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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, May 28, 2017-"Hemi Seelster has fled the scene." So said track announcer John Hernan, who did not lie, as 'Hemi' (Brent Holland, $9.90) made quick work of 11 harness racing rivals Sunday afternoon (May 28th), winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter $68,000 Open Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 3, Hemi Seelster stuffed Red Hot Herbie (Dan Dube) in behind coming toward a :27.4 opening quarter-mile. The remaining eight furlongs (:58, 1:27.2, 1:56.1, 2:24.3) were angst-free, with a final margin of 5¾ lengths. 'Herbie' clearly was second, with Money Maven (Eric Goodell) a three-hole third. Second-tier starters Wing Flash (Tyler Buter) and Homicide Hunter (Anthony Napolitano) rounded out the payees, while 5-2 favorite Tag Up and Go (Joe Bongiorno) was a never-in-it ninth and second choice Wings of Royalty (Brian Sears) couldn't get out his own way. For third choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Howard Taylor & Abe Basen and trained by Rich Banca, it was his fourth win in 13 seasonal starts (now over a half-million dollars for his career). The exacta paid $69, with the triple returning $616. For Holland, it was career driving win No. 4,993. The weekly featured trot was the first of four 'French' races during the dozen-race, all-trot card. Sunday's revival of the 'New York, New York Double' saw a winning combination of 9-(Bustin' It, Belmont's 3rd race) and 4-(Andy Ray, Yonkers' 7th race) paid $13.90 for every correct dollar ticket (total pool $7,361). Live racing (and evening simulcasting) returns Friday, June 16th (post time 7:10 PM). Afternoon simulcasting remains available, including the June 10th Belmont Stakes. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, March 4, 2017 - A pocketed Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $17.80) and a down-the-road Caviart Luca (George Brennan, $14) were the melba toasts of the town Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $50,000 co-featured harness racing Open Handicaps. In play from post position No. 3, Hemi Seelster nestled into an early pocket behind pole-sitting Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton), with the lass Allerage Star (Andy Miller) diving into a three-hole. Slight 2-1 choice Rose Run Parker (Brennan) tried to leave, but found no room at the inn and took back to seventh. 'Sam' rated soft-enough subdivisions (:28.2, :58.4) before 20-1 shot Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) took her shot, first-up from fourth. Springbank Sam N maintained his lead in and out of a 1:27.3 third quarter, taking a length-and- a-half lead into the lane. Despite seemingly cheap fractions, 'Sam' was powerless to stave off Hemi Seelster, who prevailed by a length-and-a-half in 1:56.1. Allerage Star remained third, with Tweet Me and Rubber Duck (Joe Bongiorno) settling for the remainder. Rubber Duck's pay envelope was compromised when Rose Run Parker broke right in front of him in the stretch. For sixth choice Hemi Seelster, a 5-year-old Holiday Road gelding trained by Richard Banca for co-owners Howard Taylor and Abraham Basen, it was his second (consecutive) win in five seasonal starts. The exacta paid $49.60, with the triple returning $358.50. The weekly featured pace saw Caviart Luca, from post No. 7, pay a stiff price for the privilege of fronting the gang (:27., :55.3, 1:23.3, 1:52.1). A half-length to the good entering the lane, he fought 'em all off, whipping 31-1 Lucan Hanover (Mark MacDonald) by a neck. Bit of a Legend N (Stratton), as the 7-10 fave, eschewed slipping out to race third over and needed room. He wound up a tight third, missing a half-length, with Roland N Rock (Tyler Buter) and First Class Horse (Matt Kakaley) settling for the remainder. For third choice Caviart Luca, a 6-year-old Somebeachsomewhere gelding co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke, Weaver Bruscemi and Phil Collura, it was his fifth win in seven '17 tries. The exacta paid $139.50, the triple returned $907 and the superfecta paid $8,717. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 27, 2016 - Favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $6.20) atoned for last week's behave Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. In play early (actually, everyone was, since post time was 11:12 AM) from post position No. 7, 'Hemi' had to wait before making the lead. He did so around Centurion ATM (Mark MacDonald) just after a :28.1 opening quarter-mile. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) was a loose third, while Classical Annie (George Brennan) broke after leaving. Hemi Seelster then rated a :57.4 half-mile and 1:27.2 three-quarters as last week's upsetter, Not Afraid (Dan Dube), moved from fourth. That one couldn't get close, while a second-up Tornado Tim (catch-driver Jeff Gregory) jumped it off. Hemi Seelster picked it up, getting the mile in 1:55.4 and widening to 2¼ lengths in and out of the final turn. He held Centurion ATM at bay, winning by a neck in 2:24.2..a tick faster than his two-week-old local record for this division/distance. Tweet Me was a non-threatening third, easily holding off minor payees Wind of the North (Brian Sears) and Not Afraid. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his ninth win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $24.20, with the triple (three wagering choices in order) returning $76. Frank Drucker

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 13, 2016 - Harness racing favored Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett, $4) finished what he started Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 5 for his 11:25 AM local time audition, Hemi Seelster had to wait his turn before making the lead. He took over from Luminosity (George Brennan) before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile, then rated a :58.4 next half-mile (:58.1, 1:27.1). Tornado Tim (Dan Dube) was the first to move-from sixth-flushing Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) out of fourth. Hemi Seelster found a 1:55.4 mile post, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. He then widened to 3¼ lengths at the wire in 2:24.3...a track record for his weight class. Luminosity crossed the line second, with Tornado Tim third, However, those positions were flipped after the former slalomed inside any number of pylons. Dot Dot Dot Dash (Steve Smith) and 'Sam' rounded out the payees. For Hemi Seelster, a 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding co-owned by Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley & Robert LeBlanc and trained by Tom Milici, it was his eighth win (fourth consecutive off barn change) in 20 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $21, with the triple returning $64. Sunday also featured the second installment of the 'New York, New York Double,' a joint venture with the New York Racing Association. The winning combination of 2 (Pretty Enuff-Aqueduct 3rd race) and 1 (Movement-Yonkers' 5th race) returned $34.25 for each $1 wager. The 'New York, New York Double' continues each Yonkers live Sunday through Dec. 18th. Frank Drucker

