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Harness Racing This Week: Dexter Cup eliminations, Freehold Raceway, Freehold, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Freehold this week features two $24,000 Dexter Cup eliminations for 3-year-old open trotters. Seventeen horses entered the race, with Southwind Cobra getting a bye into the final. The remaining 16 will compete in a pair of eight-horse eliminations on Saturday (April 29). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Keystone Velocity charged through the stretch to overtake pacesetting McWicked and then held off Somewhere In L A by a head to win Saturday's (April 22) $529,000 George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series championship for older male pacers in 1:51.2 over a track labeled "good" at Yonkers Raceway. Even-money favorite Missile J finished third and Bit Of A Legend N, the defending champion, was fourth. McWicked led the field around the first turn, but Keystone Velocity moved to the front prior to the opening quarter-mile, which was reached in :26.1. McWicked regained the top spot prior to the halfway point, in :54.4, and set the pace from there until the top of the stretch when Keystone Velocity moved to the passing lane and kicked home to victory. "We had to be up close," winning driver Daniel Dube said. "It worked out real good. He was really good today. I was hoping (McWicked) could bring me to the top of the stretch because on the last turn I had a lot of horse. He was real strong; he's a nice little horse." Dube drove Keystone Velocity for trainer Rene Allard, who owns the horse with Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr., and VIP Internet Stable. The 9-year-old stallion has won three of seven races this year and earned $323,000 in purses. For his career, Keystone Velocity has won 22 of 95 starts and banked $863,971. Sent off at odds of 11-1, he paid $24.80 to win. Earlier on the card, Mackenzie A won the $310,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker Series championship for pacing mares by 2-1/4 lengths over Medusa in 1:53.1. Divas Image was third and favorite Mach It A Par finished fourth. Jordan Stratton drove Mackenzie A for owners Harry von Knoblauch Stable and Ellen Kinser. The 5-year-old mare is a daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven-Kept For Pleasure. Mackenzie A has won two of eight races this year and earned $205,800. Going off at odds of 5-1, she paid $12.80 to win. "The trip just worked out perfect," Stratton said. "Mach It A Par got used hard. She's a tough mare, but she's usually a little better from behind. But she had to make the move and it worked out for us. It was the plan to race (Mackenzie A) from behind, but I didn't know it would work out like that. It worked out for the best I guess." Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 148; 2. Jordan Stratton - 96; 3. Matt Kakaley - 91; 4. Tim Tetrick - 61; 5. Daniel Dube - 59. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 92; 2. Richard Banca - 86; 3. Rene Allard - 59; 4. Scott DiDomenico - 37; 5. Ron Burke - 36. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 73.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. Bamond Racing - 22.5; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 21.7; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 21.7; 4t. T L P Stable - 21.7. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, Meadowlands Racetrack, and Miami Valley Raceway. Freehold has the Lady Suffolk for 3-year-old filly trotters and the Dexter Cup for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (May 6); Meadowlands Racetrack will host the Cutler Memorial for older trotters and the first leg of the Graduate for 4-year-old pacers on Saturday (May 6); and Miami Valley Raceway features the Miami Valley Distaff for older trotting mares on Sunday (May 7) and older pacing mares on Monday (May 8). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series finals and consolations, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features the $529,000 final and the $100,000 consolation of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers, as well as the $310,600 final and $75,000 consolation in the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. All four races will take place on Saturday (April 22). Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: The time to impress the judges concluded Saturday night (April 15), with preliminary-round competition ending for Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Round Five saw three $50,000 divisions go at it. Favored Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett, $4.10) became the sport's newest millionaire, easily winning the third event in front-end fashion. From post position five, he never had any angst, especially after a cheap half with the splits of :28, :56.4, 1:24.3, and 1:51.3. The final margin was 1-3/4 lengths over a second-up Clear Vision (Brett Miller), with Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron) lasting for an uncovered third. All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) and tiring-pocket Wakizashi Hanover (Tim Tetrick) settled for the remainder. For Somewhere In L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables, it was his sixth win in 13 seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in this series. Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Jordan Stratton, $4.40) threw down the gauntlet for the finale, going down the road from the pole with fractions of :27.1, :56.1, 1:25, and 1:51.3 as the people's choice in the night's second event. After stuffing Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) in behind, he whipped that rival by three-quarters of a length, note the :26.3 kicker in the final panel, while Blood Brother (Bartlett) was a first-up third. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) and Missile J (Tetrick) earned the minors. For Bit Of A Legend N, an 8-year-old Down Under son of Bettor's Delight owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, it was his second win in seven seasonal starts and he is two-for-five in the series. Saturday night's first Levy grouping had a first-over favorite in McWicked (Kakaley, $4.30), from post position two, edge past pace-setting Caviart Luca (George Brennan) after that one's intervals of :27.2, :56.4 and 1:24.4. McWicked vacated the three-hole, engaged Caviart Luca in and out of the final turn and prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 and again, note the :26.3 last quarter. First leader Mach It So (Tetrick) held for third, with Santa Fe Beachboy (Barlett) and Provocativeprincen (Stratton) getting the smaller change. McWicked, a 6-year-old son of McArdle trained by Steve Elliott for owner S S G Stables, is now three-for-seven this season and is one-for-five in this series. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 128; 2. Matt Kakaley - 81; 3. Jordan Stratton - 71; 4. Tim Tetrick - 49; 5. Daniel Dube - 39. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 76; 2. Peter Tritton - 67; 3. Rene Allard - 39; 4. Ron Burke - 34; 5. Scott DiDomenico - 32. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 58.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 32; 3. S S G Stables - 20; 4t. Carmen Iannacone - 19.2; 4t. D'Elegance Stable IX - 19.2; 4t. T L P Stable - 19.2. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Freehold Raceway, with $48,000 (est.) Dexter Cup eliminations (if necessary) for 3-year-old open trotters on Saturday (April 29). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series fifth legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features two $40,000 divisions on Friday (April 14) in the fifth and final round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 15) card at Yonkers will see three $50,000 divisions in the fifth and final round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: With points leader Missile J getting a week off, the Saturday (April 8) marquee was available for rental during round four of Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series. Three $50,000 divisions -- down from four the first three weeks -- went at it. Stablemates Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett, $6.10) and Somewhere In L A (Bartlett again, $7.80) won the second and third events in 1:52.1 and a season's-best 1:51.3, respectively. Blood Brother, from post position two after a pair of no-shot seven-holes the previous two tries, picked up pace-setting polester McArdle's Lightning (Matt Kakaley) after that one laid down the law with fractions of :27.4, :56.3, and 1:24.1. It was 8-5 favorite Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) trying it first-up from fourth, pressing the leader to the lane. Blood Brother ducked inside and prevailed by a half-length over McArdle's Lightning, with Keystone Velocity hanging in for third. Te Kawau N (Tim Tetrick) and Provocativeprincen (Jordan Stratton) rounded out the payees. For second choice Blood Brother, a 5-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and P T Stable, it was his second win in 11 seasonal starts and he is one-for-four in this series. Somewhere In L A, from post three, did it first-up. He engaged pole-siting Mach It So (Tetrick) as that one led through intervals of :27, 56.1, and 1:23.3. Somewhere In L A won the stretch battle, picking off Mach It So by a head. Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) tracked the winner and wound up third, with Soto (Dube) -- a fourth pocket trip in as many series starts -- and 7-5 choice Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) settling for the minors. For second choice Somewhere In L A, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding trained by Banca for co-owners D'Elegance Stable IX, Carmen Iannacone, T L P Stable and The Gandolfo Stables, it was his fifth win in a dozen seasonal starts and his first in the series. Saturday night's first Levy grouping had a first-over Clear Vision (Brett Miller, $8.90), from post two, gut out a nose win over McWicked (Kakaley). The latter rolled through subsections of :27.2, :56.3 and 1:24, leading every step but the last one. Third went to a pocketed Guantanamo Bay (Stratton), with slight 2-1 choice Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and Caviart Luca (George Brennan) grabbing the smaller envelopes. For third choice Clear Vision, an 11-year-old Western Hanover gelding co-owned by Robert Santagata and Jennifer Lappe and trained by John Kokinos, it was his second win in nine 2017 starts and his first win from his second attempt in this series. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 96; 2. Matt Kakaley - 71; 3. Jordan Stratton - 61; 4. Tim Tetrick - 42; 5. Daniel Dube - 39. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 57; 2. Richard Banca - 54; 3. Rene Allard - 39; 4. Scott DiDomenico -32; 5. Tony Alagna - 27. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 48.5; 2. Fred Monteleone Stable - 22; 3. Rene Allard - 15.5; 4t. Brian Carsey - 15; 4t. Legacy Racing of DE - 15; 4t. John McGill - 15. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with the finals and consolations of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy on April 22. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series third legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 31) in the third round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (April 1) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the third round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers continued Saturday night (March 25), with another quartet of $50,000 divisions. Second choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick, $4.40) enjoyed his off-the-pace antics so much in Round One, he parlayed the performance this time around. From post position three in the third division, he was fourth as Somewhere In L A (Jason Bartlett) cleared his six inside rivals with the aplomb of a hurdler. After a :27.3 opening quarter-mile and moving toward a :56 intermission, even-money favorite Provocativeprincen (Jordan Stratton) moved from third. It appeared Bartlett was fighting with his charge to let Stratton and his ride go, but the latter duo could not seize the initiative. Somewhere In L A then threw in a :27.1 backside number (1:23.1) to dispose of Provocativeprincen, taking a 1-1/4 length lead into the lane. As this was transpiring, Missile J was closing ranks. He rallied from fourth in the lane, beating a solid Somewhere In L A by a length in 1:51.3. Third went to 51-1 P H Supercam (Brett Miller), with 98-1 Texas Terror N (Mark MacDonald) and Take It Back Terry (George Brennan) rounding out the payees. Provocativeprincen backpedaled to last, his first blemish after a four-for-four start to his U.S career. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his sixth win in seven seasonal starts. Saturday night's first Levy grouping was a private stretch battle between 3-2 choice Bettor's Edge (Miller) and an uncovered Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube). The latter whipped the pace-setting (:27.3, :56.2, 1:24) former by a half-length in 1:51.3. First leader Dr J Hanover (Scott Zeron) held third -- beaten 3-1/2 lengths -- with Santa Fe Beachboy (Stratton) and Burning N (Ron Cushing) settling for the remainder. For Keystone Velocity, a 9-year-old son of Western Hanover co-owned by trainer Rene Allard, Kapildeo Singh, Earl Hill Jr. and VIP Internet Stable, it was his first win in three seasonal starts. The evening's second series soiree had slight 7-5 choice Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras, $4.90) take it the distance from the pole while matching (1:51.1) the fastest local mile of the season. Defending series champ Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton) actually poked about a neck in front entering the lane from first-up, but a resurgent Rockin Ron won by three-quarters of a length. Soto (Matt Kakaley) was a pocket third, with Mach It So (Tetrick) and Guantanamo Bay (Miller) settling for the minors. Rockin Ron, a 5-year-old Real Desire gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by trainer Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and RTC Stables, is now three-for-five to begin the season. The second round's final foray offered a 12-1 upset as Melmerby Beach (Bartlett, $26.60) picked off both 3-10 shot All Bets Off (Kakaley) and second choice Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick). The former set seemingly-sensible fractions (:28, 57, 1:24), but gave way readily in the lane. Melmerby Beach, apparently not bothered by a :27 third quarter, defeated Wakizashi Hanover by 1-1/4 lengths in 1:52, with All Bets Off beaten three lengths. Artistic Major (Zeron) and Great Vintage (MacDonald) wound up with the leftovers. For third choice Melmerby Beach, a 6-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere owned and trained by Ettore Annunziata, it was his first win in three '17 starts. Complete recaps of the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 44; 2. Matt Kakaley - 34; 3. Jordan Stratton - 30; 4. Tim Tetrick - 27; 5. Scott Zeron - 26. Trainers: 1. Peter Tritton - 30; 2. Rene Allard - 25; 3t. Richard Banca - 22; 3t. Ron Burke - 22; 3t. Scott DiDomenico - 22. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 25; 2.Legacy Racing of DE - 15; 3. Rene Allard - 12.5; 4. Fred Monteleone Stable - 12; 5t. Ettore Annunziata Rev Tr - 10; 5t. Brian Carsey - 10; 5t. John McGill - 10. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next two weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. Paul Ramlow  

Harness Racing This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series second legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers this week features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 24) in the second round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 25) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the second round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Last time: Yonkers Raceway's George Morton Levy Memorial Pacing Series for Free-For-Allers began Saturday night (March 18), with a quartet of $50,000 divisions over a 'sloppy' surface. The opening event saw 3-2 choice Missile J (Tim Tetrick) charge from sixth in the lane to win going away in 1:54.1. Unhurried from post position two, he rolled late, whipping a pocketed Blood Brother (Jason Bartlett) by 1-1/2 lengths. Third went to a rallying Guantanamo Bay (Scott Zeron), with Burning N (Ron Cushing) and a pace-setting Keystone Velocity (Dan Dube) settling for the remainder. For Missile J, a 4-year-old American Ideal gelding trained by Scott DiDomenico for co-owners John McGill and Brian Carsey, it was his fifth win in six seasonal starts. Saturday night's second Levy grouping saw Long Live Rock (Dube) author a decisive, first-over upset. Moving from fourth, from post two, he dismissed 1-2 favorite McWicked (Zeron), then drew off to win by three lengths in 1:54.1. Season-debuting All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) couldn't match the winner's tow but