WILKES-BARRE PA - JL Cruze was once again on "cruze"-control Tuesday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning his $15,000 division of the fourth and preliminary leg of the Bobby Weiss Series for male trotters in 1:52.4. JL and "JC" - Hall of Fame driver John Campbell - moved rapidly from fourth nearing the quarter to take over the lead from main challenger Opulent Yankee under the wire the first time, and the triumphant Crazed gelding was not threatened from there, sprinting home in 55.4 - 27.2 to keep the game Opulent Yankee 1¼ lengths at bay at the finish. JL Cruze, a winner of over $140,000 already this season, is now perfect in two Weiss starts for trainer Eric Ell and owners Ken Wood, Bill Dittmar Jr., and Steve Iaquinta, and already has 10 wins in but 12 seasonal starts. With no show wagering, JL Cruze attracted $8329 in a $9658 place pool, but the real value may have been the JL Cruze-Opulent Yankee exacta, which was a big overlay at $3.20. In the other Weiss section for this class, the Holiday Road colt Holiday My Way not only recorded his first Weiss score, but he also broke his maiden, and in fine fashion with a 1:56.2 personal mark. Trained by Shawn Simons and driven by his dad, "The Trot Man" Mike Simons, Holiday My Way made an early move to the lead and went on to win for Rick and Regina Beinhauer and the T L P Stable. Tuesday's Pocono card also featured the last prelim round for pacing females (both of these $30,000 Championships will be next Tuesday). The first section saw The Beach Nextdoor win her third straight in Weiss competition, with the Somebeachsomewhere mare shading 27.3 in the final panel to equal her lifetime mark of 1:53 as a "pocket rocket." Jim Morrill Jr. was again in the sulky for trainer Brewer Adams and owners Adams Racing LLC and Brian Clark. Like The Beach Nextdoor, Donttellruss used rallying tactics from the two-hole in the other cut, gaining into the 27.3 kicker to win in 1:53.3 over her stablemate in the Ron Burke barn, Allthatjazz De Vie, marking the second straight week that that pair has finished 1-2. The victorious mare by Panspacificflight was driven by Andrew McCarthy for the Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi, Lawrence Kerr, and Frank Baldachino. ****************** The field has been drawn for the first of the Weiss Series Finals, this Saturday's $30,000 event for pacing males, and while two major contenders benefited from the draw, one suffered the unkindest luck of all. Getting the rail was YS Lotus, who responded to getting a full week off last Saturday by pacing to a lifetime best of 1:50.2 for driver Simon and trainer/brother Rene Allard (who teamed for seven victories on the Pocono card last Saturday). Prior to that win, "YS" had started 6 times in 18 days, competing in both the Weiss and the Sagamore Hill Series at Yonkers, but the extra racing seems to have only honed the gelding to a career edge. The other Weiss winner last week is Major Uptrend, making him 2 for 2 in the series, and he seems quite likely to be the betting favorite for trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. The Major won in "only" 1:51.3 last week, but it was from the difficult post eight, and he has been very versatile and consistent on the bigger-sized tracks in 2015. The "unlucky" Weiss finalist is Victory At Last, who had posted victories in each of the first three prelims, but had to settle for second behind Major Uptrend last week. Also a member of the Burke stable, Victory For Last is "stuck behind the 8-ball" for Saturday's Championship. PHHA / Pocono
Three $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for two-year-old male trotters were staged on Tuesday night (September 30) at Mohawk Racetrack. Heavy fog rolled in throughout the harness racing card, leaving those watching with a clear view of only the first division. That opening split was won by 6-1 shot Rise Up Rise Up (Mike Saftic), who came out of the pocket inside the final eighth and wore down leader and public choice Infiniti As (Billy Davis Jr.) to win by half a length in 1:57.1. Gronk (Jody Jamieson) came on in the lane to collect third. This was the first win in five tries for Rise Up Rise Up, a gelded son of Holiday Road. Now an earner of $46,900, Rise Up Rise Up is trained by Sue Marie Gangell for the ownership group of Tony Di Matteo of Stoney Creek, Mark Searles of Caledonia, and 648885 Ontario Limited of Caledonia, Ontario. Rise Up Rise Up, who was bred by Dr. Robert Boyce and Joan Boyce, is the 11th foal out of the Super Pleasure mare Dixieland Jazz, making him a half-brother to half a dozen six-figure earners, including former OSS Grassroots Championship winner Lexus Lulu. By the time the second Gold Series flight went behind the gate visibility was limited. A Little More Love (Randy Waples) led the field into the first turn and to the :28.3 opening quarter, but when the field emerged out of the fog inside the final eighth, 11-1 shot Alacrity (Eddie Green) was on the lead, and he would go on to win by just over a length in 1:57.4. A Little More Love was second and Caulfield (Chris Christoforou) came in third. Green also trains Alacrity, a gelding by Pilgrims Taj, for owner Kristine Green of Ohsweken, Ontario. Alacrity, a Gold Series winner on August 5 at Mohawk, scored his second win from six attempts, and he has now pocketed $136,850. Alacrity, who was bred by Wilbur Lang and sold for $30,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale, is the fifth foal out of the San Pellegrino mare Elena ($414,731). Elena won three times during her OSS career, including two Gold Finals. Fractions of :28.2, :57.4, and 1:27 went on the board in the last Gold Series dash, and when the two-year-old male trotters came out of the soup in deep stretch, public choice Dont Rush (Chris Christoforou) was open lengths in front of his nearest rival in a 1:57.3 performance. Luck O The Irish (Tom Durand) was the runner-up and Nightontheroad (Jody Jamieson) nabbed third. Trainer Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario, also bred and now co-owns Dont Rush, an Infinitif colt, with partner Greg Judson of Athens, Ontario. Dont Rush, who also won in Gold Series action on July 13 at Georgian Downs and on September 30 at Flamboro Downs, is now three-for-10 in the win column with earnings of $171,985. He’s the sixth foal out of the Muscles Yankee mare Color Me Pretty, a half-sister to the likes of Best Image (Balanced Image, $104,110), who was three-for-three during her OSS career. This concluded the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series regular season for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters. They do have one provincial event remaining on their calendar – the Super Final on October 11 at Mohawk Racetrack. Full charts and results from the foggy Tuesday night at Mohawk will be available here - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0930mohsn.dat.