WILKES-BARRE PA - Hemi Seelster trotted to a new mark of 1:52.2 in taking his third straight race, the $20,000 trotting feature at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on Sunday night, his third straight harness racing tally since joining the barn of Tom Milici.   The Holiday Road gelding, handled by Jason Bartlett in an infrequent Pocono appearance, brushed to the front past the quarter and won by 4½ lengths for owners Richard Lombardo, Carl Atley, and Robert Leblanc. Hemi Seelster certainly doesn't need to carry his racetrack with him - his top five lines show Harrington, Monticello (a scratch), Saratoga, Yonkers, and now Pocono.   Two driving streaks continued during the card, but one ended. The leading local horsemen, driver George Napolitano Jr. and trainer Chris Oakes, won the first race on Saturday and then Sunday for the second straight weekend combination - the two have had 11 wins together in Pocono's last six cards. ("George Nap" had five in total on Sunday at Pocono.) And Eric Carlson, who guided Windsun Steson to a $72.20 victory last week, continued his membership in the Bomber Squad with a $50.80 tally behind Yankeroo on Sunday.   On the other side, Jim Marohn Jr. has nothing to feel bad about although losing a string of nine straight Pocono cards where he's had multiple winners - after all, he's only had his picture taken after 63 races since October 1, 41 times at Pocono!   PHHA / Pocono    

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, September 4, 2016 - Both track and stakes records fell by the wayside at the Hippodrome 3R Sunday during their richest day of racing of the 2016 season with $500,000 in total purses for the Super Sunday program. The race card featured the finals of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters and pacers and the Future Stars Series finals for two-year-old trotters and pacers. The most impressive of the track records set was by Wildriverbumblebee and driver Louis-Philippe Roy in the $55,000 final for two-year-old pacing colts, as they stopped the teletimer in 1:54.3, the fastest two-year-old mile ever in the history of the Hippodrome 3R. The eighth race finale saw Yogi Bayama and driver Sylvain Filion fire out from post seven to take the early lead with the 3/5 favorite Makasi (Stephane Brosseau) grabbing the two-hole spot as they sped to the opening quarter mile in :27.1. The on to the half mile in :56.4 and that was when the action began to heat up as Roy and Wildriverbumblebee came first-over and shot right by Yogi Bayama in the backstretch with Brosseau moving right along with Makasi. They raced to the three-quarters in 1:25.4 and then Wildriverbumblebee scooted away from Makasi and opened up in the stretch to win going away in a romp by six open lengths. Makasi held for second place with Yogi Bayama third. Unable to beat Makasi in the last two legs of the series, Wildriverbumblebee was at his best Sunday, shattering Makasi's former track and stakes record of 1:55.2 set two weeks ago. It was the second win this year for the son of Sportswriter, who is trained, owned and was bred by Dr. John Bradbury of Cookshire-Eaton, QC. Wildriverbumblebee paid $10.80 to win. The third race $65,000 final for three-year-old colts saw last year's series champion and track record hold Wildwild Men and driver Robert Shepherd shoot to the early lead over Holiday Party (Pascal Berube) and cut a torrid first-quarter of :27.4, then a 30 second breather to the half mile marker in :57.4. Tuscans Memory (Sylvain Filion) then tried a first-over move in the backstretch to no avail as they passed the three-quarters in 1:27.4. It was then that Berube pulled the pocket with Holiday Party and came after Wildwild Men, collaring him by the top of the stretch and then came home to win in track record time of 1:58.2 by one and one-quarter lengths. KFB Amigo Cool (Stephane Brosseau) was able to close well for second place with Wildwild Men third. It was the eighth win in thirteen starts this year for Holiday Party. The gelded son of Holiday Road rewrote the track record that he set earlier this season and was co-held with Seeyou Men (2015). He is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal. Holiday Party paid $4.80 to win. She was bred by Jean Cloutier and the Stanstead-Berta Stable of Montreal, QC. Since HP Patriote could not read the odds board to see his rival, Sports Authority, was the overwhelming 1/5 favorite, he went into the 9th race $65,000 final for three-year-old pacing colts with no worries and raced that way for driver Guy Gagnon. The gelded son of Vintage Master sported 10 wins in 12 starts this year and raced just like his record showed. Sports Authority and driver Sylvain Filion took the early lead away from D G's Ninja (Jonathan Lachance) by the opening quarter mile in :28 and seemed comfortable on the lead going to the half mile in :57.2, but Gagnon and HP Patroite were geared up on the outside first-over from the start and had other plans. With tons of momentum, Gagnon sent HP Patriote after Sports Authority and shot right by the race leader to the three-quarters in 1:25.1 and they never looked back, pulling away in the stretch for this 11th win on the season with a two and one-half length triumph in 1:55. Sports Authority held for second with Mr Mach Jimmy (Pascal Berube) third. Trained by Gerald Demers, HP Patriote is co-owned by Les Ecuries GLD, Inc. with Claude Hamel and was bred by Hamel with Celine Paquin. HP Patriote paid $5.90 to win. The fifth race $65,000 final for three-year-old pacing fillies saw HP Sissy and driver Mario Baillargeon easily handle her seven rivals, leading from start to finish, winning by three and one-quarter lengths in a stakes record 1:55.4. Only stablemate HP Pandora (Louis-Philippe Roy) could keep somewhat close to the race leader. Imagine Speed (Stephane Gendron) was third. It was the fourth win this year for the daughter of Up The Credit, who is trained by Beneit Baillargeon for breeder Claude Hamel of Ayer's Cliff, QC who co-owns the filly with Michel Damphousse. She paid $2.80 to win. Daniel Dube continued his winning ways in the $65,000 Breeders Cup Finale for three-year-old trotting fillies, giving Y A Jailhouse Jodi a perfect second-over trip and a trip to the winner's circle. Auclair Chocolat (Mario Baillargeon) led the field with Y S Suzanne (Carl Duguay) sitting the pocket trip and Artemis Duharas (Pierre Bovay) hung first-over to the opening quarter mile in :29.2. All the while Dube had Y A Jailhouse Jodi sitting second-over and poised to strike out. That came in the backstretch and Y A Jailhouse Jodi moved three-wide and cleared to the lead with ease before drawing off to win by three lengths in 2:01. Sired by Andover Hall, it was the sixth win this year for Y A Jailhouse Jodi, who is trained by Michel Allard, is co-owned by Yves Sarrazin and Rene Allard and was bred by Al Libfeld. She paid $7.40 to win. In the second race $55,000 final for two-year-old pacing fillies, the first stakes races of the day, Yonkers Raceway star and Trois-Riviere native, Daniel Dube pulled off an upset with his Queen Elsa over 1/5 favorite Yaris Bayama (Sylvain Filion). Owned and bred by Dube, he sent the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven right to the lead from the rail and never looked back, cutting fractions of :28, :57.4, 1:27 and then winning by three-quarters of a length over D G's Elsa (Jonathan Lachance) in 1:57. Yaris Bayama, who started from the outside in post eight, had road trouble and never got into the race until they made a three-wide move in the backstretch to get into third place, but it was too little too late. It was a lifetime mark for Queen Elsa, who is trained by Yves Tessier and her time of 1:57 was just one-fifth of a second from the track and stakes record of 1:56.4 that is held by Yaris Bayama two weeks ago. Queen Elsa paid $8.40 to win. Daniel Dube did not come home to 3R just to visit family as he also won the fourth race, the $55,000 final for two-year-old trotting colts with Capteur De Reve. After an early battle to the opening quarter against Sometimes When (Guy Gagnon), Dube settled Capteur De Reve on the lead for good, leading the pack the rest of the one-mile race and winning by two and three-quarter lengths in 2:02.2. The pocket-sitting Sometimes When was second with Yoan Bayama (Yves Filion) third. It was the third win this season for Capteur De Reve. The son of Muscle Mass is trained by Maxime Velaye for