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By Garrick Knight You’d forgive Ben Laughton for having one eye on next Tuesday when he steers two horses around at the Rangiora meeting today. The Canterbury junior driver pilots a couple of modest chances at the twilight meeting and it will be quite an upset if either wins. So, it’s understandable that he’s more thinking about making his New Zealand Cup Day debut at Addington next Tuesday. His boss, Dean Taylor, together with the owners, have entrusted him to continue his association with Go Davey in a $25,000 sprint. “I’m pretty excited. “It’s a few days away yet, but the nerves are already starting to kick in. “It’s definitely going to be a real thrill to go out there in front of 20,000 people, as well as all my family and friends. “And the best part is that it’s a couple of races before the Cup so it’s right when the day is at its peak rather than the first or last.” He’s been driving Go Davey in all his recent racing and says he’s immensely grateful to get the opportunity on such a big stage. “Dean left the decision up to the owners and they’ve been really good to me in that sense. When a senior horseman couldn’t drive him earlier in the year, they put me straight on and fortunately I’ve been with him ever since.” The pair have already won two races together and Laughton credits him as being “a consistent horse that always tries his best”. “It’s a bit different to what we’ve had recently, which is standing starts. This week it’s a mobile and he’s drawn to get a drag along. “Being Cup day, the speed should be on all the way and his staying ability should come in to it.” His best chance at Rangiora today is Glory Days in the junior drivers’ race, but her chances have been cruelled by a couple of scratchings, meaning she’s on the inside of the second line. “And the horse in front of her is a sit-sprinter that will be looking for cover, so we are going to be three or four back on the fence. “She’s not the worst in the field and looks a good place chance.” Another of Laughton’s regular drives is the veteran, Flamboyant, who he partners in the days’ feature pace. “He probably hasn’t come back as good from his break but I would forget his last start at Addington; he galloped going up to the gate and cut his quarter. “There was blood everywhere when we returned to the stable and that will explain why I couldn’t steer him in to the passing lane.” “He’s off 15 metres but does step really well, though I will be looking to drive him quietly.” Bookies opened both of his Rangiora drives at $41 and $8 yesterday afternoon. Even though he’s unlikely to record a winner in the next seven days, Laughton, with 17 wins to his name, is just grateful to be extended opportunities. “Every meeting where my name is in the race book is a positive. That’s the way I look at it. “The more times people see my name the better.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

Somebeachsomewhere gelding Tairlaw Toll is proving to be something of an early season revelation with the four year old having won twice in four starts since resuming at Winton on the 26th September. Trainer Brent McIntyre puts the turnaround in Tairlaw Toll’s form down to the work Invercargill trainer Brent Shirley did with him last season. “It’s all the hard work that Brent did last year. It’s paying off. I sent him down to him to train. He couldn’t get round my track because he touched a knee,” said McIntyre. Shirley trained him for his first twelve starts. “He’s still another year way in the body and the brain. I always thought he could be a nice horse. Brent got him and told me not to sell him because he thought someone would be ringing up wanting to buy him. But they never did, so I didn’t really have that problem.” The plan now is to head to Addington for Show Day. “We hope he keeps naturally improving because he’s off the unruly now. If he eats up tonight I’ll take him up to the race in Canterbury (Macca Lodge ‘trained south of the Waitaki Mobile Pace’).” A nice race for McIntyre to win as he sponsored the Show Day feature. Bruce Stewart

By Garrick Knight Punters looking to back quality three-year-old American Me at Cambridge tonight can optimistically expect him to bounce back from two recent setbacks, according to his trainer. The first was a case of sore feet after his start at Alexandra Park two runs back, in September, but most recently it was a virus that reared its head after his last start failure in the Sires Stakes heat at Cambridge on October 3. “He didn’t finish off like he should have in the Sires heat,” said Doug Gale. “He was never going to run in three the way they sprinted up the straight, but he still didn’t find the line and he was coughing afterwards. “We had him vetted and it showed a respiratory virus.” So, it was back home to Bulls for some treatment and recovery before resetting, the first step of which comes tonight. Gale is happy, though says he won’t truly be satisfied until after the race. “The last blood on him suggested he has recovered, and so has his work this week. “But in my experience, they can eat well, work well, look well and when you take them to the races, they are found out in that last 200 metres. “So, this is a test to see where we