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Saturday's 89th edition of the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at The Meadowlands has drawn a field of eleven 3-year-old trotters going a mile in harness racing's most prestigious race. The Hambletonian is the opening leg of the Trotting Triple Crown which also includes the Yonkers Trot and Kentucky Futurity. Leading the field are Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton, all trained by Jimmy Takter, who is a two-time Hambletonian winner with Malabar Man (1997) and Muscle Massive (2010). Takter is looking to become the first trainer to sweep first, second and third in the modern era of the Hambletonian. Father Patrick is the 4-5 morning line favorite and will be driven by Yannick Gingras from post 10. Trixton is 7-2 and will start from post 7 with Takter driving and Nuncio is 9-2 with Hall of Fame driver John Campbell leaving from post 5. "At this point, I have three really good horses and they're racing scary good," Takter said. "I've got to keep them fresh and make sure nothing goes wrong. I have the three best horses, and I would be extremely disappointed if I don't win the Hambletonian this year. My goal is to win the Hambletonian. It's fun. The Hambletonian is the biggest race in our sport and something you work hard to win." Father Patrick, the 2013 Dan Patch award winning champion 2-year-old colt trotter, and is perfect this year in six starts for $510,931 in earnings and is ranked second in the current Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Top Ten Poll. "He's the best horse I've ever developed," Takter said. "He's just different. He has all the things I like in a horse. He's a good sound horse. You can't find any fault with him. You can do anything you want with him. He's so handy. Patrick, to me, is the perfect horse." Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, the colt has wins this season in the Earl Beal Jr. at Pocono Downs and the Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. He has won 15 straight starts since losing to Nuncio in his second career effort. Overall, Father Patrick has banked $1,254,988 with 16 wins in 17 starts. Co-owned by the trainer's wife Christina, Trixton has six wins this year in eight starts for $283,855 in earnings. He was third to Father Patrick in the Dancer Memorial and is coming off a victory in a division of the Reynolds Memorial at The Meadowlands. Trixton, sixth in the harness poll, has career earnings of $337,542 with 10 wins in 16 starts. "He's the kind of horse with a big future as a 4-year-old. He's improving, getting more professional and very confident." the trainer/driver noted. Nuncio, owned by Stall TZ Inc., finished second to his stablemate in both the Earl Beal Jr. and Stanley Dancer Memorial, his only losses this year in seven starts. "I'm very happy with the way he's been coming along," Campbell said. "Jimmy trained him from behind all winter and we've qualified him that way, and raced him that way, and he's started to figure it out. Nuncio, 10th in this week's poll, has earned $342,003 in 2014 and has 10 wins and seven seconds from 17 lifetime starts for $803,077. John Campbell has won the Hambletonian a record six times with the most recent victory coming with Glidemaster in 2006. The supporting events include the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the companion event for trotting fillies; the $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old trotting colts and geldings; the $352,050 Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old trotting fillies; the $300,650 John Cashman, Jr. Memorial Free-For-All trot; the $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship; the $225,000 Anthony Abbatiello SBOA New Jersey Classic for state bred 3-year-old pacers and the $177,750 Lady Liberty featuring Free-For-All pacing mares. The Hambletonian card has attracted international media interest, including live television coverage on the CBS Sports Network from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time. Here is the Hambletonian field in post position order: Note that Don Dorado starts from post 11, which is in the second tier. 1. Resolve, Corey Callahan, 20-1 2. JJ Alex, Francisco Del Cid, 50-1 3. Doncango, Ake Svanstedt, 20-1 4. Datsyuk, Charlie Norris, 12-1 5. Nuncio, John Campbell, 9-2 6. Royal Ice, Ron Pierce, 20-1 7. Trixton, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 8. Il Sogno Dream, Aaron Merriman, 50-1 9. Harper Blue Chip, Brian Sears, 12-1 10. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, 4-5 11. Don Dorado, Tim Tetrick, 20-1. The 89th Hambletonian has an approximate post time Saturday of 5:11 p.m. ET. (With files from the Meadowlands & UPI)  

