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CAMPBELLVILLE, August 29 - Lifetime Pursuit continued her incredible hot streak Friday night at Mohawk by winning a division of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. 13 three-year-old trotting fillies were split into two Simcoe Stakes divisions worth more than $103,000. Lifetime Pursuit picked up her fourth win in a row in the second $105,344 division. Leaving from post six with driver Brett Miller, Lifetime Pursuit was parked fourth around the first turn and followed Cantabs Fortune to the front in the second quarter. As soon as Cantabs Fortune touched down on the front, Lifetime Pursuit cleared to take control at the half-mile pole in :56. Lifetime Pursuit trotted by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.4 and turned for home without much challenge from her six other rivals. In the stretch, the daughter of Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace never allowed her rivals to get any closer than a few lengths and strolled home to win by 2 ¼ lengths in 1:53.4. Sweetie Hearts finished second, while Chivaree Hanover was third and My Inspiration was fourth. Lifetime Pursuit is trained by Jimmy Takter for the Brittany Farms. Following the race, Myron Bell, the racing manager for Brittany Farms, noted that Lifetime Pursuit is a third generation filly for the farm. "We bought a daughter of Me Maggie back about 20 years ago and her name was Prime Mistress and she won about $20,000 on the racetrack and had a record of about :58," said Bell. "Her daughter is the dam of this filly and three generations later it's paid off." Lifetime Pursuit has now won four stake races in a row dating back to the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks on August 2. The Simcoe Stakes victory was her sixth win in 11 starts this year, the 12th win of her career and pushes her career earnings over $760,000. She paid $2.10 to win. In the first $103,845 Simcoe Stakes division, Designed To Be broke her streak of three second place finishes to win in a stakes record equaling time of 1:52.3. Scream And Shout was sent hard to the lead by Brett Miller and posted an opening quarter of :27.1, while Designed To Be and Sylvain Filion followed along in fourth. Miller didn't slow down the tempo in the middle half as Scream And Shout opened up a good sized lead on the field trotting by the half in :56.1 and the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2. In the third quarter, Filion right lined Designed To Be to the outside and she began the first over journey. Designed To Be would erase Scream And Shout's sizeable lead and trot by her half way down the lane to win by 3¼ lengths. Muscle Babe finished third, while Tosca was fourth. "Brett (Miller) was trying to give us the slip, but we caught him in the nick of time," said Designed To Be's trainer Julie Miller in the winner's circle. "The way the races are setting up she needs a target and she's willing to follow and attack." Miller trains the daughter of Donato Hanover - Sheer Soul Be for owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. The Simcoe Stakes victory was Designed To Be's third win in seven starts this season and the eighth win of her career. She now has career earnings of more than $500,000. Designed To Be paid $2.10 to win. The three-year-old trotting fillies will be back in action next Friday at Mohawk for the eliminations of the $365,000 Elegantimage Stakes. Also on Friday night, two divisions were contested of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters. Habitat and Sylvain Filion took the first $124,621 Champlain division. A son of Conway Hall - Habits Best, Habitat, who was the 3/5 favourite, was put right on the front by Filion and set fractions of :27.4, :58. and 1:26.3. After opening up a sizable lead on the final turn, Habitat strolled home under wraps in :28.2 to win by 2 ½ lengths in 1:55. Muscle Diamond and Rick Zeron trotted a big last quarter of :27. to come from seventh to finish second. Aldebaran Eagle finish third, while Jetpedia rounded out the Superfecta. "He's not very big, but he's very powerful," said Filion following the race. "Turning for him he kind of got a little lost out there on the front end on a big track like this and I could hear Ricky (Zeron) coming at me, so I just asked him a bit and he took off right away." Trained by Ron Burke, Habitat is owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Our Horse Cents Stables and Weaver Bruscemi. Habitat was a $50,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. He has now won three times in five career starts and has earnings exceeding $94,000. Habitat paid $3.40 to win. In the second $124,621 division, another heavy favourite came through as French Laundry and Brett Miller won in 1:55.4. Sent off as the 3/5 favourite, French Laundry got away in fourth as the field made their way by the opening quarter marker. In the second quarter, French Laundry followed Lookslikeachipndale, who made a first up move to the lead, right to front to take control at the half in :57.4. After trotting by the three-quarter pole in 1:27.2, French Laundry quickly opened up a couple lengths at the top of the lane and trotted home under a confident hand drive from Miller to win by 2 ¾ lengths. Don't Rush, who was first over around the final turn, trotted a good final clip to finish second, while Lookslikeachipndale and Southwind Stryker were third and fourth respectively. "I've raced against him (French Laudnry) many times and he looks like a Cadillac to drive and he is," Miller said following the race. "I just kind of waited for the dust to settle and moved him to the front and he was very good." A son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi, French Laundry is conditioned by Jimmy Takter for owners Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. A $115,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase, French Laundry has now won four time in his six career starts. The Champlain Stakes victory pushes his earnings over the $100,000 mark. He paid $3.40 to win. Next up for the two-year-old trotters is the eliminations for the $365,000 William Wellwood Memorial next Friday. Grand Circuit action continues tomorrow night with the $634,000 Canadian Pacing Derby, the $667,000 Metro Pace, the $480,000 She's A Great Lady Stakes, the $207,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $218,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters. Post time is 7:25 p.m. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 28 - Grand Circuit week got underway with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies Thursday night at Mohawk. 