Two-year-old trotting colt Caulfield recorded his third straight harness racing victory in the third and final $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division tonight at Flamboro Downs. In that division Wilbur Eden was very quick at the start, hitting the opening marker in :29.3 for Trevor Henry. As they reached the half in 1:00.3 he had company from Holiday My Way and three wide came Alacrity as they reached the third panel in 1:30.1. Holiday My Way broke stride in the final turn and down the stretch Caulfield and Chris Christoforou closed a ton to win in 1:59.3. Wilbur Eden held for second while Winning Wizard was third. A son of Kadabra owned by Synereco Ventures Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, and trained by Chris Beaver, Caulfield was notching his fourth win in six career starts and third in a row. Bred by Jeff Ruch of Innisfil and Ted MacDonnell of Allenford, Ontario, Caulfield sold for $20,000 at last year’s Harrisburg sale. Christoforou was also victorious in the first division where the two outside horses left quickest. Boli (post six) and Infiniti AS (post seven) got away first and second as the gate left with Boli leading the group by the first quarter in :30.3 and the half in 1:02.1. Luck O The Irish took over well before the 1:31.2 third panel as Boli went offstride. He soon had company in the form of Dont Rush and that pair battled down the lane with Dont Rush narrowly winning in 2:00.3. Luck O The Irish had to be content with the bridesmaid spot while Amityville Lindy survived an inquiry to take third. Christoforou was up behind the winner, a son of Infinitif owned and trained by breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario who recently sold a share in the talented colt to Greg Judson of Athens, Ontario. This was the second lifetime win for Dont Rush who improved his summary to 2-3-1 in nine lifetime starts for $136,000 in earnings. Three colts broke early in the second split which saw Namesmuscle by the first panel in :28.1. Just past the :59.2 half A Little More Love was neck and neck with the leader and managed to get a head in front by the 1:29.1 three-quarters. Three wide came Platoon Seelster and those three were close at the finish with Platoon Seelster prevailing, despite an early break in stride, in 1:59.4 for Ryan Holliday. A Little More Love, the leading point earner in this division coming into tonight’s contest, was a close second with Namesmuscle third. A lightly raced son of Holiday Road, Platoon Seelster was making just his fourth career start for trainer David Holliday and owners Caroline Holliday of Mount Forest and Dennis Hannath of Harriston, Ontario. Bred by Seelster Farms of Lucan, Ontario, the colt has yet to finish worse than second with two wins and two seconds in his young career. This group has one more Gold event to contest before the October 11 Super Final. That will take place one week from tonight, September 30, at Mohawk Racetrack. To view the complete results from tonight’s program, please click Flamboro Results - September 23. OSS News
Not many 12-year-olds own stakes winning horses, but given Emma Christoforou’s family tree, it would be rather surprising if she didn’t have an interest in horses having been around them from birth. The grade seven student from Moffat, Ontario, owns a number of Standardbreds, including Cowgirl Tough, a starter in Monday night’s Ontario Sires Stakes Gold event for two-year-old pacing fillies at Mohawk. She bred and co-owns the daughter of Ponder with her mother, Joanne Colville, the administrator of the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society, owner of High Stakes Farm, director of Standardbred Canada and the Central Ontario Standardbred Association and outrider at the Woodbine Entertainment racetracks. Emma has the luxury of having two of the best drivers in North America available to drive her horses in her father, Chris Christoforou and her step-father Jack Moiseyev. The latter also handles the training for Cowgirl Tough who was victorious in her first OSS contest on August 10 at Georgian Downs, scoring by two lengths in 1:54.1. But Emma notes it was her second place finish in the Eternal Camnation Stake a week later that is her favourite to date. “I was on the sidelines watching the race and I couldn’t find her and then all of a sudden I spotted her pink browband and she was just zooming up to get second. Jack was really pleased with her and everyone was so happy,” recalled Emma who was on hand when Cowgirl Tough was born at their farm in April of 2012. “That was amazing how everything happened so quickly,” noted Emma who added that she sensed early that the filly might be something special. “She was really nice to be around but she had a look in her eye as if to say ‘game on.’ And when she was a yearling she was the biggest one in the paddock and the leader.” When it came time to name the filly with personality to spare, they decided to honour Joanne’s sister, Annemarie. “She’s had cancer a couple of times and she’s been so strong. There’s a group called Cowgirls Kicking Cancer’s Butt and Lope For Hope and that’s gave us the idea for her name. Their motto is ‘tough enough to wear pink.’” Cowgirl Tough demonstrates that sentiment through her equipment. “She wears a lot of pink,” explains Emma. “We’re now trying to find a pink harness for her.” Cowgirl Tough’s pink and Moiseyev’s familiar black, white and yellow colours, will line up behind the gate in post three in the second of two $105,000 OSS Gold divisions Monday night at Mohawk. Emma’s dad Chris is aboard the five horse in the same race, Business As Usual while next door in post six is Sports Chic, the leading point earner in this division to date. That filly will be driven by Jody Jamieson, father of Emma’s good friend, Hailey Jamieson, whose step-dad, Tony O’Sullivan, trains Capela, who has post 10 in the same race. Cowgirl Tough’s dam is Almost A Lady, who was trained throughout her career, during which she won $185,000, by Emma’s grandfather Frank Colville. Almost A Lady is sired by Astreos, the million dollar Little Brown Jug winner who was trained by Emma’s paternal grandfather Charalambos Christoforou. In fact Emma and her brother Niklas Christoforou bred and co-own a two-year-old trotting filly by Holiday Road trained by the senior Christoforou, Emmas Misty Angel who made two starts in the OSS Grassroots. “She’s taking some time to mature now,” Emma notes. In addition going to school, helping with chores and watching her horses race, Emma is also an accomplished equestrienne, competing in numerous horse shows around the province with her horse Kash, noting her favourite event is jumping. Her career aspirations aren’t surprising. “When I’m older I plan on being a vet, having a farm and working with harness horses.” Given her experience to date, she’s certainly well on her way. To view the complete card for Mohawk’s Monday card, please click Mohawk Entries - September 15. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
The sky’s were threatening but the showers held off for the $70,600 final of the Balanced Image trot Saturday night at Hanover Raceway. Three fillies and five boys took part in the final after finishing in the top 2 positions in their eliminations on August 23rd. Gee Okeeffe owned by Chris Beaver and Wilbur Lang of Ohio went off as the favorite after the 2 year old filly won her elimination the week before in 2:01.1, and has put up impressive numbers in the Gold and Grassroots Ontario Sires Stakes program this season. The 2-year-old daughter of Holiday Road got off to a quick start leading the field through the first quarter in 29.2 and the half in 1:00.2. Desis Dream owned by Glengate Farms and the Parkhill stud farms got away 2nd and stayed in the pocket forcing Caulfield, driven by Trevor Henry to come first over at the half. The son of Kadabra stayed on the outside and moved to within a head of Gee Okeeffe past the 3 quarters in 1:30.3. Despite the outside trip Trevor Henry got the most out of his gelding and slipped past the front running filly in the stretch. The hometown favorite Platoon Seelster owned by Caroline Holiday of Mt Forest and Dennis Hannath of Harriston managed to close strongly nipping Gee Okeeffe for 2nd place at the wire. Caulfield, who is trained by Chris Beaver and owned by the Synerco Ventures company of Toronto finished the mile in 2:01, less than a second off the track record. Afterwards Trevor Henry said his colt showed a lot of guts spending most of his mile on the outside trying to catch Gee Okeeffe. The perseverance paid off. In other racing notes, Ryan Holiday won the Earl Ash Memorial Trot with CR Amigo for owner Ron Corbett of St Jacobs in 2:04.4. The Ontario Sires Stakes are back at Hanover next Saturday as 2 year old Colt Trotters hit the track. Post time at Hanover Raceway on September 6th is 7:15pm. From the press box at
The final preliminary round for the $300,000 Quebec-Bred Series for two-year-old trotters and pacers takes place Sunday at the Hippodrome 3R with four $7,500 divisions. After Sunday the top eight point earnings in the series will return to 3R on Sunday, September 7 for the $55,000 finals. Also on that day will be the $65,000 finals in the series for three-year-olds, making for eight championship finals on the race program. The first race features two-year-old trotting fillies and one colt in the field. Because an insufficient number of colts were entered, they have been split and will race against the fillies this week. The 5/2 morning line favorite is a filly, C L Magic Road, who starts from post five for driver Marie Auger. A winner in two of her four starts, the daughter of Holiday Road was a game second last week when National Trace set the track record at 3R. Other contenders in the field include SOS Harddrive (post 3), Chamane (post 2) and D Espoir (post six). The second division for trotters is the third race and featured is 3R’s newest track record holders, Meganou and National Trace. Both fillies set erased a 21-year-old record with their identical 2:03.2 victories last week. Meganou starts from post two and she was most impressive for driver Jocelyn Gendron last week, wiring the field and scoring a romp by eight and one-half lengths. It was her second win this year and a lifetime mark. National Trace goes from post four for diver Denis St Pierre and last week she also wired the field, winning by three-quarters of a length. It was her first pari-mutuel win but not her lifetime mark. She won a baby race earlier this season at Mohawk Racing in 2:01. There are three male rivals in the field who all may be contenders in Champagne Panic, Intouchable and Promesses Imperial along with the filly Sunrise Linda, making for quite a strong field. The