Hambletonian/Breeders Crown Standardbred Poll: Week 11 – 7/29/2014                                              Rank Name (First Place Votes) Age/Gait/Sex Record Earnings Points Pvs 1 Sebastian K (30) 8th 7-6-1-0 $352,278 341 1 2 Father Patrick (2) 3tc 6-6-0-0 $510,931 302 2 3 Sweet Lou (3) 5ph 10-7-1-1 $662,650 285 3 4 He’s Watching 3pc 6-3-1-1 $558,235 223 4 5 McWicked 3pc 9-6-2-0 $618,830 167 6 6 Trixton 3tc 8-6-1-1 $283,855 147 5 7 Shake It Cerry 3tf 7-6-0-1 $234,838 98 8 8 JK Endofanera 3pc 7-5-0-1 $566,667 85 7 9 Sandbetweenurtoes 3pf 7-7-0-0 $211,157 70 9 10 Nuncio 3tc 7-5-2-0 $342,003 59 10 Also: Dancin Yankee (46), Archangel (18), Bee A Magician (14), Perfect Alliance (13), Market Share (10), Classic Martine, Intimidate, Mission Brief, Modern Family (7), Yankee Bounty (6), Rocklamation (4), Artspeak (3), Bettor’s Edge (2), Clear Vision, I Like My Boss, Somwherovrarainbow, Your So Vain (1). Complied by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Comunications 

Two years ago, Marcus Miller spent part of Hambletonian Day driving in harness races at the Logan County Fair in his native state of Illinois. Last year, he watched the Hambletonian Day card from his new home in Pennsylvania before heading to work that night at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. This year, Hambletonian Day will have a different feel entirely. Miller will be part of the show. Miller is driving on Saturday's Hambletonian Day card at the Meadowlands Racetrack, with his top assignment coming behind Cee Bee Yes in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks for 3-year-old female trotters. "I'm very excited," Miller said. "She's a really nice filly. She's the kind of filly that if things work out, she's got the talent to get there." In June, the 25-year-old Miller got career win No. 2,000. A few weeks later, Miller drove in his biggest race to date, the $776,000 Meadowlands Pace, and guided Jet Airway to a fifth-place finish for his father, trainer Erv Miller. "Hopefully one of these days I'll win a race like that," said Miller, who won multiple driving titles on the Chicago circuit before moving east in spring 2013, before adding with a grin, "Maybe it'll be this one. "I'm happy with this summer," he added. "Last year I was brand new out here and now I'm meeting people and I'm getting drives for good trainers and good owners that didn't even know me two years ago. I'm getting a lot more drives." Miller, who also will drive SS Poseidon for his father in Saturday's Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters, got his first win in 2004 and won a career-best 501 races in 2011. His career high of $3.14 million in purses followed in 2012 and last year he missed a third consecutive $3 million-season by less than $50,000. This year, he has 108 wins and $1.70 million in purses. He guided Cee Bee Yes to victory in a division of the New Jersey Sire Stakes and finished second in the $100,000 championship. Miller and the filly finished fifth in last weekend's Hambletonian Oaks prep, beaten by two lengths. Cee Bee Yes (Muscles Yankee-Enbeecee) has won two of seven races this year and six of 18 in her career, with $268,182 in earnings. She was the 2013 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion. The filly is owned by Jason and Doug Allen. She is trained by Julie Miller, whose husband Andy is Erv Miller's brother and Marcus' uncle. "She was a little better [in the prep] than she was in her last start," Miller said. "Hopefully she can take one more step and if something crazy happens, I think we can be close." Cee Bee Yes is one of three fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks for Julie Miller. She also sends out world champion Designed To Be and stakes-winner Take The Money. "She's my sleeper," Julie said about Cee Bee Yes. "She does her job, she's a sweetheart, and Marcus gets along with her well. If they mix it up, I think she can pick up the pieces." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

With no eliminations required for The Hambletonian, the wagering format for Hambletonian Day becomes more enhanced since the field for the Hambletonian Final will be known all week as opposed to last year when the field was not known until mid-card on Hambletonian Day. Hambletonian Day will offer an unprecedented five guaranteed pools of $50,000 or more, including three pick four wagers. A $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 5 will kick off the program in the first race, followed by a $50,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 4 in Race 3. From there, the guarantees ramp up to a $.50 cent Pick 4 in Race 7, guaranteed at $75,000. Next is a $75,000 Guaranteed Pick 5 beginning in Race 9 that is anchored by The Hambletonian Final itself. Last, but certainly not least is a $100,000 Guaranteed $.50 Cent Pick 4 beginning with The Hambletonian Oaks which includes The Hambletonian Final and covers the last four races on the program. There will be Win, Place, Show, Exacta and Trifecta Wagering on all races. There will also be $.10 Cent Superfectas offered on all races. The Wagering Format in detail is as follows. Race 1: $.50 Cent Pick 5 ($50,000 Guaranteed) - Daily Double - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 2: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 3: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($50,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 4: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 5: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 6: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 7: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($75,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 8: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 9: $.50 Cent Pick 5 ($75,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 10: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 11: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 12: $.50 Cent Pick 4 ($100,000 Guaranteed) - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 13: Pick 3 - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 14: Daily Double - $.10 Cent Superfecta Race 15: $.10 Cent Superfecta by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands  