owner/breeder Provoquante Stable of Mirabel, QC and paid $3.20 to win. The $55,000 final of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotting fillies saw Joyce Lavec and driver Pascal Berube take control of the lead from Tarus P V (Stephane Brosseau) after the opening quarter mile and then held the field at bay, winning by one length in 2:04.4. Affirmee (Daniel Dube) was able to close for second place with Muscle Do (Gaetan Lamy) third. Sired by Mr Lavec, it was the fourth win in just five career starts for Joyce Lavec. She is sired by Mr Lavec and is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner/breeder Jean Berthiaume of Sorel-Tracy, QC. This race was a non-wagering event. TRACK NOTES: Daniel Dube, Pascal Berube and Guy Gagnon each had three driving winners on the day, but all three of Dube's wins were in the Quebec-Bred Series finals. Dany Fontaine was the top trainer on the afternoon sending out two winners from his stable. Owner Claude Hamel reaped the most rewards Sunday as he was the owner or co-owner of two stakes winners on the afternoon. Live racing will resume next Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with first race post time at 1:30 pm. Visit for more information. From the Quebec Jockey Club

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 26, 2016 - After grinding it out to the lead by the opening quarter mile, it was a piece of cake for the trotter Holiday Party, who went on to post his sixth straight victory with an easy romp at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday. Competing in the third race colt division of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-olds, Holiday Party was on cruise control once clearing to the lead for driver Pascal Berube, holding the field at bay and then pulling away in the stretch for a three and one-quarter length triumph in 1:58.4. The pocket-sitting KFM Amigo Cool (Stephane Brosseau) was second with Skyflex (Yves Filion) third. Trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, QC, it was the seven win in just eleven starts this year for Holiday Party. The son of Holiday Road was winless at age two in eight starts. He paid just $2.70 to win as the 1/5 betting favorite. This was the fourth and final preliminary round of the Breeders Cup Series that will culminate on Sunday, September 4 with $65,000 finals for both fillies and colts, trotters and pacers. It is then that Holiday Party will try and make it a clean sweep of the series against track record holder Wildwild Men. In the sixth race filly division, Artemis Duharas showed real true grit, making two first-over moves and then coming on at the finish to edge out Y S Suzanne by a head in 2:01.2. Eau Naturelle (Simon Delisle) left quickly out of the starting gate with race favorite Y S Suzanne and trainer/driver Carl Duguay sitting the pocket seat and trainer/driver Pierre Bovay parked out first-over trying for the lead, but there was no passing Eau Naturelle and by the opening quarter mile in :29.2, Bovay had to back off and settle in third place with Artemis Duharas. Then after the half mile marker in 1:00.2, with Eau Naturelle in command, Bovay came back first-over again with Artemis Duharas. They raced that way by the three-quarters in 1:30.4 and around the final turn. Once the three horses straightened out in the stretch, Duguay hit the passing lane with Y S Suzanne and looked to have plenty of trot, but Artemis Duharas dug in some more to win it by a head. Eau Naturelle faded to third. It was the second win this year for Artemis Duharas. The daughter of Andover Hall was bred and is owned by Haras De L Estrie, Inc. of Dunham, QC and paid $7.30 to win. There were two non-wagering divisions of the second round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotters. The fastest of the two were the fillies as Joyce Lavec and driver Pascal Berube stalked pacesetter Taurus P V (Stephane Brosseau) for most of the mile, then with a late charge in the stretch, came on to win by a half-length in 2:06.2. Affirmee (Guy Corbeil) was third. It was the first wagering start for Joyce Lavec, a daughter of Mr Lavec, who is trained by Dany Fontaine and owned and bred by Jean Berthiaume of Sorel-Tracy, QC. In the colt division, Chapitre Duharas and driver Pierre Bovay was able to grind it out to the lead by the half mile marker over Kinnder Dangerous and driver Justin Filion, but then in the stretch, Filion was able to come back with Kinnder Dangerous to win by one length in 2:07.2. Yoan Bayama (Yves Filion) was third. For Kinnder Dangerous, a gelded son of Northern Escort, it was his first win. He is trained, owned and was bred by Denitza Petrova of Les Cedres, QC. TRACK NOTES: 3R's top reinsman, Louis-Philippe Roy, had the hot hands Tuesday, scoring four winners on the program. Live racing resumes at 3R on Sunday with first race post time at 1:30 pm. This will be the last live program for two weeks as another type of horsepower comes to town as 3R becomes part of the Grand Prix auto races that take place throughout the entire town of Trois-Rivieres. After Sunday's program, live racing will return at 3R on Tuesday, August 16. From the Quebec Jockey Club

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 25, 2016 - Harness racing trainer Dany Fontaine certainly has his work cut out for him on Tuesday night at the Hippodrome 3R as he will be starting four horses, nearly half the field, in the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotters. Fontaine, who hails from Lachenaie, Quebec where he has a training facility, will harness his pride and joy this season, Holiday Party, who is going for his sixth straight victory. Holiday Party starts from post nine (in the second tier) in the third race, the fourth and final preliminary round of the Breeders Cup Series for the trotting colts and fillies. After Tuesday's final round, the top eight point earners in both the colt and filly divisions return to 3R on Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals and Fontaine feels he has a good chance to not just have three of his four colts in the final, but maybe even finish one-two-three in that race. "There is no question that this season Holiday Party has been the best of my colts in the stable," Fontaine said, "But KFB Amigo Cool has been second or third each week and Andovers Choice has the speed to win it all too. Last week driver Guy Gagnon said he (Andovers Choice) was feeling so good that he would have won the race if not for the horses breaking and interfering with him." Winless at age 2 last season in eight starts, Holiday Party showed promise to Fontaine. The son of Holiday Road, owned by Gaetan Bono, Inc. of Montreal, was coming into his own late in the season. "In the $41,000 Quebec-Bred Series Final last year," Fontaine explained. "Wildwild Men was so strong there was no one catching him, but Holiday Party found his stride and was a strong third in that track record race. Then we raced him at Mohawk and Woodbine and he was trotting in 1:58, 1:57. So I told Gaetan Bono that it was time to turn him out while he was good and he agreed. "After he spent some time in the field we started back with him this winter," Fontaine explained, "And he got better and better. At my training center I would take him out with the pacers to trainer and he would cut the mile and the pacers had trouble staying up with him going in 2:05. I knew then he would be very good this year." Very good is an understatement for Holiday Road. A winner in six of his ten starts, Holiday Road has a record of 1:57 at Georgian Downs and before coming to 3R for the series, won an $18,000 division of the Ontario Grassroots, also at Georgian Downs. "I also put the trotting hobbles on him," Fontaine said, "Just to remind him to stay on the trot as he kept going faster and faster. Last week he showed that even when interfered