Harness racing father and son trainer and driver teams combined to win the final two $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots divisions for two-year-old pacing fillies this afternoon at Clinton Raceway. Both duos won their respective events with a daughter of Mach Three, the fastest of which was Wicked Speed. With Scott Young in the sulky for trainer, co-owner and dad Bob Young, the diminutive lass went gate to wire in :30, 1:00, 1:30.2 and stopped the clock in 1:59 over Brilliant Idea and Hurricane Trina. It was the second straight win in as many lifetime starts for Wicked Speed who made her debut in an overnight at Clinton last Sunday where she won by five lengths to earn $2,000. That effort combined with today’s winnings find the filly paid for as she cost $10,000 at last year’s Lexington Select Sale for Bob Young of Guelph, Ontario and partner Marsha Sugarman of Status Stables, Ma. Young noted that the filly’s price was likely as a result of her stature. “She’s grown quite a bit since we got her and I think she’ll grow more by the time she’s three. She has a big, powerful rear end on her. She wears a fairly long hopple, 57 1/2 inches and no boots. “She’s done everything right from day one. She’s got tons of brains and likes her work,” he praised. Doug McNair was at the lines for dad Gregg in the fourth division with Mach Denali who managed to win by more than two lengths despite suffering interference just past the three-quarters when the lead filly made a break. Mach Denali was home in 2:01 over Jinglewriter and Ok Heartbeat. Gregg McNair, also of Guelph, shares ownership of the filly with Tony Lawrence and William Brown of Hanover and Paul Kidd from Guelph. This was the first lifetime win for the filly in three tries. Doug McNair also piloted the fastest winner on this afternoon’s card, Kastie Snoops who tripped the timer in 1:58.4. Tony O’Sullivan trains the Sportswriter filly, a half-sister to $573,000 winner Dalhousie Dave, for owner/breeder John Fielding of Toronto. The other two divisions were captured by Stonebridge Quest (Camluck) and Trevor Henry in 2:00.4 and Chase The Shadows (Shadow Play) with Ryan Holliday up in 1:59. The next Grassroots test for this group will be at Mohawk on August 11. To view the complete results from today’s card, please click Clinton Results - July 20. Ontario Sire Stakes
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's Industry Day Celebration is just around the corner, and the event esteems to be one of the best days of the summer for harness racing fans. Festivities and the TV broadcast kick off at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 4. Post time for the first dash is 1:30 p.m.. The 24th annual event includes an 11-race card worth more than $350,000 in purses. The main feature of the day is Grand River Raceway's signature dash, the 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo. There are 159 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing colts eligible to start in the $180,000 (estimated) dash. The sixth annual Battle Of The Belles will be contested for $120,000 (estimated) and 150 Ontario-sired two-year-old pacing fillies remain eligible. The nine finalists for each of those races will be determined during eliminations contested a week prior (July 28, post time 6:30 p.m.). Post position draws for both finals will be conducted during the TV broadcast on July 28. Among the eligibles is Ace Of Clubs, a half-brother to 2013 Battle Of Waterloo champ Three Of Clubs. Trainer Gregg McNair of Guelph, ON co-owns both horses with Tony Lawrence and Hall Of Famer Keith Waples. Rounding out the Industry Day race card are consolation races for the Battles, plus a Gold Leg for three-year-old pacing colts in the Ontario Sires Stakes. During the afternoon event, Grand River Raceway and the Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame will salute the track's General Manager, Dr. Ted Clarke, who will be inducted into the Hall Of Fame on August 6. As always, Industry Day offers many other horse racing delights: RUS Ontario will feature back-to-back racing under saddle events, beginning with a Canada vs. Norway race on Friday, August 1. On Industry Day, it's the RUS International, featuring riders from several different countries. Fans are invited to meet Paula Seelster and her Badlands Hanover youngster from 1:00 - 3:00 and submit their best entries for the Name The Foal contest to win a family dinner outing at Grand River Raceway. Grand River Raceway will donate $1 to the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society for each name submission. Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club will be on-hand with the Wheel Of Fame and Fan Club merchandise. The tenth annual Drivers' Edition of the Bouncy Pony Stakes. An All-Access Kid's Pass is available onsite for $5 and includes face painting, balloon artists, bouncy castles, and pony rides (1:00 - 5:00). Online Handicapping Challenge, presented by Standardbred Canada's I Love Canadian Harness Racing Fan Club (starting August 1). $500 Cheerleading Squads: $250 awarded to each cheerleader representing the winning horse in the Battle Of The Belles and Battle Of Waterloo. HorsePlayer Interactive (HPI) is offering the chance to win a $500 deposit for those who wager $50 or more on the 2014 Industry Day card through their HPI account. For complete event details, visit http://industrydaycelebration.com/ by Kelly Spencer, for Grand River Raceway
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 12 - A quintet of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old pacers were contested Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Lady Shadow turned in the performance of the evening with a sizzling 1:49.2 victory in the third and final $17,477 elimination for the pacing fillies. The Gregg McNair trainee was sent hard to the front by driver Rick Zeron and never looked back. Off a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Lady Shadow paced home in :27.1 for a 8 ¾ length victory. The 1:49.2 clocking was a new lifetime best for the daughter of Shadow Play - Lady Camella and her third win in six starts this season. Nefertiti Bluechip finished in the place spot, while Justabit Mean was third. The elimination victory boosts Lady Shadow's career earnings to over $320,000 for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $4.40 to win. My Secret Belle and owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon converted off a pocket trip in the first elimination. The daughter of Mach Three - Kindly Jenna grabbed the lead early and was able to take a seat in the two-hole when Brookedale Shadow cleared to the front as the field hit the backstretch. At the top of the lane, Hudon pulled the pocket and My Secret Belle paced by Brookedale Shadow for a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1. Brookedale Shadow held on for second over Artful Impulse. The win was the fifth in 17 starts this year for My Secret Belle and it pushes her career earnings to more than $110,000. She paid $3.80 to win. In the second split, Sudoku and driver Jody Jamieson turned in a 2 ½ length victory in 1:51.1. The daughter of Badlands Hanover - Mind Boggling was situated third over on the final turn and unleashed a :26.4 last quarter. Performing Art, who was second over in front of Sudoku, finished second, while Badlyinclined rallied for third. The 1:51.1 clocking was a new lifetime best for Sudoku, who is now undefeated in two starts this season for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.The victory boosts her career earnings to over $225,000 for the ownership group of Let It Ride Stable Inc, Mentally Stable Inc, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. Sudoku returned $3.70 to win. The first $26,149 elimination for the colts and geldings went to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel and driver Jonathan Drury in 1:50.3. The son of Mach Three - Teig N Riley took the lead approaching the half and dug in through the stretch to hold off a late charging Hunch Man by half a length. Victor Bayama finished third. The victory was the third in five starts this season for Boomboom Ballykeel and it equaled his career mark. He is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Ballykeel Racing Inc. Shadowbriand and Roger Mach Em finished fourth and fifth to secure the last two spots for next week's final. Boomboom Ballykeel now has careers earning exceeding $478,000 and he paid $7.80 to win. The second and final elimination went to the Dr. Ian Moore trained Silverhill Shadow and driver Chris Christoforou. The son of Shadow Play - Ruthie Jane made a brush to the lead down the backstretch and paced away from the field in the stretch to Prince Clyde finished second, while Speckled Door was third. The elimination victory was the second win in ten starts this season for Silverhill Shadow and increased his career earnings to over $85,000 for owner Silverhill. Lucky King and Titus Seelster clinched the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes. Silverhill Shadow returned $4.30 to win. The finals for both divisions will be held next Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk as part of the Maple Leaf Trot card. Following the eliminations, the post positions for both finals were drawn in the paddock. Elimination winners were able to select their own post position. Here is how they will lineup for next week's finals. Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Filles - Purse: $122,343 1. Performing Art - Billy Davis Jr. 2. Sudoku - Jody Jamieson 3. My Secret Belle - Joe Hudon Jr. 4. Lady Shadow - Rick Zeron 5. Badlyinclined - Jack Moiseyev 6. Justabit Mean - Jonathan Drury 7. Brookedale Shadow - Chris Christoforou 8. Brescia Seelster - Sylvain Filion 9. Nefertiti Bluechip - Jody Jamieson 10. Artful Impulse - Steve Condren AE: Mea Lilley Mark - Mike Saftic Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Colts and Geldings - Purse: $122,028 1. Shadowbriand - Paul Macdonell 2. Speckled Door - Phil Hudon 3. Silverhill Shadow - Chris Christoforou 4. Boomboom Ballykeel - Jonathan Drury 5. Roger Mach Em - Jack Moiseyev 6. Lucky King - Billy Davis Jr. 7. Prince Clyde - James MacDonald 8. Hunch Man - Mike Saftic 9. Titus Seelster - Sylvain Filion 10. Victor Bayama - Sylvain Filion AE: High Flier - Billy Davis Jr. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