finished second, with Mattamerican (Brett Miller) third. Santa Fe Beachboy (Jordan Stratton) and Melmerby Beach (Tetrick) grabbed the minors. McWicked, caught three-deep early, wound up a badly-beaten seventh. For Long Live Rock, an 8-year-old Rocknroll Hanover gelding owned and trained by Rene Allard, it was his first win in six seasonal starts. The evening's third series soiree had Provocativeprincen (Stratton) -- from post two -- prevail in a blanket finish. Away third, he engaged Bettor's Edge (Miller), then outgamed a pocketed Rockin Ron (Yannick Gingras) by a head in 1:54.2. Mach It So (Tetrick) in his first seasonal start, was third, beaten a neck, with Bettor's Edge and Texas Terror N (Mark MacDonald) earning the lesser loot. Provocativeprincen, a 7-year-old Down Under Grinfromeartoear gelding owned by Harry von Knoblauch Stable and trained by Peter Tritton, is now 4-for-4 to begin the season. The first round's final foray offered the fastest feet as Soto (Kakaley), pacing from the pocket, was able to get 'first run' against defending series champion Bit Of A Legend N (Stratton). The former, from post three, whipped the latter by a half-length in 1:53.3. Bit Of A Legend N, as the 2-5 choice, was second-up and may have waited a tad too long. Pace-setting Somewhere In L A (Bartlett), Wakizashi Hanover (Tetrick) and Always At My Place (Gingras) rounded out the payees. For Soto, a 5-year-old son of Rock N Roll Heaven trained by Eric Ell for co-owners Ken Wood, William Dittmar Jr. and Stephen Iaquinta, it was his fifth win in nine '17 starts. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the opening weekend at Yonkers: Drivers: 1. Jason Bartlett - 27; 2. Matt Kakaley - 20; 3. Jordan Stratton - 15; 4. Scott Zeron - 14; 5. Tim Tetrick - 12. Trainers: 1. Richard Banca - 17; 2. Peter Tritton - 15; 3. Scott DiDomenico - 12; 4t. Rene Allard - 10; 4t. Keith Armer - 10; 4t. Eric Ell - 10; 4t. Heidi Gibbs - 10; 4t. Ron Burke - 10. Owners: 1. Harry von Knoblauch Stable - 15: 2t. Rene Allard - 10; 2t. Fred Monteleone Stable - 10; 4t. Brian Carsey - 5; 4t. Ron Cushing - 5; 4t. Jesmeral Stable - 5; 4t. Legacy Racing of DE - 5; 4t. John McGill - 5; 4t. Kevin Sywyk - 5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next three weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. by Paul Ramlow, publicity director, the Grand Circuit

This Week: Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy series opening legs, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y. This is the opening event of the 2017 Grand Circuit season. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit at Yonkers features three $40,000 divisions on Friday (March 17) in the first round of the Blue Chip Matchmaker series for open pacing mares. The Saturday (March 18) card at Yonkers will see four $50,000 divisions in the opening round of the George Morton Levy series for open pacers. Friday night's three $40,000 Matchmaker melees (races four, five and six) are comprised of 24 of the best pacing mares in training. Saturday night offers four $50,000 Levy groupings (races five through eight), including Bit Of A Legend N. The defending series champ drew post position No. 2 in the final division, with Jordan Stratton driving for owner Harry von Knoblauch and trainer Peter Tritton. A total of 31 leading Free-For-Allers declared their intentions for the first series go-round. Both series include five preliminary rounds leading to their respective (Saturday, April 22) finals. Complete entries for the races can be found by clicking on this link. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2017, 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 2017 Grand Circuit awards. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will continue with legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and George Morton Levy over the next four weekends. The finals and consolations for both events will be held on April 22. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit

East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands is pleased to announce an extensive 2017 stakes program with total purses in the neighborhood of $12 million. Grand Circuit stakes represent the vast majority of that amount featuring the $1.5 million Hambletonian and Oaks, $1.25 million Fall Final Four, $1.2 million TVG Championships, $1 million Graduate Series and $750,000 Meadowlands Pace along with nearly $1 million in New Jersey Sires Stakes purses.   "We are able to maintain the 2017 stakes program with the help of sponsors from within the business and we are grateful for their support. With the Breeders Crown at Hoosier this year we picked up the Fall Final Four to give those races a home and open the Fall Meet in November," said Meadowlands Chairman & CEO Jeff Gural.   The Saturday, August 5 Hambletonian Day program (noon post time) worth over $3.5 million in purses on harness racing's greatest day will include important stakes for every division. The $1 million Hambletonian and $300,000 Cane Pace provide fans the opportunity to see a leg of both the trotting and pacing triple crowns on the same card.   Leading up to the Hambletonian, the Tompkins-Geers stake for three-year-old trotting fillies and colts is coming to The Meadowlands on Saturday, July 22 to avail horsemen prepping for the Hambo and Oaks the option of one more start over the mile oval going into the big race.   Meadowlands Pace night is Saturday, July 15 this year and a full complement of important stakes on the undercard will support that $750,000 race for sophomore pacing colts. The $400,000 Hambletonian Maturity will serve as a co-feature. An early post time of 6:30 is scheduled for Pace night.   The $1.25 million Freshman Fall Final Four returns to the Garden State where they began 27 years ago. The Valley Victory and Goldsmith Maid for trotters and Governor's Cup and Three Diamonds for pacers will join the $1.2 TVG Free For All Championship Finals kicking off the 2017 Fall Meet with all finals scheduled for Saturday, November 25   The $200,000 Arthur Cutler Memorial Open Trot has been moved to Kentucky Derby Day, May 6. The Cutler winner will be awarded an invitation to compete in the 2017 Elitlopp which will be raced on Sunday, May 28, this year. Although the Cutler will have no restrictions regarding the use of trotting hopples and/or Lasix, the their use is prohibited in the Elitlopp and if their invitation to compete is accepted it must be done with that understanding. Swedish racing officials wish to make it known that there will be a direct flight to Solvalla for this year's race as was done in 2017.   The $1 million Graduate Series for 4 year olds also begins on May 6 at the Meadowlands, travels to Mohawk Racetrack for leg two on June 3, then on to Tioga Downs for the June 11 third leg. Each leg of the Graduate will have a purse of $75,000 or $50,000 if raced in divisions. The $250,000 finals will be raced at he Meadowlands on Pace elimination night, July 8.   The 2017 Kindergarten series starts in early July and will again include two legs during the Freshman Festival meet in September at The Meadowlands. The $150,000 finals are scheduled for November 3 and will be raced at Vernon Downs this year.   The Miss Versatility Series will have two legs at The Meadowlands to go along with Mohawk Racetrack and Tioga Downs. The $100,000 final will remain a part of the Little Brown Jug card at Delaware, Ohio.   All of the conditions for Meadowlands administered stakes/finals have been written to award one percent of the final purse to those horses that finish "out of the money".   The NJSS offers $100,000 guaranteed finals to the sophomores in May and freshmen in July with two $20,000 preliminary legs leading up to those events for each group.   The complete Meadowlands 2017 stakes schedule may be viewed here and the live racing/stakes calendar here. The website also provides a "Stakes Application" page where you may download all the information on the 2017 events including nomination forms and conditions for all Meadowlands administered stakes. All purses listed are estimates unless denoted as guaranteed (G).   The Hambletonian and a few other Grand Circuit stakes on the Meadowlands calendar are administered by and the property of the Hambletonian Society. All of the NJSS races are handled by the NJ Sires Stakes offices. Payments on those stakes should be directed to those offices.   Trainers must be approved for nomination to Meadowlands stakes to be accepted. It's suggested that trainers submit a racing application before the February 15 deadline if you are planning to race at The Meadowlands in stakes or overnights in 2017.   Call the Racing Office at (201) 842-5130 with questions.   From the Meadowlands Media Department  