are at.” He’s come up with the ace draw in a small but handy field and Gale thinks that’s the best thing for him. As for gate speed, he’s not quite sure what to expect. “He’s never drawn better than about six so he’s never really been asked to come out hard. We will find out this week. “If he’s not still effected by the virus, I would expect he’ll run in the money.” Bookies opened American Me at $7, on the second line of betting behind Miracle Moose, Troubador and Flying Steps, who are all around the $3-$3.50 mark. Gale hopes to be back in Auckland on New Years’ Eve for the rich Sales Series Final which indicates he does rate the horse above average. “He has shown me enough that, when he matures, I think he could make an open class horse. “He’s a typical American Ideal, though he hasn’t matured as quickly as some.” Gale will haul two other stable runners the five hours north tonight, recent addition Classey Robin ($8.50) and one-win pacer Onedin Punter ($23). Classey Robin only joined his stable last month but ran a placing at her new local track in Palmerston North. “It didn’t surprise me on her work but I was scratching my head looking at her trial form in Canterbury. “It said she ran last in all three of her trials before coming north, but she’s a bit better than that.” This week she’s drawn the inside of the second row but follows out the exact same horse as she did last time – Yankee Dancer. “If things go the same way she’ll probably end up three back on the markers. From there she’s a solid place chance I think. “If she keeps improving, she has two or three wins in her this season.” Gale says Onedin Punter is “more likely to win on the grass this season” but he was pleased with his last start effort at Palmerston North all the same. “It wasn’t really his racing style and he stuck to his guns pretty well.” Reprinted with permission of HRNZ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - The end of the calendar year is less than two months away, and harness racing's biggest equine prize, Horse of the Year, is still up for grabs. Shartin N got nosed out by Mcwicked for the honor a year ago, and Joann Looney-King, who along with her husband Jim King, Jr., trains the 6-year-old daughter of Tintin In America-Bagdarin, is hoping to end the season on a high note at the Meadowlands on Nov. 23 and take home the trophy. "We plan on being there for the TVG Mare Pace," said Joann. "We are going to prep at Dover on Nov. 13 if the race fills. I want (Horse of the Year) so bad, but she has to win. That's what the voters want." Shartin N's main HOTY foe is the talented sophomore trotting colt Greenshoe, who, like Shartin N, tasted Breeders Crown defeat. Will Greenshoe be there on TVG Night? It doesn't look that way. "He probably won't race anymore," said trainer Marcus Melander. "He will go to Hanover now to stand stud." Breeders Crown winners Warrawee Ubeat and Manchego (who will be at the Big M Nov. 8), as well as Bettor's Wish, who leads all harness horses in 2019 earnings with just over $1.4 million, may have a puncher's chance at HOTY. It was announced yesterday by trainer Chris Ryder that Bettor's Wish will be back on the track next year at age 4. THE GREAT EIGHT: There will be eight huge stakes events at the Meadowlands on TVG/Fall Final 4 Night on Nov. 23. Two-year-olds will be in the spotlight in the $470,000 Goldsmith Maid (filly trot), $400,000 Three Diamonds (filly pace), $400,000 Valley Victory (colt trot) and $490,000 Governor's Cup (colt pace) before some of the biggest equine stars in the game will be in action in the TVG Mare Trot (for a purse of $175,000), TVG Mare Pace ($175,000), TVG Open Trot ($350,000) and TVG Open Pace ($350,000). SATURDAY NIGHT'S ALL RIGHT: The action on the track was hot last Saturday at the Big M, as El Ideal (male trot, 1:53.1), Senorita Rita (filly trot, 1:53.2), Marloe Hanover (filly pace, 1:50.3) and Force N Fury (male pace, 1:50.2) were the winners in the four Kindergarten Classic Finals for 2-year-olds. It was also a big night at the windows, as a meet bests were reached in total handle ($2,730,886) as well as the 50-cent Pick-4 pool total ($93,922). A carryover of $19,326 led to a total pool of $127,120 in the 50-cent Pick-5. As always, free program pages for this weekend's $50,000 guaranteed 50-cent Pick-4 are available at playmeadowlands.com and ustrotting.com. The wager has a low 15 percent takeout. HAPPY DAYS: Not only are things well at the Meadowlands, but in the entire harness racing industry as well: The Big M is enjoying the benefits of a purse supplement with increased handle A huge Hambletonian Day, where all-source wagering topped $8 million Two weeks ago, Breeders Crown weekend at Woodbine Mohawk Park saw wagering that exceeded $6.6 million The Standardbred Horse Sale (at Harrisburg, PA) saw two yearlings go for $1 million, and the opening session (on Nov. 4) set a record for average price and saw its gross increase by more then $3 million as compared to last year. AT THE TRACK: DerbyWars will host regular online qualifiers for the World Harness Handicapping Championship every Saturday night. Players can qualify for as little as $22. Complete information is available at DerbyWars.com. ... Every week, card players can get in on the action on "Free Poker Fridays" in the Gallery. Games begin at 7 p.m. ... "Hockey Night" is this Saturday (Nov. 9). Come on out and get an autograph and take photos (starting at 6:30 p.m.) with former players Brian Propp (of the Philadelphia Flyers), Bruce Driver (New Jersey Devils) and Nick Fotiu (New York Rangers). In addition, you could walk away with some great memorabilia. From the Meadowlands Media Department    