two-year-old pacing colts get underway in the second race with return winner Sugarsam heading the field from post three for driver Denis St Pierre. Last week the son of Sportswriter upset the field at odds of 16-1, winning from post eight in a lifetime best clocking of 1:56.4. He will be challenged by recent winners Half A Billion, Clinton Panic and Western Bayama. The pacing fillies see action in the fourth race with a full field of nine starters featuring Anna Santanna. Last week in a classic match-up and dramatic finish, Anna Santanna lost by just a neck to Kinnder Elegance in a track record time of 1:57.4. The erased a 25-year-old track record at 3R. Sired by Santanna Blue Chip, Anna Santanna starts from post four for driver Marie Auger and in her five starts this year she has yet to finish worse than third. Other contenders in the field include Miss Bro, My Fleet Time and First Girl. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Youre Majestic, Danielle Hall and Juanitas Fury were victorious in the three $70,000 Gold divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes for two-year-old trotting fillies tonight at Mohawk. Youre Majestic was sent off as the favourite in the first division and she didn’t disappoint her backers, winning in 1:57.1. The daughter of Majestic Son, driven by Doug McNair, got away in fourth as Sheguindah hit the opening quarter in :28.2. Just past that point Amoureuse Hanover took over the lead but that didn’t last long as McNair had Youre Majestic moving quickly to take command before the :59.3 half. She remained on top by the 1:28.2 three-quarters and opened up down the stretch to win comfortably over Amoureuse Hanover (Pilgrims Taj) and Railee Priti (Muscle Mass). Owned by Frank Bellino and Sons LLC of New York and trained by Tony Sullivan, Youre Majestic has yet to finish off the board in her young career. Her summary now is 3-1-1 in five lifetime starts for $92,000 in earnings. This marked her second Gold victory. In the second division it was The Grand Filly showing the girls the way and hitting the opening quarter in:27.4. She was quickly covered up by Muscle Baby Doll but Danielle Hall and Jody Jamieson took over before the :57 half. At that point favourite Stubborn Belle made a break. At the three-quarters it was Danielle Hall in 1:26.2 and she could not be caught down the stretch, winning in 1:56 over The Grand Filly and Muscle Baby Doll, both by Muscle Mass. Stubborn Belle recovered from her miscue to take fourth. It was the fourth win in five lifetime starts, and third Gold win, for Danielle Hall (she was second in the other start), a daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe owned by trainer Carl Jamieson and Winnipeg Racing of Concord, Ontario. Juanitas Fury was back in the Gold winner’s circle following the third division. Paul MacDonell was up behind the daughter of Kadabra who got away third in the early going as Mystical Brat took the field by the quarter pole in :28.1. MacDonell then right lined Juanitas Fury who was on top by the half in :58.1. She passed the three-quarters in 1:28 and held off several rivals to hit the wire in 1:57.1. Tymal Illbethere (Deweycheatumnhowe) was right there for second with Nordic Holiday (Holiday Road) a close third. It was the third win, and second OSS Gold victory, in five starts this year for Juanitas Fury co-owned by trainer John Bax with Glengate Farms of Campbellville, Don Allensn of Wyoming and Gaelic Stable of Sharon, Ontario. The next Gold test for this division is set for September 25 back at Mohawk. To view the complete results from tonight’s card please click Mohawk Results - August 18. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Harness racing fillies dropping down from the Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division to the Grassroots level proved successful in several of today’s $18,000 divisions at Clinton Raceway. That moved proved the ticket for Gee Okeeffe in the opening division. She traded the top position with Dewy Take A Selfie through fractions of :31, 1:03, 1:32.2 and was home first with a two length cushion in 2:03. Superbowl Sunshine closed well to take second while Dewy Take A Selfie was third. Chris Beaver trains the winner, a daughter of Holiday Road he co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang of Ohio. Gee Okeeffe was notching her second win in five tries this year, winning a Gold division on July 23 at Grand River Raceway. That same shift also proved beneficial for Desis Dream who made her first Grassroots appearance after three Gold starts. She went gate to wire for Steve Byron in :30, 1:02.3, 1:32.4 and held off Giona to win by a neck in 2:03.4. Dolce Far Niente was third. John Bax of Peterborough, Ontario, trains the winner, a daughter of Muscle Mass, with breeder Glengate Farm of Campbellville, Ontario. This was Desis Dream’s first lifetime win in five tries. In the third division the field was reduced to five starters with the scratches of Magical Lass and Magic Dancing. Summer Jewel and Mario Baillargeon set the early tempo of :30.4, 1:03 and 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty came up to challenge past the half and kept pressure on the leader the rest of the way but Summers Jewel hung tough to win in 2:04.4. Judy The Beauty had to settle for place while Moon Dance took third. Baillargeon’s brother Ben of