With only 11 horses entered in the Hambletonian Trot, the three-year-old colts will go straight to the final with no two-heat elimination races needed. The purse for the final will be $1,006,125. The Hambletonian fianl will be carded as race 13 on the 15 race program Saturday afternoon. The Jimmy Takter trained trio of Father Patrick, Nuncio and Trixton will headline the field for the 89th edition of the American Trotting Classic. Joining those three are Datsyuk, Don Dorado, Doncango, Harper Blue Chip, Il Sogno Dream, JJ Alex, Resolve and Royal Ice. The Hambletonian post position draw will take place at 4PM at Victory Sports Bar along with the draw for the John Cashman Memorial and the Hambletonian Oaks. by Darin Zoccali, for the Meadowlands

July 27, 2014 – The Meadow’s Adios Card is in the books and at the end of the day Handicapper Ray Cotolo reigned supreme for the week in HANA Harness’ Grand Circuit Handicapping Shoot-Out Contest with a weekly net profit of $305, nearly $100 ahead of his closest opponent.     While Cotolo is a newcomer to the list of weekly winners, Bob Zanakis continues his run as overall leader with a combined net profit of $3,000.70 ($140 for the week), leading second place Brandon Valvo by $607.20. This week, the adage it only takes one hit to make you a winner applies as Cotolo’s victory came thanks to a single wager, a $150 win wager on Allstar Rating in the Adioo Volo which returned a $705 dividend.  Other handicappers had winners, but due to the short-priced nature of the card, significant winners were at a premium, amongst them were: Derick Giwner’s $150 Win ticket on Too Darn Hot in the second division of the Adren Downs 2yo C&G pace paid $480; Mark McKelvie’s $50 Win ticket on Rich Wisdom in the first division of the Arden Downs for 2yo C& G pacers paid $195; Rusty Nash’s $100 wager on the same horse paid $390; Dennis O’Hara ‘s $10 Exacta part wheel ($30 total) in the first division of the Arden Downs for 3yo Filly trotters returned $125; Josie Verlingierli $40 straight wager on the second division of the Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace, earned $156; Gordon Waterstone’s $50 Exacta in the third division of Arden Downs 2yo C&G pace which returned $115. As the Hambletonian marks the unofficial mid-point in the stakes season, the standings for the Handicapper Shoot-Out at the mid-point are: As of July 26, 2014 - Leg 19 Pos Handicapper Week Gain Net Profit Behind 1st Bob Zanakis $140.00 $3,000.70   2nd Brandon Valvo $50.00 $2,393.50 $607.20 3rd Derick Giwner $206.00 $623.17 $2,377.53 4th Ray Garnett ($218.00) $15.85 $2,984.85 5th Mark McKelvie ($119.50) ($91.50) $3,092.20 6th Brian McEvoy $7.50 ($185.00) $3,185.70 7th Earl Paulson ($71.00) ($437.00) $3,437.70 8th Josi Verlingieri ($126.00) ($956.40) $3,957.10 9th Gordon Waterstone $108.60 ($989.30) $3,990.00 10th Ann Stepien ($189.00) ($1,020.11) $4,020.81 11th Garnet Barnsdale ($280.00) ($1,078.00) $4,078.70 12th Sally Hinckley ($400.00) ($1,325.00) $4,325.70 13th Rusty Nash $160.00 ($1,712.40) $4,713.10 14th Dennis O'Hara $30.50 ($2,097.70) $5,098.40 15th Ray Cotolo $305.00 ($3,398.40) $6,399.10 This week, the Grand Circuit Handicapper Shoot-Out visits Meadowlands Racing & Gaming for the Hambletonian Day card amongst which are the $1.2 million Hambletonian, $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, $352,050 Merrie Annabelle, $355,500 Peter Haughton Memorial, $257,700 U.S. Pacing Championship, $177,750 Lady Liberty, and $300,650 John Cashman Jr. Memorial.  For more information regarding the handicapping contest, please visit http://hanaharnesscontest.blogspot.com.   by Allan Schott, for HANA                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