FORT WASHINGTON, MD - The Horse of the Year is coming to Rosecroft. S S G Stable's McWicked, harness racing's 2018 Horse of the Year, headlines an all-star group of Standardbred pacers Sunday evening in the $100,000 Potomac Pace at Rosecroft. First race post time is 7:15 p.m. for the 13-race program. Rosecroft will offer a $10,000 bonus to any pacer who breaks the track record of 1:47.3,set by Keystone Victory in the 2017 Potomac Pace. In addition, there will be a $5,000 guaranteed pool on the Pick 5, races 7-11. The $100,000 Potomac Pace has become Rosecroft's signature event. In its first three years, the Potomac has attracted some of the sport's biggest stars including Split The House, Keystone Velocity Always B Miki, Wakizashi Hanover and All Bets Off. "We're very excited and really looking forward to Sunday's $100,000 Potomac Pace," said Sal Sinatra, President and General Manager of the Maryland Jockey Club. "Since the inaugural Potomac Pace in 2016, the event has grown and has attracted some of the best pacers in North America. We very appreciative of all the horsemen who have supported this great event." McWicked joins that list as one of the sport's top stars. A winner of 40 starts and $4.9 million, McWicked became the oldest pacer to be named Horse of the Year. Trained by Casie Coleman and driven by Brian Sears, McWicked has surpassed $1 million in purses for the third time in his career, joining Foiled Again as the only pacers with three million-dollar seasons. The 8-year-old won the Dan Rooney Invitational and Allerage Farms Open Pace earlier this year. McWicked will leave from post seven. McWicked came up short in his attempt to win a third Breeders Crown Oct. 26 when he finished fourth behind American History in the $655,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace. American History, bred by Brittany Farm, previously won the $150,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial and has earned $437,291 this year. Those facing McWicked and American History in the Potomac include Dorsoduro Hanover, second to American History in the Breeders Crown and winner of last year's $530,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. Others entered in the Potomac include Dealt A Winner, fourth in last year's Potomac, This Is The Plan, who turned in the fastest mile ever on a half-mile track in Canada earlier this year, and Maryland's Slick Tony, a winner of 14 of 34 starts this season. by Dave Joseph, for Rosecroft Raceway                          

Vivid Wise As Wins Gr. II Prix Marcel Laurent November 7, 2019 The Italian invader and 8.6/1 outsider Vivid Wise As (5m Yankee Glide-Temple Blue Chip-Cantab Hall) rallied to take today’s Gr. II Prix Marcel Laurent (purse 100,000€, 2140 meters autostart, 14 starters) at Paris-Vincennes. The race time was 1.10.7kr off quick early fractions (1.06.4kr at the 1500 to go mark; 1.09.6kr at the 1000; 1.11.2kr with 500 remaining). The winner, teamed by Bjorn Goop for trainer Alessandro Gocciadoro and owner Scuderia Bivans Srl) made a three wide brush to the lead early and then was covered by the pacesetting Excellent (5m Real de Lou-Udine d’Odyssee) that held on for second reined by Alexandre Abrivard for owner/breeder/trainer L.Cl. Abrivard. Vivid Wise As victory increased his life earnings to 651,736€.  The 3.3/1 Feliciano (4m Ready Cash-Ravenelle) was third with David Thomain the pilot for Ecurie des Charmes and trainer Philippe Allaire. The 54/1 Fric du Chene finished fourth. The 3.6/1 Falcau de Laurma was sixth; 9/2 Vitruvio was seventh (this a Gocciadoro trainee with Andrea Guzzinati up)l and 10/1 Mister F. Daag was a dq. The winner’s pedigree, all American bred and a 15% plus inbreeding coefficient, is shown in photo. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

For the second year in a row, it was a record year for the Standardbred Horse Sale. The three-day yearling portion of the sale concluded Wednesday at the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex, where a total of 833 horses sold for a record average of $48,903. The previous best average was set last year, at $42,675 for 830 horses. This year's average represented a 14.5-percent increase. In addition, this year's gross of $40.73 million was nearly 15 percent better than last year's $35.42 million. The only other time the gross exceeded $40 million came in 2007, when 1,048 horses sold for $42.78 million. "It was a great sale," Standardbred Horse Sale President and CEO Pete Spears said. "I think the sale was strong throughout, all the way to the end. There was a great reception for the top sires and many, many top-selling horses. We're very happy." Last year, two yearlings reached six figures on Day 3 of the sale. This year, the total was five. Pacing colt Keystone Catalyst was Wednesday's top seller, purchased for $120,000 by Myron Bell as agent. The colt, by Betting Line out of Keystone Caitlyn, is a three-quarter brother to 2018 Ontario Sire Stakes champion Keystone Concrete. The family also includes Keystone Havoc, the dam of millionaire Keystone Horatio and grandam of millionaire Bedroomconfessions. Keystone Catalyst was consigned by Vieux Carre Farms for Max J. Hempt. Next on the list was Twin B Edge, a pacing colt by Betting Line out of Twin B Exquisite. He was purchased for $110,000 by Casie Coleman. The colt, from a family of strong Ontario Sire Stakes performers, was consigned and bred by Twinbrook Limited. Three horses sold for $100,000. Trotting colt Swingforthefences, by Swan For All out of stakes-winner Sunday Yankee, was purchased by Mel Hartman as agent. He is a half-brother to stakes-winner Miss Sue V, who in addition to her victories in North America later picked up wins in Europe. He was consigned and bred by Concord Stud Farm. Vali Hanover, a trotting colt by Chapter Seven out of Vanity Treasure, was purchased by Jim Glass as agent. His family includes stakes-winner Fad Finance. The colt was consigned and bred by Hanover Shoe Farms. Trotting filly Flawless Country, by Southwind Frank out of Aleah Hanover, sold to Ake Svanstedt. She is from the family of 2018 Yonkers International Trot champion Cruzado Dela Noche, who also counts the Copenhagen Cup among his victories in Europe. She was consigned by Spring Haven Farm and bred by Christian Stoltzfus. A total of 374 trotters sold for $20.52 million, with the money divided nearly evenly between colts and fillies. The fillies averaged $55,297 for 182 and the colts averaged $54,469 for 192. Muscle Hill was the top trotting stallion with an average of $153,323 for 31 horses. Father Patrick was second with an average of $109,667 for 24 horses. A total of 459 pacers sold for $20.21 million. Colts averaged $49,943 for 229 and the fillies averaged $38,161 for 230. Somebeachsomewhere was the top pacing sire with an average of $97,860 for 43 horses. Captaintreacherous was second with an average of $54,295 for 44 horses. First-crop sire Betting Line averaged $52,561 for 66 horses. The Standardbred Horse Sale's two-day mixed sale begins Thursday at 10 a.m. (EST). For complete results, visit The Black Book.   Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Twenty-one months ago, veteran trotter Lord Liam broke down with a recurrence of an old leg injury and Waroona trainer Bob Mellsop reluctantly decided to retire him. Now Lord Liam is a bright-eyed and happy ten-year-old in the throes of a remarkable comeback and  is acclaimed as the State’s best square-gaiter who will be attempting to record his eighth win in succession when he contests the Community TAB Trot over 2130m at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “Early last year Lord Liam went sore in a back leg,” Mellsop said. “It was an old suspensory injury and he’d had an operation on a cannon bone which had got infected. So, I retired him and de-registered him. “I put him on Facebook, free for a good home. But I couldn’t find anyone who wanted him, and I refused to send him away to the happy hunting ground. He was such a great horse. “I put him in a paddock for 12 months and then he looked so good that I eventually put him back in work and re-registered him and now he’s as sound as a bell.” In his comeback preparation Lord Liam has had 16 starts for ten wins, four seconds, one third and one seventh for earnings of $65,097. This has boosted his record to 90 starts for 30 wins, 24 seconds, five thirds and $248,703 in stakemoney. Lord Liam has drawn out wide at barrier eight in the field of nine in Friday night’s race but has the ability to overcome this distinct disadvantage. He has been handled in his past seven starts for seven wins by Maddison Brown, but will be driven this week by Deni Roberts, who has recovered from a fractured right big toe. Brown was unavailable because she is in Hobart to watch the Australian Drivers’ Championship on Saturday night. Roberts has driven the Victorian-bred gelding once in a 2631m stand at Pinjarra 15 starts ago, on April 15 this year when he finished a half-length second to Mortician. On that occasion Lord Liam started from 50m, which in effect was a 30m handicap because there was no front or 10m line. The closest Lord Liam has gone to be beaten at his past seven starts was at his latest outing, over 2185m at Pinjarra four Mondays ago when he defeated Lightning Calder by a head after working hard, three wide in the final circuit. Lord Liam warmed up for this week’s assignment with a smart win in a 2116m standing-start trial at Pinjarra on Sunday morning when he led early for the first 350m and then sat behind the pacemaker Rabchenko before finishing strongly to beat that pacer by a neck at a 2.2.1 rate, with final quarters of 29.5sec. and 29.3sec. Lightning Calder, to be driven by Chris Voak for trainer Bruce Stanley, and Im Not Eyre, trained and driven by Jocelyn Young, loom large as Lord Liam’s main dangers. Lightning Calder, a winner of 26 races, will start from barrier seven. He started off 30m in a 2503m event last Friday night and came from the rear to race in the breeze throughout the final lap when a fighting third behind