with and making a break, he still was able to get back into the race and win it. "Pascal Berube does an excellent job driving Holiday Road," Fontaine added. "He knows the horse very well now and that helps a lot. It will be very interesting when he meets up with Wildwild Men in September in the final. "I think we will do very good Tuesday night with all four of my horses in this race," Fontaine explained. "We finally drew inside post positions for all of them. We have the one, two, four and nine post in the second tier." The trotting fillies do battle in the sixth race where the race favorite is last week's return winner, Y S Suzanne, who starts from the rail for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. This daughter of Angus Hall was given a perfect drive last week by Duguay, sitting second the entire mile until the top of the stretch when they came after Eau Naturelle (Simon Delisle) and beat them in the final stride to the wire by a nose in a lifetime best 2:01.2. Eau Naturelle is back in the line and goes from post four along with other competitors Elair Chocolat (post eight) and Labeauceronne (post four). There are two non-wagering divisions of the second round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotting colts and fillies at 6:30 pm. Opening round return winner Capteur De Reve starts from post five for driver Guy Corbeil in the colt division and Taurus P V, last week's filly division winner, returns and starts again from post one. First race post time Tuesday for the pari-mutuel card is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and live video streaming of the 3R races Tuesday, visit From the Quebec Jockey Club

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 19, 2016 - Holiday Party posted his fifth straight victory and was able to overcome an accident marred race, in capturing his division of the Breeders Cup Series for three-year-old trotting colts at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday. Competing in the 6th race colt division of the Breeders Cup Series, Skyflex and driver Rheo Filion was leading the race after the opening quarter mile in :29. Then, on the second turn, Slyflex went off-stride on the lead and went to the outside, causing interfering that hampered nearly all of the horses in the field of nine. Once the may lay was cleared, KFB Amigo Cool and driver Stephane Brosseau took command of the race, but driver Pascal Berube was able to get Holiday Party, the 1-4 wagering favorite, back in gear and he closed with a burst of speed to win by one length in 2:02.3. KFB Amigo Cool was second with Holiday Gift (Sylvain Fontaine) third. It was the sixth win in ten starts this year for Holiday Party. The gelded son of Holiday Road is trained by Dany Fontaine for the Gaetan Bono Stable, Inc. of Montreal and paid $2.70 to win. In the fourth race division for fillies, the 1-2 favorite Y A Jailhouse Judy and driver Stephane Gendron made an uncharacteristic break behind the starting gate and never was able to rebound, finishing last. That enabled Eau Naturelle and trainer/driver Simon Delisle to scoot right out to the lead from the rail with Y S Suzanne (Carl Duguay) following in second place. Eau Naturelle led the field through the three-quarters when Duguay pulled to the outside for a final challenge. Down the stretch they raced, neck and neck to the wire where Y S Suzanne just got up at the wire to win by a nose in 2:01.3. Clair Chocolat (Guy Gorbeil) was third. It was a lifetime mark and the first win in six starts this year for Y S Suanne. The daughter of Angus Hall is trained by Carl Duguay and is owned by Duguay's Elevage Baie De Chaleurs of Port-Daniel, QC, and paid $7.90 to win. The opening round of the Future Stars Series for two-year-old trotters took place Tuesday evening with one division for colt and for fillies. The third race colt division saw Capteur De Reve began his career on a winning note, leading from start to finish with a three-quarter length triumph over a late closing Kinnder Dangerous (Justin Filion) in 2:07.4. Yoan Bayam (Yves Filion) was third. Bred, owned and driven to victory by Guy Corbeil of Ecurie Provoquante of Montreal, Capteur De Reve paid $5.60 to win. He is sired by Muscle Mass and is a nephew of the great Quebec-bred trotter, Maximuscle. In the filly division for two-year-olds, all it took for Taurus P V and driver Stephane Brosseau to win the race was to stay on stride. The daughter of Val Taurus, trained by Serge Nadeau and bred and owned by Marcel Brouillard of St-Marcel-De-Richelieu, QC, was the only horse in the field to stay on gait during the non-wagering race. She was able to wire the field, winning by two and one-quarter lengths in 2:08.1. Affirmee (Guy Corbeil) was second with Muscle Do (Gaetan Lamy) third. TRACK NOTES: Jimbelina, the winningest horse at 3R this season and unbeaten in five starts for driver Roland Trudel, saw her winning ways come to an end in the 5th race pace. Pressured first-over from after the opening quarter mile by Shedonthepyschic (Louis-Philippe Roy), Jimbelina held game on the lead until mid-stretch, when the pocket-sitting Mr Sunshine Boy (Stephane Brosseau) came up the passing lane to nip Jimbelina at the wire by a head in a lifetime best time of 1:58.1. At odds of 17-1, Mr Sunshine Boy paid $36.40 to win. Live racing resumes at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, first race post time 1:30 pm. From the Quebec Jockey Club

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec, July 4, 2016 - The trotters claim the stage at the Hippodrome 3R Tuesday night with the opening round of the Breeders Cup for three-year-old colts and fillies. There are four weeks of preliminary round competition with the top eight point earners from each division returning on Sunday, September 4 for their respective $65,000 finals. The colts start off the stakes action in the third race where track record hold and last year's two-year-old champion, Wildwild Men, returns to 3R for trainer Isabelle Darveau and driver Robert Shepherd. Last year Wildwild Men tore up the 3R half mile oval, sweeping the series and setting a track record 1:58.2 in the Quebec-Bred series finale. He ended 2015 with five wins and one second place finish in nine starts and will start from post six Tuesday. Co-owned by Catheline Pelletier of Mirabel with breeder Chantal Gravel of St-Cyrille-De-Wendover, QC, this son of Muscle Mass is not off to the greatest of starts this year. He is winless in four tries, even won in 2:00.1 at Grand River Raceway, only to be placed sixth by the judges. He will be put to the test on Tuesday, having to face some stiff competition in KFB Amigo Cool (post five), who ships in from Ontario Sire Stakes action at Georgian Downs where he was second for $18,000, timed in 1:59.2. Skyflex (post 4), invades from Rideau Carlton where he has been first or second in seven of his eleven starts this year, the fastest a 2:00.1 triumph. Between the fifth and sixth race is a non-wagering second division for the colts. The race was taken off the betting card due to the entry from the Dany Fontaine Stable of Andovers Choice and Holiday Party. Holiday Party starts from post four for driver Pascal Berube and ships in from Georgian Downs where last week he won an $18,000 division of the Ontario Sire Stakes in 1:58. The start before the gelded son of Holiday Road took his lifetime mark with a 1:57 triumph. Andovers Choice will start from post two for driver Guy Gagnon and comes to 3R from Mohawk Raceway where he has been facing older rivals and has two second place finishes in both his starts this year, the fastest timed in 1:57.1. The fillies do battle in the sixth race where last year's series champion, Y S Suzanne starts from post four for trainer/driver Carl Duguay. This daughter of Angus Hall was winless last year until her final start of the season when she won the $55,000 final. She is winless in three starts this year but has been racetimed in 2:00.2-2:01 recently. Other contenders in the field include Y A Jailhouse Jodi from post two, who has won her last two starts for trainer Michel Allard, Eau Naturelle (post 5) and Éclair Chocolat (post 6). Post time Tuesday evening is 7:00 pm. For a free race program and live video feeds of the race card visit From the Quebec Jockey Club