Champion horseman Mark Purdon knows no boundaries. The New Zealand based harness racing legend won the biggest event in his homeland last month when his rising star Lazarus thrashed his rivals when obliterating the national record in the New Zealand Cup at Addington last month. Now he’s won the biggest event held on Australian soil. Aging warrior Smolda outstayed race favourite Hectorjayjay in a thrilling home straight battle to claim the Gr.1 $1.1 million TABTOUCH Inter Dominion Grand Final at Gloucester Park in Perth tonight. And just like Lazarus, Smolda also smashed the track record. Over the marathon distance of 2936m on a warm summer’s night, Smolda rated 1:55.8 which easily eclipsed the mark previously held by My Hard Copy at 1:57.4. The last horse to win the New Zealand Cup/Inter Dominion in the same season was another New Zealand pacer in Yulestar during the 2000/2001 season. With the series full of drama, the anticipation for the final gained significant interest following the barrier draw which left Hectorjayjay who was unbeaten during the three heats starting from the outside post, gate 9. Rivals had a glimmer of hope. Young driver Josh Aiken elected to ease at the start which was a major talking point all week long while Bling It On, Run Oneover and Bettors Fire all charging the gate. Run Oneover took the lead from Bling It On left in the trail while Bettors Fire was left parked without cover. The lead time was covered in 1:35.4. The first move came via Beaudiene Boaz and Gary Hall Jnr who dashed around the outside to race outside his stablemate before John Of Arc made his move. Run Oneover became fired up and started to over race. The first half of the final mile was covered in 29.8 and 29.3 seconds. As the field worked passed the winning post, Run Oneover dropped off sharply which left John Of Arc as the leader while Smolda kept pushing forward after starting a three wide move at the 1000m point while Hectorjayjay tracked him every step of the way. Down the back straight, Smolda raced to a narrow lead while Hectorjayjay made his move. The third quarter was covered in 28.4 seconds. At the top of the straight, Smolda and Hectorjayjay staged an epic battle while Beaudiene Boaz and Bling It On started to emerge from the pack. In a thrilling battle, Smolda rallied and fought off the determined challenge from Hectorjayjay by a half neck while Beaudiene Boaz filled third placing some 7m away. The last quarter was covered in 28.2. “This is just unbelievable, I can’t believe we just won the Inter Dominion. We’re just living the dream and we’re so thrilled to be here and part of this carnival following on from the New Zealand Cup.” Co-owner Phil Kennard said. Smolda, an 8-year-old Courage Under Fire gelding was purchased through the Australian Pacing Gold Yearling Sales is races by Phil & Glenys Kennard, Neil Pilcher and Marcus Kirkwood. The next leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit heads to Alexandra Park, Auckland on New Years Eve. by Chris Barsby

Harness Racing This Week: The 2016 Grand Circuit season has come to a close. The 2017 schedule will be released in January. Last time: Easy Lover Hanover completed a modern day harness racing Cinderella story by winning the $314,600 Hap Hansen Progress Pace in 1:49 at Dover Downs on Monday (Nov. 28). Purchased nearly a year ago after a monumental fire wiped-out owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace's stable in Ontario, Easy Lover Hanover was purchased at the Meadowlands Winter Mixed Sale earlier this year for $70,000 and he turned into a 15-race winner of more than $300,000, with a personal record 1:49 performance in the final major stake of 2016. Youthful driver Doug McNair made good use of starting from post one by trailing race-favorite Check Six (Yannick Gingras) through fast early fractions before finding room along the passing lane to finally pass the leader late in the stretch for the victory. Check Six finished second in a photo ahead of Boston Red Rocks. Owner Brad Grant and trainer Ben Wallace were elated in the winner's circle. "He was a great horse to buy," said Wallace. "He won the first five races we had. While giving the horse some time off, we gelded him, which we had planned when we got him. After wins at Mohawk and Woodbine, we decided to put up $25,000 to supplement him to this race. "Doug McNair has driven him all season for us and he did another good job tonight." Easy Lover Hanover, a son of Somebeachsomewhere-Easy Go Go, completed his sophomore season with 15 wins, four seconds and two thirds. He nearly equaled his seasonal earnings with the Hap Hansen Progress Pace purse lifting his 2016 total to $314,124. The festive and well-attended Saturday evening (Nov. 26) was made even better for Thomas Dillon, when his horse, Rock Me Baby, won the $120,000 Courageous Lady at Northfield Park. The Courageous Lady was a series of firsts for Rock Me Baby. It was the first time she had raced for Dillon. He purchased her just two weeks ago for $82,000 at the Standardbred Mixed Sale at Harrisburg. It was also Rock Me Baby's first start for trainer Heidi Rohr and the first time that Tim Tetrick has driven the filly. Rock Me Baby left off the gate. She initially sat in third, but was sent to the outside approaching the quarter-mile marker. Once she made the lead at about that pole, Rock Me Baby never experienced an anxious moment the remainder of the mile. She posted fractions of :26.4, :54.4, 1:23 and 1:52. "We had to go a pretty big first half," explained Tetrick. "But I was able to give her a breather around the turn and she was really strong to the finish." The clocking was a stakes record for the Courageous Lady, equaled Northfield Park's track record for sophomore filly pacers and was a new lifetime mark for Rock Me Baby. "I was happy to get to drive her," said Tetrick. "When they called me to ask if I would come here (Northfield), I was like absolutely. I love traveling around to these big races offered at places like Northfield and being able to compete with nice horses. I'm just glad to be a part of all this." Completing the field were Mother Of Art, L A Delight, Yankee Moonshine, Dime A Dance, Bellatricks, Free Show and Time On My Hands. Rock Me Baby (Rock N Roll Heaven-Lover Of Art) now has four wins in 21 lifetime starts. Saturday's victory increased her career bankroll to $164,228. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) were once again 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the final standings for the 2016 season: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,705.5; 2. David Miller - 1,372; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,268.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 651.5; 5. Brett Miller - 609.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,636.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,520.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 608; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 491; 5. Erv Miller - 477. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 372.42; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 306.67; 3. Marvin Katz - 288.3; 4. Tom Hill - 249; 5. Al Libfeld - 231.8. Looking ahead: The 2017 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Courageous Lady, Northfield Park, Northfield, Ohio and Hap Hansen Progress Pace final, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit begins its final week of the 2016 campaign on Saturday (Nov. 26) with the $120,000 Courageous Lady for 3-year-old pacing fillies. The field of eight is led by Jugette winner L A Delight. On Monday (Nov. 28), Dover Downs will host the $300,000 (est.) Hap Hansen Progress Pace final for 3-year-old colts and geldings. Check Six and Manhattan Beach won their $35,000 Hap Hansen Progress Pace eliminations on Nov. 21 at Dover Downs. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Downbytheseaside got one back on rival Huntsville Saturday night (Nov. 19) in the $384,800 Governor's Cup at Woodbine Racetrack. The Brian Brown trained colt delivered a powerful performance to win the final major race of the season for 2-year-old pacing males in 1:51.1. Driven by David Miller, Downbytheseaside was unhurried at the start and got away fifth, directly behind Huntsville, the 1-5 favorite. Air Strike charged off the wings of the gate from post nine and put up an opening quarter-mile of :27.2. Huntsville got his cue to go from driver Tim Tetrick after the opening quarter-mile and rushed up to grab the front. However, Miller was not going to let the favorite get away and followed Huntsville to the front, ultimately clearing to command at the half in :55.2. Downbytheseaside and Huntsville began to edge away from their competition on the far turn, as the leader paced a solid third quarter of :27.3 to reach three-quarters in 1:23. In the stretch, Huntsville angled off Miller's back and took his shot at glory, but Downbytheseaside was fired up and turned aside his rival to win by 3-1/4 lengths. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Sprig Hanover, Downbytheseaside now has eight wins in 13 starts. The Brown trainee completes his rookie season with earnings of $577,106 for owners Country Club Acres Inc., Joe Sbrocco and Richard Lombardo. Snowstorm Hanover grabbed control early in the mile and coasted around the Woodbine oval to a 1:55.1 win as the 7-5 public choice in the $298,960 Valley Victory final for 2-year-old trotting males on Nov. 19. The Ron Burke trained colt by Muscle Massive out of the Andover Hall mare Snow Angel Hanover, was sent to the front by driver Matt Kakaley, trotting splits of :28.1 and :57.3. Into the final turn, Snowstorm Hanover gained three lengths of separation from pocket-rider Moonshiner Hanover, as well as from first-over pursuer Jake and International Moni on his back. Trotting three-quarters in 1:25.3, Snowstorm Hanover still held a sizable lead through the stretch. International Moni fanned off cover and narrowed in on the leader while Jake chased them from third, but Snowstorm Hanover remained in front by a length. Snowstorm Hanover won his sixth race in 14 starts, amassing $340,149 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Phil Collura and Frank Baldachino. That's The Ticket charged home to win the $315,980 Three Diamonds for 2-year-old pacing fillies on Nov. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack. The Chris Ryder trained pacing filly was able to convert off a perfect third-over trip from driver David Miller for her second win in 14 starts. Idyllic Beach, the 6-5 favorite, left out hard to grab command ahead of a pesky Someomensomewhere. The public's choice posted an opening quarter of :27.2 and was unchallenged in the second quarter-mile to lead the field by the half in :56.4. Caviart Ally came first up just after the half and supplied cover to Candlelight Dinner from fifth and That's The Ticket in sixth. The first-over challenger pulled up alongside Idyllic Beach at three-quarters in 1:25.2. In the stretch, That's The Ticket shot off cover and delivered a stunning stretch rally to fly by her rivals with powerful strides. The Ryder trainee crossed the wire first in 1:53.4, 3-1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Idyllic Beach. Candlelight Dinner edged out Caviart Ally for third. Owned by Craig Henderson, Robert Mondillo and Lawrence Minowitz, That's The Ticket now has 2016 earnings of $268,521. Sent off the 5-2 second choice, Magic Presto sat a pocket trip to 3-5 favorite Princess Aurora before edging off the pylons in the stretch and sweeping to a 1:55.4 victory in the $330,780 Goldsmith Maid final for 2-year-old trotting fillies Nov. 19 at Woodbine Racetrack. Brian Sears guided Richard "Nifty" Norman trainee Magic Presto to the front before the first turn, with Temple Ruins tucking into second and Princess Aurora into third. After a :29.1 quarter, Princess Aurora pursued the front and struggled to clear to command. She managed to take the front before trotting a :58.1 half. Maintaining control through a 1:26.3 third quarter, Princess Aurora was soon braced by Magic Presto emerging from the pocket. Within a matter of strides, Magic Presto trotted to the lead and clear of Princess Aurora to win by 3-1/4 lengths. Temple Ruins chased the two for third and Cameron Hill finished fourth. Winning her fourth race in nine starts this season, Magic Presto, a 2-year-old trotting filly by Kadabra from the Muscles Yankee mare In The Mean Time, finishes her rookie season with $294,762 for owners Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee, and Little E. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,685.5; 2. David Miller - 1,365; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,241.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 651.5; 5. Brett Miller - 609.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,606.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,518.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 608; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 491; 5. Erv Miller - 477. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 364.92; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 301.67; 3. Marvin Katz - 288.3; 4. Tom Hill - 249; 5. Al Libfeld - 231.8. Looking ahead: The 2016 Grand Circuit season will conclude after this weekend; the 2017 Grand Circuit schedule will be released in January. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Directorr  

Harness Racing This Week: Fall Four finals, Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, Ont., and Progress Pace eliminations, Dover Downs, Dover, Del. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday (Nov. 19) with the Fall Four finals for 2-year-old pacers and trotters. On tap will be the C$520,000 Governor's Cup for pacing colts, the C$447,000 Goldsmith Maid for filly trotters, the C$427,000 Three Diamonds for pacing fillies and the C$404,000 Valley Victory for colt trotters. On Monday (Nov. 21) Dover Downs will host $35,000 eliminations in the Progress Pace for 3-year-old colt pacers. The $300,000 (est.) Progress Pace final will be held on Nov. 28. Complete entries for the Woodbine races are available at this link. The Dover entries are available at this link. Last time: Always B Miki will always be remembered as a champion. The fastest pacer in the history of harness racing capped his career in triumphant fashion, using a sustained first-over bid to overpower All Bets Off and sprint off to a 1:48.2 victory in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Pace on Saturday evening (Nov. 12) at The Meadowlands. David Miller moved Always B Miki first-over out of midfield after patiently stalking sizzling fractions of :25.4 and :54.1, making gradual gains into pacesetter All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) through the far turn. The 5-year-old Always A Virgin stallion pushed to the fore in upper stretch, leaving All Bets Off well in his wake and evading eventual runner-up Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) by 4-1/4 lengths. Melmerby Beach (Marcus Miller) benefitted from the outer flow and saved third with a mild stand-side push over the tiring All Bets Off. Miller and trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but glowing reports of Always B Miki's curtain call. "When I asked him, he took right off," said Miller. "Jimmy (Takter) has done a great job keeping him good all year, and I tell you what, he's good today as he's been all year. He's an incredible horse; he's a true champion." "It's a wonderful feeling standing here at our home track," said Takter. "He's just a wonderful horse to be around. He's so personable, anybody working with this horse just would love him. "It's nice to quit on the top, too. This horse has a future ahead of him, and it's going to be very, very exciting to train his offspring." Always B Miki wraps up his racing career with 30 wins in 53 starts -- 12 of those wins coming this year -- as well as $2,715,368 in earnings for Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. Obrigado, one of two of the eight in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Trot to have not contested a Breeders Crown event two weeks ago, sought control of the terms early and dug in to parry a barrage of pressure in a compelling race which saw the entire octet covered by two lengths at the winning post. The 6-year-old Boy Band gelding pushed clear of JL Cruze (John Campbell) following a :27.2 initial quarter-mile and worked to stave off the first-over threat of 3-year-old Crown champion Bar Hopping (Tim Tetrick) through the far turn. Upon straightening for home, Mark MacDonald called upon Obrigado for every ounce of effort he had remaining, and the pair dug in to withstand a late three-wide charge from Crazy Wow (Yannick Gingras) by a nose in 1:52.4. Lookslikeachpndale (Scott Zeron) charged down the grandstand side to take third over odds-on favorite Resolve (Ã…ke Svanstedt), who only could muster fourth place from a third-over trip while only missing by a neck. Trainer Paul Kelley shares ownership of Obrigado with the SRF Stable, Linwood Higgins and Stable 45. In the $200,000 TVG for trotting mares, Hannelore Hanover rallied from off the pace to once again defeat Bee A Magician, vaulting home and reeling in the quadruple millionaire for a 1:51.4 score. Lady Shadow used nearly identical tactics as Always B Miki en route to her 1:50 win in the $200,000 TVG for pacing mares, grinding down rival Solar Sister and evading the late-emerging Bedroomconfessions by 1-1/2 lengths. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,660.5; 2. David Miller - 1,325; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,231.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 641.5; 5. Brett Miller - 609.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,576.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,498.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 608; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 491; 5. Erv Miller - 477. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 357.42; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 294.17; 3. Marvin Katz - 280.8; 4. Tom Hill - 249; 5. Al Libfeld - 226.8. Looking ahead: The 2016 Grand Circuit season will conclude after Thanksgiving with the Progress Pace at Dover Downs and the Courageous Lady for 3-year-old pacing fillies at Northfield Park. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Matron Stakes, Dover Downs, Dover, Del.; TVG Series finals, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J.; and Fall Four eliminations, Woodbine Racetrack, Toronto, Ont. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit returns to Dover Downs this Thursday (Nov. 10) for four Matron Stakes for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits. The 3-year-old colt trot carries a purse of $178,650, the 3-year-old colt pacers will race for $160,200, the purse for the 3-year-old filly trot is $149,000 and the 3-year-old filly pacers will race for $148,400. The Saturday (Nov. 12) card at Meadowlands Racetrack features the four TVG Series finals for older pacers and trotters. The older horse pace and older horse trot each carry a purse of $400,000, while the older mare pacers and older mare trotters will race for $200,000 each. On Friday night (Nov. 11) Woodbine Racetrack will host eliminations in two of the Fall Four events for pacers and trotters. There will be a pair of C$25,000 eliminations in the Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters and the Three Diamonds for 2-year-old filly pacers. Eliminations were not required for the Governor's Cup for 2-year-old male pacers and the Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old filly trotters. Complete entries for the U.S. races are available at this link, while the Woodbine races are available at this link. Last time: Fresh off a win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown final for 3-year-old trotting colts, Bar Hopping was back in the spotlight as he ventured to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino on Friday (Nov. 4) to turn in a dominant performance and take home top honors in the featured event of the evening on a stakes filled card, the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for 3-year-old trotting colts. With Tim Tetrick in the bike, Bar Hopping staged a big rally late in the lane to hold off all rivals in 1:53.4 and establish a new track record in the process. The previous track record for 3-year-old trotting colts was a 1:54.3 mark established by Creatine and David Miller in the 2013 edition of the Carl Erskine Trot. Leaving from post two in a talented field of 10, Bar Hopping left alertly but Andy Miller had Sutton firing off the gate from post three to grab the early lead through the opening panel in :27.1. Bar Hopping was content to sit in the pocket while Bridge To Jesse's and John DeLong were next in line third. Dayson and Yannick Gingras were unable to find a spot along the rail and pressed on to the lead to reach the front just before the half in :56.2. Dayson continued to call the shots at the three-quarter clocking in 1:26.2 but Tetrick had Bar Hopping on the attack first-over. As the field turned for home, the stage was set for a battle to the wire. Tetrick asked his mount for more and Bar Hopping utilized a :27 final quarter to get the win by a quarter-length over a game Dayson. Sutton held on for third place honors. As the 1-5 heavy betting favorite, Bar Hopping returned $2.60 at the betting windows. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the millionaire trotter has now won nine of 18 seasonal starts while bankrolling $1,171,795 in purse earnings. The Muscle Hill-Cocktail Hour colt recorded his third consecutive victory and tenth lifetime win for his connections of Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Breeders Crown champions Walner ($2.10) and Someomensomewhere ($2.80) came back to capture their Kindergarten Classic Series finals with flair on Saturday (Nov. 5) evening at The Meadowlands. In the $200,600 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings, the impressive Walner used the first seven-sixteenths of the mile to work clear, striding clear of Limerence (Ãke Svanstedt) just before completing a :55.4 half-mile. The son of Chapter Seven and Random Destiny would go on to hold off a first-over challenge from his stablemate Eastern Promise (John Campbell) on the far turn before accelerating away from the field at Tim Tetrick's first asking. Walner amassed seven lengths of clearance over Simply Volo (Corey Callahan), who rallied off third-over cover to take second. Fly On (Andy Miller) hooked wide from around a wall of horses to save third. Walner's 1:53.2 mile earned him a seventh career win in eight starts for owner Kenneth Jacobs and trainer Linda Toscano. Someomensomewhere narrowly prevailed in the $149,100 Kindergarten final for 2-year-old pacing fillies, just reaching up to collar Caviart Ally at the end of a 1:51.2 mile. Marcus Miller settled the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere and Omen Hanover just off the top trio on the first turn before angling out to stalk the live cover of Caviart Ally (Andy McCarthy) through the far turn. As Cavairt Ally wore down pacesetter Gurl Band K (Joe Bongiorno), Someomensomewhere mounted her late bid after losing cover, chasing down the filly she stalked through the far turn for the narrow win. No Chaser (Andy Miller) checked in third, some 5-3/4 lengths detached. Erv Miller trains four-time winner Someomensomewhere for the Nick Surick Stable and Howard Schneidler's KDM Stables. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,563.5; 2. David Miller - 1,295; 3. Tim Tetrick - 1,189.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 621.5; 5. Brett Miller - 589.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,499.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 1,423.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 578; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 476; 5. Erv Miller - 472. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 340.67; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 283.67; 3. Marvin Katz - 273.3; 4. Tom Hill - 229; 5. Al Libfeld - 221.8. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next week at Woodbine Racetrack with the Fall Four finals for 2-year-olds -- the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Three Diamonds and Goldsmith Maid. Paul Ramlow  