26 freshman fillies were split into three divisions worth more than $83,000. Stubborn Belle captured the first division in style with a 1:54.2 stakes record performance. A daughter of Taurus Dream - Musetta Hanover, Paul Macdonell sent the filly to the lead and posted an opening quarter of :27.3 and a half mile time of :57.1. As the field made their way to the half, Speak To Me, the second choice at odds of 7/5, made a break while racing along in fifth. In the third quarter, Spirit To Win, the even money favourite, was sent first up to challenge Stubborn Belle and the fillies went toe-to-toe as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.2. In the stretch, Stubborn Belle turned aside the favourite and trotted away by two lengths to win the first division in a stakes and career best 1:54.2. Spirit To Win held on for second, while Summer Jewel took the show spot. Speak To Me recovered to finish up her mile strong and pick up a fourth place cheque. Trained by John Bax for owners Al Libfeld and Parkhill Stud Farm, Stubborn Belle was bought as a yearling at Harrisburg for $85,000. Stubborn Belle has had success on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit this season and has now won three times in six career starts for earnings of over $108,000. She paid $9.70 to win. Stubborn Belle In the second division, Danielle Hall cut the mile and showed a lot of heart to win in 1:55.1. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall was sent to the lead by driver Jody Jamieson, while Lock Down Lindy, the 1/2 favourite, got away in seventh. As the field reached the half, Southwind Champane was brought off the pylons from fourth allowing Lock Down Lindy to pick up cover second over. In the third-quarter, Southwind Champane challenged Danielle Hall, while Smexi sat in the two-hole and Lock Down Lindy gapped her cover a bit. In the stretch, Danielle Hall put away Southwind Champane, allowing Smexi to come out of the two-hole to take a challenge at the leader. Lock Down Lindy made a bid on the far outside, while Smokinmombo came up the rail to make it a close four horse finish. At the wire, Danielle Hall held off Smexi by a neck in 1:55.1, while Lock Down Lindy and Smokinmombo finished third and fourth respectively by three-quarters of a length. Carl Jamieson trains and co-owns Danielle Hall with Winnipeg Racing. Danielle Hall sold for $21,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale and has now won five times in six career starts. Three of her five victories have been in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold events. The winner's share of the $84,871 purse increases Danielle Hall's earnings to over $179,000. The clocking of 1:55.1 was also a new career mark. She paid $9.80 to win. Danielle Hall The final division went to Jolene Jolene and David Miller. A daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie, Jolene Jolene, the 1/2 favourite, got away third and made a quick move to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a half-mile time of :58.1 and a three-quarter time of 1:27., the two-year-old filly trotted strong down the lane under a hand drive from Miller to win by three lengths in 1:55.1. Juanitas Fury finished second, while Dynamite Dame was third. Trained by Jonas Czernyson for owner William Joseph Donovan, Jolene Jolene was entering the Champlain Stakes off a victory in the Tompkins Stakes at Tioga. Jolene Jolene was purchased for $87,000 last fall at Harrisburg and has now won two times in five career starts. She has never finished off the board and has earnings of over $151,000. She paid $3.10 to win. Jolene Jolene Grand Circuit action continues tomorrow night at Mohawk with two divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters and two divisions of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 27 - Harness racing's finest is taking over Mohawk Racetrack. The annual Grand Circuit week begins tomorrow evening (August 28) with the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies and wraps up next Saturday (September 6). The Champlain Stakes for two-year-olds and Simcoe Stakes for three-year-olds are staples on the Grand Circuit schedule every year. "Having North America's top two and three-year-olds come to Mohawk is exciting and something we all look forward to," said Scott McKelvie, WEG's Racing Secretary and Director of Racing. "The Grand Circuit's annual visit is always a highlight of the racing season." Thursday night three Champlain divisions for more than $83,000 will take place for the freshman trotting fillies. Spirit To Win (PP3), the winner of this year's Pure Ivory Series, leads the group of eight in the first division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Celebrity Spirit, Spirit To Win has won three times in four career starts for trainer Dustin Jones. The second division features Ontario Sires Stakes standout Danielle Hall (PP6) for the trainer/driver duo of Carl and Jody Jamieson. A daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe - Debbie Hall, Danielle Hall has won four of her five career starts for earnings of over $137,000. Jolene Jolene (PP1) is the 4-5 morning line favourite in the third and final division. Trained by Jonas Czernyson, Jolene Jolene is a daughter of Muscle Hill - Celebrity Speedie and has one win in four career starts. She was the runner-up in the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands on August 2. The stakes action will continue on Friday night with two divisions of more than $103,000 of the Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies and two $124,621 divisions of the Champlain Stakes for two-year-old trotters. World champion Lifetime Pursuit, the winner of this year's Hambletonian Oaks, headlines the group of 13 three-year-old trotting fillies. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit will start from post six in the second Simcoe Stakes division (Race 9) with driver Brett Miller. She is coming off a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the Casual Breeze Stakes last Friday at Mohawk. Miller and Takter will also team up in the second Champlain Stakes division with freshmen trotting colt French Laundry. A son of Muscles Yankee - Creamy Mimi, French Laundry has won three of his five career starts and will start from post three. On Saturday evening, the $207,689 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies and the $218,076 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old trotters will take place as part of the massive Canadian Pacing Derby card. Precocious Beauty leads a group of nine three-year-old pacing fillies in the Simcoe Stakes. Last year's She's A Great Lady Stakes winner, Precocious Beauty will start from post four for the trainer/driver team of Gregg and Doug McNair. A large field of 12 three-year-old trotters starring this year's Hambletonian winner Trixton will meet in their Simcoe Stakes division. Trixton, who has drawn post eleven in the second tier, will be making his first start since capturing the $1 million Hambletonian at the Meadowlands on August 2. Trixton will also be making his first start at Mohawk since he set the track record of 1:51.3 in the $272,100 Goodtimes Stakes on June 14. Trainer Jimmy Takter will take his usual position in the bike behind Trixton on Saturday evening. After a busy weekend, the Champlain and Simcoe Stakes action will resume next Saturday (September 6) with the $260,000 Champlain Stakes for two-year-old pacers, the $240,000 Champlain Stakes for the two-year-old pacing fillies and the $240,000 Simcoe Stakes for three-year-old pacers. Racing fans can stay up to date with the Grand Circuit by visiting their Facebook page www.Facebook.com/TheGrandCircuit and all of Mohawk's racing action at www.MohawkRacetrack.com by Mark McKelvie, for WEG  