Stakes-placed Gural Hanover ($2.80, part of entry) made his return to the races a triumphant one in the $25,000 Open Handicap Trot, and all-sources handle topped $3 million for the eighth consecutive harness racing card on Friday (February 26) evening at The Meadowlands.   Having drawn the outside post in the field of eight, Gural Hanover took no part in the early pace, retreating to seventh as last week's Open winner Crosbys Clam Bake (Scott Zeron) sprinted to a :27.2 initial quarter before ceding the lead to Can Do (Anthony Napolitano). Midway on the backstretch, Yannick Gingras floated the 5-year-old Crazed gelding off the pegs, latching onto the live cover of B Yoyo (Joe Bongiorno) through a :55.2 half and slipstreaming a pressured third quarter before swinging three-wide off a stalled B Yoyo a quarter from home. Gural Hanover kicked clear in upper stretch as the pacesetters faded, holding sway in the end by a driven half-length in 1:54.4 over entrymates Bourbon Bay (Corey Callahan), who charged willingly down the grandstand side after being shuffled to last, and Opulent Yankee (Andy Miller), who negotiated traffic to stay on.   Ron Burke trains Gural Hanover for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Little E, LLC, and the Panhellenic Stable.   Burke and Gingras teamed up as well in the sub-featured $15,500 upper-level trot, as Its Huw You Know turned in a 19-1 upset in 1:54.2, kicking third-over cover to pass even-money favorite Dewycolorintheline and chase down pacesetter Hot Type in the final yards. The Burke Racing Stable and Weaver Bruscemi co-own the 4-year-old Holiday Road gelding.   The evening's top distaff event--a $15,000 top-level conditioned pace--went to Clear View Hanover ($7.80), a pillar-to-post winner in 1:51.4 who battled gamely to stave off a vicious first-over press from Gweneeee J. Tim Tetrick drove the 7-year-old Western Ideal mare for trainer Henrik Lundell and owners Joie de Vie Farm and Guidetti Racing.   Anthony Napolitano led all drivers with four wins on the card, while Tetrick and Corey Callahan took three races apiece.   Punters combined to wager $3,245,266 on the 14-race card, carrying the streak of Meadowlands programs exceeding $3 million in turnover to eight.   Live racing returns to The Meadowlands on Saturday (February 27) evening, with over $113,300 in combined Jackpot High 5 carryovers and $105,000 in guaranteed Pick 4 and Pick 5 pools. Additionally, four seats for the World Harness Handicapping Championship are up for grabs in a live-bankroll qualifier on-track tomorrow (the entry fee is $400, including a $200 contest bankroll). Post time for the 14-race program is 6:35 p.m. Eastern.   by James Witherite, Meadowlands Media Relations  

TORONTO, November 21 – Ontario three-year-old harness racing colts and geldings kicked off their Autumn Series with four divisions Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. A total of 18 pacers and 20 trotters made up four $18,000 round one divisions. Mach On The Beach kicked off the night with a 1:52.2 victory in the first pacing division. Driven by Sylvain Filion, Mach On The Beach flashed early speed aiming for the front, while Twin B Sportsman was pacing hard early looking for the lead. Mach On The Beach got to the pylons first and Filion opted to stretch Twin B Sportsman out by the opening-quarter in :26.2. Filion eventually released the challenger at the top of the backstretch. After a half of :55.1, Mach On The Beach came to the outside and surged by Twin B Sportsman to take the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.1. In the stretch, Mach On The Beach left his rivals in his dust and paced away to an easy-looking four-length victory. The Rock finished up with a strong final-quarter to come from eighth to finish second. Sports Lightning finished third, while Windsong Lightning was fourth. A son of Mach Three, Mach On The Beach is trained by Richard Moreau for owner Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. The sophomore gelding now has seven wins from 24 starts in his first season of racing. Mach On The Beach pushed his earnings to over $60,000 with the victory Saturday, while also lowering his career-mark by more than two-seconds. The Moreau trainee paid $3.90 to win. Mach On The Beach In the second division, Cajon Lightning came first up to win in 1:52.4. Driven by Mike Saftic, Cajon Lightning got away fifth in the early stages, while Doctor Royal and Major Dan took turns on the lead through panels of :26.1 and :56.1. Saftic sent Cajon Lightning first up around the final turn and the even-money favourite was second and less than two-lengths from the front at the three-quarter pole. In the stretch, Cajon Lightning powered by Doctor Royal and paced home strong in :27.2 for a length and a half victory. Jack Reacher finished second, while Naturescape finished third just ahead of Doctor Royal. Another son of Mach Three, Cajon Lightning is trained by Scott Bell for owner John Taylor. Saturday’s victory was the third from 16 starts this season for the gelding. Cajon Lightning has now earned over $48,000 in his first season of racing. The clocking of 1:52.4 matched his career-mark taken October 12 at Woodbine. Cajon Lightning paid $4.10 to win. Cajon Lightning On the trotting side, Stormont Wizard took the first division in 1:56.1 at odds of 3/5. Driven by James MacDonald, Stormont Wizard trotted out strongly to grab command at the opening-quarter in :28. Down the backstretch, Win The Day came first up from fifth at the half to challenge the leader. MacDonald kept his trotter moving well and turned aside the first-over challenger to lead the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:26.1. In the stretch, Stormont Wizard sealed the deal with a :30 final-quarter to score a two and a quarter length victory. P L Icabod finished second, while Lmc Mass Oak was third. Win The Day rounded out the Superfecta in fourth. A son of Kadabra, Stormont Wizard is trained by Kevin Benn for Stormont Meadows. The sophomore gelding now has two wins in 12 starts this season. Last year, Stormont Wizard scored a single victory in seven starts, while hitting the board five-times. The Benn trainee has banked over $48,000 this season and $74,000 lifetime. Stormont Wizard paid $3.40 to win. Stormont Wizard Love Hunter turned a two-hole trip into a victory in the second trotting division. The Nick Gallucci trainee left quickly for driver Trevor Henry to challenge for the lead, however Gronk, the even-money favourite, pushed forward for the lead and forced Henry into the pocket. After setting fractions of :26.4, :57.3 and 1:27.1, Gronk carried the lead into the lane with Love Hunter on his back. In the stretch, Love Hunter came to the outside and waged war with Gronk, eventually edging by in deep stretch to win by half a length in 1:57. Freddie closed with good speed for third, while Thoughtful Leader was fourth. A son of Holiday Road, Love Hunter entered Saturday’s contest with one win in 10 starts this season. The Autumn Series division victory pushes the gelding’s earnings in 2015 to over $34,000. Love Hunter paid $12.20  to win. Love Hunter In order to be eligible to the Autumn Series, the Ontario sired three-year-olds had to be non-winners of $50,000 lifetime or $30,000 in 2015 as of September 30, 2015. The second round of the Autumn Series for the colts and geldings will take place next Saturday (November 28).

