracle hung on for third. Off at 15-1 odds, the winner paid a healthy $32.20 and keyed an $81.80 exacta. Chris Oakes trains Classic Martine, who became the sport's newest million dollar earner with the victory. Yagonnakissmeornot established a new Miami Valley standard for pacing mares with her 1:50.3 triumph in the second annual $75,000 Chip Noble Memorial. Driver Daniel Dube took full advantage of drawing the innermost post position, going gate-to-wire to top Table Talk (Jody Jamieson) by a neck with Waasmula (James MacDonald) also lapped on at the finish. Rene Allard trains Yagonnakissmeornot, who is now just $45,000 shy of becoming a millionaire. Off as a lukewarm favorite, the winning 6-year-old daughter of The Panderosa returned $5.80 and headed a $72.80 exacta. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Daniel Dube - 125; 2. Jason Bartlett - 123; 3. George Brennan - 92; 4. Yannick Gingras - 86; 5. Brian Sears - 68. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 168; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 154; 3. Rene Allard - 105; 4. Mark Silva - 45; 5. Tony O'Sullivan - 32. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 138.5; 2t. Burke Racing - 43.55; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 43.55; 4. Jeff Snyder - 35; 5. Allard Racing - 34.90. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, with the Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the TVG Series for older pacers, while Flamboro Downs will host the Confederation Cup final for 4-year-old open pacers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

(May 4, 2015) - With four legs of the 2015 HANA Harness Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge presented by the Bellino Stables, DRF Harness, Hambletonian Society, Meadowlands Racing and Entertainment, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs, Buffalo Raceway announcer Michael Carter has taken an early lead with 319.70 points.   Carter managed to surge to the lead due in a large part to his performance on Saturday afternoon where he had three winners, including Lady Suffolk second division winner, Northern Obsession which paid $46.20 to win.   Carter would have gone four for four on Saturday if not for his selection in the Dexter Cup, Divisionist finishing second.  Other performers of note were Bryan Owen and Gordon Waterstone who went three for four, alas without selecting Northern Obsession.   The current standings after four legs are: Standings as of Sunday, May 3 - Leg 4     Total Points Points Earned Overall Position Pos Handicapper Prior Week This Week Total Points Last Week 1st Michael Carter  11.60 308.10 319.70 13th (tie) 2nd Gordon Waterstone 43.50 105.20 148.70 2nd 3rd Bryan Owen 39.70 107.30 147.00 5th 4th Sally Hinckley 48.20 47.70 95.90 1st 5th Derick Giwner 33.90 58.20 92.10 8th 6th Brandon Valvo 40.90 51.00 91.90 4th 7th Earl Paulson 43.20 34.90 78.10 3rd 8th Ann Stepien 11.60 65.70 77.30 13th (tie) 9th Mark Dezii 37.00 34.60 71.60 6th 10th Josi Verlingieri 33.40 31.70 65.10 9th 11th Dennis O'Hara  18.10 45.20 63.30 11th 12th Jay Hochstetler  4.20 58.60 62.80 18th 13th Rusty Nash 35.70 21.20 56.90 7th 14th Garnet Barnsdale 8.00 46.90 54.90 15th (tie) 15th Mark McKelvie 5.90 46.90 52.80 17th 16th Mark Deutsch 11.90 38.60 50.50 12th   17th Ray Garnett 31.80 18.10 49.90 10th 18th Ray Cotolo 8.00 40.20 48.20 15th (tie) 19th Bob Zanakis 0.00 37.20 37.20 19th Three new handicappers join the fray, two replacing handicappers forced to scratch due to circumstances beyond their control, while one handicapper is a new addition. Coming off the also eligible list is Bob Zanakis who is a handicapper familiar to followers of this series and Jay Hochstetler, an intern at the Horsemen and Fair World and an assistant trainer. Added to the roster is Mark Deutsch, a former owner and trainer who now enjoys handicapping harness racing primarily on the WEG circuit. As substitutes, Hochstetler takes over representing Rainhill Sanctuary, while Zanakis assumes representing Helping Hearts Equine Rescue. Mark Deutsch chose New Vocations as his rescue of choice.  Two new sponsors have joined the contest.  HANA welcomes Red Shores Charlottetown as a Silver sponsor while an Anonymous donor has signed on as a double Bronze sponsor.  Thanks to these additions, the contest handicappers are playing for a HANA Harness-record $5,700 in prize money to be distributed to the top three handicapper's selected standardbred rescues and Canadian rescues selected by the Canadian sponsors.  This coming week, there are no events but the Handicapping Challenge returns the following week for events Saturday-Monday (5/16-5/18).  For details on the specific races and other information regarding the contest, visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.  Allan Schott HANA Harness Coordinator Check out our contest site for the 2015 Grand Circuit Handicapping Challenge. Check out HANA Harness' Blog.  

