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
The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society's 2013 stallion auction has now concluded. OSAS extends sincere appreciation to the harness racing farms and stallion owners who generously donated the breedings and to everyone who bid on this year's auction.
The Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society will once again be conducting a stallion auction as a fundraiser this year, thanks to the incredible generosity of the stallion owners, but with a different twist.
If the Canadian harness racing scene isn't in tatters now it soon will be if reports from Ontario breeding giant Seelster Farms are anything to go by.
Not Afraid showed his courage, holding off Frost Bites K at the wire for a head victory in the $138,300 Dexter Cup for harness racing three-year-old trotters on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at Freehold Raceway.
Sugar Valley Farm, in conjunction with harness racing owner R. Peter Heffering, has announced that 2009 Breeders Crown champion Pilgrims Taj will become the first trotter added to Sugar Valley Farm's stallion roster for the 2012 breeding season.
Don't be surprised to see champion New Zealand pacer Auckland Reactor back racing in the United States next year. That's the opinion of one of North America's most prominent harness racing owners and 'Reactor' shareholder, Jerry Silva.
Seelster Farms announced today that the 2011 book for Holiday Road 2, 1:54; 3, 1:52.4 -'10 ($462,200) is now full and closed. Standing his first season, the response to him has been overwhelming.
Mark Hall of Hoof Beats magazine and Bea Witten of Horseman and Fair World magazine were named winners in the annual George Smallsreed Awards for excellence in harness racing photography, the U.S. Harness Writers Association announced today. Claus Andersen and Dave Landry, both from Canadian Sportsman magazine, received honorable mentions.