SHAKE IT CERRY EASY WINNER IN HAMBO OAKS PREP

Friday night at the Meadowlands featured the eliminations for the top freshman trotting stakes of the 2014 Championship Meet, the Peter Haughton Memorial colt stake and the Merrie Annabelle for the fairer sex. The Peter Haughton required a single elimination of ten colts after three of the top seasonal earners accepted a bye into next week's $355,500 final. The first seven in the official order of finish would move on. Centurion ATM was the 1:54.2 winner here for trainer driver Ake Svanstedt. The SJ's Caviar colt settled in fourth early as his stable-mate Amicus and The Bank took turns on the lead through early splits of 28.2 and 57.2. Ake steered Centurion ATM over into the passing lane as the field trotted 'round the final bend and as he headed The Bank, that one went offstride, leaving the winner to an open length lead. At the wire it was Centurion ATM trotting home in :28 flat to be clear by three and a half lengths over Uncle Lasse with Cruzado Dela Noche third. The winner is co-owned by European interests Courant AB and Knutsson Trotting. Trainer / driver Svanstedt has had a clear impact on the scene this summer, his first in the US after moving his entire operation from Sweden. With his experience in Europe primarily training older horses, Ake has adjusted quickly to the American emphasis on early speed and clearly will be a player throughout the stakes season. The eliminated horses were The Bank, Broken Record and True Blue Stride. Joining the qualifiers for next Saturday's Hambletonian Day final will be Canepa Hanover, Guess Who's Back and Honor And Serve. The night began with the well-bred three-year-old trotting colt Royal Ice taking advantage of an absolutely delightful evening to break his maiden in a dazzling 1:51.3.  The meet's leading driver Yannick Gingras was aboard for the first time on the son of Muscle Hill from the mare The Ice Queen and he just went to the front and improved his position to an eventual eight length victory. Trond Smedshammer trains the colt (who may have just become an instant Hambletonian contender for next weeks classic), He is owned by Marc Goldberg. by Nick Salvi, for the Meadowlands

East Rutherford, NJ - The draw for the last weekend of racing for the 2014 Championship Meet at The Meadowlands meet will be the standard procedure of entering by 9:00am on Monday for the Friday card and by 9:00am on Tuesday for Saturday's Hambletonian card. In the interest of having the strongest possible line-up of races for Saturday, a few of the races may be used on either day. These races are designated by an asterisk on the condition sheet. For this reason the Friday draw won't be finalized and made public until Tuesday. The scratches and driver changes for both days will be due and final by 10:00am on Wednesday, July 30. The actual post position draw for the Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks and John Cashman, Jr Memorial trot will be conducted on Tuesday afternoon at the Hambletonian draw press conference in Victory Sports Bar in The Meadowlands grandstand. That will be followed by the 3rd annual Charity Casino Night to benefit the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame and the Standardbred Retirement Foundation. Tables are still available for Casino night and information is available by following this link.   From the From The Meadowlands Media Department  