Rockwood, Ontario, trains and co-owns the winner, a daughter of Angus Hall who was recording her second straight Grassroots victory and third overall. She came into today’s event sitting third in the Grassroots standings with 124 points behind Stay In Touch and Judy The Beauty who were tied for first with 137. Mario was back on top early in the next split with first time starter Flexyandiknowit who hit the opening quarter in :31.3. Just past that marker Mass Rail was taken out from third to challenge the leader and overtook her just past the half in 1:03. However, she quickly had a challenger in My Mini Snickers by the 1:33.3 third panel. Mass Rail fought back but was hauled down late by My Mini Snickers and James MacDonald who hit the wire first in 2:03. Mass Rail was second with Tymal Fireitup third. It was the second straight Grassroots victory for the Muscle Mass daughter owned by Ron Phillips of Illinois and trained by Ryan Maxwell. It was the same scene in the fifth division as Mario had Zorgwijk Philly on top early and hit the opening panel in :31. Dustin Jones sent Pinky The Intern up to challenge before the half but Zorgwijk Philly maintained the lead and was by the third panel in 1:32. Despite pressure on the outside and inside Zorgwijk Philly was at the wire first in 2:05 over Delcrest Flexyhall and Pinky The Intern. It was the first OSS start and first win for the Southwind Lustre daughter owned and trained by Wayne Langille of Harley, Ontario. Other winners amongst the Grassroots divisions this afternoon were Winem, a daughter of Kadabra trained by Mike Keeling for owner Paula Wellwood of Cambridge, Ontario and driven by Mike Saftic and Wing Flash, also by Kadabra, who went gate to wire for trainer Wayne Henry, who co-owns with Daylon Farms of Komoka, Ontario, to win in 2:04. This group will meet again in Grassroots action on September 9 at Mohawk. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Alacrity and Luck O The Irish each picked an opportune time to score their first lifetime win as they both captured an $105,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division for two-year-old trotting colts tonight at Mohawk. In the first and fastest division it was Win The Day hitting the first quarter in :28.2. Eddie Green sent favourite Alacrity up to grab control by the :59.1 half. As the field hit the three-quarters in 1:29.1 Trevor Henry had Win The Day on the move again and that colt was neck and neck with Alacrity down the stretch. Alacrity held tough to narrowly win in 1:58. Win The Day and Lets Be Honest, both by Deweycheatumnhowe, completed the ticket. Kristine Green of Ohsweken, Ontario owns the winner, a son of Pilgrims Taj, trained by Eddie Green. This marked the first lifetime win for the colt who finished second in his first two starts, also Gold divisions. Bred by Wilbur Lang of Ohio, Alacrity is the fifth foal of the former OSS champion Elena, a winner of $414,000 in her career. The colt was a $30,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. The complexion of the second division changed dramatically with the late scratch of Muscle Up The Gold, a winner in both of the previous Gold divisions to date. As the race got underway Hemi Seelster, a winner of three straight Grassroots tests, broke stride and took himself out of contention. It was A Little More Love in control at the quarter in :28.2. Luck O The Irish came up to challenge and was kept parked by the :59 half. Coming up three wide at the 1:29 third panel was Up The Alley but Luck O The Irish came back on and fought back and held off Up The Alley (Muscle Mass) to win in 1:59.1. Boli (Kadabra), who broke stride in the first turn, recovered to finish third. For Luck O The Irish it was his first lifetime victory in four attempts for owner/breeder June Durand of Puslinch, Ontario whose husband Tom trains and drives the son of Holiday Road. The colt is the second foal from the Kadabra daughter Kavita. The next Gold event for this group is slated for September 23 at Flamboro Downs. Fro the Ontario Sire Stakes
Seven $18,000 divisions of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series for two-year-old colt and gelding trotters took place on Wednesday (July 30) at Grand River Raceway, and Hemi Seelster padded his lead atop the group with a 2:02 victory in the sixth split. With Steve Byron in the bike, Hemi Seelster was well clear of his rivals through opening-half fractions of :29.1 and 1:00.4. Pocket-sitter Tarot (Riina Rekila) made up ground in the third quarter, but Hemi Seelster was still on the point at the 1:31.4 three-quarters. In the stretch, Tarot looked to get around the tempo-setter, but Hemi Seelster proved too tough for Tarot, drawing off to win by two and a quarter lengths. Olympic Son (Anthony MacDonald) finished third. Hemi Seelster is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough, Ont., along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ont. He is now a perfect three-for-three in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series action and has won three of his four starts overall, earning $27,000 in the process. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ont. and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. Hollywood Beauty scored a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series elimination as a two-year-old. To view the rest of the story click here.
