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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  

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  

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