Local filly Hape earned her second Grassroots trophy at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening, making up for the aggravation she caused trainer-driver Jack Moiseyev prior to the race. "She's not fun to be around all week and warming up - she kicks and pulls and grabs on - but you get in a race, she's pretty nice to drive in a race," said the Moffat resident. "Once you get her warmed up she forgets about kicking and thinks about racing." Starting from the outside Post 8 in the fifth $18,000 division, Moiseyev eased Hape away from the starting gate and the pair was sitting in the outer lane in sixth when Pointe Of Inquiry reached the :28.2 opening quarter. Fan favourite Renegade Magic took command before the :57.1 half while Moiseyev and Hape continued to watch from sixth, but heading by the 1:26.3 three-quarters Moiseyev sent the filly out three-wide and started to reel in the leaders. At the top of the stretch Hape had advanced to within two lengths of Renegade Magic, but when she straightened out Moiseyev was able to find an even bigger gear and the filly rocketed down the stretch to a two and one-half length win in 1:56.4. Division point leader Renegade Magic had to settle for second, with Pointe Of Inquiry third. "She raced real good last week too. She's very finicky, you've got to let her do what she wants and at the end she knows what to do, she takes off at the end there," said Moiseyev, who conditions the Pilgrims Taj daughter for Joanne Colville of Moffat and Nancy MacNevin of Essex, ON. "Once she straightens up she kind of takes off." In an overnight event at Mohawk on Aug. 18, the top three fillies from Tuesday's fifth Grassroots division finished in reverse order, with Pointe Of Inquiry getting the win, Renegade Magic second and Hape third. Through 14 starts this season Hape has tallied five wins, two seconds, one third and $55,750. Tuesday's win bumped the filly's Grassroots point tally to 126, virtually assuring her of a berth in the Sept. 18 Semi-final. Hape The top 20 point earners after six regular season events qualify for the Semi-final, with the top five finishers from each Semi-final returning to Mohawk to compete in the $50,000 Grassroots Championship on Sept. 26. The other four division winners also made considerable leaps up the point standings. Meadow Seelster captured the first division with a gate-to-wire effort that saw her cruise home one and three-quarter lengths ahead of Mass Rail and Oh My Magic in 1:56.2. Sylvain Filion of Milton, ON engineered the win for trainer Bill Budd of Waterdown, ON and owner William Dixon of Caledon, ON. The Holiday Road daughter was also a Grassroots winner at Georgian Downs on July 14 and currently has 112 points in the race toward a Semi-final berth. Giona scored her first Grassroots win in the second division, also controlling the tempo from start to finish. The Angus Hall miss and trainer-driver Wayne MacLean of Chelmsford, ON crossed the wire one and three-quarter lengths ahead of favourite Railee Priti and Roses In The Rain in 1:57.2 Jocelyne Menard of Chelmsford owns Giona, who jumped from 50 to 100 points with the win. In the third division, Allerage Star earned her first win of the season with a front-end effort that saw her sail under the wire three and one-half lengths ahead of Desis Dream and Summers Jewel in 1:56.1. The Angus Hall daughter was driven to the win by Guelph, ON resident Paul MacDonell. Howard Okukso Jr. of Vernon, NY conditions Allerage Star for Little E LLC of New York, NY, Arthur Geiger of Livingston, NJ, David Stolz of Columbus, OH and Jason Settlemoir of Cream Ridge, NJ. World Class Izzy and Mario Baillargeon of Milton, ON claimed the remaining Grassroots trophy with a come-from-behind effort that saw them sweep home to a three length win in 1:56.2 Flexceptional and Hope Rises completed the top three. The win was the first ever for World Class Izzy, who is trained by Rockwood, ON resident Benoit Baillargeon for owner-breeders Thomas and Elizabeth Rankin. The victory boosted the Muscle Mass daughter's Grassroots point total to 86. The three-year-old trotting fillies will wrap up their regular season at Hanover Raceway on Sept. 5. Ontario Sires Stakes excitement continues at Mohawk Racetrack on Thursday with a pair of $105,000 Gold divisions for the three-year-old pacing fillies. Ontario Horse Racing

Throughout his career Luck O The Irish has been a consistent player on the Ontario Sires Stakes circuit, but the three-year-old trotting colt has recently found a new gear, posting his third straight victory and his first Gold Series win of the season at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Monday. "I'll tell you what it is, he's a big-strided colt and he's finally developed power to drive his stride," said trainer Tom Durand of the colt's win streak. "He always had the big stride, but he just couldn't power it, and it's just like all of a sudden it kind of clicked." "The combination of that and starting to race him a little more aggressively, once he saw the front end there a few starts ago he kind of woke up," added the Puslinch, ON resident, who trains the colt for his wife June Durand. Luck O The Irish found the winner's circle for the first time this season off a front-end effort in a July 28 non-winners of two races contest at Mohawk, stopping the teletimer at 1:55.2. Two weeks later he lowered his personal best to 1:54.4, winning a three-year-old conditioned event crowded with his Gold Series peers. On Monday, starting from Post 5 in the second $70,000 Gold division, driver Sylvain Filion powered the colt off the gate and landed in third on the rail. Rubber Duck rang up the :27 opening quarter, but he was not in charge for long as Milton, ON resident Filion moved Luck O The Irish to the front. The fan favourites led the field to a :55.4 half and a 1:25.4 three-quarters and then Luck O The Irish demonstrated some grit, holding off the pocket-sitting Rubber Duck to record a quarter length victory in a personal best 1:53.3. Boli finished well behind the leaders in third. "His form's coming really good, a new lifetime mark three weeks in a row now, so it probably won't happen again," said Durand with a chuckle. In 11 starts this season Luck O The Irish has tallied three wins, four seconds and one third for earnings of $80,040. At two the colt captured one Gold Leg, finished second three times and third once in nine starts, for earnings of $141,210. A homebred by Holiday Road and out of Kavita, the consistent youngster has become one of the Durand's favourites. "He was a very shy boy as a yearling, very shy." I wouldn't say nervous, but very shy." And I think for that reason I didn't have people begging to be partners on him." He