Intimidate followed his most lackluster performance of the year with a stunning victory in the Maple Leaf Trot last weekend and trainer Luc Blais is hopeful the 5-year-old trotter can keep the momentum going in Saturday's first of two eliminations for the John Cashman Jr. Memorial at the Meadowlands. The Cashman, formerly known as the Nat Ray, attracted 15 horses, including world champion Sebastian K. The top five from two $50,000 eliminations will advance to the $300,650 final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, at the Big M. It is an accomplished group, with Sebastian K being history's fastest trotter and 10 of the remaining horses having won at least one Breeders Crown, Maple Leaf Trot, or Trotting Triple Crown race. Intimidate, who won the 2012 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters and the 2013 Credit Winner, edged previously unbeaten Sebastian K by a nose to win the Maple Leaf in 1:54.2 on a sloppy track. Intimidate was 47-1. "It was an amazing feeling again," said Blais, who trains Intimidate for Serge Godin's Determination stable and Judith Farrow. Blais and Farrow bred the son of stallion Justice Hall and mare Fabulous Tag. "That (Maple Leaf) was an amazing win. "He was just so-so in the elimination but came back good. I think Sylvain Filion gave him a perfect drive. I think everything was perfect that night. At that level, you need everything perfect." Intimidate finished fifth in his Maple Leaf elimination, losing 3-1/2 lengths in the stretch, but Blais says the horse was still feeling the effects of a quarter-crack on a front foot. "I think the foot wasn't right-right," said Blais, a native of Quebec. "We worked very much on his foot and the quarter-crack looked better (in the Maple Leaf final). That's time. You need time to repair that. Now he looks sound. I don't know if he's a hundred percent, but he looks better than before, that's for sure." Intimidate has won three of seven races this season and earned $326,070. For his career, he has won 24 of 36 starts and banked $923,628. His only off-the-board finishes this year came in his Maple Leaf elim and in the final of the Cutler Memorial, where he had a three-wide trip. "I think in the Cutler we had no luck," Blais said. "After that he came back and won the preferred at Mohawk. He hasn't raced a bad race, except maybe the elimination of the Maple Leaf. That was the only race that I think wasn't right." Ron Pierce will drive Intimidate on Saturday night, leaving from post four as the 2-1 second choice on the morning line. Market Share, from post one, is the 8-5 favorite. The remainder of the field, from the inside, is Your So Vain, Spider Blue Chip, Sevruga, Archangel, and Royalty For Life. The second division, from the rail, is Mister Herbie, Wishing Stone, Sweet Justice, Uncle Peter, Sebastian K, Appomattox, Arch Madness, and Creatine. The group has five Breeders Crown trophies (Uncle Peter, Arch Madness, Intimidate, Spider Blue Chip, and Market Share), four Maple Leaf Trot titles (Arch Madness, Mister Herbie, Market Share, and Intimidate), two Hambletonian triumphs (Market Share and Royalty For Life), two Kentucky Futurity wins (Wishing Stone and Creatine) and one Yonkers Trot (Archangel). "That's a nice bunch of horses this year," Blais said. "The competition is very high level. I think that's good for the game; it's good for the show. People want to see that." Saturday's card at the Meadowlands also includes a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks prep for 3-year-old female trotters and $40,000 single elimination for the Lady Liberty for older female pacers. Nine of the 11 fillies entered in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, which is Aug. 2, will compete in Saturday's prep. Ten mares are in the Lady Liberty elimination, with Rocklamation receiving a bye to next week's final. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Swedish/Norwegian monte rider Stephanie Werder is in the USA to ride in the 2014 Hambletonian Monte Series, aboard Canadian entry O U Gus. Stephanie, only 23 years old, has over 150 starts in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark plus three starts in the United States, in the 2013 Hambletonian series. Monte America, with Stephanie Werder, will hold a clinic about RUS/Monte riding at Gaitway Farm, NJ, on Tuesday July 29 at 5:00 pm. Anyone interested in RUS /Monte is welcome to attend the free event featuring topics such as equipment, riding styles, racing strategy, what to look for in finding a suitable trotter and how to obtain a RUS license. One horse will be available for the demonstration, but riders with their own horses are welcome to bring them also. Contact Helene Gregory for more information (kickan@comcast.net, telephone 609- 439-7818). www.monteamerica.com by Thomas H. Hicks, for Monte America  

Nevele R Stud, in conjunction with EMP Invest Oy of Finland, is delighted to announce that one of the world's leading and most influential trotting stallions Andover Hall will be available to New Zealand and Australian breeders for the first time this coming breeding season. The youngest, and arguably the best, of the legendary triumvirate of Hall brothers - Angus Hall and Conway Hall being the other two - Andover Hall was a brilliant juvenile, winning eight of his nine starts at two which saw him crowned the Dan Patch and Nova 2-year-old trotting colt of the year in 2001. A natural two-year-old, legendary reinsman John Campbell had this to say about Andover Hall. “He was great-gaited and very athletic. It was unusual for a two-year-old to come to his speed as quickly as he did.” At three, Andover Hall set a then world record of 1:51.6 when winning the $550,000 World Trotting Derby at the Du Quoin State Fair in Illinois – defeating the likes of millionaire square-gaiters Like A Prayer, Chip Chip Hooray and Kadabra in the process. As good a racehorse as he was, it is unquestionably as a sire that Andover Hall has really made his mark. Incredibly popular with North American breeders from the day that he first went to stud at Hanover Shoe Farm, Andover Hall’s sensational first crop of foals included the champions Donato Hanover and Pampered Princess – whom both went on to claim the 2 and 3-year-old colt and filly trotter of the year titles and whom both contributed to him finishing his debut season as North America’s leading sire of two-year-old trotters – almost $850,000 clear of his nearest rival, his brother Conway Hall. Next season that phenomenal first crop would produce the Hambletonian winner (Donato Hanover), the Hambletonian runner-up (Adrian Chip), the Hambletonian Oaks winner (Danae) and the Elegantimage and Del Miller winner Pampered Princess. This exceptional group of youngsters, along with another very capable crop of 2-year-olds, saw Andover Hall become the Leading All Age Trotting Stallion with just two crops racing – something that very few stallions of either gait ever achieve. That incredible initial success saw his progeny sell up to $825,000 in the sales ring and his service fee rise at one point to $30,000.  Andover Hall remains one of North America’s leading trotting stallions with progeny earnings of over $53 million, six millionaires, 133 $100,000 earners and average earnings per starter of $97,000. He was the leading North American sire of 3-year-old trotters in 2013, courtesy of the outstanding Spider Blue Chip (winner of the Breeders Crown) and Creatine (winner of the Kentucky Futurity and Bluegrass Stakes), and also finished second on the All Age Trotting Sires Premiership. By Garland Lobell and out of the greatest trotting mare of the modern era Amour Angus (by Magna Force), Andover Hall is essentially an outcross sire and as such suitable for the majority of Australasia's trotting broodmare population, and should be a great match in particular for Sundon mares - with both his full brother Angus Hall and Angus Hall's son Majestic Son achieving tremendous success with daughters of Sundon to date. Andover Hall's service fee has been set at  NZ$7,500 + GST and AU$8,250 incl GST. For more information please visit Nevele R's website nevelerstud.co.nz or phone 03 349 8627.  