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 26, 2014 -- Nuncio rolled to a facile 8-1/4-length victory in a division of Tuesday's $199,980 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows, completing his sweep of the four PASS preliminary legs. In the other split of the event for sophomore colt and gelding trotters, known as the Hickory Smoke, Datsyuk had to work harder but still won and cemented his spot in the championship, which is set for Sept. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Nuncio, who hadn't raced since his tough loss to stablemate Trixton in the Aug. 2 Hambletonian, had little trouble dispatching the field, vaulting to the front for John Campbell and scoring in 1:53.2. Dony Andreas overtook Don Dorado late for place. Campbell called it just the type of start Nuncio needed, since Stall TZ's son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle will perform again this week, in Friday's $376,000 (est.) Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs. "I didn't have to stress him at all today; he was cruising pretty easy," Campbell said. "You're always concerned a little bit when they come out of a couple hard races like you had in the Hambletonian. But he's bounced back, put on a little weight, and he felt great today." In most other years, Nuncio's impeccable credentials -- six wins in nine seasonal starts, first or second in all 19 career outings, nearly $1.1 million in lifetime earnings -- would place him at the forefront of divisional championship discussions. But the only horses to have beaten him this year, Trixton and Father Patrick, also are Jimmy Takter trainees and are grabbing more attention. Campbell cautioned not to count Nuncio out just yet. "The year's not over," he said. "It's a long time between now and the vote, and there are a lot of big races yet, so I'm not conceding anything in that regard. He's talented enough that he could win any of those races or all of them." Fresh off his 25-1 upset of Father Patrick in the Tompkins-Geers, Datsyuk was headed for the lead from post 6 when trainer/driver Charlie Norris noticed an early duel developing and dropped in fourth. The Explosive Matter-Pink Ribbons gelding moved confidently first over and defeated the rallying Madewell Hanover by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:53.4. Early leader Wheelsandthelegman saved show. "I could have gone on with him, but I thought the leader would carry us to the stretch anyway," said Norris, who owns Datsyuk with Leonard Buckner. "I really wasn't worried. The way he's been racing out of a hole, I was pretty confident. I had to get after him in the stretch a little -- he was kind of lazy. "I don't think he's as sharp as he was, like for the Beal, but he's coming back. He got beat a couple times, but now he has his confidence back. I look for him to be really sharp for the final." Norris said the tentative schedule for Datsyuk, who extended his career bankroll to $250,650, includes the Old Oaken Bucket at Delaware and Grand Circuit action at the Red Mile. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. On Wednesday, Aug. 27, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $10,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a $2,941.17 carryover. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Wednesday’s card, which features a $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

The very finest trotters in the land will converge on Vernon Downs the evening of Friday, August 29 for Grand Circuit racing. The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial drew full fields for both colt and filly divisions and the Crawford Farms Free For All looks to be the race of the season thus far for the veteran trotting set.   The Crawford Farms offers a powerful field of ten to compete for a purse of $236,000. Current Top Ten Poll leader and multiple world record setting trotter Sebastian K will bring his impressive arsenal to Central New York for owners Knutsson Trotting and trainer / driver Ake Svanstedt. He will find plenty of competition here including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's winner of this race and the only horse to vanquish Sebastian K in North American thus far Intimidate and the always formidable Market Share to name but a few.   The $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event has landed both Father Patrick and Nuncio from the Jimmy Takter stable. Father Patrick will seek to reestablish his position at the top of the sophomore crop and Nuncio will be coming in on short rest, being entered in a PASS event on Tuesday afternoon. There is also a $60,000 Zweig colt consolation on the Friday card.   Takter will also bring the likely favorite for the $150,000 Zweig companion filly race in Shake It Cerry. Last year's divisional champion has won seven of nine this season and is over $1.1 million lifetime for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Local debutante Avalicious, PASS invader Broadway Socks and NJSS champ Heaven's Door will provide ample resistance to the top choice.   The first leg of the 8th annual Tioga & Vernon Downs Drivers' Championship will be on the Friday program as well with four overnight races dedicated to that competition. The Vernon Racing Under Saddle series draws to a close with a $5,700 final and local driving legend, the late Jack Bailey, will be memorialized with the feature preferred trot.   The hotly anticipated Jimmy Marohn, Jr bobble-head giveaway and free T shirts will only add to the festivities on this important occasion. Post time for the Friday evening extravaganza will be 6:45pm. Visit the Vernon Downs website for complete entry information and further details on racing and promotions.  