Harness Racing this week: Dexter Cup and Lady Suffolk, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J.; John Simpson Memorial Stakes, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; Meadows Maturity, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; and Chip Noble Memorial and Miami Valley Distaff, Miami Valley Raceway, Lebanon, Ohio. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features the $133,170 Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters and the $77,000 (est.) Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters on Saturday (May 2). Meadowlands Racetrack offers the $39,416 John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers on Friday (May 1) and the $47,124 John Simpson Memorial for 3-year-old colt pacers on Saturday (May 2). Also on Saturday, The Meadows will feature the $62,100 Meadows Maturity for older male trotters. The Sunday (May 3) card at Miami Valley Raceway will feature the $100,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial for older pacing mares and the $100,000 (est.) Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The George Morton Levy Series for open pacers and Blue Chip Matchmaker Series for open pacing mares wrapped up this past weekend at Yonkers Raceway. Domethatagain and driver Daniel Dube waited patiently for the last few yards of racing room to get ahead of the field to win the $529,000 George Morton Levy Series final for older pacers on April 25 at Yonkers Raceway in a time of 1:51.1. Domethatagain, by Bettor's Delight-Road Sign, is trained by Rene Allard and owned by Allard Racing Inc., Robert Hamather and Bruce Soulsby. The Levy win brings his lifetime earnings to $824,551. P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) went to the lead from post eight and held that lead to the quarter (:27.2) and the half (:55.3). Past the half, Lucan Hanover (David Miller) came first up to the three-quarters in 1:23, while Domethatagain was content to wait in the pocket and sprung from that spot to win. Take It Back Terry (George Brennan), who made a long sustained bid on the outside, was second and Beach Memories (Yannick Gingras) was third. P H Supercam faded to fourth. Venus Delight and driver Jason Bartlett let Yagonnakissmeornot and driver Brian Sears do the heavy lifting for most of the mile in the $261,000 Blue Chip Matchmaker final for older pacing mares. In the final strides of the race, they came up her inside for the win in 1:52.4 by three-quarters of a length. Carolsideal and Daniel Dube, who were first over from the half on, finished third. The daughter of Bettor's Delight-Venus Killean had two earlier wins in the series and is trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for Bamond Racing. It was the third win in five starts this year for the 5-year-old mare. Her career earnings are now $424,268. Daylon Miracle (Aaron Merriman) stalked 2014 Trotter of the Year Shake It Cerry from the pocket, then blew by the champ in the Lightning Lane to pull off a 5-1 upset in Friday's (April 24) inaugural edition of the $51,100 The Meadows Maturity for mare trotters. Daylon Miracle triumphed in 1:53.3, four lengths better than Cowgirl Hall, with the winner's stablemate, Anaffairtoremember, third. In the first start of her 4-year-old campaign, Shake It Cerry led the field through a snappy 1:24.3 three-quarters but tired late and faded to fourth, beaten five lengths. Classic Martine, the 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, was buried from post nine and never got involved, finishing sixth. Bill Bercury, who owns and trains Daylon Miracle and Anaffairtoremember, called it the biggest win of his career. He had spoken of a 1-2 finish for his mares days before the race. It was a bold vision, and Bercury's mares nearly pulled it off with their 1-3 result. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2015, 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend: Drivers: 1. Daniel Dube - 125; 2. Jason Bartlett - 123; 3. George Brennan - 92; 4. Brian Sears - 68; 5. Tim Tetrick - 62. Trainers: 1. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 154; 2. Ron Burke - 143; 3. Rene Allard - 105; 4. Mark Silva - 35; 5. Tony O'Sullivan - 32. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 138.5; 2. Allard Racing - 34.90; 3t. Burke Racing - 34.35; 3t. Weaver Bruscemi - 34.35; 5. Jeff Snyder - 30. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will again take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, with the John Simpson Stakes for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters, the W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 3-year-old filly pacers, and eliminations for the Arthur Cutler Memorial for older trotters. On Sunday (May 10), Flamboro Downs will host Confederation Cup eliminations for 4-year-old open pacers. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

LEBANON, OH. - Miami Valley Raceway plans an assault on two world records as part of its final 2015 program on Sunday afternoon, May 3. In addition to a pair of featured Grand Circuit stake races for older trotting and pacing mares, the track plans to card a five-eighths mile dash and a one-and-a-quarter mile race with a goal of establishing new world records for those distances over a five-eighths mile oval. The current standard for the five-eighths is 1:08.1, co-owned by Anais Kicker (Meadows in 2009) and Jebswesternshake (Hazel Park in 2011). The best ever clocking over the added 1-1/4 mile distance is 2:19.4 by Boulder Creek (Dover Downs in 2006). The invitational races are open to any horse whose last start was not for a purse over $12,000. Base purse for each world record attempt race is $10,000, with an added $3000 bonus to be equally divided by the driver, trainer and owner(s) of a horse that does break the current record. Trainers of horses interested in participating in these races are asked to contact Race Secretary Gregg Keidel well in advance of the Thursday, April 30 draw for the May 3 program. Notable nominees to the $75,000 (est.) Chip Noble Memorial Stake for older pacing mares on May 3 include Color's A Virgin, Yagonnakissmeornot, Rocklamation, Carolsideal and Fancy Desire. The $85,000 (est.) Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares also includes a number of distinguished names including Bee A Magician, Classic Martine, D'Orsay, Daylon Miracle, Frau Blucher and Shake It Cerry. Gregg Keidel      