ANDERSON, Ind.-November 3, 2016 - Grand Circuit harness racing action will make its way back to Hoosier Park for the fourth and final time this season on Friday, November 4 and with it, bring the top rated horses in North America to Hoosier Park in search of the lucrative purses offered on the 14-race card beginning at 5:45 p.m. With purses approaching $1 million, Hoosier Park will host a standout card that includes the $200,000 Monument Circle Pace for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings, the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings, the $115,000 Crossroads of America for three-year-old trotting fillies and the $112,500 USS Indianapolis Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies. Fresh off a win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Final for three-year-old trotting colts, Bar Hopping will look to add to his bankroll when he visits Indiana for the first time this season in the $220,000 Carl Erskine Trot for trainer Jimmy Takter. The Muscle Hill-Cocktail Hour colt, whose seasonal earnings just surpassed the $1 million mark, has won 8 of 17 seasonal outings while also recording wins in the $522,210 Canadian Trotting Classic and $300,000 Zweig Memorial. Bar Hopping will play the role of morning line favorite at 3-5 in the Carl Erskine Trot and start from post two with Tim Tetrick in the bike. Hoosier Park's leading trainer, Ron Burke will send out a strong contingent in the $200,000 Monument Circle Pace which has been slated as the 12th race on the evening's program. Check Six, one of five horses from the Burke Stable in the Monument Circle, is the slight 7-5 morning line favorite over stablemate Manhattan Beach who has been enlisted at 8-5. Manhattan Beach finished second in the Breeders Crown Final and Check Six was third. Burke has trained three of the last four winners in the previous editions of the Monument Circle Pace at Hoosier Park. "Check Six has been racing tough all year racing week in and week and out," Burke noted. "He went a brutal trip last week in the Breeders Crown final so if the trip works out a little better for him in the Monument Circle, I think he will be sharp." Burke also has two chances to win the $112,500 USS Indianapolis Memorial for three-year-old pacing fillies on Friday with Yankee Moonshine and Dime A Dance. Dime A Dance has won four of 16 seasonal outings while earning $237,510 in purse earnings and will start from post ten with Matt Kakaley in the bike. Yankee Moonshine and Yannick Gingras drew post six. The Burke pair will look to upset the Indiana Sires Stakes Champion Seventimesavirgin and John DeLong who will start from the coveted rail position. Seventimesavirgin went undefeated in Indiana Sires Stakes action this season but had her 9-race winning streak snapped last week in Grand Circuit stakes action at Hoosier Park. In conjunction with the racing action on the track, Hoosier Park will host "Fantastic Fridays" and feature $1 beers, $1 dogs, and $1 programs during live racing. At the conclusion of live racing, the popular Corey Cox Band will perform a free show in the Terrace Showroom. For more information on the upcoming live racing and entertainment at Hoosier Park, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. The live racing schedule at Hoosier Park will follow a Tuesday through Saturday schedule and be conducted through November 12. Emily Gaskin

Harness Racing This Week: Breeders Crown eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: The Grand Circuit heads to Meadowlands Racetrack this Friday (Oct. 21) and Saturday (Oct. 22) for Breeders Crown eliminations in nine divisions. Eliminations will not be required for the open pace, the open trot and the mare trot. The Friday card features a pair of $25,000 eliminations in the mare pace and two $20,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old filly trot. The Saturday card features a pair of $25,000 eliminations in the 3-year-old colt pace, 3-year-old filly pace, 3-year-old colt trot and 3-year-old filly trot, as well as a pair of $20,000 eliminations in the 2-year-old colt pace, 2-year-old filly pace and 2-year-old colt trot. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Resolve and trainer-driver Ãke Svanstedt, representing the United States, staked out their spot on the lead early on and went 1-1/4 miles with no serious challenges to win the $1 million Yonkers International Trot on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 15) at Yonkers Raceway. The time of 2:23.4 was a stakes and North American race record for the distance on a half-mile track. The field of 10 trotted off the gate with Oasis Bi of Italy briefly in the lead before Resolve took over that spot and held it to the :28.1 quarter-mile, on to the :57.1 half-mile, 1:26 three-quarters and 1:54.4 at the mile marker. Oasis Bi and driver Erik Adielsson gave futile chase throughout those fractions with Explosive De Vie (Sweden, Kevin Oscarsson) and Obrigado (United States, Mark MacDonald) behind him in pursuit. The win, by 1-1/2 lengths, was the 14th time the race has been won by the American representative since it was first contested in 1959. Oasis Bi was second and Flanagan Memory (Canada, Brian Sears) was third. Resolve is owned by Hans Enggren and won for the fifth time this year, increasing his 2016 bankroll to $1,195,513. The 5-year-old son of Muscle Hill has 15 career victories and $2,110,638 in lifetime winnings. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,306.5; 2. David Miller - 1,060; 3. Tim Tetrick - 988.5; 4. Scott Zeron - 533.5; 5. Brett Miller - 532.5. Trainers: 1. Jimmy Takter - 1,217.5; 2. Ron Burke - 1,173.5; 3.Tony Alagna - 529; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 441; 5. Julie Miller - 355. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 261.62; 2. Marvin Katz - 229.25; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 219.27; 4. Tom Hill - 204; 5. Al Libfeld - 180. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will once again take place next week at Meadowlands Racetrack with Breeders Crown finals in all 12 categories (2- and 3-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters and older horse and mare pacers and trotters). The Meadowlands will also host a leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old pacers and trotters of both sexes. Harrah's Philadelphia (John Simpson Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters) and Hoosier Park (Circle City for 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits and Madison County for 2-year-olds of both sexes and gaits) will also be hosting Grand Circuit racing. Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

Harness Racing This Week: Yonkers International Trot, Yonkers Raceway, Yonkers, N.Y.; and John Simpson Stakes, Harrah's Philadelphia, Chester, Pa. Schedule of events: This week's marquee event on the Grand Circuit is the $1 million Yonkers International Trot, which will be held on Saturday (Oct. 15) at Yonkers Raceway. A field of 10 top trotters will head to the gate in the Yonkers International. Also on tap this week will be the John Simpson Stakes at Harrah's Philadelphia. Trotters will be in the spotlight on Friday (Oct. 14) with two $40,000 divisions for both the 3-year-old colts and 3-year-old fillies. The Sunday (Oct. 16) card will feature the $47,000 (est.) 3-year-old colt pace and the $40,000 (est.) 3-year-old filly pace. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Scott Zeron had no game plan when it came to driving Marion Marauder in this past Sunday's Kentucky Futurity. It turned out to be a winning strategy. Starting from the second tier's post No. 11, with the Trotting Triple Crown on the line, Zeron and Marion Marauder worked out a trip that saw the duo emerge from behind horses in the stretch to chase down rivals Bar Hopping and Southwind Frank and win the $431,000 Kentucky Futurity by a head in 1:52.3. Southwind Frank finished second and Bar Hopping was third. Marion Marauder, who became the ninth horse to win the Trotting Triple Crown and first since Glidemaster in 2006, won the Hambletonian -- the Crown's first jewel -- by a nose over Southwind Frank. He won the second jewel, the Yonkers Trot, by a head over Smalltownthrowdown. Marion Marauder raced on the outside for the entire mile and was no better than seventh place through three-quarters of the race. He followed 9-5 favorite Bar Hopping, who started in the second tier's post No. 12 in the 12-horse field, in the outer flow and those two eventually drafted behind the cover of second-over Southwind Frank. As the field made its way down the stretch, horses fanned six wide across the track with the focus on Southwind Frank, Bar Hopping and the late-charging Marion Marauder, who trotted the last quarter-mile in :26.4. Marion Marauder has won 10 of 13 races this year and earned $1.47 million for owners Marion Jean Wellwood, who is trainer Paula Wellwood's mother, and Devin Keeling, who is the son of the trainer. Marion Marauder is a son of stallion Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, out of the Nova Award-winning mare Spellbound Hanover. Making his move for the top midway down the backstretch, Always B Miki set fast fractions before driver David Miller implored him through the stretch, advancing to win the $138,000 Allerage Farms Open Pace in an all-time record mile of 1:46 on Sunday at The Red Mile. Always B Miki broke the old world record of 1:46.1, set by Cambest in a time trial at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield in 1993. The previous race mark of 1:46.4 was shared by four horses -- Holborn Hanover, Somebeachsomewhere, Warrawee Needy and He's Watching. Always B Miki got away third as Shamballa was sent to the lead through a :26.1 opening quarter. David Miller showed Always B Miki the whip and he rushed first over to claim command to the half, timed in :52.2. He continued his sprint around the far turn, passing three-quarters in 1:19.4 before being chased home by Shamballa and All Bets Off in the stretch. A 5-year-old horse by Always A Virgin out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, Always B Miki won his 27th race in 50 career starts, earning $2,296,368 for owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter. He is trained by Jimmy Takter. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2016, 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 Farm is the sponsor for the 2016 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the current leaders: Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 1,246.5; 2. David Miller - 985; 3. Tim Tetrick - 948.5; 4. Brett Miller - 492.5; 5. Scott Zeron - 471.5. Trainers: 1. Jimmy Takter - 1,157.5; 2. Ron Burke - 1,093.5; 3. Tony Alagna - 492; 4. Ake Svanstedt - 411; 5. Julie Miller - 335. Owners: 1. Burke Racing Stable - 245.37; 2. Marvin Katz - 226.75; 3. Weaver Bruscemi - 208.02; 4. Tom Hill - 184; 5. Al Libfeld - 178.75. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will take place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack with Breeders Crown eliminations set to take place on Friday (Oct. 21) and Saturday (Oct. 22). Paul Ramlow Grand Circuit Publicity Director

The Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile is behind us, and it was a classic. Whether you privilege the breathtaking speed embodied in Always B Miki’s 1:46 world record win in the Allerage Open or the historical significance of the triumph by Marion Marauder in the Kentucky Futurity that capped the first Triple Crown season in a decade, nobody can cite a lack of drama. As one might expect, Muscle Hill and Somebeachsomewhere, the dominant forces at the Lexington Selected Sale that paralleled the meet, also rode roughshod over the competition on the track. Muscle Hill’s progeny won eight stakes races/eliminations, while SBSW’s get won 15 of the same. This is in addition to the success they had in the late closers that filled out the cards. Muscle Massive and Donato Hanover were second to Muscle Hill with four stakes wins each, while Art Major played second fiddle to SBSW, also with four. Appropriately enough, Marion Marauder, our new Trotting Triple Crown winner, is a son of Muscle Hill. He won for Scott Zeron and the extended Wellwood family. This was the young stallions first Kentucky Futurity credit.  The new speed king, Always B Miki, who won for David Miller and Jimmy Takter, is by the 12-year-old Indiana sire Always A Virgin, a successful regional stallion who has had limited exposure to the Grand Circuit. Miki broke the 1:46.4 race record shared by He’s Watching, Holborn Hanover, SBSW and Warrawee Needy as well as Cambest’s 23-year-old 1:46.1 time trial mark. Tim Tetrick won the most races at the meet: nine stakes and eight late closers. His most impressive win was Thursday’s 1:51.3 world record score by the impressive Chapter Seven freshman Walner for Linda Toscano and Ken Jacobs. This was only his fifth start, after taking two in the NYSS and a Kindergarten leg. He knocked a tick off of Southwind Frank’s 2015 mark. This colt is trending straight up. What Frank was to the 2015 meet, Walner was to this one. David Miller, who laid the foundation for his 2015 Driver of the Year award with a big closing day at last year’s Red Mile meet, may have done the same on Sunday with wins behind Darlinonthebeach in the Garnsey, Broadway Donna in the Filly Futurity and Always B Miki in the Allerage. Overall, he was second to Tetrick with seven stakes wins, in addition to scoring in a pair of late closers. Last year he sealed the deal with five wins on the Breeders Crown program at Woodbine two weeks after the Red Mile meet. Whether he recreates that feat at The Meadowlands this year or not, his numbers, in a season where he took the winter off, combined with the quality of his wins, make him the favorite to repeat as DOY. Andy Miller won five stakes, four of them for his wife Julie and one for Ross Croghan, as well as one late closer. Yannick Gingras also won five stakes, just as he did last year, but was blanked in the late closers this time. Corey Callahan, Brett Miller and Marcus Miller each had four stakes wins. The latter won three splits of the ISS on Saturday, all for his dad, with two of them, the SBSW filly Zane Hanover and the Art Major colt, Chip Walther, paying $189.80 and $84.80, respectively. Ake Svanstedt, Charlie Norris and Scott Zeron each had three stakes wins, with the latter also taking four late closers. Jimmy Takter topped all trainers with eight stakes wins, including that record mile by Always B Miki. Just as David Miller is primed to once again overcome Yannick’s earnings lead in the DOY contest, Takter may again overcome Ron Burke’s huge plurality in wins and money in the TOY race. Ron Burke had five stakes wins, including an upset in a Tattersalls split by the 20/1 Art Major colt, Stolen Glimpse, for Brian Sears. Last year Burke only won four of the high-dollar races, but he had eight second place finishes in them. On Sunday his Crazy Wow was second in the Allerage Open at 13/1, while Big Top Hanover was second in the Tattersalls Pace at 28/1. And Southwind Frank was nosed out by Marion Marauder in the Futurity. So the money was still rolling in. Julie Miller, Ake Svanstedt and Erv Miller each had four stakes wins, while Charlie Norris and Jim Campbell won three apiece. Tony Alagna, who had 5 stakes wins last year, including the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak, had only 2 this time, although he did win 6 late closers. 54% of the stakes winners were bred in Pennsylvania, while 21% were from New York and 16% from New Jersey. Most of the latter are by Muscle Hill, who now stands in PA, and that must be taken into consideration. Ohio, Indiana, Florida and Ontario had one each, and one was by the French stallion, Love You. The Ontario SS Super Finals take place over the weekend so participation by that sector in Lexington is minimal. On the trotting side, there were eight for Muscle Hill, four each for Donato Hanover and Muscle Massive, three each for Cantab Hall and Credit winner, two for Andover Hall and the rest with one apiece. In 2015 Cantab Hall had 5 wins to 3 for Muscle Hill. As was the case this year three-quarters of the trot wins went to PA stallions. Somebeachsomewhere’s domination was more extreme than that of Muscle Hill. His progeny won 15 high-dollar stakes to four for Art Major and one each for all the rest. That amounts to a ridiculous 55% win rate for the 11-year-old son of Mach Three. This served as a marked contrast to last year when SBSW’s get had only three wins and New York pacing stallions dominated Pennsylvania by an 11 to 6 margin. American Ideal had no stakes credits this year, after accumulating four in 2015. Lots of juicy payoffs, aside from the pair from Marcus Miller and one from Sears/Burke already mentioned. The Crazed colt Shake It Off Lindy paid $29.60 for Tetrick and Antonacci in a Bluegrass split; the Yankee Glide filly Overdraft Volo paid $49.20 in another Bluegrass split for Andy and Julie Miller; the RNR Heaven colt Rock The Boat paid $38.20 in a Bluegrass division; the Credit Winner filly Bankette paid $73.60 for David Miller in a LC; the Donato filly Temple Ruins paid $30.60 in an ISS split for Brian Sears; and Gingras’ Cantab Hall filly Dancing IN The Hall paid $98.60 in a Filly Futurity elimination…. The most interesting winner was the Florida bred sophomore filly pacer Prairie Sweetheart, who was supplemented to the Allerage Mare and smoked her more accomplished foes in 1:49.1 for Matt Kakaley and Ross Croghan. Her sire, Royal Millennium, is an obscure 17-year-old son of Run The Table, whose granddam is a full sister to the great Sonsam. Prairie Sweetheart has won all 12 lifetime starts. There were some short fields, the Allerage Mare Trot had to be cancelled due to a lack of entries, and there was some wind and rain to contend with, but on the whole the record setting numbers at the sale were mirrored by some of the same on the track. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for  http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/.  Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.

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