didn't strike you as a brave horse that would be such a good racehorse," recalled the trainer. "Other than that he's been pretty straightforward." "He's kind of a dream horse in many ways, we kind of love him." Monday's win, added to the second, sixth and ninth Luck O The Irish posted in the first three Gold Legs, give the colt a total of 78 points and put him among the top 10 point earners with one regular season event remaining. Last year's division champion Dont Rush earned his second Gold trophy of the sophomore campaign with a three and one-half length triumph in Monday's first Gold division. The Infinitif colt lowered his personal best to 1:53.2 with the victory over Madman Hall and Olympic Son. Trainer-driver Dustin Jones of Waterdown, ON shares ownership of Dont Rush with Greg Judson of Athens, ON. Through six starts this season the colt now has three wins and one third for earnings of $104,160, boosting his lifetime earnings to $401,145. With two wins and one fifth in Gold Series action, Dont Rush sits in second spot in the standings with 105 points. Eternal Quest leapt to top spot in the division standings with a 1:53.4 score in the final division. Sylvain Filion picked up his second Gold Series win, and fourth of the evening, steering Eternal Quest through deep stretch traffic to nab the neck victory over Covert Operative and Platoon Seelster. Guelph, ON resident Chad Milner conditions Eternal Quest for Murray Ferguson Jr. of Sutton West. In eight starts the Pilgrims Taj son has three wins, three seconds and one third for earnings of $114,440. In four Ontario Sires Stakes appearances Eternal Quest has one Grassroots win, two Gold Series wins and one runner-up result in the Gold Series. He currently leads the division with 125 points. The three-year-old trotting colts wrap up their regular season at Mohawk Racetrack on September 28. The top 10 point earners from the regular season will return to the Campbellville oval for their $250,000 Super Final on October 10. Ontario Horse Racing

After having his early season derailed by allergies, two-year-old trotting colt Willyorwonthe finally found his way to the Ontario Sires Stakes winner's circle at the harness racing meeting at Mohawk Racetrack on Tuesday evening. The colt and driver Mike Saftic of Campbellville, ON fired away from Post 8 in the last $18,000 Grassroots division and reeled off fractions of :28.2, :59 and 1:30.1 before fending off a late challenge from The Land Shark and sailing under the wire a three-quarter length winner in 1:58.4. Sass was well behind the leaders in third. It was Willyorwonthe's first win since he turned heads with a 1:56.3 triumph in a two-year-old conditioned event at Mohawk on July 2, and the effort caused owner-trainer Bill Megens of Puslinch, ON to breathe a small sigh of relief. "He raced very good the first start," said Megens of the colt's July 2 debut. "He had a few problems with food allergies so the vet, after the first race, suggested I treat him for the allergies and it kind of back-fired, he was allergic to the treatment." Willyorwonthe broke out in a rash, his throat was inflamed and he developed a cough in response to the allergy treatment. In his first two Ontario Sires Stakes appearances, at the Gold Series level on July 13 and 21, he finished seventh and fourth without the finishing kick he had shown Megens all winter. "He'd been good all along and I couldn't figure out what the heck went wrong with him," said Megens, who learned that 30 per cent of horses have an adverse reaction to the allergy treatment. "Hopefully we've got that under control now. He's not allergic to dust or nothing, it's just some foods." Following Willyorwonthe's reaction to the allergy treatment, Megens reverted to the simple diet he had been feeding the son of Angus Hall and Mikestory since he was a foal. "No more sweet feed or any of the mixed feeds." "He's allergic to corn and soy beans both, so it makes it hard to get a feed that don't contain them, so I put him on straight oats," said the horseman, who bred both Willyorwonthe and his dam, $246,254 winner Mikestory. "When I trained him down he was on straight oats and he always was good, and then I tried to get him a little better feed and it didn't work." If Willyorwonthe continues to regain his health Megens will send him to Georgian Downs for the fourth Grassroots event on August 4, and a positive result there may see the young trotter take another run at the Gold Series colts. "Hopefully he'll stay healthy for a while," said the horseman. "We'll see after the next race, if he races well next time we'll probably try him in the Gold again." Local trotter Holiday Bro also captured his first Ontario Sires Stakes trophy on Tuesday. The son of Holiday Road and Armbro Xanadu circled out wide in the final quarter and sprinted down the stretch to a two length victory over favourite United BI and Muscle Time in 2:00.3 in the second division. "They were all hanging in the last turn, so I whipped out like 10-wide and let him trot," quipped Phil Hudon, who piloted Holiday Bro to the win for owner-trainer Ivan Gallant of Rockwood, ON. "I helped Ivan train him down and he's coming along nicely," added the Guelph, ON resident. "He's getting better every start and he's a quick learner." In his Grassroots debut, at Clinton Raceway on July 19, Holiday Bro finished second, so Tuesday's victory bumped his point tally to 75 and put him in fifth spot in the standings with three regular season events left on the two-year-old trotting colt calendar. Milton, ON resident Randy Waples won two Grassroots events, with Thee Desperado and Frankly Speaking. Starting from Post 5 in the first division, Thee Desperado recovered quickly from an early break in stride and then reeled in the leaders through the stretch to post a victory in his first lifetime start. Waples and the Manofmanymissions son hit the wire one-half length ahead of favourite Recreate and Romeo, stopping the teletimer at 1:58.3. Waples engineered the win for trainer Brent Belore of Embro, ON and owners Karen and Daniel MacIntyre of London, ON, Joshua McKibbin of Tillsonburg, ON and Nancy Newport of Ingersoll, ON. Lightly rated Frankly Speaking also used a come-from-behind move to post his first victory in the fifth division. The Angus Hall son bested Asterix and Clone The Tone by three-quarters of a length in 1:59.2. Waples piloted the colt for trainer Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, ON and owners Frank Spagnolo of Potsdam, NY and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, ON. Georgies Pockets kept a neck in front of UF Musclemass Star to record his second straight Grassroots victory in the fourth split. The Muscle Mass son and driver Steve Condren hit the wire in 1:58.3. Cool Creek Victory rounded out the top three. Milton, ON resident Condren piloted the colt to his second win for trainer Melvin Turcotte of Coconut Creek, FL and owners M T Pockets Stables of Pompano Beach, FL. Georgies Pockets now shares top spot in the division standings with United BI. Windsun Missile captured the other Grassroots division with a 2:00 clocking for trainer-driver Per Henriksen . The duo bested JLs Bad Moon Risin and Welland Seelster. Henriksen trains the Kadabra colt for Steve Organ of Aurora, ON, Asa Farm of Norwood, ON and Darryl Drain of Tweed, ON. The two-year-old trotting colts make their fourth Grassroots start at Georgian Downs on August. 4, while their feminine peers arrive at Mohawk on Thursday evening for seven Grassroots divisions. The two-year-old trotting fillies are featured in Races 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 11 on the Thursday program, which gets under way at 7:25 pm. Ontario Horse Racing