Im Not Eyre and the pacemaker Tenno Sho. Four days before that race Im Not Eyre dashed to an early lead, set a solid pace and won from Upandgone and Tokyo Joe over 2185m at Pinjarra. A newcomer to West Australian racing in Friday night’s race will be the eight-year-old chestnut gelding Rock Tonight, who is prepared by Nigel Johns and will be driven by Morgan Woodley from the outside barrier (No. 9). The winner of three races in New Zealand and nine in Victoria, Rock Tonight has a losing sequence of 21. His stablemate Diamond Geezer (barrier six) is a sentimental favourite because of his jaunty high-stepping action. If he finishes in the top four his stake-earnings will go past the $200,000 mark. He has a losing sequence of 74, but he has notched 11 seconds and 16 thirds from those 74 outings. Mellsop said that Lord Liam was thriving on racing. “As long as he is happy racing and is competitive, he’ll keep going,” he said. “I’ll retire him when he stops enjoying what he is doing. Veterinary surgeon Melanie McGregor will take him and give him a home when he retires.” Lord Liam was bred by Richard and Pauline Matthews, who own a petroleum business in Victoria. Their first contact with Mellsop was when he put in an offer to purchase Bullion Bill 13 years ago. “They wouldn’t sell, but sent Bullion Bill over to me to train,” Mellsop said. Bullion Bill had 23 starts for Mellsop for nine wins and five placings before being sold to America. Then three years ago Richard and Pauline Matthews sent Sammy Charles to Mellsop and the younger half-brother to Lord Liam thrived under Mellsop’s care, with 19 starts producing six wins and 11 placings.   Ken Casellas

Melton-based harness racing legend Lance Justice headed north this week-and went home with a training double. Justice made the four-hour trek to Swan Hill on Tuesday night and, apart from the two victories, also collected two runner-up prizes. "It was probably only the third time I've ever been up there to race, but each time I've been lucky enough to get a winner. Apart from being a big trip, I really like the track and there's good people on the committee," Justice said. "I must admit that I do always try and take up a nice horse. I think some of my previous wins have been with Lov e Ina Chevy and maybe Phil Monty," he said. While Justice this time took the reins with Miss Victoria (Shadow Play-Waltzing Matilda (Presidential Ball) to win the Toshiba Air Conditioning Pace, he engaged in-form Heathcote reinswoman Tayla French on Justice Served (Rock N Roll Heaven-Keepers Daughter (Ace's N Sevens),and the pair got the money in the Braemar Air Conditioning Pace. Justice now has driven a massive 3432 winners. Justice said Miss Victoria (5/1), who is expected to be offered for sale soon, was a regular star performer at home. "If she ever takes her trackwork to the races, she will be something real special. She just shuts off and looks like she's struggling, but, in reality, she has plenty left," he said. "The racing style at Melton probably doesn't suit her because she has to work hard early, and then later is called on to rally again. The smaller country tracks are right up her alley. "At Swan Hill, her first half was 59.8 and then her closing quarters were 28 and 29. She will do that any day of the week." The second leg of the Justice training double was five-year-old gelding Justice Served, who rated just over a second off the track record. "He certainly gave Tayla a few anxious moments. He's such a free rolling horse, who can get up on the bit and pull very hard," Justice said. "The horse has done it to me. I told Tayla to let him bowl along and drive him like he's a horse with a bit of credit. He was getting tired towards the end, but got there okay." French, who gets a concession claim, is driving in sensational form at the moment. She also went home with a driving double, after landing Karlos (Sportswriter-Kept For Pleasure (Safely Kept) for Keith Cotchin at 15/1. Justice combined with super horse Smoken Up (Tinted Cloud-Carnlough Bay (Mark Lobell) to enthrall harness racing fans around the world during a dominant period of 2007 to 2014. After teaming up to win their first 10 starts on end, the pair went on to record a further 64 breath-taking victories in Australia and New Zealand for earnings of over $3.6 million. Smoken Up, fondly known as Trigger, had his swansong run at Melton on Sept 6, 2014-he ran 4th to Exciteusinthecity. Lance Justice and his old mate “Trigger” out for a jog Justice recently hinted he too might join his mate in retirement, at least from driving, with injuries starting to catch up with him. "I'm suffering aches and pains from race falls over the years and I have pretty severe arthritis. I've twice broken both legs in smashes-one still has 12 screws in it, while the other has only two screws, but a plate as well," he said. "My hip plays up badly now and again and I haven't got much feeling in one foot, so I think the signs are there that I haven't got all that much longer in my race driving career. But I'm not complaining because I've had a fantastic time in the sport." Justice has again had the call up in this Friday coveted night's Invitational Driver's race at Bendigo - finishing second to the race's home-town legend Brian Gath. "I've only competed in it once before and that was last year. I thought I had it wrapped up for the win and along come B. Gath down the outside and got me! So, yes, I am hoping to go one better this year!"   Terry Gange NewsAlert PR Mildura