HAMBURG, N.Y. --- There's been five track records either tied or broken this season at Buffalo Raceway but the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers came up empty in trying to challenge any of the marks in the three $37,266 divisions of the New York Sires Stakes on a steamy Wednesday night (July 2). While not breaking the 2-year-old standard of 1:55.4 set by He's Watching in 2013, there were still plenty of impressive times for the winners, all of whom made their first pari-mutual start of their careers. The fastest mile of the Sire Stakes went to Mikado Blue Chip who posted an impressive 1:57.2 time over the track in the second division. It was a gate-to-wire win for Mikado Blue Chip ($7.50) who beat Perfect Bid (Jeff Dauplaise) by a throttled down five lengths after posting fractions of 29.3, 59.0 and 1:28.4. Old Man Cleary (Brent Holland) finished in third. "He has a lot of get up and go," driver Doug McNair said of Mikado Blue Chip. "He really seems to like a half-mile track." Mikado Blue Chip (American Ideal-Ichiban Blue Chip) is owned by Mark Ford and trained by Gregg McNair. In the opening $37,266 division, Cartoon Daddy avoided potentially huge trouble just past the half as he was drafting the first-over K Ryan Bluechip who broke stride. Driver Jim Morrill Jr. reacted quickly and swung Cartoon Daddy extremely wide to avoid the trouble and eventually scooted past the pace-setting Derby Dale by the time they hit at the three-quarter marker. From there, Cartoon Daddy ($3.50) cruised to the finish line with with no serious threats. He crossed the line in 1:58.1 and beat App Heaven (Jordan Stratton) by 1-1/2 lengths while KJ Brent (Holland) took third. "He's very handy," said Morrill Jr. of Cartoon Daddy. "He was like driving a little car." Owned by the Burke Racing Stable and Joseph DiScala, Cartoon Daddy was sired by Art Major out of Ask Alice. Ron Burke handled the training duties. The third and final division saw Aimo Hanover spring the upset with a 1:58.0 time and paid $18.40 to his followers. Aimo Hanover went first over just before the half and took command from Starznheaven just before the three-quarter pole and never looked back. Play The Field (Morrill Jr.) had late pace to pick up second place but was two lengths behind while Mystical Pacer (Holland) rounded out the top three. "He did everything perfect tonight," winning driver Jeff Gregory stated. "He's a handy little horse and was perfect." Aimo Hanover (Artiscape-Allamerican Celeb) is owned by the Doug Ackerman Stables Inc. and and conditioned by D.R. Ackerman. The $12,800 Excelsior Series A class for the 2-year-old colts and geldings saw Artistic Major (Holland)) take the first division in 1:58.2 and returned $11.20 for the victory. American Anthem (McNair) rallied in the stretch and scored the $19.00 win in 1:59.3 in the second leg. In the non-betting $6,600 Excelsior Series B class for the 2-year-old colts and gelding pacers, Mr. Wiskers and Morrill Jr. covered the mile in 2:01.2 to register the decision. You're Too Funny took the weekly $10,500 Fillies and Mares Open Pace for driver Mark MacDonald in 1:55.1. Owned by Greg Capell and trained by Lisa Zgodzinski, You're Too Funny ($13.00) held off the hard-charging Dontch Remember (Morrill) and Mondatta (Jim McNeight). Racing resumes on Friday night with the 13-race program card getting started at 6:40 p.m. For more information including the latest news, upcoming promotions, results and race replays, go to www.buffaloraceway.com by Brian J. Mazurek, for Buffalo Raceway
Perfect Alliance puts her perfect 10-for-10 record this season on the line in the first of two Armbro Flight eliminations for older female trotters Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The 4-year-old Perfect Alliance is coming off a world-record 1:51.2 win over 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician on May 19 in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine. The time is the fastest by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile racetrack. She is the 3-5 morning line favorite in her elimination, which also includes Upfrontluckycarol, Intense America, Rockin With Dewey, Ma Chere Hall, Bax Of Life, and Lady Laker. Perfect Alliance starts from post seven with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Julie Miller. Perfect Alliance had totaled two wins in 18 starts at ages 2 and 3 before bursting onto the scene this season with wins in the Singer Memorial Series and Bobby Weiss Series. "She couldn't be much better," Gingras said. "She's done everything asked of her and has been very impressive. I couldn't be happier with her." Gingras, who also is the regular driver of 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter Maven, has been driving Perfect Alliance since Andy Miller was injured in an accident in April. Maven just recently returned from Sweden, where she finished sixth in the international invitational Elitlopp. "I think (Perfect Alliance) fits really well (with the top older female trotters) off that last start," Gingras said. "You really don't know until they go out and do it, but she had raced very well and I felt she had some more. I was very happy to find out she did." Four-year-old Bee A Magician is the 6-5 favorite in the second Armbro Flight elimination, with Classic Martine the second choice at 8-5. It will be Bee A Magician's second start of the campaign after going 17-for-17 last season on her way to Horse of the Year honors in both the U.S. and Canada. She is trained by Nifty Norman and driven by Brian Sears. Chris Oakes' Classic Martine, another 4-year-old, has won all three of her starts this season, including her division of the Miss Versatility in 1:52.2. One race earlier, she won in 1:51.2 at Pocono Downs to become the fastest 4-year-old female trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval. The remainder of the second Armbro Flight elim field is Angies Lucky Star, Charmed Life, Daylon Miracle, and D'Orsay. * * * Trainer Joe Holloway sends out the favorites in each of Saturday's two eliminations for the Roses Are Red Stakes at Mohawk. Shebestingin is the 2-1 morning line pick in the first division and Somwherovrarainbow is the 4-5 selection in the second elim. Somwherovrarainbow has won six of eight races this year, including the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, and was last seen pacing the fastest mile ever by a female pacer on a five-eighths-mile track when she won in 1:48 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She brings a three-race win streak to Mohawk. Shebestingin, who happens to be the fastest female pacer in history thanks to her 1:47 win last year at The Red Mile, is returning to stakes action after being scratched from the Betsy Ross Invitational because of a fever on May 25. She has won two of four races this season, with one second-place finish. She finished fifth in the mares preferred at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 1. "These girls can rock," Holloway tweeted recently. (Follow @joehollowaystab). "Rainbow is feeling very good and trained well," he texted Wednesday. "I hope Sting rebounds; she might still be off her game some from being sick." Anndrovette, the three-time Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. She won the Betsy Ross in 1:50.