Three of the two-year-old trotting fillies competing in tonight’s third $70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold division at Grand River Raceway came into the contest riding two race winning streaks. Danielle Hall and Juanitas Fury had both won a division of the first Gold event for this group of the 2014 season while newcomer Muscle Baby Doll was making her first appearance in Ontario after starting her career on the Indiana Fair circuit. In their division Muscle Baby Doll left sharply from post five for Doug McNair and easily obtained the lead. Jody Jamieson sent Danielle Hall up to take over just past the :30.1 opening quarter. She continued on top by the 1:01.1 half but just past that point Bistrobistro Taj came to call and had a head in front by the 1:31 three-quarters. Those two fillies battled it out around the final turn while McNair tipped his filly three wide and cruised on by to win in 2:00, the fastest of the three divisions tonight. Danielle Hall (Deweycheatumnhowe) was second with Bistrobistro Taj (Pilgrims Taj) taking third. This was the first start for Muscle Baby Doll under her new ownership of Frank Bellino and Sons Stable of New York and trainer Tony O’Sullivan. The Bellinos purchased the daughter of Muscle Mass–Have You Ever last week. Another recent acquisition for the Bellinos and O’Sullivan is Youre Majestic who won her first outing for her new connections in the first OSS Gold test last week at Mohawk. She raced very well tonight but had to settle for the bridesmaid spot. That division saw Amoureuse Hanover and Randy Waples gain early control to head the fillies by the opening marker in :29.2. Just past that point she was overtaken by Ditcherquicknhide and Jack Moiseyev who trotted by the half in :59.4. Waples pulled his filly back out from second and she hit the three-quarters first in 1:30.2. Three wide and driving on through the final turn was Youre Majestic but she could not catch the leader who tripped the timer in 2:00.3. Youre Majestic (Majestic Son) was second followed by Sumthintotalkabout (Muscle Mass). It was the first win in three lifetime starts for Amoureuse Hanover, who finished second and third in her previous outings. Trained by John Smith for Brian Peterson of Port Hope, Ontario, the daughter of Pilgrims Taj was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. The second split saw favourite The Grand Filly make a break just before the opening quarter while trying to overtake Desis Dream who hit that point in :30.3 and the half in 1:00.3. She had pressure at that point from Magical Gem but that filly miscued, taking herself out of contention. Just past the 1:30.3 three-quarters Gee Okeeffe came out from second for James MacDonald and flew by Desis Dream to win by more than six lengths in 2:00.3. The Grand Filly (Muscle Mass) recovered to take second while Mischief Smile (Majestic Son) was third. It was the first lifetime win in three starts for Gee Okeeffe who finished second in her first two tries. From the first crop of Holiday Road, the filly is trained by Chris Beaver who co-owns with breeder Wilbur Lang, both of Ohio. The rookie trotting fillies will next meet for Gold action on August 10 at Rideau Carleton Raceway in Ottawa. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Three trotters from the sophomore class of 2010 have come online with their initial crops this year; Muscle Massive is standing at Hanover, Lucky Chucky at Winbak in New York and Holiday Road in Ontario. Pilgrim’s Taj is a fourth, but he only spent one year in Canada, after which he was relocated to Ohio and ultimately exported to Finland. That being the case, we’ll look at the first three. To this point restricted races have provided the only basis for judging them, but the open portion of the season commences this week with elimination rounds for the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands as well as several splits of the Arden at The Meadows. Much of the focus has been on Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky, beneficiaries of generous state bred programs who finished one-two in the Hambletonion. The former was a $450,000 yearling who was lightly raced at two but managed to win the Hambletonion as well as the Dancer at three, while Chucky was a precocious freshman, showing wins in the Valley Victory, Matron, ISS and Bluegrass. He was the 3/2 favorite in the Hambletonion and appeared on his way to victory when 6/1 Muscle Massive, piloted by Ron Pierce, ruined his day. Regardless, Chucky did win the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial at three, and he earned more money than Muscle Massive both years. Both sold close to seventy yearlings last year, with Chucky’s brood averaging quite a bit more. Both have seen their stud fees fluctuate before their first crops hit the track. Muscle Massive started at $10,000, only to have his fee cut to $7,500 and $6,000 in successive years. Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Andover Hall and Explosive Matter all command higher fees than their younger stablemate at Hanover. Chucky, on the other hand, started at $7,500 in New York, was dropped to $5,000 during a year spent in Pennsylvania, and came back up to $7,500 when he returned to Winbak, where nineteen-year-old Muscles Yankee stands for $2,500 more. Muscle Massive has benefited from the success of his older brother, Muscle Mass, sire of O’Brien winner Riveting Rosie and the successful OSS colt Muscle Matters. Thus far Muscle Massive has given us some outstanding fillies. Gatka Hanover, a big rugged gal out of the Conway Hall mare Girlie Tough, from the Ron Burke barn, has left many wondering where her ceiling is. Gatka rolled through a couple of baby races and has now chalked up three wins in the PA Sire Stakes, one each at The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s. Matt Kakaley steered her to an effortless four length win in 1:57 in her latest. She leaves from the five for Matt K in Friday’s first Merrie Annabelle elimination. Gatka takes