I Luv The Nitelife, who was named the best 3-year-old female pacer of 2013 in both the U.S. and Canada, is ready to return to action after being sidelined last November because of a fractured knee. She will compete in a qualifier Saturday morning at the Meadowlands, with the hopes of returning to stakes action in September. "Swim and train, that's been her program," said trainer Chris Ryder, adding happily, "Now we get to swim and race. That's better than training." I Luv The Nitelife won 13 of 15 races last year and $1.25 million for Ryder and owners Richard and Joanne Young. Her triumphs included the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover, Valley Forge, Lynch Memorial, Jugette and Mistletoe Shalee. Her 1:48.4 time in the Valley Forge is the world record for a 3-year-old filly on a five-eighths-mile track. For her career, the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover-Lisjune has won 17 of 25 races and $1.94 million. No female pacer in history has won more money at ages 2 and 3. Ryder hopes to have I Luv The Nitelife, who suffered a minor setback because of atrial fibrillation in early June, ready for the Milton Stakes in mid-September. "She's going to qualify a couple times and then we'll look for an overnight or two," Ryder said. "She's training very well. Everything is good with her. "It's exciting. It's tough to get a horse like this. It's a little crushing when they go down. You get a little used to winning those big races; you can't take it for granted. When it's gone, you realize there's a hole there. And it's near impossible to fill." Father Patrick, who is 6-for-6 this year and will bring a 15-race win streak to the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands, also is entered to qualify on Saturday morning at the Big M. Other Hambletonian eligibles in the qualifier are Billy Ruffian, DD's Hitman, and Uva Hanover. On the pacing side, North America Cup winner JK Endofanera and Fan Hanover winner Uffizi Hanover are among 3-year-olds entered to qualify. Sweet Lou, the winner of six consecutive starts including the Ben Franklin Pace and William Haughton Memorial, is the 4-5 morning line favorite in Saturday's $40,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for pacers at the Meadowlands. The seven-horse field also includes Captaintreacherous, Thinking Out Loud, and Golden Receiver. Maven, the sport's top older female trotter in 2013, is the 2-1 favorite in Friday's $30,000 A-2/A-1/FFA handicap for trotters at the Meadowlands. Coraggioso is the 3-1 second choice in the field of seven, which also includes Maven's stablemate D'Orsay. Maven and D'Orsay are the only females in the race. Dancin Yankee, who sits just outside the Top 10 in harness racing's weekly poll, goes for his sixth win in a row Saturday night in the preferred handicap at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He is the 5-2 morning line choice; Bolt The Duer is the 3-1 second pick. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications  