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Rumors of her demise are premature," co-owner Jeffrey Bamond quipped after Anndrovette picked up her second win in seven starts this season. Also in the first elim are Jerseylicious, Charisma Hanover, Summertime Lea, Shelliscape, and Drop The Ball. Joining Somwherovrarainbow in the second elimination are Krispy Apple, Rocklamation, Monkey On My Wheel, Voelz Hanover, Yagonnakissmeornot, and Camille. * * * Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, was among 14 horses entered in the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. The group was split into two seven-horse eliminations, to be contested Saturday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the final. Sent out by the father-and-son team of trainer Gregg McNair and driver Doug McNair, Precocious Beauty is in the second elim. She is coming off a 1:52.4 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs last weekend in her seasonal debut. She is owned by breeder Jim Avritt Sr., who was looking forward to her campaign. Precocious Beauty has won eight of 12 lifetime starts and finished worse than second just once. She is unbeaten in four starts at Mohawk, where last year she captured the She's A Great Lady Stakes and divisions of the Champlain and Eternal Camnation stakes. Precocious Beauty is the 2-1 morning line favorite in her elimination. The rest of the second elim is Rock N Roll Xample, Mamas Fallen Angel, Table Talk, Major Dancer, Lady Shadow, and Bahama Blue. Uffizi Hanover, who won the 2013 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers, is in the first elim. She is joined by Take That Hanover, Barefoot Beauty, Nat A Virgin, Beach Gal, Wanna Rock N Roll, and Fancy Desire. Beach Gal, who beat older horses her last time out, is the 5-2 morning line choice. She finished third in last year's She's A Great Lady. * * * There are two eliminations Friday for the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Elim No. 1 features 2013 New York Sire Stakes champion Flyhawk El Durado, who is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Trained in the U.S. by Mark Ford, he races out of the stable of Jeff Gillis in Canada. The colt has a win and two third-place finishes in three starts this season. Entranced, trained by co-owner Garth Gordon, is the second choice at 9-2. He is coming off a second-place finish to Massive Talent in a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes. Massive Talent, from the barn of Nifty Norman, is 9-1 in the same Goodtimes elim. Thomas Durand's Hitchin A Ride, another Ontario Sire Stakes winner last week, is 5-1. The rest of the field is Massacaia, Musical Spell, Skates N Plates, Verdi, Il Sogno Dream, and So Not Cool. The second elim features Jimmy Takter's New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Trixton, who has won three in a row since finishing second to Odds On Amethyst in his seasonal debut. Trixton's three wins are by a total of 22 lengths. He is the 3-5 morning line choice. Harper Blue Chip, trained by Mark Steacy, is the second pick at 6-1. Last year, he won a division of the Champlain Stakes and finished second to Father Patrick in the Wellwood Memorial. Pasadena Star, trained by Bob McIntosh, also won a division of the 2013 Champlain and has won six of nine starts in his career. Lightly raced Speak The Truth, from the stable of Linda Toscano, won a leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in May. The remainder of the field is Adversity, Dontcheatonmenow, Mister B's Way, Sas Warkentin, See The Wind, and Raise The Curtain. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Precocious Beauty made her 2014 debut effort a winning one at Vernon Downs on Friday night in capturing one of three $41,300 divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies. Precocious Beauty led through the majority of the mile to post a victory in a final time of 1:52.4. She was driven to victory by regular driver Douglas McNair. She is owned by James Avritt Sr. of Lebanon, Kentucky and trained by Gregg McNair. Blush Hanover led through the early stages of the seventh race, while Precocious Beauty was parked to her outside in second. Precocious Beauty then assumed the lead at the half-mile mark and went on to win by a length at the end. The other two divisions of the New York Sire Stakes on Friday night featured victories by Better Chill Out and Table Talk. Better Chill Out languished in mid-pack through the opening half-mile of her division. She moved up on the outside into third position and charged through the lane to beat out Scandalicious to the wire by a length. Her final time was 1:52. Better Chill Out is owned by Joseph Meaney of Crestwood, New York, trained by Bruce Borden, and was driven to victory on Friday night by Jeff Gregory. Table Talk was forwardly placed throughout her division, finally assuming the lead in the stretch and held off the charge of longshot Valentina De Vie, who was eighth at the top of the lane and narrowly missed catching the winner. Table Talk paced the mile in 1:52 as well. She is owned by the Wiz Kids Stable LLC of Dover, Delaware, trained by W. Bart Dalious, and was driven by Jim Marohn Jr. The eliminations of the Empire Breeders Classic also took place on Friday night. The first elimination for three-year-old colts took an unexpected turn when the heavy favorite, Lukas Hall, went on a break past the half-mile mark and finished last in the field of six. The top four finishers in each elimination automatically qualify for the Final on June 8 with the one fifth-place finisher participating in the Final determined by lot. Therefore, Lukas Hall will not participate in the Final. Those horses that did qualify from the first elimination were Karets, Rocky De Vie, Hallanet, and Cashamatic. The second elimination for three-year-old colts went a bit more to form with even-money favorite, Expressive Action, winning with a rally up the inside in the stretch in 1:55.3. Second-choice Mister B's Way led deep into the stretch but broke stride right before the wire and ended up being disqualified from fourth finishing position to fifth. The top four for the second elimination were Expressive Action, Wild And Crazy Guy, Cash For Gold, and Daley Lovin. Mister B's Way will now be in the lot draw with Crazzycrazzy to determine the ninth and final qualifier. The three-year-old fillies also had their eliminations on Friday night. Avalicious won the first of these eliminations after leading through the opening half-mile and getting passed. She then re-rallied to get up and win by a nose in 1:55.2. The other qualifiers for the Final from the first elimination were Annies List, Cutup Hanover, and Slice Slice Baby. The second elimination went to Crediama, driven by Tim Tetrick, who moved to the lead in the stretch and ended up three lengths clear of the heavy favorite, Glowngold. The final time for the second elimination was 1:55.4. Also qualifying were Winning Pursuit and Driving Miss Crazy. The two fifth-place finishers, Lady With Credit and Beauty Of Gray, will have a lot draw to determine who advances to the Final on June 8. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs
The 2013 Dan Patch Award winner in the 2-year-old pacing filly division, Precocious Beauty, makes her 2014 harness racing debut on Friday in a $41,300 division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. Precocious Beauty races in the first of three divisions and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line. "I've already got the butterflies, that's for sure," said breeder/owner Jim Avritt Sr. "She came through the winter fine, trained well down in Florida. Qualified well there and at Mohawk, I didn't get down to see her since I have a bunch of broodmares and yearlings [at his Kentucky farm] and just couldn't get away." Avritt said trainer Gregg McNair had no particular goals for the winter. Last season, Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, including the She's A Great Lady Stakes, and finished second on three occasions. She equaled the world record of 1:50.1 for a 2-year-old filly pacer on a mile track when she won a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. "Just tried to maintain what we had," he said. "She's a filly who will give you whatever she has to give; she just goes what she has to go. The other filly I have [in the sire stakes the same night], Barefoot Beauty, she is also a very talented filly, but she's always wanting to give you everything she's got, and more too. It's hard to rein her back, she qualified and came the last half in :55.4." Avritt will not be able to make the debut, but hopes to catch up with his homebred soon. "I've got another mare to foal out. I might save my air miles for the Fan Hanover (eliminations June 7 at Mohawk Raceway and final on June 14) if we're lucky enough to make the final." Avritt has a yearling filly from broodmare Precious Beauty, a Rock N Roll Heaven-sired half-sister to Precocious Beauty at home in the wings. Precocious Beauty is by Art Major. "We have a half-sister to break next fall - Passionate Beauty," he said. "I'll keep all the fillies out of Precious Beauty from here on." Precocious Beauty's driver for much of last year, Doug McNair, son of trainer Gregg McNair, is optimistic about her form coming into the season. "She wintered pretty good, she was down in Florida all winter," McNair said. "She was a big filly last year, but she filled out a little bit more this year. Size-wise, she looks great. She feels about the same. She qualified a couple times and we schooled her once and she seems like she should be ready to go a pretty good trip here." Blush Hanover is the 2-1 favorite in Precocious Beauty's NYSS division. The Linda Toscano-trained filly has won three of four races this year after being unraced last season. That sire stakes split also includes Delightful Dragon, who was slow to make it to the races last season because of issues with her knees but finished the campaign by winning the Three Diamonds Stakes. "She's come back very sound," trainer Noel Daley said. "She can go right with the top ones, I think. She's a big strong filly. She's got the will and the desire. She didn't have a tough year by any means. A few of the speedy ones last year had a lot of