Goshen, NY--Few harness horse breeders have made a larger multi-media splash this year than Crawford Farms of Durhamville, New York.   When top trotters Sebastian K and Market Share line up for this Friday's (August 29) $200,000 Crawford Farms Open Trot at Vernon, they will score behind the bright red Crawford Farms starting car. And that is just the beginning of the Crawford's omnipresence. Driven by a passion for the sport, and a desire to help harness racing prosper, the Crawford's have sponsored this season's Meadowlands Pace, Kindergarten Classic and the aforementioned Crawford Farms Trot, formerly the Credit Winner. In addition to vast purse support, they have recently completed a state-of-the-art equine therapeutic spa, 40-stall barn, and a 6-gate horse exerciser at their central New York breeding & racing operation. Their hearts and minds are 'all-in' this game; for their farm and for the future of the Standardbred. Michelle and Albert Crawford have undoubtedly jumped-in with both feet, and provided a much-needed push to a somewhat hesitant industry. "We love this business," noted Albert, son of the late Jim Crawford who was the affable former president of the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State. "My wife and I are committed to breeding top horses in New York State and supporting the industry in the process. We know that it is an uphill battle, but we are digging in for the long haul!" From the second-story Crawford Farms mural at The Meadowlands to the upcoming Red Mile Grand Circuit meet where the water trucks will bear the farm's iconic insignia, racing fans are constantly reminded of the dynamic duo's substantial commitment to the sport. Evident across multiple digital platforms, the Crawford's are very active on social media and have produced and broadcast several TV commercials. This weekend is no exception. With the $400,000 Zweig Trot also this Friday, renovations to the farm have reached a feverish pace this month in preparation for their inaugural Open House on Friday from 10 am to 6 pm. The team is eager to show the sport the fruits of their labor. "Our yearlings are ready and we hope to draw a large crowd of horse people for some food and refreshments while they evaluate our stock," exclaimed Michelle Crawford, who provides much of the spark in the engine around the farm. "My crew has really stepped up over these past few weeks to make this facility 'show ready' for the upcoming affair," the hostess added with a proud smile. The farm, which was founded in 1966 by Jim and Patricia Crawford, continues to be a family affair. The 100-acre nursery has continued to expand not only their footprint, but also their broodmare band. Last year Crawford Farm was the leading major consignor at the Morrisville Sale and will bring nine yearlings back to that venue on Sept. 21. In addition, they have ten yearlings consigned to the Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, including two selling on opening night, Sept. 30. While the yearlings were being videotaped, it was 'all hands on deck' and all feet had running shoes. Al, Michelle, Jim Jr., and even matriarch Pat participated in the 35th annual running of the babies. Albert stated, "This is the day we get to really see what we have. It's exciting, but a little nerve-racking too." When they are not prepping yearlings, Michelle and Al own and operate one of the most successful healthcare lending institutions in the nation, Bankers Healthcare Group. In fact, BHG was ranked as the 5th Fastest Growing Private Company by Inc. Formed in 1992 from a modest group of four finance experts, BHG now employs close to 200. It appears that growth and commitment are not just a mission statement, it is a Crawford way of life. by Chris Tully

August 24, 2014 - In the final two legs before the mid-season break of HANA Harness' Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest sponsored by the Hambletonian Society, DRF Harness, Meadowlands Racing & Gaming, Northfield Park, Tioga Downs, and Vernon Downs. Josi Verlingieri dominated her fellow competitors with a net profit of $1,886.25, more than $1,000 ahead of the rest of the pack. While Verlingieri leapfrogged from 8th to 4th place with her performance, Brandon Valvo remains on top at the mid-season break, leading his fellow handicappers with a net profit of $3,604.50, $1,395.80 ahead of his closest competitor, Bob Zanakis Other handicappers had less profitable, though significant weekends. Overall leader Brandon Valvo ended the final weekend of the summer portion of the competition with a weekly net profit of $830 edging out Earl Paulson who had a net profit of $800. As for key wagers for the weekend, after starting off with a $70 loss in Leg 22 (August 15), Verlingieri reversed her fortunes dramatically with a profit of $1,956.25 in Leg 23 (August 16) by going all in with a $125 Win and Place wager on Solar Sister ($27.50, $7.80) in the 3rd leg of the Eternal Camnation at Mohawk Racetrack. For Leg 22, the inaugural Carl Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park, Earl Paulson netted a profit of $662.50 thanks primarily to a $25 Exacta box of three horses ($155 total) which returned $835. Valvo managed a $609 profit in Leg 22 with a $50 Win, Place wager on Milstein Memorial Consolation winner National Debt which returned $475 plus a $10 Trifecta part-wheel ($60) on the Milstein Memorial with its $294 dividend while scoring a $221 profit in Leg 23 primarily with his $10 Trifecta box ($60) in the Joe Gerrity Memorial at Saratoga Raceway which returned $206. Paulson scored a $600 profit in the Friday night leg of the competition primarily with a $25 Exacta three-horse box ($150) which returned a gross of $835 and a $137.50 profit on Saturday evening with a $5 Exacta box ($30) in the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation which returned $252.50. Other performances worth noting were Sally Hinckley's $386.50 profit in the Saturday evening stanza with a $20 Trifecta key ($240) in the 3rd division of the Nassagaweya which returned $600 while Rusty Nash scored a $230 profit thanks to a $353 return