In 2015, the Grand Circuit leaders in three harness racing 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 2015 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 51; 2. Jason Bartlett - 49; 3. Daniel Dube - 40; 4. George Brennan - 35; 5. Brian Sears - 19. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 71; 2. Jeff Bamond Jr. - 53; 3t. Rene Allard - 25; 3t. Tony O'Sullivan - 25; 5. Mark Silva - 15. Owners: 1. Bamond Racing - 46; 2t. Burke Racing - 15.9; 2t. Weaver Bruscemi - 15.9; 4. Jeff Snyder - 15; 5t. Allard Racing - 8.3; 5t: Yves Sarrazin - 8.3; 5t. Kapildeo Singh - 8.3. This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 3) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 4) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: There were three repeat winners in last week's second leg of the George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series at Yonkers Raceway. P H Supercam, Polak A and Beach Memories each made it two-for-two in the series by capturing their respective $50,000 events on the March 28 card at The Hilltop. Defending series champ P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) used the same M-O -- sitting a three-hole and closing deep in the passing lane -- that worked so well in the 2014 finale. P H Supercam, from post position No. 4, went by a pocket-sitting Frankie's Dragon to win the first grouping by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:52.4. For second choice P H Supercam, an 8-year-old Million Dollar Cam gelding owned by Bamond Racing and trained by Jeff Bamond Jr., it was his fourth win in seven seasonal starts. The second event saw Polak A (Brian Sears) repeat what he did in the series opener, as in win the draw and make the rest of his rivals pay. Polak A took the lead just past a :27.2 opening quarter-mile and was never caught. He dug in down the stretch, holding off both Michael's Power (neck) and Foiled Again (1-1/4 lengths) in 1:52.4. Second choice Polak A, a 7-year-old Down Under son of Pacific Fella trained by Tony O'Sullivan for co-owners Frank Bellino & Sons, Frank J. Bellino and Joseph Bellino, is now two-for-two stateside and two-for-three in '15. Saturday's third Levy grouping was won by 6-5 second choice Beach Memories (Gingras). Beach Memories held off Sapphire City by a neck, with 11-10 wagering choice Mach It So a non-threatening third. For Beach Memories, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned by Strollin Stable, AWS Stables, King McNamara and Country Club Acres, it was his second win in five seasonal starts. There was also a repeat winner in the March 27 second leg of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series as Carolsideal vaulted to the top of the series standings with an impressive victory. Carolsideal (Daniel Dube) owned a measured half-length lead into the lane, then widened to close the sale, winning by a couple of lengths in a season's-best 1:53. Monkey On My Wheel held second, with Anndrovette a rallying third for the second week in a row. For Carolsideal, a 6-year-old daughter of Western Ideal trained by Rene Allard for co-owners Allard Racing, Yves Sarrazin and Kapildeo Singh, it was her seventh win in eight seasonal starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 25. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Schedule of events: The final Grand Circuit race of the 2014 season was to be at Northfield Park this Friday (Dec. 12) as the Northeast Ohio oval was to host the $150,000 Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old male pacers. However, only five sophomore pacers entered for the $150,000 guaranteed purse and the race was canceled. Their ownerships will each receive a check in excess of $17,000 for entering. Last time: Hall of Famer David Miller guided McWicked to a 1:48.4 victory this past Sunday (Dec. 7) in the $301,560 Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers at Dover Downs. Paying a $25,000 supplemental fee paid off for owner Ed James' S S G Stables as McWicked swept both the $35,000 Progress Pace Preview and the $301,560 final in identical clockings of 1:48.4, but the manner of victories varied. After a near wire-to-wire success the prior week, this time Miller drove the McArdle-Western Sahara colt out of third approaching the half and then sided-up to leader JK Endofanera, driven by Yannick Gingras, on the backstretch. They battled around the final turn before McWicked pulled away early in the stretch for his 12th win of the year, raising his seasonal bankroll to $1,472,937 and $1,652,554 for his two seasons of racing. JK Endofanera was 1-1/4 lengths back in second with Tim Tetrick rallying Somewhere In L A for third money. 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 final standings for the 2014 season: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 2,287; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,182; 3. David Miller - 1,023.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 877.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 647. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,490.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,913; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 411; 5. Julie Miller - 347. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 550.03; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 500.03; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 367; 4. Brittany Farms - 294.45; 5. Robert Key -272. Looking ahead: The 2014 Grand Circuit season has concluded; the 2015 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