racing; it's always interesting to see what comes back." Sweetnsinful, who finished second in last year's New York Sire Stakes championship and is trained and co-owned by Homer Hochstetler, is the favorite in the second NYSS division. Bill Donovan's Medusa, trained by Paul Kelley, is the favorite in the third division. She was unraced at 2, but has won all five of her starts this year. * * * Some of the top contenders on the road to August's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes head to The Meadows in western Pennsylvania for three divisions of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters on Friday. Leading the way is last season's Dan Patch Award-winner for best 2-year-old male trotter, Father Patrick, who on May 21 won his seasonal debut by 4-1/2 lengths in 1:53.3 in a division of the Historic-Dickerson Cup at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Father Patrick brings a 10-race win streak to The Meadows. "I love this horse," trainer Jimmy Takter said. "He's a serious, serious animal. I think he's the horse I've been waiting for that's really, really, special." Also racing in the sire stakes are Hambletonian hopefuls Amped Up Hanover, Auspicious Hanover, DD's Hitman, Datsyuk, Exodus Hanover, Fashion Tagman, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Journey, Nuncio, Outburst, Sarcastic Man and Uva Hanover. For more about Friday's PASS for 3-year-old male trotters at The Meadows, check out Evan Pattak's story. * * * At New York's Vernon Downs on Friday night, Hambletonian eligible trotters Lukas Hall and Expressive Action are the favorites in their respective eliminations for the Empire Breeders Classic. Lukas Hall, the 7-5 choice in the first elim, has made three starts this year and finished second twice. He was second to Flyhawk El Durado in a division of the New York Sire Stakes and second to Trixton in the Simpson Memorial. He is driven by Jim Morrill Jr. and trained by Kevin McDermott. Expressive Action, who is 9-5 in the second elim, is 1-for-1 this season for trainer John Grasso and driver Mike Simons. He opened his campaign by winning a division of the New York Sire Stakes. Other Hambletonian hopefuls in the Empire Breeders Classic eliminations are Karets, Mister B's Way, and Rocky De Vie. * * * The top three horses in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll - Sebastian K, Perfect Alliance, and Somwherovrarainbow - are idle this weekend, but four of the older male pacers in the Top 10 are in action. Three of the group - No. 4 Foiled Again, No. 6 Dancin Yankee, and No. 8 P H Supercam - are in Friday's Molson Pace at Western Fair. Seventh-ranked Sweet Lou is in Sunday's Roll With Joe at Tioga Downs. Also in action from the Top 10 is Trixton, who is in Saturday's New Jersey Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male trotters. Trixton is Hambletonian eligible. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications
The May 2014 Hoof Beats cover girl, Precocious Beauty, will be one of many stars to be on the track on Friday night at Vernon Downs. The Friday program includes three divisions of the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old pacing fillies, as well as eliminations for the Empire Breeders' Classic for three-year-old colts and three-year-old fillies. The stars will also be in the bikes on Friday night with Tim Tetrick, David Miller, Jim Morrill Jr., Matt Kakaley, and many others coming into Vernon to drive on the twelve-race program. Precocious Beauty makes her official return to the races for 2014 night after participating in qualifiers at Pompano Park in April and Mohawk Raceway in May. The imposing filly is owned by James Avritt Sr. of Lexington, Kentucky, trained by Gregg McNair and will be driven by Douglas McNair on Friday night. Precocious Beauty is hoping to recapture her 2013 form, which saw her win divisional honors for two-year-old female pacers at the Dan Patch Awards last season. She was a winner in seven of eleven starts last year, including a victory in the She's A Great Lady Stakes, earning purses of $446,692. She has been installed at 5-2 on the morning line in Friday's seventh race, but she appears to have plenty of competition coming her way from Blush Hanover, to be driven by Tim Tetrick. Blush Hanover has three wins in four career starts, two at Harrah's Philadelphia and has also scored a win and a second in two tries at The Meadowlands. In the other two New York Sire Stakes divisions to be run, morning-line favoritism goes to the horses on the rail. The 5-2 favorite in Race 8 is Sweetnsinful, driven by Jimmy Whittemore. Sweetnsinful is owned by Connie and Homer Hochstetler of Crete, Illinois and James Michels of Muncie, Indiana. Homer Hochstetler doubles as the trainer of Sweetnsinful. She was the winner of the Madison at Hoosier Park last October and paced a Qualifier at Vernon Downs on May 16 in 1:58.2. The favorite in Race 9 is Medusa, also listed at 5-2. Medusa is owned W.J. Donovan of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, trained by Paul Kelley and will be driven by Chris Lems, who was at the controls for all four impressive wins the filly has registered this season at Vernon Downs. The Empire Breeders' Classic eliminations also are on the docket for Friday night at Vernon Downs. There are two eliminations for each division. The 7-5 morning-line favorite for the first division of three-year-old colt trotters is Lukas Hall, runner-up in the Simpson at The Meadowlands on May 9 and runner-up in a New York Sire Stakes race at Tioga Downs on May 23. Lukas Hall is owned by former New York Jets Wide Receiver Wayne Chrebet of Colts Neck, New Jersey and Little E LLC of New York, New York. Little E LLC is owned by Vernon Downs owner, Jeff Gural. The second division of three-year-old colt trotters is led by 9-5 choice, Expressive Action, winner of a New York Sire Stakes race on May 23 at Tioga Downs. Expressive Action is owned by John Grasso Stable Inc. of Hawthorne, New York. Grasso is also the trainer, while the driver on Friday night is Mike Simons. The three-year-old fillies also have two eliminations on Friday. A winner of a New York Sire Stakes race at Vernon Downs on May 17, Lady With Credit, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the first division. Lady With Credit earned her first career win with that Sire Stakes score in 1:55.1. She is owned by White Birch Farm of Allentown, New Jersey, and trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer. The second division also features a New York Sire Stakes winner from this season at Vernon Downs. Glowngold is 6-5 on the morning line off of a two and a quarter length win in 1:56.1 on May 17. Glowngold is owned by the Andy Miller Stable of New Jersey, S. Demeter and Blue Chip Bloodstock, both of New York, and Highland Green Farms of Florida. The Finals for the Empire Breeders' Classic races will be run as part of a special Sunday night program on June 8, which will also include the New York Sire Stakes for three-year-old colt pacers. The twelve-race program will kick off at Vernon Downs on Friday night with a first post time of 6:45pm. by Michael Chamberlain, for Vernon Downs
A slate of eight qualifying races went forward Friday morning at Mohawk Racetrack, and O’Brien Award winner Precocious Beauty was front and centre early on. The multiple stakes-winning daughter of Art Major continued to prep for her three-year-old campaign in Race 3 for trainer Gregg McNair and his son, driver Doug McNair. Precocious Beauty lined up in Post 7 and was parked forth at the quarter-mile pole, which was clicked off by Palm Beach Hanover (driven by Jody Jamieson) in :29.2. Precocious Beauty cleared to the lead in the second panel and went on to stop the half-mile clock in :58.2. She had a one and three-quarter-length lead by the time she breezed past three quarters in 1:26.4. Precocious Beauty was four lengths the best by the time she hit the head of the lane. Completing her mile with a :27.3 final quarter, Precocious Beauty hit the wire first in 1:54.2, six lengths ahead of Palm Beach Hanover. To read the rest of this story click here.
Just one day after it was announced that He's Watching will make his seasonal pari-mutuel debut at Yonkers Raceway, the American Ideal colt paced his second consecutive qualifying mile Friday, May 16 at Mohawk Racetrack in Campbellville, Ont. Rated as the 5-1 favourite in Trot Magazine’s 2014 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book, He's Watching was facing two other ‘Cup’ eligibles in his qualifier, which was carded as Race 9 on the 11-dash docket. The presiding ORC judges allowed a one-second variant in time. He's Watching, trained by David Menary, started from Post 2 with new driver Jody Jamieson at his lines. The pair left hard off the gate and was first to every call (:28.2, :56.4, 1:24.4). After being up by eight lengths at the head of the lane, He's Watching went on to record a 14-and-a-quarter-length victory in 1:52.1 off a :27.2 final panel. Fellow Cup eligibles Three Of Clubs (25-1 in Spring Book) and Boomboom Ballykeel (13-1 in Spring Book) finished second and third, respectively. Three Of Clubs is trained by Gregg McNair and driven by Doug McNair, while Boomboom Ballykeel is trained by Richard Moreau and driven by Sylvain Filion. To read the rest of the story click here.