on a $20 Win, Place wager on the 3rd division of the Eternal Camnation. The current standings at the break are: As of August 16, 2014 - Leg 23 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Brandon Valvo $830.00 $3,604.50   2nd Bob Zanakis ($500.00) $2,208.70 $1,395.80 3rd Earl Paulson $800.00 $744.90 $2,859.60 4th Josi Verlingieri $1,886.25 $614.15 $2,990.35 5th Derick Giwner ($143.00) ($44.23) $3,648.73 6th Brian McEvoy ($12.50) ($177.50) $3,782.00 7th Ray Garnett $0.00 ($622.15) $4,226.65 8th Mark McKelvie ($500.00) ($624.00) $4,228.50 9th Rusty Nash $18.52 ($1,624.11) $5,228.61 10th Sally Hinckley $216.10 ($1,671.90) $5,276.40 11th Ann Stepien ($240.00) ($1,749.11) $5,353.61 12th Gordon Waterstone ($500.00) ($1,900.30) $5,504.80 13th Garnet Barnsdale ($498.00) ($2,226.00) $5,830.50 14th Dennis O'Hara ($463.00) ($3,046.70) $6,651.20 15th Ray Cotolo ($500.00) ($4,548.40) $8,152.90 by Allan Schott, for HANA

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 22 - A full weekend of Grand Circuit racing action at Mohawk got underway Friday night with two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies. Lifetime Pursuit, this year's Hambletonian Oaks winner, cruised to a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the second division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace, Lifetime Pursuit and driver Yannick Gingras got away third and followed along as Cantabs Fortune and Rick Zeron set fractions of :27.4 and :56.4. As the field made their way around the final turn, Gingras sent Lifetime Pursuit first up and she immediately blew by Cantabs Fortune to trot by the three-quarter station in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit put on a show as she separated herself from her rivals and trotted effortlessly to a 3 ¾ length stakes record victory. The old stakes mark of 1:52.4 was set by Action Broadway in 2010. Designed To Be finished second, while Cantabs Fortune held on for third. The clocking of 1:52.1 was not only a stakes record, but it also equaled the track and Canadian record co-held by Check Me Out and Bee A Magician. "She can really scoot," Gingras said following the race. "She's been good all year, but she's really stepped it up since Hambletonian Oaks day and she was scary good that day and she's just as sharp now as she was then." Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit was coming into the Casual Breeze off World Record setting miles in the Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands and a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at the Meadows. While Lifetime Pursuit has really come into her own over the last month, Gingras said she was starting to show her true talent leading up to the 'Oaks'. "No doubt she's got better in the last three starts, but also a couple starts leading up to the 'Oaks' it was just the trip wasn't working out," said Gingras. "Maybe she was getting a little bit sharp then and the trip just wasn't working out, maybe it's a combination of both, but obviously on paper it looks like her last three starts have been vicious, but she's been good all along." Lifetime Pursuit is owned by the Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky. The Casual Breeze Stakes victory was the eleventh win of her career, fifth win in ten starts this season, and it boosted her career earnings to more than $700,000. Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.90 to win. The first division of the Casual Breeze Stakes saw Sweetie Hearts pull off a 45-1 upset. Sweetie Hearts and driver Randy Waples grabbed the early lead and led the field into the backstretch. On the way to the half, My Inspiration came first up and overtook the lead to reach the half way point in :56.3. Donatella Hanover, the 6/5 favourite, was sent to the outside and came up to challenge My Inspiration as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. In the stretch, Donatella Hanover took the lead, but Waples brought Sweetie Hearts off the rail from the two-hole to go around a fading My Inspiration and trotted up the inside by Donatella Hanover to win by a quarter of a length in 1:54.2. Danica, who made a charge on the far outside, finished third by only three-quarters of a length. Trained by Ron Parsons, Sweetie Hearts was coming into the Casual Breeze off a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg at Grand River on August 13. Following the race, Parsons said the daughter of Angus Hall - Sweetheart K has been getting better as the season goes on. "She's a great mare and she gets stronger as the year goes and I think you're going to get a lot cheaper price on her in the next few weeks," said Parsons. Owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Sweetie Hearts was moved during her two-year-old season from Paul Reid's barn to Ron Parsons stable. "When I got her from Paul Reid (last year), he told me 'you're getting a nice filly, but just take your time, put the right driver on her and she'll be good and that's what she did. She went a big race in the Goldsmith Maid and then we shut her down and then we brought her back and she's just starting to get her mojo about her." The mile time of 1:54.2 is a new career best for Sweetie Hearts and the victory was her third win in eleven starts this season. She has now visited the winner's circle seven times in her career and has earnings exceeding $210,000. Sweetie Hearts paid $100.70 to win. Next up for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the $215,000 Simcoe Stakes next Friday night at Mohawk. The following week, eliminations will be held for the $365,000 Elegantimage Stakes. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG 