on Lucky Chucky’s daughter, Lock Down Lindy, who drew plenty of attention with a very strong first over win in a Merrie Annabelle Prep at the Meadowlands Friday for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna. Another Muscle Massive star in the making is Jimmy Takter’s Speak To Me, an $80,000 Harness Breeders purchase by Myron Bell. She is also three-for three in the PA Sire Stakes and has trotted in 1:55. Last time out, in a $57,000 sire stakes division at Harrah’s, Speak To Me gapped the field by ten on her way to an easy win at a stingy 1/5 price. Unfortunately this filly was not staked to the Merrie Annabelle and will be missing from the fray on Friday night. Blessings Counted is another talented filly by Muscle Massive. She was second to Speak To Me in a PASS race at The Meadows a couple of weeks ago and won a $57,000 race at Harrah’s in her latest start. She is not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle but is entered in a split of the Arden at The Meadows on Friday. Missive and Youth Gone Wild, both winners in the Stallion Series, will also race in the Arden. Jersey Strong, a talented filly with a win in the PA All Stars and a second in the PASS, isn’t entered at The Meadowlands or The Meadows on Friday. The top colt by Muscle Massive is Ake Svanstedt’s Lima Pride, who beat Jimmy Takter’s 1/9 favorite The Bank in a split of the Hickory Pride when The Bank went on a run at the three-quarters. Lima Pride, a $25,000 yearling purchase, was not nominated to the Peter Haughton. The priciest freshman trotter by any first crop stallion is Mr Lucky Luke, a $450,000 Lucky Chucky half- brother to Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass and 2010 Merrie Annabelle winner, Thatsnotmyname. The Cancelliere brothers, of Detour Hanover fame, purchased him at Lexington in the fall. He has yet to make a pari-mutuel start; let’s hope he generates a better ROI than Detour has. As for the Lucky Chucky colts and fillies that have raced, there is no eye popping Gatka Hanover out there, but there are plenty of good ones. I already mentioned Merrie Annabelle candidate Lock Down Lindy, who possesses the same rugged demeanor as Gatka. She is a half-sister to 2006 HOY in Canada, Majestic Son. He has sired Harper Blue Chip, Murmur Hanover and Charmed Life. Ray Schnittker has Gabe The Bear Dean, a $105,000 Harness Breeders buy, who has an impressive wire-to wire five length win in the NYSS at Buffalo. Jonas Czernyson has a few Lucky Chucky youngsters in his barn and he’s high on all of them. At the end of June Hot Start, a half-sister to Religulous, won a $27,000 NYSS split at Vernon Downs for Corey Callahan. Next time out, at Tioga, she cut most of the mile from the outside post only to lose to paternal sister My Twisted Sister, from the Paul Kelley barn. Hot Start is entered in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination on Friday. Nunkeri is another very promising Lucky Chucky filly from the Czernyson barn. She finished second to the Muscle Hill filly Josie’s Joy at the Meadowlands the other night, race timed in 1:57.2 as the second choice. Nunkeri won her start previous to that one, a $28,000 NYSS division at Tioga. George Ducharme’s sharp looking Conway Hall filly, Concentration, pressured her all the way home in a 1:59.3 mile. On the male side Mal and Janet Burroughs’ Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 Harness Breeders buy, won a $28,000 split of the NYSS in 1:57.2 at Tioga last time out. Holiday Road, a $115,000 yearling who is a full brother to Ken Warkentin, was lightly raced, making only ten lifetime stars. While staying on the track was an issue, speed wasn’t; he won the Peter Haughton at two and a split of the Dancer at three. He opened his stallion career for $4,500 at Seelster Farms and now stands for $3,500. This week the Holiday Roads started to turn heads and earn respect at Mohawk as they performed admirably on the various OSS platforms. John Bax’s Hemi Seelster was long and tough winning a Grassroots division in 1:58.4 at 2/1. It was noteworthy that the gelding engaged in a head to head battle the length of the stretch with Pilgrim’s Joy, a son of first crop stallion Pilgrim’s Taj. Tony Alagna’s filly Gee O’Keeffe logged a very strong second in a $53,000 OSS Gold leg at Mohawk for Jody Jamieson, losing a length to the highly regarded Kadabra filly Juanita’s Fury. And Keith Jones’ gelding, It’s Huw You Know, was an upset Grassroots winner in 2:00.3 on Monday at 75/1, paying $159.60. And Ontheroad De Vie made a very impressive brush on the back as he came from the 10 post to finish second for Rick Zeron in a Grassroots leg. The Holiday Roads are looking good. Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter are lighting it up in the freshman pacing division, but it’s expected that the trotters will take a little longer to get their bearings and hit their stride. Muscle Massive, Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road will all be prospering when they do. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/
Two-year-old colt and gelding trotters were in the spotlight on Saturday night at Georgian Downs as five $18,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for freshman colt and gelding trotters went behind the starting gate. Hemi Seelster (Steve Byron) was the fastest of the five winners as he trotted a :29.1 final quarter to rally from sixth at three-quarters to a 2:00.4 decision in the third division. He defeated Win The Day (Trevor Henry) by three-quarters of a length with Tarot (Riina Rekila) back in third. It was the first win in two starts for Hemi Seelster, who is trained by John Bax for his Parkhill Stud Farm, Matthew Bax, and Goin To The Show Stable of Peterborough along with John Houston of Cobourg, Ontario. Sired by Holiday Road, Hemi Seelster was bred by Seelster Farms Inc. of Lucan, Ontario, and sold for $19,000 at last year’s Forest City Yearling Sale. His dam is Hollywood Beauty, who is by Angus Hall. To view the rest of this story click here.