The annual Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) Awards banquet honoured the breeders of the top Ontario Sires Stakes performers of 2013 on Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre. The evening included cocktails, dinner, a silent auction, a stallion auction and the awards presentations. The award winners are listed below. Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly Performing Art, bred by Bob Young, David Garrett, Premier & Associates 2013 OSS Earnings: $182,600 Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding Bugger Bruiser, bred by Gerald Mijal 2013 OSS Earnings: $206,100 Two-Year-Old Trotting Filly Riveting Rosie, bred by Schare Adams 2013 OSS Earnings: $232,750 Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding Muscle Matters, bred by Reg and Donna Higgs 2013 OSS Earnings: $216,300 Three-Year-Old Pacing Filly Pan Luis Obispo, bred by Peter Pan Stables Inc. 2013 OSS Earnings: $165,000 Three-Year-Old Pacing Colt/Gelding Mach It So, bred by Enviro Stables Ltd. 2013 OSS Earnings: $215,000 Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly Bee A Magician, bred by White Birch Farm 2013 OSS Earnings: $280,000 Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt/Gelding Flanagan Memory, bred by Michel Flanagan 2013 OSS Earnings: $271,500 Masterfeeds Awards - Outstanding Pacing Broodmare Teig N Riley, owned by Ballykeel Racing Masterfeeds Awards - Outstanding Trotting Broodmare Beehive, owned by White Birch Farm Lampman Cup Sylvain Filion Johnston Cup Gregg McNair Lloyd Chisholm Achievement Award Canadian Sportsman Chris Van Bussel Memorial Award Cool Creek Farms - Harry Rutherford and Diane Ingham Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
Signature 'Battle' races get a purse bump at Grand River Raceway ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway's 2014 signature races will receive a bump in purse money over 2013 offerings, and the nomination process will return to a three-payment format. The 17th annual Battle Of Waterloo and 6th annual Battle Of The Belles will be raced during the track's annual Industry Day Celebration, on Monday, August 4 at 1:30 p.m. The Battle Of Waterloo final (for ON-sired two-year-old pacing colts) will be contested for an estimated $180,000. In 2013, the race went for $144,500 and was won by Three Of Clubs, for O'Brien Award nominees Gregg McNair and Doug McNair. The local father-son-trainer-driver duo also won the 2013 Battle Of The Belles (for ON-sired two-year-old pacing fillies). Lady Shadow took the lion's share of the $75,400 purse. In 2014, the race will be contested for an estimated $120,000. Both races return to a three-payment eligibility system, beginning with nominations which must be postmarked no later than February 18. While both races (including the eliminations, consolations and finals) will be contested at Grand River Raceway, the Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) will handle the stakes administration. As noted on the nomination forms, all payments must be made payable to, and sent to, WEG. To download nomination forms and complete conditions for both races click here.: For stakes administration inquiries, please contact at Kim Neelands at 416-675-7223 ext. 4306. Kelly Spencer
Columbus, OH --- Bee A Magician, Father Patrick, and Maven were unanimous 2013 Dan Patch Award selections as the best harness racing horses in their respective divisions, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced Thursday. A total of 131 ballots were returned. Three-year-old filly trotter Bee A Magician and older female trotter Maven were named on all 131 while 2-year-old male trotter Father Patrick was named on 130 with one abstention. Six other year-end champions were named Thursday in divisions that saw only one horse receive at least 10 percent of the vote. Three-year-old male pacer Captaintreacherous and older male trotter Market Share both received 130 votes and were declared winners in their divisions. Also being named winners were 2-year-old filly pacer Precocious Beauty, 2-year-old filly trotter Shake It Cerry, 3-year-old filly pacer I Luv The Nitelife, and older male pacer Foiled Again. Winners in the three remaining divisions - 2-year-old male pacer, 3-year-old male trotter, and older female pacer - will be announced at the Dan Patch Awards banquet on Feb. 23 at Dover Downs. Pacer of the Year, Trotter of the Year, and Horse of the Year also will be revealed at that time. Finalists for best 2-year-old male pacer are He's Watching and Luck Be Withyou, with the 3-year-old male trotter race coming down to Royalty For Life and Spider Blue Chip and older female pacer a battle between Anndrovette and Rocklamation. Bee A Magician was undefeated in 17 starts this year and joined Muscle Hill and Syrinx Hanover as the only trotters to go unbeaten at age 3 and receive Dan Patch divisional honors dating back to 1975. Trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and driven by Brian Sears for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, Bee A Magician won the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly trotters, Hambletonian Oaks, Elegantimage Stakes, and Delvin Miller Memorial on her way to $1.54 million in purses. Her earnings are the most ever for a 3-year-old filly trotter, breaking the record of $1.17 million set by Continentalvictory in 1996, and her winning time of 1:51 in the Miller Memorial at Meadowlands Racetrack is the fastest mile ever by a 3-year-old filly trotter. Father Patrick, trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group, won 10 of 11 races and $744,057. His victories included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old male trotters, the William Wellwood Memorial, and the Peter Haughton Memorial. He finished the campaign with a nine-race winning streak and was unbeaten in stakes competition. He set the world record of 1:52.1 for a 2-year-old male trotter on a five-eighths-mile track in winning his Breeders Crown elimination at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. Maven won 10 of 14 races and earned $509,220 for trainer Jonas Czernyson, driver Gingras and owner Bill Donovan. Her wins included the Breeders Crown for older female trotters, Armbro Flight Stakes, and Miss Versatility Series championship. She trotted the fastest race mile ever on a half-mile track in winning the Miss Versatility in 1:51.4 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Captaintreacherous, Foiled Again, and Market Share are repeat winners. Last year, Captaintreacherous claimed Dan Patch Awards as best 2-year-old male pacer and Pacer of the Year. This season at age 3, he won 13 of 16 races and $2.05 million for trainer Tony Alagna, driver Tim Tetrick and the Captaintreacherous Racing ownership group. He joined Rocknroll Hanover and Gallo Blue Chip as the only 3-year-old male pacers to win a Breeders Crown, the North America Cup, and Meadowlands Pace in the same season. The 9-year-old Foiled Again, who this season became the oldest horse to ever win a Breeders Crown and the richest North American harness racing horse in history, was named the sport's best older male pacer for the third consecutive year. He joins Rambling Willie (1975-77) as the only horses to win the division's top honor three straight seasons. Foiled Again, trained by Ron Burke and driven primarily by Gingras for owners Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, and JJK Stables, won 11 of 29 races in 2013 and earned $1.40 million. He is the oldest horse to ever have a million-dollar season. Market Share, a 4-year-old, also took divisional honors last season at age 3. This year, he won six of 14 races and earned $1.07 million for trainer Linda Toscano, driver Tetrick and owners Richard Gutnick, TLP Stables, and William Augustine. He finished the season by winning the Breeders Crown Open Trot, American-National Stakes, and TVG Free For All Series Championship. I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races and $1.25 million for trainer Chris Ryder, driver Tetrick and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her victories included the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old filly pacers, Fan Hanover Stakes and Valley Forge (in a world-record 1:48.4 mile). Shake It Cerry, trained by Takter and driven by Ron Pierce for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group, captured eight of 11 starts and earned $827,769. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters, Goldsmith Maid, and Merrie Annabelle. Precocious Beauty won seven of 11 races, including the She's A Great Lady Stakes, and $446,692 for trainer Gregg McNair, driver Doug McNair and owner Jim Avritt Sr. The competition for 3-year-old male trotter features Hambletonian winner Royalty For Life against Breeders Crown champion Spider Blue Chip. The race for older female pacer is between two-time defending division champ Anndrovette, who won the Roses Are Red Stakes, and Milton Stakes winner Rocklamation. Two-year-old male pacer honors come down to New York Sire Stakes champion He's Watching, undefeated in eight races, and Breeders Crown winner Luck Be Withyou, who won five of 11 starts. DAN PATCH AWARD WINNERS These divisions saw only one horse receive at least 10 percent of the vote. 2-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Father Patrick (130 votes, 1 abstention) Cantab Hall - Gala Dream - Enjoy Lavec Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: Father Patrick Stable. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 11-10-1-0. Purses: $744,057. Mark: 1:52.1 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $354,050 Wellwood Memorial; $280,500 Haughton Memorial. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Shake It Cerry (124 votes) Donato Hanover - Solveig - Yankee Glide Breeder: Solveig's Breeders. Owner: Solveig's Racing Partners. Trainer: Jimmy Takter. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 11-8-2-0. Purses: $827,769. Mark: 1:53.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $456,150 Goldsmith Maid; $321,700 Merrie Annabelle. 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER Precocious Beauty (117 votes) Art Major - Precious Beauty - Jate Lobell Breeder: James Avritt Sr. Owner: James Avritt Sr. Trainer: Gregg McNair. Driver: Doug McNair. Races: 11-7-3-0. Purses: $446,692. Mark: 1:50.1 at Red Mile (world record). Top win: $428,450 She's A Great Lady. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER Captaintreacherous (130 votes) Somebeachsomewhere - Worldly Treasure - Artsplace Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owner: Captaintreacherous Racing. Trainer: Tony Alagna. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 16-13-2-0. Purses: $2.05 million. Mark: 1:47.1 at Red Mile. Top wins: $980,000 North America Cup; $635,750 Meadowlands Pace; $500,000 Breeders Crown. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY PACER I Luv The Nitelife (123 votes) Rocknroll Hanover - Lisjune - Camluck Breeders: MJG Racing Stables, Louis "Andy" Willinger. Owners: Richard and Joanne Young. Trainer: Chris Ryder. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 15-13-1-1. Purses: $1.25 million. Mark: 1:48.4 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $384,044 Fan Hanover; $350,000 Valley Forge. 3-YEAR-OLD FILLY TROTTER Bee A Magician (131 votes) Kadabra - Beehive - Balanced Image Breeder: White Birch Farm. Owners: Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, David McDuffee. Trainer: Richard "Nifty" Norman. Drivers: Rick Zeron, Brian Sears. Races: 17-17-0-0. Purses: $1.54 million. Mark: 1:51 at Meadowlands (world record). Top wins: $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $356,981 Elegantimage. OLDER MALE PACER Foiled Again (125 votes) Dragon Again - In A Safe Place - Artsplace Breeder: Barbara Matthews. Owners: Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC, JJK Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 29-11-6-7. Purses: $1.40 million. Mark: 1:48 at Pocono Downs (world record). Top wins: $512,000 TVG Free For All Championship; $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Ben Franklin. OLDER MALE TROTTER Market Share (130 votes) Revenue S - Classical Flirt - Yankee Glide Breeder: Hayley Moore. Owners: Richard Gutnick, TLP Stable, William Augustine. Trainer: Linda Toscano. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 14-6-1-5. Purses: $1.07 million. Mark: Q1:50.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $600,000 Breeders Crown; $526,710 Maple Leaf; $500,000 TVG Free For All Championship. OLDER FEMALE TROTTER Maven (131 votes) Glidemaster - M Stewart - American Winner Breeder: All La Nuova Sbarra Srl. Owner: Bill Donovan. Trainer: Jonas Czernyson. Driver: Yannick Gingras. Races: 14-10-2-0. Purses: $509,220. Mark: 1:51.4 at Delaware County Fairgrounds (world record). Top wins: $266,041 Armbro Flight; $250,000 Breeders Crown. DAN PATCH AWARD FINALISTS Top two vote-getters in these divisions were named finalists, with the winner to be announced at the Dan Patch Awards banquet Feb. 23 at Dover Downs 2-YEAR-OLD MALE PACER He's Watching American Ideal - Baberhood - Real Desire Breeders: Brittany Farms, Robert Burgess, Karin Olsson Burgess. Owners: David Menary, Brad Gray, Michael Guerriero. Trainer: David Menary. Driver: Jim Morrill Jr. Races: 8-8-0-0. Purses: $291,722. Mark: 1:50 at Tioga Downs. Top win: $225,000 New York Sire Stakes final. Luck Be Withyou Western Ideal - Trim Hanover - Camluck Breeder: Brittany Farms. Owner: John Craig. Trainers: Bill Cass, Chris Oakes. Drivers: Phil Hudon, Ron Pierce. Races: 11-5-1-0. Purses: $359,417. Mark: 1:50 at Pocono Downs. Top win: $500,000 Breeders Crown. 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TROTTER Royalty For Life RC Royalty - Bourbon 'N Grits - Donerail Breeder: Al Ross. Owners: Al Ross, Ray "Chip" Campbell Jr., Paul Fontaine. Trainer: George Ducharme. Driver: Brian Sears. Races: 14-7-2-0. Purses: $1.27 million. Mark: Q1:51.3 at Meadowlands. Top wins: $1 million Hambletonian; $665,420 Canadian Trotting Classic; $294,000 Dancer Memorial. Spider Blue Chip Andover Hall - Southwind Catlin - Muscles Yankee Breeder: McLain Ward. Owners: David McDuffee, Mel Hartman. Trainer: Chuck Sylvester. Driver: Ron Pierce. Races: 20-10-3-2. Purses: $1.08 million. Mark: 1:51.3 at Red Mile. Top wins: $500,000 Breeders Crown; $500,000 Colonial; $260,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final. OLDER FEMALE PACER Anndrovette Riverboat King - Easy Miss - Big Towner Breeder: Golden Touch Stable. Owner: Bamond Racing, Joseph Davino. Trainer: P.J. Fraley. Driver: Tim Tetrick. Races: 21-7-7-4. Purses: $558,201. Mark: 1:48 at Mohawk. Top win: $313,795 Roses Are Red. Rocklamation Rocknroll Hanover - Art Sale - Artsplace Breeder: Perretti Farms. Owners: Our Horse Cents Stables, Stable 45, J&T Silva Stables. Trainer: Ron Burke. Drivers: Yannick Gingras, Brett Miller. Races: 21-5-7-6. Purses: $540,358. Mark: 1:49.3 at Meadowlands. Top win: $275,480 Milton. by Ken Weingartner for Harness Racing Communications
On Wednesday, December 18, Standardbred Canada announced the finalists for the 2013 O’Brien Awards, which honour Canada’s best in harness racing over the past season. The winners will be announced at the annual O’Brien Awards Black Tie Gala on Saturday, February 8, 2014. This year marks the 25th edition of the O’Brien Awards, named in honour of the late Joe O’Brien, an outstanding horseman and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. Nine past O’Brien Award winners are looking to add to their trophy collections and are either defending titles or are nominated in a new division. These past winners include: Anndrovette, Bee A Magician, Foiled Again, I Luv The Nitelife, Intimidate, Mister Herbie, Sylvain Filion, Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms. Sylvain Filion will defend the Driver of the Year title against first-time nominee Doug McNair. Filion, 44, of Milton, ON, is currently the leading money winning driver on the WEG circuit with over $5 million to his credit between Mohawk and Woodbine. With 281 victories, he is closing in on Scott Zeron for the title as WEG’s top dash winning driver. He has a good shot of achieving that as Zeron has moved to The Meadowlands. A career winner of 7,477 races, Filion recently surpassed $6 million in earnings in 2013 in addition to going over $80 million in his career. He is also the regular driver for O’Brien finalist, Intimidate. Doug McNair, 24, of Guelph, ON, is enjoying a productive year as he’s driven 292 winners to go along with $5.6 million in purse earnings, his second best year on record ever for money. McNair was the regular driver for O’Brien finalists Precocious Beauty and Love Canal. There will be a new name beside the Trainer of the Year category as Gregg McNair and Richard Moreau are looking for their first National title. McNair, 52, of Guelph, ON, is en route to a career year and sits second in the Canadian trainer earnings standings. McNair conditions O’Brien finalist Precocious Beauty and to date has trained 109 winners and horses to $3.1 million in purse earnings. Moreau, 49, of Puslinch, ON, was a finalist in this category last year. The conditioner has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade. He leads the Canadian trainer standings with $3.5 million in earnings and 270 wins. He celebrated the biggest win of his career this past season when Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Kelly Hoerdt, 47, of Beaumont, AB, receives his third nomination for the O’Brien Award of Horsemanship and he is up against first time nominee Paul MacKenzie. Kelly Hoerdt is a successful horsemen who is annually near the top of the training and driving charts in Alberta. He’s been training in Alberta on and off for 25 years. Hoerdt was the leading trainer in earnings at Alberta Downs this year. He’s currently in the top five trainers at Northlands for both wins and money and sits in sixth at Northlands in the driving charts. Hoerdt has 66 wins and $487,528 in earnings as a driver and 81 wins and $616,517 as a trainer. Paul MacKenzie, 52, of Puslinch, ON, has been driving and training for over 35 years and has managed to be one of the top B circuit drivers for decades. The Charlottetown native is the all time leader in driving wins at Flamboro Downs. In 2013 he was the third leading dash winner at Grand River and in the top 10 drivers at Flamboro. Paul drove 169 winners and horses to earnings in excess of $1 million in 2013. He didn’t focus much on training. Unfortunately MacKenzie suffered some injuries at Grand River in late October and has not driven since. Precocious Beauty and Shes Da Bomb, both sired by Art Major, are the finalists in the Two-Year-Old Pacing Filly category. Precocious Beauty won 7 of 11 races, $462,912 and took a mark of 1:50.1 which happened to tie a World Record for the mile track. Her richest payday was a victory in the $451,000 Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Shes Da Bomb had 5 wins in 