The Grand Circuit champion from  the last harness racing season is set to resume at Addington Raceway on Friday night. Christen Me is off 30 meters in a small but classy field in the C5/OC standing start 2600 meters event as he starts his campaign on the road to the New Zealand Cup. Cran Dalgety has given him two runs at trials and workouts to prep him for Friday night and he  should strip a fit horse. At his first trial at Ashburton, Christen Me ran a half neck second to Jimmy Johnstone in 3:04.9 for the 2400 meters mobile with closing sectionals of 57 and 27.4 which was a nice effort fresh up. At his second run at the Rangiora workouts on Monday of this week, Christen Me was beaten a nose by the talented Jason Rulz in 2:31.3 for the 2000 meters mobile with low flying closing sectionals of 53.9 and 26.1. That should have topped off Christen Me just nicely for Friday night and even though he is giving some nice horses a start it is hard to see him beaten. The season just completed was the first for Christen Me on the Grand Circuit and he didn't let his fans down being crowned the Grand Circuit champion for 2013/2014. One was always left with the impression that what ever he did in his first season on the Grand Circuit was only a prelude to what  a seasoned Christen Me could achieve in subsequent years Even though Christen Me has just celebrated his sixth birthday, he has only had 32 starts to date of which he has won 19 for stakes of $1,069,596. By all accounts Cran Dalgety is thrilled with his appearance leading into this season, claiming he has come back a stronger and more mature horse this preparation. If that pans out this season then Christen Me, Cran Dalgety and Dexter Dunn could be in for one hell of a ride over the next few months. Harnesslink Media

WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2014 -- A five-race maiden entering the race, Lilu Hanover overpowered her field in Wednesday's $160,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows, winning by 9-3/4 lengths in the stake-record time of 1:55.2. The event for 2-year-old filly trotters was contested over eight divisions, with Bright Baby Blues, Sarcy, Aarena Hanover, Fly Angel Fly, Focus On Me, Global Ice and Flirting Filly also taking $20,000 splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed to win four divisions (Lilu Hanover, Sarcy, Fly Angel Fly, Flirting Filly) while trainer Nifty Norman fashioned a stake double (Bright Baby Blues, Aarena Hanover). Lilu Hanover, who had been taking on top youngsters in such stakes as the Merrie Annabelle, devoured her stallion series competition, moving first over easily to gobble up the leader, Devoted, and draw off. Devoted held place, with Cantabulous Julie third. The time erased Nitro Nittany's stake mark of 1:56.1. "She shows that she made a couple mistakes, so we just wanted to keep her clear of trouble," Palone said of the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover. "She's definitely a Grand Circuit filly. It will be interesting when she goes to Lexington and faces the top ones. I don't think she'll take a back seat to too many." Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld campaign Lilu Hanover. Bright Baby Blues also dropped down a bit from PA Sires Stakes and enjoyed much the same result -- a maiden-breaking score in 1:57 when the track still was rated "good" before its upgrade later in the card. Wouldn't Itbesweet was 3 lengths back in second, with Party Right Now third. Bright Baby Blues finished with a tire that leaked most of its air during the race. "She had to come first up and do the dirty work, but I never pulled the plugs," said winning driver Mike Wilder. "What a nice filly -- straight as a string and perfect." Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee own Bright Baby Blues, a daughter of Andover Hall-Bar Slide. Aarena Hanover hadn't been on the lead at any point in the four previous starts of her career, but Scott Zeron quickly changed that when he gunned her to the front. She prevailed without a challenge in 1:57.4, 2-3/4 lengths better than Donato Babe. Red's Winner earned show. "Nifty's style is, for a main portion of the beginning of the year, to make sure they don't get rowdy and warm, so he likes to race them off the pace," Zeron said. "His assistant trainer today told me: 'This horse is smart now; do whatever you want out there.' I pulled her plugs just to get her attention down the lane, but she was real strong going across the wire." J&T Silva Stables and John Fielding own the daughter of Donato Hanover-Angel Pie. Elsewhere on the card, Ma Chere Hall moved first over in a $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot to score in 1:53.1, fastest ever by a 4-year-old mare at The Meadows. Prismatica was second, 4-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Dizzy Rizzy third. Zeron, who drove three winners on the 16-race card, piloted for trainer Jonas Czernyson and owners Walnut Hall Limited, Aldebaran Park Inc. and Joe Sbrocco, It was the first victory in nine tries this year for the 4-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Margarita Hall, who banked $506,869 at 3. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday, when the card features the Delmonica Hanover, a $234,584 PA Sires Stake for freshman filly trotters. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows

The catalog for the 2014 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale is now available on the company’s website, www.lexingtonselected.com. It will also be available early next week on the Equineline Sales Catalog App for iPad users. Printed catalogs should be received by those on the company’s mailing list around Labor Day. The sale begins its annual run on Tuesday, Sept. 30, and continues through Saturday, Oct. 4. Each of the five sessions will get underway at 7:00 p.m. The sale coincides with the historic Red Mile Grand Circuit meet. During sale week, racing will be conducted Thursday through Sunday, with an afternoon post time of 1:00 p.m. Those accessing the catalog on the Lexington Selected website may download the catalog in its entirety, or use the sortable roster to arrange pedigrees in any fashion desired. Yearling videos will be added as they become available. Lexington Selected bills itself as “The Sale of Champions” and on Hambletonian Day added to its honor roll of sale graduates. Lexington grad Trixton won the $1,006,125 Hambletonian and Mission Brief won the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle in world record time. From the Lexington Selected Sales Co.  