This Week: Progress Pace, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will be at Dover Downs this Sunday (Dec. 7) for the $301,560 Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. McWicked, the only supplemental entry, romped to a 1:48.4 victory in the $35,000 Progress Pace Preview, turning back seven rivals for his 11th win of a $1.3 million season, this past Sunday (Nov. 30) at Dover Downs. Complete entries for the race are available at this link. Last time: The Meadowlands hosted a pair of $500,000 TVG FFA Series Championships this past Saturday night (Nov. 29). Sweet Lou was all alone at the wire in the $500,000 TVG final for open pacers. Sweet Lou, in the final race of his career, won the $500,000 TVG final for open pacers at the Meadowlands in 1:48 by 3-3/4 lengths. Sweet Lou and driver Ron Pierce led the field to the 1:21.3 three-quarters and on to the long homestretch. Only 10-year-old Foiled Again parted ways with the pack to muster a challenge for Sweet Lou, but at the wire, it was Sweet Lou first and alone for the last time. Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) was second and Clear Vision (Tim Tetrick) third. The stallion with the distinctive white blaze was soon mobbed by a crowd that included his owners, Phil Collura, Larry Karr, Weaver Bruscemi and Burke Racing. Ron Burke trains the 5-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser-Sweet Future, who is set to stand stud at Diamond Creek Farm in 2015. The win was the 11th in 19 season's starts for Sweet Lou and took his 2014 earnings to $1,361,433. He has banked $3,478,894 lifetime on the strength of 33 victories in 74 starts. Intimidate fanned five wide down the stretch to trot by the field to win the $500,000 TVG final for open trotters at the Meadowlands by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:51.2. He was driven by Scott Zeron for trainer Luc Blais and owners Determination and Judith Farrow. Intimidate was a 1:51.2 winner in the TVG final for open trotters. There were no surprises as the race left the starting gate, with Ake Svanstedt guiding Sebastian K to the lead by the :26.1 first quarter and Maven (Yannick Gingras) right behind him. Creatine (Ron Pierce) trotted up with a rush to get alongside Sebastian K, where he remained through the :54.1 half and on to the 1:23 three-quarters. As the field turned for home, Market Share and driver Tim Tetrick went three wide to press hard on those two leaders and appeared poised to go by before Intimidate emerged five wide to trot by the field for the win. Market Share was second and Creatine third. It was just the fifth win of the year for Intimidate in 14 starts and enough to put him over $1 million lifetime, with career earnings now of $1,224,008. He is a 5-year-old gelding by Justice Hall out of Fabulous Tag. 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 - 2,277; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,177; 3. David Miller - 1,003.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 877.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 647. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,480.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,908; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 411; 5. Julie Miller - 347. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 550.03; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 500.03; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 357; 4. Brittany Farms - 294.45; 5. Robert Key - 272. Looking ahead: The final Grand Circuit race of 2014 will take place next week at Northfield Park as the Ohio track will host the Cleveland Classic for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

East Rutherford, NJ - What is a racetrack to do when faced with following a Breeders Crown weekend chock full of thrills? Why at The Meadowlands the response is to come right back with the $1 million TVG Series Championship featuring the very finest of the older set on both the trot and pace.   After following a season-long trail of top class events that began in May and concluded with last Saturday's Crown Finals, the TVG Championships close out a fantastic season for the top Free For Allers with year-end awards hanging in the balance.   The $500,000 Pacing Championship comes as the seventh race on the card and offers a renewal of the thrilling rivalry between Thinking Out Loud and Sweet Lou who have been duking it out in headline events for the past three years.   "Lou" put together an unprecedented string of six straight sub-1:48 miles during the heart of the summer season, winning ten in a row once united with Hall of Fame driver Ron Pierce. He's the division's top seasonal money winner with more than $1.1 million this season and has amassed a lifetime bankroll of over $3.2 million for Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi, Larry Karr and Phil Collura. They've enjoyed a great ride with the son of Yankee Cruiser from Sweet Future who remains the fastest freshman of all time with his 1:49 score in the 2011 Breeders Crown. Ron Burke has trained Sweet Lou throughout his career, which comes to a close on Saturday as he goes to stud at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania.   