Trainer Tony Alagna hopes Rare Gift delivered a special present in the form of 2-year-old colt trotter Gifted Way. Gifted Way, a son of stallion Cantab Hall out of the mare Rare Gift, was purchased for $170,000 at the 2013 Lexington Selected Sale. Gifted Way makes his third start Friday in the single elimination for the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old male trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. The colt is owned by Brittany Farms, Joe Sbrocco, Little E LLC, and Deo Volente Farms. Gifted Way is part of a four-horse entry in the Haughton elim, along with Jimmy Takter-trained Special Action, The Bank, and Uncle Lasse. The group is 3-5 on the morning line. Rounding out the horses in the elim, from which the top seven finishers advance to the $280,000 estimated final on Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day, are Ake Svanstedt's Centurion ATM and Amicus, Ray Schnittker's Broken Record, Erv Miller's SS Poseidon, Nancy Johansson's Cruzado Dela Noche, and Mark Harder's True Blue Stride. Three horses received byes to the final: Takter's Canepa Hanover, Nik Drennan's Guess Whos Back, and Jim Campbell's Honor And Serve. Gifted Way won his debut, a division of the Pennsylvania All Stars, on July 4 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. He went off stride at the start in his second race, which was won by Canepa Hanover, on July 18 at the Meadowlands. "He's a nice colt," Alagna said. "When the gate left the other night, he just got off on the wrong foot and made a break, which he hadn't done before. He trotted good after making the break, came out of the race fine, and trained back good [Tuesday]. I think we're set for the elimination on Friday night." Gifted Way is Rare Gift's fourth foal, and first by Cantab Hall, who was the sport's leading trotting sire in 2012 and 2013. Rare Gift is a full sister to stakes-winner Stand Strong and a three-quarter-sister to 1996 Horse of the Year Continentalvictory and stakes-winner Victory Abroad. "The family has been a little stagnant, but this was by far the best colt the mare had thrown," Alagna said. "He's very correct. He was very athletic in the paddock. He just had everything going for him. "Cantab Hall has just been red hot the last couple years, so we thought we would take a shot. We're glad we did. I think he was the right horse." Gifted Way is not the only horse in the Haughton elim with well-known relatives. Uncle Lasse is a full brother to Shake It Cerry, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old filly trotter and a top contender in the upcoming Hambletonian Oaks, and Broken Record is a half-brother to 2005 Hambletonian winner Vivid Photo. Special Action's family includes 2006 Hambletonian winner Glidemaster and The Bank's dam is millionaire Lantern Kronos. Friday's card also features two eliminations for the Merrie Annabelle Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters and the second round of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

After watching Bee A Magician put together an 18-race win streak that began at age 2 and covered her entire 3-year-old season, harness racing fans wanted to know what was wrong with the 2013 Horse of the Year as she went winless in her first four starts this season. Not much, says trainer Nifty Norman, other than the fact that winning is difficult. "Lots of people have said to me that she's been no good, but only once really," Norman said. "Her first start was a great run, [second in 1:51.3] right off the bat and she had trot finishing. We kind of raced her easy in her second start and she was second; she was a little bit flat. Then she was sick, but she's been good again ever since. "People just expect her to win," he added with a chuckle. "It's not that easy; I wish it was. But I think she's been pretty solid." Bee A Magician, owned by Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman, and David McDuffee, returned to her winning ways with a world-record 1:51.1 triumph July 12 in the third round of the Miss Versatility Series at Meadowlands Racetrack. She now holds the records for fastest 3-year-old (1:51) and 4-year-old female trotters in history. She will try to make it two victories in a row when she meets six rivals in Friday's second leg of the Ima Lula Series for 4-year-old female trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bee A Magician and regular driver Brian Sears will start from post one. The rest of the field in post order is Handover Belle, Rockin With Dewey, NF Happenstance, Ma Chere Hall, Mistery Woman, and Classic Martine. Handover Belle won the Ima Lula's first round on July 18 by a half-length over Ma Chere Hall in 1:51.4. The $55,000 estimated final is Aug. 2, Hambletonian Day. Bee A Magician -- who has won 28 of 35 career races, finished second on four occasions, and earned $2.45 million -- was eligible to the John Cashman Jr. Memorial, but the mare's connections decided against facing the boys. She raced against her male counterparts in the Hambletonian Maturity on July 5, finishing second to Your So Vain. "I want to race her as easy as I can," Norman said. "I'll consider racing those horses again later in the year maybe, but not right now. You can't be too tough on them. You see some of the other 4-year-olds that have come back and are not what they were. It's a tough thing to do because most of them have laid it all on the line last year." As it is, racing against the mares is difficult enough. "It's a tough division; very solid," Norman said, adding about her 1:51.1 win in the most recent Miss Versatility round, "It was a good race. She didn't jog, it was a good race." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications

