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DOVER, DE -- Enhance Your Mind became the winningest horse of the year scoring a 1:51.1 conquest in the $20,000 Mares Open Handicap on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Dover Downs. Driver Vic Kirby, starting from post 8, left and took the lead after a :26.4 opening panel, to take command the rest of the mile on the way to her fifth win in six races in 2017 for owner-trainer Bran Truitt. It was the five-year-old Riggins-Enhance The Night 's 13 career win upping her lifetime earnings to $152,490. The sharp Sweet Bobbie (Art Stafford Jr.) closed strongly to finish second. Dublin Rose (Jonathan Roberts), last at the half came on to take show honors. Barbara's Shadow, with Vic Kirby piloting, pulled a mild surprise in the $15,000 4&5-Year-Old Mares Pace closing with a rush to catch Dismissal (Montrell Teague) at the wire for a head victory in 1:51.3 to end Dismissal's four straight win streak. Owned by trainer Leigh Raymer, Josh Parker and driver Kirby, the victory was the fourth in her last seven starts for the four-year-old daughter of Shadow Play-Bababababarbarapan. In The Shadows (George Dennis) was third. Apple Bottom Jeans, a Delaware sired champion bred and owned by KDK Standardbreds and conditioned by Kevin Switzer, who stepped into stakes-and-open-competition last year to finish first or second in in 12 of 16 races and win nearly $185-thouand in purses, made her first start of the year a winning one. Montrell Teague led from the start and at the top of the lane stormed away from her eight opponents for an easy 1:52.4 success in an $11,500 pace for young females. Alone Hanover (Kirby) came on to take second in front of Use Your Noodle (Jim Morand). It was a night to remember for young driver Ed Waishes. In the first race, the 22-year-old drove Heather Minton's Misty Missy between horses late in the stretch to post his first career victory in his 16 lifetime starts. Vic Kirby drove four winners, Ross Wolfenden had a triple, Corey Callahan, trainers Leigh Rayman, Nick Callahan and owner Breakaway Racing had doubles Wind Of The North makes his seasonal debut facing Frost Free Hanover and Tough Choice in an eight horse field of top trotter in the $20,000 Open on Wednesday. Monday through Thursday post time is 4:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are dark days. Parking and admission at Dover Downs is free. Reservations are suggested for the popular Winner's Circle Restaurant and its acclaimed Buffet. . For reservations, call 302-674-4600. Simulcasting of top harness and thoroughbred racing is available in the Dover Downs Racing and Sports Book, from 12 Noon to 12 Midnight daily. by Marv Bachrad, for Dover Downs

It is the place where dreams begin; it is the place where the top drivers and trainers of the future are born. It is the place where friends become family, and complete strangers become friends. This is the place where many trainers and drivers capture their first victories and dream of making it to the big leagues. These are the “B” tracks.  In the communities where these tracks are located, race nights are a time for family, friends, and neighbors to come together to laugh, enjoy each other’s company and create memories; and if they are lucky, maybe even cash a winning ticket or two. The people who race horses here, may not be racing for a million dollars, but to them, their horses are worth just that. Even though they may be racing in a claiming race, they are worth so much more to those that love them. For many fans, it is where they first experienced the thrill of betting and winning. For some owners like myself, it is where we got our first thrill of winning too.  Sometimes the trainer may have roles other than just a trainer. They may be the owner, as well as the driver, as well as the caretaker. In some rare cases, they have also bred the horse. I am going to share with you some of my favorite memories which were created at a “B” track.  There are many, and all of them mean something to me. Not every horse can race at an “A” track like Mohawk Raceway; that is precisely why there are “B” tracks. “B” tracks provide another place for horses to race and be successful. For example, Sydney Seelster (Pinky) liked the tight turns the smaller tracks have, in addition to the speed being a little more manageable for her. This was discovered after we tried racing her once at Mohawk Raceway and once at Woodbine, in both races she tried her very best, came fifth in one of those starts but she definitely raced more competitively on the “B” tracks. The majority of my experiences as an owner came from racing at Flamboro Downs, Georgian Downs, and Grand River Raceway- all “B” tracks. When Pinky won her first race for me on a Saturday afternoon, at Flamboro Downs, I felt like I had won a stakes race. I cried tears of joy. It is because of a “B” track my dream of being a winning owner came true. It is where my adventure with Pinky begins.  It is the place where I discovered the thrill of being an owner. Every track has their big day; their day to shine. It could be holding a stakes race or a track’s opening day for the season. This is one aspect of the sport which unites both “A” and “B” tracks. Whatever the occasion or event is, the ‘little’ tracks always make the occasion a big deal. I look forward to attending these special events and I do my best not to miss one.   Every year on the holiday Monday in August, Grand River Raceway, in Elora, hosts an annual event celebrating the harness racing industry in the province of Ontario. The day is called Industry Day. The day features the finals of the Battle of Waterloo for Ontario-sired colts and the Battle of the Belles for Ontario- sired fillies. The Industry Day of 2011 was my first time attending Industry Day. It is also the first time I recall going to another track other than Mohawk Raceway. Walking through the grandstand, I marveled at the new sights, it is a bee hive of activity. The atmosphere is lively and the passion is remarkable.  