Three months after moving to Campbellville after nearly 40 years in Peterborough, the veteran Ontario trainer’s Ontario-sired trotter Hemi Seelster pulled off a stunning 76-1 upset in the Goodtimes Stakes on the Pepsi North America Cup harness racing undercard.   Pepsi North America Cup Night was surreal for John Bax of Campbellville on a number of fronts. Not only did his Ontario-sired pupil Hemi Seelster pull off a stunning 76-1 upset in the $233,000 final of the Goodtimes Stakes against top Grand Circuit horses, the veteran Ontario trainer then presented the trophy to himself. The Goodtimes, for sophomore trotting males, is named for Bax’s former trotting great, a longtime warrior in the open trot at Mohawk and Woodbine Racetracks who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2004 after earning more than $2 million on the track. Bax, 60, said he was numb as he headed for the winner’s circle on June 20 after the Goodtimes. “I just handed (the trophy) to my wife, Vicky. I was there to give it, so I certainly had no trouble standing on the other side and taking it,” Bax said, laughing. Adding to the surreal nature of the night, it took just five minutes for Bax to make the trip home after the races, rather than the usual two- or three-hour trek. In April, Bax moved to the site of the famed standardbred breeding outfit Glengate Farms in Campbellville that ceased breeding operations in 2005. Until April, Bax had been based in Peterborough for his entire 38-year training career — a stint in which he trained the winners of well more than $17 million (trainer records weren’t kept for the first 16 years of his career) and earned a berth in the Peterborough and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. “I drove a lot down the road, wore out a lot of trucks,” Bax said. “There were nights when I was heading home at midnight and they’ve got the 401 shut down in the middle of Toronto and you’re sitting there until 1:30 or 2 in the morning trying to get through and back home.” Needing to be up at the crack of dawn to train his stable compounded the wear and tear on the trainer. “I figured it out that if I was coming (to Mohawk) five days a week in the summer, that’s 20 hours plus (on the road),” Bax said. Bax said the move to the west side of Toronto, and closer to Ontario’s most lucrative tracks, only made sense because his 25-year-old son, Matt, is also a trainer. John also credits Matt for Hemi Seelster being in the Goodtimes in the first place. “To tell you the truth, I didn’t even realize at first that (Hemi Seelster) was in the Goodtimes. Matt slipped one by me. He was always high on him,” John said. “It’s his baby and he sometimes, in his youth, gets a little over-stimulated or high on a horse, whereas I’ve been down that road before.” Hemi Seelster, a son of Holiday Road out of Hollywood Beauty bred by Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON, was a $19,000 yearling purchase from the Forest City Yearling Sale in London — the exact same price John paid for Goodtimes as a yearling in 1992. Hemi Seelster is owned by John, Matt, John Houston of Cobourg, ON and the Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough. John Bax pegged the gelding as more of an Ontario Sires Stakes horse than a top stakes horses. In against 1-5 favourite Canepa Hanover and 3-1 second choice French Laundry — both from the powerful Jimmy Takter stable — John said he was hoping for a fifth-place cheque with Hemi Seelster in the Goodtimes. But when Canepa Hanover and later French Laundry broke stride, John said he began counting horses in front of Hemi Seelster. “I really wasn’t paying so much attention to who was in front of us so much as the number there were… I don’t know if I breathed down the stretch,” John said. It was the first victory for Hemi Seelster in seven starts this year. All of this comes on the heels of one of John’s best years in the business. In 2014, John trained the winners of some $1.6 million. Two of John’s trainees — two-year-old trotting filly Stubborn Belle and three-year-old trotting filly Riveting Rosie — earned O’Brien Awards as the top horses in their division in Canada. Only 2001, when John earned some $1.85 million, won a Breeders Crown with Duke Of York at Woodbine and earned the O’Brien Award as Canada’s Trainer of the Year, was better, statistically, than last year. Beyond Goodtimes and Duke Of York ($900,000 lifetime), John has trained a long string of Ontario-sired trotting stars over his career, including: Define The World ($1.65 million), Charmed Life ($830,000), Northern Bailey ($775,000), Pepi Lavec ($650,000), Summer Indian ($435,000), Oaklea Odessa ($410,000), Oaklea Omega ($400,000), Elegant Supreme ($380,000) and Aimees Image ($230,000) Though Hemi Seelster is bound mostly for the Ontario Sires Stakes program this summer — of which John Bax is both a huge proponent and, historically, one of its most successful trainers — he said he might take a shot at the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks with Ontario-sired Stubborn Belle (Taurus Dream—Musetta Hanover) in August at the Meadowlands Racetrack in New Jersey. He said he hopes Ontario-sired Riveting Rosie (Muscle Mass—Rose De Vie Stena) can overcome allergy issues in time to race in the Breeders Crown at Woodbine in October. For now, the trainer is happy to enjoy an easier commute, easy access to Mohawk Racetrack to train horses and Hemi Seelster’s surprising Goodtimes victory. “I suppose at the end of the day it makes that $1,000 or $2,000 entry fee a little more bearable. It gives you a little hope,” he said. Dave Briggs Standardbred Communications Ontario Horse Racing (519) 782-7178   Please visit:

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