Thinking Out Loud is a pure homebred, by Ponder from the mare Los Angeles, both raced in the stable of his Hall of Fame trainer Bob McIntosh who shares ownership with brother Al McIntosh and long-time patrons CSX Stable (brothers Keith, Ken and Mike Carpenter). The winner of the 2012 North America Cup, Thinking Out Loud has amassed over $1.8 million career-wise with $200,000 coming in last Saturday's Breeders Crown Final where he and driver John Campbell used every inch of the long Meadowlands stretch to nail Sweet Lou on the wire. Known for his late rallying style and nail-biting finishes, Thinking Out Loud comes to this race near his best form.   Space does not permit the tale be told of the depth present for the TVG Pacing Championship. Suffice to say that these eight champions have amassed nearly $18.5 million in earnings and among those not mentioned above are both the richest at $6.77 million, 2013 TVG champion Foiled Again and co-fastest, Warrawee Needy at 1:46.4, pacers in the history of the sport.   Hoosier Pacing Derby winner Bettor's Edge, Canadian Pacing Derby champ Modern Legend, winner of the inaugural Dayton Pacing Derby Clear Vision and Allerage Farms Open victor State Treasurer complete the All Star line-up.   If it were possible to out-do the race that I have just described, it could likely occur just three races later in the $500,000 TVG Trotting Championship, where the career earnings of the ten participants is over $21 million!   The Trotting Championship has something for everybody; including the fastest trotter ever in Sebastian K who set the trotting world on its ear with his epic 1:49 masterpiece at Pocono this summer. Though his air of invincibility may have been breached, the majestic Swedish invader racing for Knutsson Trotting has a chance to reassert himself in Horse of the Year balloting in this contest. Ake Svanstedt trains and drives the champion.   The competition is fierce, led by a pair femme fatales who are just now finding their best form of the season. From Sebastian K's inside starts 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician. She is the winner of the Breeders Crown Mare Open Trot, thus the lone invitee to this race as allowed by the TVG conditions. She was devastating in victory, scorching the first quarter in 26.1 to line up the competition in her wake, then sprinting home in 27.2 to hold them off in 1:51.4. Brian Sears was at his best in orchestrating the winning trip on behalf of trainer Nifty Norman and owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee.   Maven made headlines when she commanded a king's ransom of $750,000 when offered at auction just three weeks ago and has made buyer Herb Liverman look like the Warren Buffet of horse racing since. Declining the chance to race the girls, she went into the Open division of the Breeders Crown and won the elimination despite the disadvantage of post ten. Another brave performance followed in the final of that race where she not only survived a long, uncovered bid into International champion Commander Crowe but was still inching in on his lead when the wire came in 1:51.   Maven begins again from the far outside here but asks no quarter from her rivals. Top driver Yannick Gingras will attempt to overcome the poor starting position in his quest to find the best course to victory, as the pair has done many times. She is most recently trained by Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter and Mr. Liverman now has John Fielding and Joyce McClelland as partners in the mare.   Beyond those three lurk such talented trotters as last year's TVG Champion, the $3.5 million winning Market Share, Allerage Farms Open and American National winner Creatine, International star and classics winner Wishing Stone, Maple Leaf Trot winner Intimidate, ageless wonder, $4.2 million, multiple classics winning world record holder Arch Madness, 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes champ Flanagan Memory and the iron tough DW's NY Yank.   These are but the highlights of a titillating thirteen race Saturday night program at The Meadowlands. First post is 7:15pm and the wagering options are many; multiple guaranteed Pick 4's and the brand new Super Hi Five wager with a building jackpot. More details may be found at www.playmeadowlands.com .   From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department

This Week: TVG Series finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit will be at Meadowlands Racetrack this Saturday (Nov. 29) for the $500,000 TVG Series final for 3-year-old and up open pacers and the $500,000 TVG Series final for 3-year-old and up open trotters. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Twelve classes competed in Breeders Crown finals this past weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack. Let's take a look at some of the highlights: Commander Crowe won the $500,000 Open Trot by three-quarters of a length over favorite Maven in a stakes-record-equaling 1:51. Le Grand Blond -- European star Commander Crowe -- provided a grand finale to Saturday's eight Breeders Crown races, winning the $500,000 Open Trot by three-quarters of a length over favorite Maven in a stakes-record-equaling 1:51. An 11-year-old chestnut, Commander Crowe became the oldest Breeders Crown champion in history. Foiled Again, who won last season's Breeders Crown Open Pace at the age of 9, held the record for oldest winner. The Swedish-born Commander Crowe, who has won 61 of 106 career races and earned $5.09 million, captured his first Breeders Crown after third-place finishes in 2011 and 2012 at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto. His earnings rank No. 4 among all trotters in history and his triumphs include the Elitlopp Invitational, which he captured in 2012. Commander Crowe, trained by Fabrice Souloy, was driven to victory by Orjan Kihlstrom. Maven, who was trying to become the first mare since Moni Maker in 1998 to win the Breeders Crown Open Trot, raced on the outside from the half-mile point, closing from fourth to second, but getting no nearer. Creatine finished