8 starts and earnings of $216,056. She paced to her season’s record of 1:50.3 at The Red Mile. Both fillies captured divisions of the Eternal Camnation Stakes and Champlain at Mohawk. Arthur Blue Chip and Luck Be Withyou didn’t battle each other much on the racetrack but the two will vie for the Two-Year-Old Pacing Colt title. Arthur Blue Chip scored 6 wins in 11 starts, bankrolled $400,120 and took a mark of 1:51.2 in an elimination of the Metro at Mohawk before being scratched from the final. His most lucrative payday was a runner-up finish in the Governor’s Cup. He also won a handful of Ontario Sires Stakes races, an elimination of the Battle of Waterloo and a division of the Nassagaweya. Luck Be Withyou’s victory in the Breeders Crown at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs was the highlight of a 40 year partnership between owner John Craig and trainer Bill Cass. Luck Be Withyou had 5 wins in 11 races and $363,402 in purse earnings. He took a mark of 1:50 in an elimination of the Breeders Crown, and also scored a victory in a division of the Champlain at Mohawk. I Luv The Nitelife returned as a seasoned sophomore and looks to add another O’Brien to her trophy case. She is up against Love Canal in the three-year-old pacing filly division. I Luv The Nitelife boasted a record of 13-1-1 in 15 races and $1.2 million in earnings. She took a mark of 1:48.4 in the Valley Forge at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She also set a two-heat world record of 3:42.2 in the Jugette. She swept the Fan Hanover, the Lynch, the Mistletoe Shalee and closed the season as strongly as she began with a win in the Breeders Crown and runner-up finish in the American National. Love Canal put together a record of 4-3-1 in 13 races, earned $344,693 and took a mark of 1:50.1 at Mohawk in the Canadian Breeders Championship one week after her win in the elimination. She also had victories in the final of the SBOA Stake and an Ontario Sires Stakes event. Sunshine Beach and Vegas Vacation are finalists in the sophomore pacing colt category. Sunshine Beach hit for 16 top three finishes, including eight wins in 20 starts for earnings of $913,702. He defeated Captaintreacherous in the Battle of the Brandywine in a 1:47.4 world record mile at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in August and was a runner-up to the division leader in the Breeders Crown. He was also victorious in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes and the Progress Pace. Vegas Vacation put together a sophomore record reading 10-4-1 in 20 starts while banking $976,037 in purses with major wins in the Somebeachsomewhere Stakes, Empire Breeders Classic, Simcoe Stakes, Little Brown Jug and the Matron Stakes. He was also a close runner-up in the Hempt Memorial, the Tattersalls Pace and the Adios. Anndrovette is looking to defend her crown as Canada’s Older Pacing Mare against the talented Rocklamation. Anndrovette is looking for her third consecutive trophy as the country’s top pacing mare following a season where she scored 7 wins and bankrolled $564,827. She took a mark of 1:48 at Mohawk in the Roses Are Red Final -- a Canadian record -- and also posted a win in the elimination. She won three legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker, an elimination of the Breeders Crown and finished third in the final. Rocklamation won 5 of 21 races and earned $546,217 on the season while posting a mark of 1:49.3 in the Golden Girls at The Meadowlands. She won two legs of the Blue Chip Matchmaker and captured the Milton Stakes at Mohawk. A Rocknroll Dance and Foiled Again are the Older Pacing Horse finalists. Multiple World Champion A Rocknroll Dance was the first horse in harness racing history to pace three consecutive sub-1:48 wins. Those scores came this year in an invitational at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1:47.4f) and in the elimination and final of the Canadian Pacing Derby (1:47.3-1:47.2). He established World Records as a four-year-old on both five-eighths and half-mile tracks. His 1:49.1 world mark on a half was taken winning the Battle Of Lake Erie at Northfield over Foiled Again, and his 1:47.4 world mark on a five-eighths came in an invitational race at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He defeated the best older pacers of the year in winning the Canadian Pacing Derby at Mohawk in track and Canadian record time. A Rocknroll Dance has been retired from racing and will begin his stud career in 2014 at Diamond Creek Farm in Pennsylvania. The $6 million horse, Foiled Again didn’t show any signs of slowing down in his nine-year-old season as he won 11 of his 29 starts, including three Levy divisions, the Ben Franklin elimination and final as well as the Breeders Crown elimination and final, for his third straight million-dollar campaign. Following Foiled Again's final start of the year, trainer Ron Burke noted that the iron tough pacer has exceeded his expectations with all of his accomplishments. He earned $1.4 million on the year, while surpassing the $6 million career marker and closed the season sweeping the elimination and final of the TVG Free For All Pace at The Meadowlands. Miss Aultsville and Riveting Rosie are nominees in the two-year-old filly trotting category. Miss Aultsville established a stakes, track and Canadian record of 1:59.2 for two-year-old trotting fillies on a half-mile track in an Ontario Sires Stakes event, one of her two season wins. She earned just over $151,000 on the season. Riveting Rosie closed out her 2013 campaign with six wins, one second and one third in eight starts and earnings of $468,613. Riveting Rosie’s major victories were the Peaceful Way Final, The Ontario Stakes Super Final and a division of the Champlain. Father Patrick and Muscle Matters will face off in the Two-Year-Old Trotting Colt division. Father Patrick topped the earnings chart in his division and was flawless in 10 stakes starts with his only blemish coming in an early season two-year-old race where he was beaten by just a head. Father Patrick amassed $752,395 in earnings with major wins in the Breeders Crown, Peter Haughton Memorial, William Wellwood Memorial Trot, Champlain Stakes and Bluegrass Stakes. Muscle Matters was lightly raced but earned $218,800 in 6 starts, half of which he won. He took his mark of 1:55.4 in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. Bee A Magician, who was perfect in her 2013 season, is up against Motown Muscle in the Three-Year-Old Trotting Filly division. Bee A Magician won all 17 of her 2013 races and earned in excess of $1.57 million for a perfect sophomore season. The invincible filly took a mark of 1:51 at The Meadowlands and won the SBOA elimination and final, the Casual Breeze, the Elegantimage elimination and final, three Ontario Sires Stakes events including the Super Final, the Delvin Miller, Hambletonian Oaks elimination and final, the Simcoe, Breeders Crown elimination and final, American National and Moni Maker. Motown Muscle enjoyed a productive 2013 campaign, hitting for 6 wins in 14 races and $331,423 in purse money. She took a mark of 1:53.4 at Mohawk and racked up wins in a division of the Casual Breeze, Canadian Breeders Championship elimination and final, and several Ontario Sires Stakes events. Flanagan Memory and Your So Vain are the sophomore trotting colt nominees. Flanagan Memory won seven of 11 races for $408,798 in earnings. He clocked a season’s best 1:53 effort in winning the OSS Super Final at Mohawk. He also scored victories in the Goodtimes and several OSS events. Your So Vain was a winner of 5 of 13 and $382,105. He posted a mark of 1:52.4 in winning an elimination of the Canadian Trotting Classic. He also added wins in the Simcoe Stakes, Bluegrass Stakes, and a heat of the Kentucky Futurity to his resume. Bax Of Life and Maven are the Older Trotting Mare finalists. Bax of Life won 4 of 23 races and earned just over $155,000. She took a mark of 1:52.2 at The Red Mile. She was a nose winner in a Breeders Crown elimination and second in the Miss Versatility. Since winning the 2012 Breeders Crown at Woodbine Racetrack, Maven has been one of the most consistent trotters in North America. She swept the Miss Versatility Trotting Series including a 1:51.4 World Record in the final at Delaware. She also added wins in an elimination and the final of the Armbro Flight and Allerage to her credentials. She showed just how good she was by claiming a second Breeders Crown title. At season’s end Maven had won 10 of 14 races, and added $513,485 to her coffers. Intimidate and Mister Herbie are the Older Trotting Horse finalists. Both horses were O’Brien winners in 2012 – Intimidate as Canada’s Three-Year-Old Trotting Colt of the Year and Mister Herbie as Canada’s Older Trotting Horse. Intimidate stepped up to the Older Trotting Horse ranks to win 7 of 9 on the year and bank $176,000. He won several Preferred events and took a mark of 1:51 in the Credit Winner at Vernon Downs. Although Mister Herbie only won one race in 2013, he was a strong contender in many of the major stakes and scored six runner-up finishes in races including the Maple Leaf Trot, Allerage, John Cashman Memorial and Breeders Crown, finishing the season with $492,067. Robert McIntosh Stables Inc. and Seelster Farms are nominated in the Armstrong Breeder of the Year category, and are both previous winners of this award. McIntosh’s 98 starters have accounted for 228 wins and just over $2 million in earnings in 2013, while Seelster-bred horses have posted 254 victories and $2.1 million in purse earnings. In the Future Star Category, the finalists for this first-time award are Travis Cullen and Patrick Shepherd. Horseman Travis Cullen, 21 of Edmonton, AB, closed out Alberta Downs' 2013 meet with five wins on the last day of racing while securing both the Lacombe track's driving and training titles. Amidst a career-best year of over $366,000 in trainer earnings and over $577,000 in driving earnings, the Edmonton horseman concluded the Alberta meet with a chart-topping 64 training victories and 86 driving wins. His 2013 total of 109 training wins in Canada places him fourth among all trainers while his .430 UTRS leads the nation. Patrick Shepherd, 21, of Lynden, ON, trained 112 winners and horses to $542,799 in earnings. His Canadian win total ranks as the third best among all conditioners, as does his .389 training average. One of the 24 horse nominees will be honoured as Canada’s Horse of the Year. The winners will be announced at the O’Brien Awards Gala on Saturday, February 8, 20114, at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PE. The complete list of finalists and owners is as follows. 