Things are falling into place for star Aussie trotter Tough Monarch. The absence of buzz trotter Oscar Bonavena, a seemingly ideal barrier draw and pleasing trial have trainer Rickie Alchin confident heading into Tuesday’s $100,000 Group 1 NZ Trotting free-for-all (1980m) at Addington. The “sprint” trip of just 1980m should also suit, especially given Tough Monarch thrashed a hot field in a scorching 1min54.4sec mile at Melton just three starts back. “Everything is coming together well,” trainer Rickie Alchin said. “He handled the trip across well, has settled in nicely and Ants (driver Anthony Butt) said he felt super in the trial yesterday.” Tough Monarch was given a relatively easy time in the four-horse mobile trot trial yesterday, winning by two lengths in a 2min0.5sec mile rate for 1980m. He closed in 59.7 and 28.8sec. Soon after, Alchin learned Tough Monarch had drawn gate five. He’ll come into four if emergency The Dominator misses a start. And Tough Monarch has plenty of early gate speed. “The draw looks great, but I don’t know the others inside me too well. My bloke will get out quickly,” Alchin said. Enhancing Tough Monarch’s good draw is the fact key rivals Sundees Son (inside back row), fellow Aussie McLovin (13) and local Winterfell (nine) draw poorly. Tough Monarch has gone to another level this campaign, winning five of his past six starts. The eight-year-old is chasing his first Group 1 win, having been placed at the elite three times, all this season. “There’s no doubt both horse and trainer learnt a lot from that Melbourne Inter Dominion series late last year,” Alchin said. “He’s come back a better horse for sure and I understand his more as well.” Meanwhile, McLovin arrived in Auckland yesterday (Wednesday) after being on the same flight out of Melbourne with key Aussie NZ Cup runner San Carlo. The pair had day in Auckland in Auckland before being flown to Christchurch tomorrow morning (Friday). Tough Monarch and McLovin will both back-up in Friday’s Group 1 Dominion Trot. McLovin heads home afterwards, but Tough Monarch moves to Auckland for the Inter Dominion series where he may well be the lone Aussie trotter in the series. by Adam Hamilton

After delivering the Pinske family its first Breeders Crown trophy, Amigo Volo will look to continue his stakes-winning ways in Thursday's $181,600 Matron for 2-year-old male trotters at Dover Downs. Amigo Volo is the 2-5 morning-line harness racing favorite in a field of six. The race is one of four Matrons for 2-year-olds. Papi Rob Hanover is the 2-5 favorite in the $186,000 division for male pacers and Lyons Sentinel is the 6-5 choice in the $176,400 event for female pacers. The $147,600 Matron for female trotters attracted a four-horse field and will go as a non-betting race 15 minutes prior to the regular card beginning at 4:30 p.m. (EST). Amigo Volo has won three of his past four races and five of 10 overall this season. He has earned $514,696 for owners Pinske Stables and Florida's David J. Miller. The gelding is trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman and will have Dexter Dunn in the sulky Thursday. Nearly two weeks ago, Amigo Volo captured the Breeders Crown by 4-1/4 lengths over Rome Pays Off in 1:54.3 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. It gave Pinske Stables (Marlys Pinske and her son Karl) and Miller their first victory in the series. The Pinskes had double-digit starters in Breeders Crown finals, and two second-place finishes, before breaking through. The triumph was additionally sweet because Karl's son Carter has worked this year for Norman's stable and worked closely with Amigo Volo, even getting his first training win with the horse during the Grand Circuit meet at Lexington's Red Mile. "It's pretty special," Carter Pinske said. "We've been close, had a lot of great horses over the years and won other big races, but it's nice to win this one at the end of the year. "My dad and I have kind of changed with Nifty to go after the end-of-the-year money instead of racing so tough at the beginning of the year. After a few years of working toward that, it's finally taking shape and working that way. That's always the goal, to get to the Breeders Crown, and it's special." The Crown triumph also came 15 months after the passing of owner/trainer Tim Pinske, Marlys' husband. "I'm thinking he had a little bit to do with it," Carter said. Amigo Volo, by Father Patrick out of Margarita Momma, was purchased for $42,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Sale. He is a full brother to Reign Of Honor, who won last year's Kindergarten Classic Series championship for Norman's stable. "He's been an awesome horse to be around," Pinske said about Amigo Volo, who had world-record performances on five-eighth and one-mile ovals this season. "Every day he trained, you'd either be really mad at him or really excited about him. But he would always make up for it with his personality. He's got such a good personality. He'd let you know where he was all the time. He just likes being around people. "As far as being ready, Nifty said he's no different than he was in July," Pinske added. "He's jumping around in the paddock. He's got a good attitude that way." Following the Matron, Amigo Volo is eligible to the Valley Victory Stakes at The Meadowlands. The connections will take a wait-and-see approach about that race. "It's been a long season, he's been everywhere, and we want a 3-year-old too," Pinske said. "We'll see how he races and talk about it after." For the Matron Stakes 2-year-old filly trot entries, click here. For the complete regular card, click here.   by Ken Weingartner USTA Media Relations Manager