third, followed by Flanagan Memory. Three of the Crown winners put themselves in prime contention for Horse of the Year honors. On Friday, Shake It Cerry and Ron Pierce made it back-to-back Breeders Crown victories as the duo won the $500,000 3-Year-Old Filly Trot edition in a stakes record time of 1:52.2, two-fifths of a second better than the old mark set by Bee A Magician last year. Shake It Cerry shook off the competition and left the field behind to win by 2-1/4 lengths. Cee Bee Yes was second and Struck By Lindy closed strongly for third. It was the 19th Breeders Crown for her trainer Jimmy Takter and 30th for driver Ron Pierce, and she was the first trotting filly to win back-to-back Crowns since Cameron Hall in 2001-2002. The daughter of Donato Hanover-Solveig is owned by Sloveig's Racing Partners. Make that an even dozen in as many tries for JK She'salady as she and driver Tim Tetrick won the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday night at the Meadowlands. She covered the mile in 1:50.2, a track and stakes record. Tetrick kept JK She'salady to her task and went straight to the finish line by 1-3/4 lengths in front of second place finisher Sassa Hanover and Bettor Be Steppin in third. JK She'salady is trained by Nancy Johansson and owned by 3 Brothers Stables of New York. It was the first winner for 33-year-old Johansson, who is the daughter of Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter. If she would be voted the Horse of the Year, the homebred daughter of Art Major-Presidential Lady would be the first 2-year-old pacing filly accorded that honor. "Redemption for Father Patrick. He is blessed with a Breeders Crown," called out track announcer Ken Warkentin as Father Patrick hit the wire to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old trotting colts by a neck in a stakes record time of 1:51.4 on Saturday. E L Titan was second and Nuncio, who was looking for late racing room along the rail, was third. Harper Blue Chip was fourth. Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream, is owned by the Father Patrick Stable, is trained by Jimmy Takter and was driven to victory by Yannick Gingras. He has won 12 of 17 starts this year, good for earnings of $1,693,081. 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 - 2,267; 2. Tim Tetrick - 1,162; 3. David Miller - 1,003.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 852.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 647. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 2,445.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,908; 3. Erv Miller - 446.5; 4. Joe Holloway - 411; 5. Julie Miller - 347. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 540.48; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 490.48; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 357; 4. Brittany Farms - 294.45; 5. Robert Key - 272. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Dover Downs as the Delaware track will host the Progress Pace for 3-year-old male pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Within a week or so hundreds of ballots will go out to the membership of the United State Trotting Association (USHWA) and race secretaries throughout North America. These journalists and communicators will have the duty of selecting the prestigious Dan Patch award winners for the 2014 race season. They are entrusted in voting for what will mean a lot of prestige and big bucks for both colts and fillies and horses and mares when it comes time for the stallion shed or broodmare ranks. So who will these USHWA members be voting for? After this weekend’s top notch racing some of the choices are just plain standouts but a lot are not. In fact, some voters will have to wait until next week’s TVG finals at the Meadowlands before they can sit down and make their final decisions. USHWA members are human being too and thus have to weigh-in all the facts and separate the statistical data they will review with the feelings in their heart when it comes voting time and look back on the long season and not just the last few weeks and then cast their ballots. Then on Thursday, December 18, once all the ballots have been counted, the USHWA membership will hold a press conference at the Meadowlands to announce the winners. Usually these announcements would be held up in suspense until the big Dan Patch Awards dinner February 22, 2015 at the DoubleTree Hilton Orlando by SeaWorld. The USHWA membership voted last year to announce all the winners ahead of time to try and glean the most publicity out of the winners this year instead of it being buried and not getting any newsprint until after the fact on the night of the dinner. The Dan Patch Awards Dinner will still be a major event and celebration of all the winners, both equine and human from the 2014 season and the first introduction of the newest inductees to the prestigious Hall of Fame. It is truly an event that everyone should consider attending. But it still leaves the question of who will everyone be voting for? Let’s do a little overview of each of the divisions and how they stack up after the Breeders Crown. Two-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - If if if….Wild Honey could only have stayed on stride and have a shot against Mission Brief. She was as near perfect as you can get in a season. Mission Brief was super-fast both on track and in jumping off stride, but without Wild Honey being able to take real shot at her, looks to have given Mission Brief the nod of approval in this division. Also setting a world record along the way always helps too. Two-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - No one in the world can argue that JK She’salady is the unopposed candidate in this division. Yes, Sassa Hanover is no slouch and Yannick Gingras chose wrong and it will be great to see these two tangle next year, but going undefeated at 12 for 12 is perfection at its best. Her pulling away from Sassa Hanover in the stretch in the Breeders Crown was very impressive after the great season she had. The only question is if the voting membership of USHWA can make her the Harness Horse of the Year in 2014. More on that to come later in this story. Two-Year-Old Trotting Colts - Now we really get into a tough category. Pinkman closes out the season with a flourish, winning four straight including the Breeders Crown in a lifetime mark on a cold night nearly rewriting the world record. But both Habitat and French Laundry also had super seasons. Pinkman did beat Habitat three of the four times they faced each other. French Laundry only faced Pinkman in the BC final and French Laundry never faced Habitat until the Breeders Crown.  