2013 O’Brien Award Nominees Pacers Two-Year-Old Filly Pacer Precocious Beauty - owned by James L Avritt Sr., Lebanon, KY Shes Da Bomb – owned by F. Bellino And Sons LLC, Bronxville, NY Two-Year-Old Colt Pacer Arthur Blue Chip – owned by Dr. Ian Moore, Guelph, ON – R G McGroup Ltd., Bathurst, NB – Serge Savard, Saint-Bruno, QC Luck Be Withyou – owned by John H. Craig, North York, ON Three-Year-Old Filly Pacer I Luv The Nitelife - owned by Richard P. Young, Boca Raton- Joanne Young, Coconut Creek, FL Love Canal - owned by Let It Ride Stables Inc – Robert Cooper Stables LLC, Boca Raton, FL - J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY Three-Year-Old Colt Pacer Sunshine Beach - owned by Hudson Standardbred Stb Inc., Hudson- Conrad Leber, Montreal QC – Diane Bertrand, Edmonton, AB Vegas Vacation – owned by West Wins Stable, Cambridge- Adriano Sorella, Milton – Anthony B Beaton, Waterdown – Phyllis M Saunders, Hamilton, ON Older Pacing Mare Anndrovette - owned by Bamond Racing LLC, Brick – Joseph Davino, Clarksburg, NJ Rocklamation - owned by J and T Silva Stables LLC, Long Beach, NY – Stable 45, Boynton Beach, FL- Our Horse Centre Stables, Clifton Park, NY Older Pacing Horse A Rocknroll Dance - owned by A Rocknroll Dance Stable, Wauseon, OH Foiled Again - owned by Burke Racing Stable LLC, Fredericktown – Weaver Bruscemi LLC, Canonsburg, PA – JJK Stables LLC, Fort Lauderdale, FL Trotters Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter Miss Aultsville - owned by Old Aultsville Stable, Mississauga, ON – Pealer Pen, Camp Hill, PA – John Kopas Stables Ltd. Milton, ON Riveting Rosie - owned by Parkhill Stud Farm, Peterborough – Don Allensen, Wyoming – J And T Stable Newmarket – John F Hayes, Sharon, ON Two-Year-Old Colt Trotter Father Patrick - owned by Father Patrick Stable, East Windsor, NJ Muscle Matters - owned by Nunzio Vena, Bolton – Santo Vena, Brampton – Benoit Baillargeon, Rockwood – Richard Thompson, London, ON Three-Year-Old Filly Trotter Bee A Magician – owned by Melvin Hartman, Ottawa, ON – Herb Liverman, Miami Beach – David H McDuffee, Delray Beach, FL Motown Muscle - owned by Bet Max Stables Inc., Casco – Benenati Inc., Clinton Twp, MI Three-Year-Old Colt Trotter Flanagan Memory - owned by Liette Flanagan, Repentigny-Rene Dion, Saint-Lazare, QC Your So Vain – owned by P G Van Camp Stables, Port Perry, ON Older Trotting Mare Bax Of Life – owned by Jerry Duford – Joanne S Wray, Campbellville, ON Maven - owned by William J. Donovan, Ft Lauderdale, FL Older Trotting Horse Intimidate – owned by Judith Farrow, Hemmingford – Luc Blais, Lochaber Ouest, QC Mister Herbie – owned by Jeffrey R Gillis, Hillsburgh – Mac T Nichol, Burlington, ON- Gerald T Stay, Buffalo, NY People Awards O’Brien Award of Horsemanship Kelly Hoerdt, Beaumont, AB Paul MacKenzie, Puslinch, ON Armstrong Breeder of the Year Robert McIntosh Stables Inc., Windsor, ON Seelster Farms, Lucan, ON Driver of the Year Sylvain Filion, Campbellville, ON Doug McNair, Guelph, ON Trainer of the Year Gregg McNair, Guelph, ON Richard Moreau, Puslinch, ON Future Star Award Travis Cullen, Edmonton, AB Patrick Shepherd, Lynden, ON
ELORA, ON - Hometown-boy-done-good Doug McNair is off to France to defend Canada's title in the 2013 International Weekend Of The French Trotter. The 23-year-old Guelph resident will be the fourth harness racing driver invited to represent Canada in this international race. Last year, Billy Davis Jr. of Cambridge won the competition. The event kicks off at the Hippodrome Paris-Vincennes on November 29 and concludes on December 1. McNair is currently second in the Canadian driver standings for earnings, having driven horses to purse earnings in excess of $5.6 million in 2013. He's also fourth in the top dash category with 283 season wins. The talented young reinsman has been a tour-de-force since his career launched in 2008 at the age of 18. Just two years after recording that first career win, he captured the $300,000 Battle Of Waterloo at his hometown track, Grand River Raceway, and later that month won the $547,000 Confederation Cup at Flamboro Downs. He capped 2010 with a history-making mile at Western Fair Raceway when he became the youngest driver in the history of the sport to reach 1,000 wins. Earlier this year, he and father Gregg McNair (one of the country's leading Standardbred horse trainers) teamed up to capture their second Battle Of Waterloo victory during Grand River Raceway's biggest event of the season, Industry Day, on August 6. In addition to winning the track's signature dash, they also scooped first-place in the event's sister-race, the Battle Of The Belles, on the same day. Other highlights from McNair's stellar season include piloting world-record holder Precocious Beauty to seven wins in 11 freshman starts for earnings of $468,000. by Kelly Spencer for Grand River Raceway
LONDON, ON - Ontario's two-year-old Grassroots competitors wrapped up the 2013 Ontario Sires Stakes season on an impressive note at The Raceway at Western Fair District on Tuesday evening. Next season's provincial stars gave London fans several heart-pumping finishes and one track record equaling mile in the eight $20,000 Grassroots Consolations. The record went to two-year-old pacing gelding Regal Babe, who rocketed home to a 1:54.4 triumph in the ninth race. The clocking equaled the track record for a two-year-old male pacer at The Raceway and gave Regal Babe his second win of the season. Gregg McNair conditions Regal Babe for owner-breeder Rob Chapple of Chatham, ON and driver Doug McNair crafted the come-from-behind victory, which saw Regal Babe hit the wire five and one-half lengths ahead of Concert Artist and fan favourite King Royalty. The win boosted the Stonebridge Regal son's earnings to $23,983 through nine freshman starts. Driver Jody Jamieson picked up two Grassroots Consolation victories on Tuesday, with the first coming aboard freshman pacing filly Stellllllla in the third race. Jamieson guided the Mister Big daughter to a two and one-half length victory in 1:58.2, besting Hare To Eternity and Girlsgotmachzie. Daryl Sherman of Elmore, OH bred and owns Stellllllla and David Menary trains the two-time Grassroots winner, who was sent off as the favourite by London fans. The other pacing filly Consolation was captured by Brookdale Shadow and driver Sylvain Filion in 1:57.1. Jamieson's second visit to the winner's circle came in the last Grassroots Consolation with pacing colt Allstar Seelster. The duo reeled in pacesetter Hunch Man in the stretch to claim the one and one-quarter length victory in 1:56. Opening Line was another length back in third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, ON owns and trains Artistic Fella son Allstar Seelster, who posted a record of two wins, three seconds and two thirds in 11 starts this season. The Grassroots Consolation program got under way with a nail biting finish by the two-year-old trotting fillies that saw Just Call Me Lady reel in pacesetter Bit A Magic to score her second Grassroots victory. Just Call Me Lady hit the wire one-quarter length ahead of Bit A Magic in a personal best 2:02.1. Majestic Jewel was two more lengths back in third, while fan favourite Lenny Mac settled for fourth after making an early miscue. Cambridge, ON resident Blake Macintosh trains Angus Hall daughter Just Call Me Lady for his partners Anne Campbell and Stephen Waldman of North York, ON, and Trevor Ritchie piloted the filly to both of her Grassroots wins. Trevor Henry piloted Wonderland Snow to a commanding 2:01.3 triumph in the other trotting filly Consolation. Trotting colts Crowningcrest and Rival Seelster also battled to a tight finish, with Crowningcrest prevailing by a neck over the favourite in 2:02.3. Conway Escape rounded out the top three. Scott Coulter engineered the win for trainer Susanne Kerwood and owner-breeder Langcrest Farm of East Garafraxa, ON. The win was the Mutineer gelding's second straight and his third on the season. The other trotting colt trophy went home with Ramas Last Son, who was piloted to a 2:02.1 win by Steve Condren. The two-year-old trotters and pacers will now enjoy a winter break from provincial racing action before they begin preparations for the 2014 Ontario Sires Stakes campaign. For complete results For up to date point standings, race replays, and more Sandra Snyder