The New Zealand Trotting Cup favourites look right on track for our biggest harness race but one of their key dangers has been set an unusual challenge.  Favourite Spankem and defending champion Thefixer are both exactly where they need to be fitness wise after dominating the Cup trial at Addington last night, Spankem grabbing Thefixer on the line in the 2600m standing start.  Spankem was the more impressive, coming from well back in 27.2 for his last 400m but Thefixer was asked to do more work, working to the lead in the middle stages and has clearly improved in the last few weeks after a delayed start to the spring.  Their Cup trial wasn’t the only good news backers of the pair had yesterday as they drew ideally at barriers six (Spankem) and seven for next Tuesday’s $750,000 great race at Addington.  Both have good standing start manners and if they show them again they look perfectly placed to settle handy, with the almost certainly desired scenario for their camp being them lead and trailing. If they do it is hard to see one of them not winning.  The two horses most likely to park either of the All Stars favourites out would be Kaikoura Cup winner Classie Brigade (barrier eight) and Aussie visitor San Carlo, who has drawn the ace.  But the hard-charging Victorian veteran is in the almost unheard of situation of the NZ Cup being his first ever standing start race and he has only ever had one standing start trial, and that was against just two opponents a month ago.  That is hardly ideal in any race, let alone the New Zealand Cup which has seen some dreadful standing starts in recent years but driver Bec Bartley doesn’t seem concerned. “He is a really relaxed horse, I think he will be fine,” says 28-year-old Bartley. “It is hard to get standing start trials here (Victoria) since we don’t have races for the pacers any more but I am not too worried about it.” Also facing a tricky draw is Sundees Son (one on the second line) in Tuesday’s $100,000 NZ Trot Free-For-All and he didn’t instil punters with confidence by galloping at yesterday’s trials. The field for the New Zealand Trotting Cup on Tuesday.— $750,000, 3200m, 5.12pm: San Carlo (1), Hail Christian (2), Henry Hurbert (3), Our Uncle Sam (4), Nandolo (5), Spankem (6), Thefixer (7), Classie Brigade (8), Cruz Bromac (9), Smokin By (10), A G’s White Socks (11), Mach Shard (12), Chase Auckland (ur).   by Michael Guerin

Today’s 12th harness racing leg of the Grand National du Trot Paris Turf (Gr. III, purse 85,000€, 3000 meters distance handicap, 14 starters) at Nantes and it went to the 4/10 favorite and 50-meter handicapped Cleangame (7g Ouragon de Celland-Red Bell) for trainer/driver Jean Michel Bazire and owner J-M Rancoule.   Cleangame won for the 30 th time in 47 career starts now for 1,130,220€ earned for his career and may well be among the top five trotteurs currently racing. 7.3/1 Cocktail Desbois (7g Coktail Jet) was second for Eric Raffin and 7.3/1 Dorgos du Guez (6g Romcock de Guez) was third for Nicolas Bazire and trainer JMB, this one handicapped 25 meters. 21/1 Clarck Sotho (7g Oiseau de Feux) was fourth after his 25- meter penalty, reined by Guillaume Martin. 56/1 Brelan du Vivier completed the top five with Matthieu Abrivard aboard.   This race was the day’s Quinte+ event and 1242 winning tickets were each worth 622.00€. 8,168,000€ was wagered on the race with 3,828,477€ of that being in the Q+ pool.   The November 5 (Tuesday) Paris-Vincennes feature was the Prix Medusa (purse 52,000€, 3525 meters distance handicap, 12 starters) and it brought about the second start off a long layoff by the 25-meter handicapped Belina Josselyn (8f Love You-Lezira Josselyn). Off at 2.7/1 she finished sixth timed in 1.15.1kr for Romain Congard. The race winner was the 1.5/1 favorite Contree d’Erable (7f Prince Gede - Soiree d’Erable) with Cl. Thomain up for trainer J,P. Thomain, timed in 1.15.2kr. This one recorded her 14 th career win in 52 starts now for 290,140€ earned. 7.2/1 Big Boss (8g Qualmio de Vandel) and 8.5/1 Atoll Danover (9g Land Danover) completed the top three.   Contree d’Erable   The November 4 (Monday) Vincennes card was a good one and began with the Prix de Lesparre (purse 59,000€, 2700 meters, 13 starters) that saw 6.4/1 Fashion Queen (4f Ready Cash-Usenza) reach the line first with Eric Raffin up for trainer Philippe Allaire and owned J-M Tessier. Race time was 1.14kr as the Queen bested 9/10 favorite Fairplay d’Urzy (6m Ready Cash-Romane d’Urzy) reined by trainer Jean Michel Bazire. 