Can’t we just race the three of them against each other and winner takes the title? Two-Year-Old Pacing Colts - Throughout this season all the talk was Artspeak and rightly so. The colt was fabulous and beat all comers until he met up with In The Arsenal in Lexington and then things changes as the unbeaten was beaten. But Artspeak was able to come back to victory lane and close out his season with a big win in the Governor’s Cup before either getting too sore or enough is enough this year and skipping the Matron and Breeders Crown. Now comes along the dragon slayer, In The Arsenal. He puts an end to Artspeaks unbeaten streak, then he does the same to unbeaten Yankee Bounty two starts in a row. Here comes the Breeders Crown and not once, but twice drawing the 10 post and races super valiant but could not win but he should be a real terror next year. Three-Year-Old Trotting Fillies - All season long Shake It Cerry was the horse to beat in this division. And on just two occasions, one important one being the Hambletonian Oaks, Shake It Cerry did get beat. But that was it for the year. After the Oaks loss she rallied for nine straight wins to close out 2014 with 15 wins in 17 starts. Her Breeders Crown score after going three-wide on the final turn was a super dramatic way to end the season.  Credit also must be given to her stable mate, Lifetime Pursuit, who also had a top notch season. Three-Year-Old Pacing Fillies - This was a topsy turvey division throughout the year. With last year’s top filly, Precocious Beauty unable to come back and dominate the division it became a question of who will win this week. Then a filly named Color’s A Virgin put on a dramatic showing in winning the Jugette in straight heats and slowly became a household name for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Brian Brown…until the Breeders Crown finale. After winning her BC elimination division for her seventh straight score and 13th win of the year, Color’s A Virgin was living up to her hype. Now comes the Breeders Crown final and low and behold here comes Sayitall BB. She wins very convincingly and when you look at her record she shows nine wins and over $500,000 earned. Three-Year-Trotting Colts - Father Patrick was tabbed early on to be the great one. And he was early on but after his went off stride in the Hambletonian, his stable mates, Trixton and Nuncio took over the spot light. And each time Father Patrick would rebound, he got beat again or made a break to set him back. Then Trixton went lame and ended his career and Mr. Consistency, Nuncio, emerged on the scene to reap two of the three trotting Triple Crown races and the only one of the three to step on and win on a half mile track. But then here comes Father Patrick in the Breeders Crown final. Beaten by E L Titan, beaten by Nuncio, the top rated colt at the start of the season comes back at the very end with stakes record 1:51.4 triumph to close out the 2014 season. Tale of the tape says Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times to Nuncio beating him three times, or at least beating himself by breaking. Both colts have near identical records so a strong case can be made on behalf or against either top candidate. Three-Year-Old Colt Pacers - All Always B Miki had to do was not go lame before the start of the Breeders Crown as if he had won there would be no contest in this division. Despite the lameness, Always B Miki has had a sensational season with 12 big scores, winning eight of his last nine starts. Now with Always B Miki going lame for the Breeders Crown, it brings to light the other top colts in the division. Jug winner Limelight Beach was going strong but scratched early from the Breeders Crown Final. JK Endofanera was third in the BC final and sports ten wins this year and over $1 million in earnings this season. Then there is McWicked, who was so hot in mid-season but failed to fire in the Jug and had not won a race since early September. Always game but could not win. He becomes the strong horse in the Breeders Crown and overpowers the field to win in a very impressive 1:49. He now leads all the colts with $1,300,00 won this year. Older Trotting Mares - USHWA members get a ton of statistical data to help them make their decisions in voting for horses of the year and this division needs those stats. Bee A Magician is the defending Harness Horse of the Year. She won’t have a shot at it again, but for her division she has to go up against Maven and Classic Martine. Bee A Magician was not her old self this year but came back to winning form in the Breeders Crown. She changed tactics and wired the field in 1:51.4. But only four wins this year vs a perfect 17 or 17 last year is not good. She was a game second place finisher in some big stakes six times this year. Maven has caught everyone’s eye and rightly so. She raced against the boys off and on this season and beat them here and in Europe. Her come from behind score from post ten last week at the