This Week: Delvin Miller Adios final, Adioo Volo and Arden Downs, The Meadows, Washington, Pa.; John Cashman Jr. Memorial, Lady Liberty, Peter Haughton Memorial and Merrie Annabelle eliminations, Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, N.J. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit actions kicks off this Friday (July 25) at The Meadows with four divisions in the $80,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt trotters and three divisions in the $60,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Saturday (July 26) card at The Meadows features the $400,000 Delvin Miller Adios final and $30,000 Adios consolation for 3-year-old colt pacers, a single division in the $114,175 Adioo Volo for 3-year-old filly pacers, three divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old colt pacers, two divisions in the $75,000 Arden Downs for 2-year-old filly pacers, two divisions in the $65,310 Arden Downs for 3-year-old colt trotters and two divisions in the $54,952 Arden Downs for 3-year-old filly trotters. Meadowlands Racetrack will offer four sets of elimination races this week, with all the finals slated for the Hambletonian card of Saturday (Aug. 2). On Friday, the Meadowlands will host two $20,000 eliminations in the Merrie Annabelle for 2-year-old filly trotters and a single $20,000 elimination in the Peter Haughton Memorial for 2-year-old colt trotters. On Saturday the program will feature two $50,000 eliminations in the John Cashman Jr. Memorial for older trotters and a single $40,000 elimination in the Lady Liberty for older pacing mares. Complete entries for the races are available at this link. Last time: Intimidate, trained by Luc Blais and driven by Sylvain Filion, pulled off a 45-1 upset over the heavily favored Sebastian K in the $560,790 Maple Leaf Trot this past Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Intimidate won the Maple Leaf Trot by a nose over Sebastian K. Sent postward as the 1-5 favorite, Sebastian K got away in second behind post ten starter Modern Family who was sent hard to the lead over the 'sloppy' track to post an opening quarter of :26.4. In the second quarter, trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt sent Sebastian K to the lead and controlled the race through the middle half with fractions of :57.3 and 1:26.4. Intimidate got away in sixth and picked up cover in the second quarter behind Flanagan Memory and was towed around the final turn second-over and just a few lengths away from Sebastian K. In the stretch, Sebastian K continued to dig in and tried to hold off his challengers, but Intimidate in the final stride nailed the heavy favorite to win the 63rd edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in 1:54.2. Market Share, the 2013 Maple Leaf Trot winner, came off the rail and made a late charge on the far outside to finish third. The Maple Leaf Trot victory was the third win in seven starts this season for Intimidate, a 5-year-old son of Justice Hall-Fabulous Tag, owned by Determination and Judith Farrow. In other Grand Circuit action over the weekend, Clear Vision broke the Northfield Park track record for older pacing geldings, posting a 1:49.3 win in the 29th edition of the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie. Clear Vision (Western Hanover-Artistic Vision) is owned by the partnership of Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, The Panhellenic Stable and James Koran. He is trained by Ron Burke, who called upon Brett Miller to drive. Clear Vision started from post four and immediately advanced a position when Bolt The Duer made an uncharacteristic break to his inside. He was still sitting third at the :26.2 opening quarter. Miller pulled Clear Vision in the second panel and he remained first-over through times of :54.2 and 1:22. Clear Vision locked horns with pacesetter Night Pro in the last turn and bested him by two lengths in the stretch, stopping the timer at 1:49.3. Foiled Again finished third. In The Arsenal (Eric Goodell) never had an anxious moment this past Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $125,000 final of the Lawrence B. Sheppard Pace in 1:56.4. In the Arsenal opened 2-3/4 lengths on the field in and out of the final turn. A pocketed Rock N' Roll World cosmetically cut the final margin down to three-quarters of a length in 1:56.4. Third went to a stubborn Parklane Eagle. Second choice In the Arsenal, a White Birch Farm homebred son of American Ideal-Ladyotra trained by Kelvin Harrison, returned $6.30 for his second win in three seasonal/career starts. Complete recaps of all the weekend races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 437; 2. Tim Tetrick - 434; 3. Ron Pierce - 292; 4. Brian Sears - 205; 5. George Brennan - 174.5. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 767.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 397; 3. PJ Fraley - 189; 4. Ray Schnittker - 184; 5. Joe Holloway - 152. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 177.8; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 160.3; 3. Bamond Racing - 146.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 92; 5. Brad Grant - 79.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next weekend at Meadowlands Racetrack, Balmoral Park and Tioga Downs. Meadowlands Racetrack will host nine Grand Circuit events, led by the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the first leg of Trotting's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Balmoral Park will contest Hanover Stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers and trotters. Tioga Downs will race Tompkins-Geers stakes for 2-year-old colt and filly pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit        

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