3.7/1 Éclair du Mirel (5m Orlando Vici) took third money with Matthieu Abrivard up. 28/1 Eride Luduis and 8.7/1 Electra Jet completed the top five. This was the Quinte+ race of that day and the exact order top five payoff was 529.40€ paid to 521 ticketholders. The Q+ pool was 2,9021,395€ and 6,287,000€ was wagered on all wagering pools in this race.   Fashion Queen   The Prix d’Arcachon (purse 67,000€, 2100 meters autostart, 10 starters) saw even-money odds Colonel (7g Goetmals Wood-Royale Star) score timed in 1.11.3kr for Nicolas Bazire. Ecurie des Charmes owns and Jean-Michel Bazire trains the now 15-time winner in 63 career starts for life earnings of 432,700€. 7.6/1 Classic Haufor (7m Jag de Bellouet) was second for Christian Bigeon, his breeder/owner/trainer/driver. The 35/1 stablemate Costa Haufor (7f Saphir d’Haufor) was second handled by Damien Bonne for trainer/owner Christian Bigeon. 2.3/1 Super Fez (8m Love You) was fourth for reinsman Jean Michel Bazire ahead of 8.4/1 Nancy America (8f Revenue) reined by Yoann Lebourgeois.   Thomas H. Hicks  

Chris Ryder, trainer of Bettor's Wish, announced today that the top 3-year-old colt would return to harness racing for the 2020 season.   "We are all disappointed, but he failed to be certified to cover a full book of mares and we think this is the right path to travel. Actually he will be racing next week in the Matron and possibly try the older horses in the TVG. We had been approached by all of the major breeding farms and their enthusiasm for the horse certainly was greatly appreciated," Ryder said.   The enthusiasm is warranted. Bettor's Wish is not only the year's richest overall Standardbred ($1,436,445) but also the top-ranked male pacer in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown weekly poll. He has won elims or finals of 11 stakes races that include the Breeders Crown, Meadowlands Pace, North America Cup and Messenger.   When asked about the news, Art Zubrod, who shares ownership of Fair Island Farm with wife Leah Cheverie and are part of the Bettor's Wish ownership group, says he was not surprised.   "Bettor's Wish is a ridgling and I am not surprised. It's rare that a ridgling be able to stand to a full book. I believe Matt's Scooter did but Cam Fella struggled when breeding over 100 mares. My recommendation is to collect him in the spring when he has a break in his racing schedule so we can get a good reading on what we can expect for the 2021 season," Zubrod said.   "Diamond Creek had a very generous and interesting offer for their New York farm. It was tempting, but after much discussion it was decided to return to the track for one more year."   Bettor's Wish has had a remarkable 3-year-old campaign, amassing $1,436,445 in earnings so far this year and career earnings of $1,708,501. He has a speed mark of 1:47.4 taken in a Kentucky Sire Stakes win and a remarkable 12 wins and five seconds in 17 starts.     Bettor's Wish Ownership Group

It's one of our most iconic harness racing events, and this year Mike Thorpe of Seven Sharp was oncourse to share the secret of what makes this day so special.

East Rutherford, NJ - When requests for racing dates were submitted to the New Jersey Racing Commission in October, Monmouth Park applied for live racing on the main track at The Meadowlands from October 2 through December 5, 2020.   The NJ legislation regarding live racing at The Meadowlands grants the Thoroughbreds the right to race live in the fall, should they choose to do so. The past several years they have confined their live racing to short, turf only meets that allowed us to race a Fall Standardbred meet, but their plan for next year is to convert the main track and race a longer Thoroughbred meet.   As a result, The Meadowlands is currently working out the details for for the 2020 live racing season without a Fall live meet.   Live Standardbred dates applied for in 2020 will number the same (90) as in 2019, will begin Thursday, January 2 racing on Friday and Saturday (with a few Thursdays added along the way) ending on September 19.   The absence of live racing in the Fall will affect the stakes schedule. That situation is currently being addressed with the focus on continuing all existing stakes with minimal conflict and racing the TVG and Kindergarten Finals on closing weekend in September.   There will be a consistent, weekly schedule for 2-year-olds to race over the mile track, starting the first week of July continuing right through mid-September. That will include the Kindergarten legs and final, the Grand Circuit Haughton & Doherty Memorials and the New Jersey Sires Stakes. The later schedule will allow for the NJSS to be raced after the Hambletonian next year.   It is our intention to use the revenue (added money) not being spent on the Fall Freshman Final Four to increase the purses for the Kindergarten legs to $20,000.   We are hopeful that the Fall Freshman Final Four will find a temporary home in 2020 and are confident that can be accomplished.   At present there are no plans to offer Late Closers during the 2020 racing season.   The Meadowlands will continue to offer updated details on the 2020 live racing and stakes season as they develop.   From Nick Salvi, at The Meadowlands    

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