Meadowlands was sensational. Her second place finish to Commander Crowe was top of the line against some very good horses. But once again only four wins and maybe not the world champion caliber she was last year. Classic Martine is most certainly the statistical favorite in here. Her 9 wins, 5 seconds and 2 thirds in 18 starts is the best record of anyone. She also has more earnings this year than anyone else in the group at $460,000 is tops too. Plus she did not skip many of the big dances. This is another toughie division. Older Trotter Horses - There was a lot of hype when Sebastian K first came over to the USA. Is he the great horse everyone in Europe had been talking for years? That question was answered in his first start for trainer/driver Ake Svanstedt. Then the next start and the next start and how fast can this guy go? How domineering can he be? Well, the answers were all age world record 1:49, numerous 1:50 and change miles, the barefoot wonder who was nearly unbeatable unless it rained and the track was off. No question what so ever that Sebastian K, regardless of his final appearance this year in the TVG finals this weekend, has been a true super star performer. The only question will be if Sebastian K is fit enough to win the TVG final and then go head and head with a little pacing filly and a duo of trotting colts for Harness Horse of the Year honors. Older Pacing Mares - For three straight years Anndrovette has dominated this division, but maybe not in 2014. She was a decent fourth in the Breeders Crown but had yet to win a race against these since late August. The new kid on the block this season has been Yagonnakissmeornot. With 14 wins in 30 starts she has been very good in both stakes and Opens and is the highest money earner among this group. Yet she could not hit the board in the Breeders Crown either. Somwherovrarainbow came into the Breeders Crown in good form but she could not muster a BC check.  Rocklamation, when good is great, but she has just too many issues each season but she did rally hard to be second in the Breeders Crown. Shebestingin, Charisma Hanover, Voelz Hanover, even the Breeders Crown winner, Shelliscape, could have been considered but their inconsistent race patterns eliminate them. Older Pacing Horses - A win would have made it more convincing, but after yet another game effort, second in the Breeders Crown, Sweet Lou may just be able to end his career as he started it, with a Dan Patch award. His ten wins and $1.1 million in earnings this year plus the win streak and the sub 1:48 miles every week make him just about too strong to think twice about. Foiled Again had another great season, State Treasurer too and Bettor’s Edge. It was a great season again for the older pacing ranks with so many good competitors who would step up and score big, like Thinking Out Loud in the Breeders Crown, Clear Vision too. Trotter of the Year - It is just about too tough to call in here. Sebastian K quietly came into the United States and then set the sport on fire this summer, set track and world marks nearly every other start. Then he faced some losses on sloppy tracks and sorta sored up at the end of the season. But now he looked great in his qualifier and voters will be watching the TVG finals this weekend at the Meadowlands to see how he rebounds. But what about Father Patrick and/or Nuncio? Throw out the two major breaks and he is nearly perfect all season long and was on cruise control in winning the Breeders Crown. Nuncio is Mr. Consistency all season long, no breaks, won two of three Triple Crown jewels and won with ease on a half mile too. His third place finish in the Breeders Crown was the only time he was worse than second all season. Both horses have nearly identical records, Father Patrick beat Nuncio five times, Nuncio beat Father Patrick three times. And let’s talk about Shake It Cerry! With 15 wins in 17 starts, $1,230,000 in earnings. Three-wide on the final turn and trots away in the Breeders Crown. She had nearly done it all except for her Hambletonian Oaks fourth place finish. You can’t make a case for the other three without having her join in too! Anyone have a four-sided coin we can flip? Pacer of the Year - JK She’salady was perfect this year, 12 for 12. She never shied from any major stakes race. She took on all comers and in the Breeders Crown was looked in the eye by Sassa Hanover and dug in to score in a romp. But she is a freshman filly and more than likely going against a seasoned veteran in Sweet Lou, who for months was unbeatable against the best in the sport. Harness Horse of the Year - With nearly 200 members of USHWA voting for the horse of the year honors this season, it’s impossible, maybe, to read everyone’s minds. From a statistical point of view, provided JK She’salady can beat Sweet Lou, then harness racing history could be made as no two-year-old filly has ever been named Harness Horse of the Year. But that could very well change in 2014 as the little lady had a sensational season, sorta like last year’s Harness Horse of the Year, Bee A Magician. From the trotting side perhaps because of the boost to harness racing’s moral from his sensational season, should Sebastian K beat out Shake It Cerry, Father Patrick’s and Nuncio, then it will be a real contest between the world champion trotter and the little lady. But that’s not to say it could also happen with most any of the possible finalists. It’s been that great a racing season. It is actually too close to even try and make a pick, and with so many great possible scenarios to consider, we’ll just have to wait and see who the USHWA Membership votes for. We will all know before Christmas. By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

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  

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