This Sunday the Hippodrome 3R will host the first pari-mutuel race for two-year-olds of the 2014 harness racing season. Six young trotters will go to post in the first race at 1:00 pm. It’s the girls against the boys as three fillies will go again three colts and the morning line favorite is a filly named Allie’s Gift at odds of 5/2. Allie’s Gift has had just one start behind the starting gate on May 24 but she performed like a champion for trainer/driver Claude Beausoleil. The daughter of Holiday Road led from start to finish in a qualifying race at Hippodrome 3R, winning in a romp by twenty one and three-quarter lengths in 2:06.2. The brown filly is owned by Ecuries Richelieu, Inc. of Venise-En, Quebec and was bred by LMN Bred Stables of Ohio. The second choice in the race at odds of 3/1 is another qualifying race winner, a colt, name William Star from post six. He is co-owned, trained and driven by Jean Francois Magure. This son of Windsong Espoir won his prior qualifying race by three-quarters of a length at Hippodrome 3R in 2:09.3. He is co-owned by Magure with Yves Ringuel and David Lapierre of Quebec. The winningest horse of the 2014 season at Hippodrome 3R, track record holder The Platinum Guy, puts his five-race winning streak on the line in the ninth race Sunday. Going in the extra distance event at one and one-sixteenth mile, The Platinum Guy set the track record back on May 20 with a time of 2:04.4. His track record was tied last week by Adkins Hanover. The Platinum Guy starts from post four for driver Denis St Pierre and they are the 3-1 second choice in the race. The race favorite is San’s Frontiere from post two at odds of 5/2. He is making only his second start this year. First race post time is 1:00 pm. For more information visit the track website at www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
In 2013, trainer Claude Beausoleil sent out Canada's first two-year-old qualifying winner with trotter Special Agent Man at Hippodrome 3R. This year, he's done it again with that colt's younger half-sister. Trotting filly Allies Gift was Canada's first two-year-old qualifying winner of 2014 on Saturday at Hippodrome 3R. She won the first race by 21-3/4 lengths in 2:06.2 over another freshman filly, Play The High Note. Bred by Ohio's LMN Bred Stables Inc., Allies Gift is a Holiday Road filly out of the Conway Hall mare Minor Skirmish. She was purchased for $8,500 at the Canadian Yearling Sale by Ecuries Richelieu Inc. of Venise-En-Quebec, Que. To read the rest of this story click here.
(TRENTON) - New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher today announced Governor Chris Christie has appointed Michael Gulotta, Dr. Richard S. Meirs and Mark Mullen to the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees. "All three new members of the Sire Stakes Board currently serve as directors of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey and bring extensive knowledge of the harness racing industry to the Board," said Secretary Fisher. Michael Gulotta is the chief executive officer of Deo Volente Farms, LLC of Flemington, which was named "Farm of the Future" by the United States Trotting Association in 2009. Among the world champions he has raced are Worldly Beauty, Lis Mara, Holiday Road, and Crys Dream. Dr. Meirs has served as the general manager of Walnridge Farm, Inc. with operations in Cream Ridge and Elizabethtown, PA. He is also a principal in the Walnridge Equine Clinic veterinary practice and has served as a past president of the New Jersey Association of Equine Practitioners. Mark Mullen is the President and co-owner of Fair Winds Farm, Inc. of Cream Ridge. He was named co-breeder of the year in 2009 by the United States Trotting Association and was the breeder of 2011 Hambletonian winner Broad Bahn. Re-appointed to the board of Trustees by Governor Christie was Thomas A. D'Altrui of Hillsborough. D'Altrui has served on the Sire Stakes Board of Trustees since 2001. He is the owner/operator of D.I. Farms and was named North American Breeder of the Year in 1988. He previously served as first Vice President of the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey. D'Altrui will serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Sire Stakes Board is responsible for the administration of the Department of Agriculture's stakes racing program for two- and three-year-old pacers and trotters sired by registered stallions at New Jersey breeding farms as well as the Standardbred Development Fund, which provides a stakes program for the progeny of mares who spend a minimum of 150 days in New Jersey and foal in New Jersey. For more information on the Sire Stakes Program, visit www.jerseyequine.nj.gov/sirestakes.htm. From the NJ Department of Agriculture