This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit  

Stakes-winner E L Titan has been absent from the Grand Circuit this season, but that is soon to change. The 3-year-old male trotter, who won three of five starts last season, including divisions of the International Stallion Stakes and Madison County, made his 2014 debut earlier this month and is getting ready for the Simcoe Stakes and Canadian Trotting Classic, both at Mohawk Racetrack. Riina Rekila, who trains E L Titan for breeder/owner Erkki Laakkonen, qualified E L Titan on July 4 at Mohawk, where he won in 1:57.4, but didn't see the colt make his first start until Aug. 9, when he was victorious by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:54.2 in a conditioned race at Mohawk. "He had little issues, but we decided to start a little bit later with him," Rekila said. "He was staked to the Hambletonian too, but I entered him in a few overnights here and they didn't use the class, so I just came late with him. I can't just go and race (in the Hambletonian) without any normal races. "We hope he's good now until the end of the year." E L Titan is by the stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Courtney Hall, a stakes-winning full sister to millionaire Cameron Hall. E L Titan is Courtney Hall's fourth foal and the previous three -- E L Rock, Appomattox and E L Rocket -- each earned at least $233,000. Appomattox, who finished second in the 2012 Kentucky Futurity, leads the group with $414,548. Last year, E L Titan won his division of the International Stallion Stakes by a neck over Trixton in 1:53.4. The time was fifth fastest among all 2-year-old male trotters last season. He also finished second to Father Patrick in a division of the Champlain Stakes. "I really liked him," Rekila said. "He's lazy training, so you can't tell too much. We were very surprised he raced that well (on Aug. 9) because he had only one qualifier. At home, I just train him under saddle or on my sand track. I don't train him too fast, so I was happy he went (1):54 pretty easy at Mohawk." Rekila drove E L Titan as a 2-year-old, but Chris Christoforou was in the sulky for the colt's first start this season. Rekila hopes By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTAChristoforou will drive E L Titan again in the Simcoe, which is Aug. 30. "If he doesn't take him, I'll take him," Rekila said with a laugh. "I like Chris. He's nice with the horse and he's one of the best drivers up here. "I like to drive 2-year-olds because maybe they are not so handy to drive," she added in explaining why she gave up her seat behind E L Titan this year. "I know them, so it is easier." Following the Simcoe and Canadian Trotting Classic, E L Titan's stakes schedule includes the American-National, Galt, Yonkers Trot, and Breeders Crown. "I'm racing him lightly because we would like him to race as a 4-year-old as well, maybe when he's a little older," Rekila said. "The owner is the nicest person ever, so we can do whatever we want. He doesn't want me to push the horse. If there are issues we can wait and race the horse whenever he's ready. We just want to have a nice horse. "I like him," she added about E L Titan. "They're all horses, so you never know, but I think he's a very nice horse." By Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 18 - On Monday evening, harness racing driver Doug McNair recorded his 2,000 career driving victory at Mohawk Racetrack with the three-year-old pacer Eastender. McNair, a resident of Guelph, Ontario, entered the evening two wins away from reaching the 2,000 win plateau. In the evening's third race, McNair picked up his 1,999th victory with Youre Majestic in a $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old trotting fillies. McNair would then reach the milestone in the final race of the night with the three-year-old gelding, Eastender, who is trained by his father Gregg. Over the last few years, McNair has been consistently among the top drivers on the WEG circuit and has quickly become one of the top young reinsman in the entire sport. At the age of 18, Doug became the youngest driver in the history of harness racing to reach $1 million in career earnings In December of 2010, McNair became the youngest driver to reach 1,000 wins, reaching the milestone at Western Fair Raceway just weeks before his 21st birthday. This season, Doug is sixth in the WEG driver's standings with 90 wins and over $1.6 million in earnings. In total this season, McNair has made 129 trips to the winner's circle and has earnings exceeding $2.4 million. In his young career, Doug has competed in and won many of the sport's top events. Races such as the Battle of Waterloo, Confederation Cup and She's A Great Lady are just some of the major stakes victories on McNair's resume. Just this past Saturday night, McNair recorded a Grand Circuit driving victory at Mohawk by steering Solar Sister to victory in the $77,745 Eternal Camnation Stakes. McNair is currently in his seventh full season of driving and in that time period has career earnings of just less than $27 million. Doug reaches the 2,000 win mark at the age of 24. The Woodbine Entertainment Group would like to congratulate Doug on the accomplishment and wish him continued success on his journey to 3,000 wins. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, August 14 - Sporting The Look is one​ of the top local two-year-old pacers and this Saturday at Mohawk he will meet the sport's top freshman pacer, Artspeak, in a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes. Sporting The Look has won three of six starts and made over $133,000 in his young career, but had a couple races gone a little different, he may have been the richest freshman pacer in the sport heading into this Saturday's $91,425 Nassagaweya Stakes. "He should probably have another $100,000 on his card," admits driver Jody Jamieson. "He made a break there in the second (Ontario Sires Stakes) Gold and was going to win for fun and probably with a different trip would've won the ($217,140) Battle of Waterloo." A son of Sportswriter - Lyons Mandi, Sporting The Look didn't wait long to rebound from the second place finish in the Battle of Waterloo and won a Sires Stakes event last Sunday at Georgian in 1:54.2. "Those races were over with and we pressed forward to Sunday at Georgian and he was the easiest of winners," said Jamieson. Now Sporting The Look, who is trained and co-owned by Jody's father Carl Jamieson, will face his toughest task to date as he jumps into a Grand Circuit event. The competition will be stiff as Sporting The Look will meet the undefeated Artspeak, who won his most recent start in a season's best 1:50.4, but Jody is excited to see what his colt is made of. "I'm really looking forward to racing Artspeak just to see how he shapes up with the best of the best, he's a Sportswriter, so obviously sky is the limit, they have been awesome so far." Sporting The Look was a $70,000 yearling purchase at last November's Harrisburg Sale and is owned by Carl Jamieson, 30 Plus Stable and Thomas Kyron. "He was the only Canadian sired pacer that my dad paid into the Grand Circuit and American races," noted Jody. "So it's obviously fun to be in them, especially right here at home, he's a nice horse, We Will See how nice he is coming up on Saturday." The Jamieson's will also team up in a $76,245 division of the Eternal Camnation Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies with Shakai Hanover. A daughter of Well Said - Shes A Fan, Shakai Hanover has made her last two starts on the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes circuit and found some success. "She won her second lifetime start in :53 and then got interfered with last week at Pocono and probably would've been closer, although she only got beat a length in 1:51.4," said Jody. "I expect big things from her, she has been a nice filly so far." Along with driving another freshman filly, Yes You Can, for his father in the second of three Eternal Camnation divisions, Jody will also have the chance to drive a pair of freshman pacers for trainer Ake Svandstedt. "I'm driving a couple for Ake Svandstedt that I'm excited about getting to race for him and to see how good those horses are." Jody hopes Saturday will be a successful night to kick off a long stretch of major stakes action at Mohawk. "I'm excited about the weekend, that's one more step towards the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, so it's an exciting time." by Mark McKelvie, for WEG

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (August 14, 2014) - Saratoga Casino and Raceway is set to welcome some of the country's finest standardbred individual performers during the running of the sixth annual Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Free for All (FFA) Pace on Saturday, August 16. The first post time is scheduled for 7:05pm that evening. This year's Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace features a balanced, high quality field of eight elite horses competing for $260,000. Notable entries in this year's pace include Ron Burke's Foiled Again, who has amassed over $6 million in lifetime wins; and Clear Vision, who currently shares the world record for aged pacers on ½ mile tracks. The career wins of all the horses in Saturday's pace total over $12 million. The $260,000 Memorial Pace is set for the 9th race of the evening's card. "We are very excited to have such a highly competitive field to go to post in this year's edition of our premier race," said Peter Iovino, Race Secretary at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. "Along with the New York Sire Stakes for 3-year old colt pacers and a few quality open handicap races, it should make for a great night of excitement." Guests in attendance will receive a coupon for a free commemorative 2014 'Gerrity Night' t-shirt with the purchase of a $2 race program, while supplies last. Saratoga Springs Equine Officer, Jupiter, will be on hand for photos with guests from 6:30-8:30pm, along with his partner Officer Glenn Barrett. The duo is featured in the recent book, Standardbred Old Friends, which highlights Jupiter's brief career as a trotter at Saratoga Raceway before joining the Saratoga Police Department in 2003. The Memorial was created in 2009 as a pacing series honoring the memory of Joe Gerrity, Jr. and his many contributions. A highly respected leader, inspiration and an icon for Saratoga Raceway and the horse racing industry, he was a breeder of horses in Loudonville, a licensed harness driver and became Chairman of the Board of Saratoga Harness Racing, Inc. (now Saratoga Casino and Raceway) on April 1, 1987. Mr. Gerrity later oversaw the expansion of the facility and the installation of video gaming machines, funding the project in part himself. He also served as a Director for the Harness Horse Breeders of New York State for 20 years, and also acted as Treasurer for much of that time. Mr. Gerrity passed away in October of 2005.   From Saratoga Raceway & Casino        

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