That day, driving stars Scott Zeron and Doug McNair were there to take pictures with fans, so I got mine taken with them. That was a highlight for me. The races were fast paced and action packed. The crowd was passionate and excited. There was clapping and cheering. The atmosphere was celebratory and made an impression on me. Many memories were made that day, and I will cherish them always. Since that Industry Day, I have attended every one. Like many people, going to Industry Day has become a tradition for me, and I look forward to going every summer. In the summer of 2012, I made the journey to Hanover Raceway for the Dream of Glory Stake and the fireworks which followed the races. It was time for me to experience another track. Hanover Raceway was a charming track. It was not fancy but that is what makes Hanover Raceway so special. The Dream of Glory may not be the most celebrated stakes race, but for fans in the small town of Hanover, they look forward to it every year. I was honored to be asked to present the trophy. After the races finished, everyone was anticipating the fireworks. The firework show was mesmerizing. To add to the colorful spectacle, snow-like flakes fell on me, they were ashes from the fireworks. In a strange way, it added charm to the night and was something unique, an experience I will always remember. Flamboro Downs holds the Confederation Cup and I look forward to going every year. It is a day where some of the best horses and drivers come to compete on the same track Pinky did. To think of it like that always makes me smile. I was given the signs which have the names of the horses in the Confederation Cup that are used when assigning post positions. I have the ones from 2015 and 2016 (with the exception of the winner, as that gets displayed). They are something I treasure. I have proudly displayed them in my room. My parents and I visit Flamboro Downs often. We go for dinner, to watch the exciting races and cheer on our friends who are racing. I always enjoy talking with the friendly staff. All levels of staff at Flamboro Downs always makes me feel special. Gary Guy is the announcer for Flamboro, as well as Grand River Raceway and Georgian Downs. He is always sure to give me a shout out when he sees me sitting along the rail. I always feel so special when he does. I appreciate how he takes the time to do that. When Pinky won he always tried to play a song that mentioned pink as Pinky returned to the Winner’s Circle.  That made winning even more sweet. Every second-year Clinton Raceway holds an event which is like no other. Legendary drivers including Bill O’Donnell, Ron Waples, and Wally Hennessey, just to name a few, compete in one signature race. Although he did not drive, Keith Waples was also there. Hence, this day is called Legend's Day. The first time my parents and I went, every driver I wished good luck to in post parade won that race. My dad thought I was wearing horseshoes that day. After the Legend's Day race, all of the Legend's went to have a group photo taken.  I said hello to Wally Hennessey on his way to get his picture taken. He asked if I could watch his helmet and gloves. I agree and when he returned he gave his gloves and signed them. For the rest of the day, I wore those gloves with such pride. Later that afternoon it rained a lot. While we were taking cover [outside] from the rain, under an overhang at the end of the grandstand, we met a caretaker who had a horse in the last race on the card, we told her how ‘lucky’ I had been with telling drivers good luck. She told me “Trevor Henry is driving my horse is the last race, wish him good luck, and if we happen to win, come out for your picture”. Trevor Henry won that race. The rain was now teeming down. I raced through the rain to the winner’s circle. I was still wearing the gloves given to me by Wally Hennessey. I had to shield the signature from the rain, so the ink would not run. The drive home that afternoon was spent drying out.  I was drenched, but it added to the memories from that day. Today, those gloves have dried and are in a safe place for me to cherish. Two years later, I returned to Clinton Raceway for Legend's Day. I had the pleasure of interviewing a few of the legends for a story a friend was doing. He is a journalist and was unable to make it. That was an experience which I was honored to have. This past October I made four-hour journey to Leamington Raceway. My parents thought it would be the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I sat in the backseat, with my iPod and snacks, and we were on the road bound for Leamington Raceway. It was my first time visiting Leamington Raceway.  I love to visit new tracks and meet new friends. My dad was excited to be going too because Leamington was one of the few tracks he had not visited either. Before long, we are driving through small towns and countryside, soon we arrived at Leamington Raceway. I stepped out of my car and I was greeted by smiling faces. Then I received an awesome surprise, I was speechless. It was a sign which read “Stop! Parking for Sydney Weaver”. I felt so special, like a celebrity. It was just a small gesture that made my day even more special. I have always believed it is the little things in life that take up the most room in our hearts. That is something "B" tracks have in common. They add little personal touches, that make you feel welcome. For example, at Grand River, when you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by a gentleman, whose name is Tom, in a top hat and tails. He is happy and always smiling. That warm welcome is so special and has a big impact. The grandstand at Leamington was packed with people of all ages, and lots of kids. Everyone was having a grand time. Lawn chairs lined the fence. The day was picture perfect  We met up with friends and watched a few races, before being invited to take a tour of the new paddock. While in the paddock I had the opportunity to meet the people who were instrumental in getting the new paddock built.    The lovely people of Leamington Raceway were kind and gave me a Leamington Raceway sweater and baseball cap. I helped with on track draws too. Overall it was a fun day, and the day passed quickly. Before I know it, my parents and I are on the road again.  This time headed for home. As we drove, we reminisce about the memories that were created. “B” tracks might not be as well-known as the major tracks, but we need to embrace and support them. “B” tracks make our industry what it is. They are the foundation of our industry.  It is because of the smaller tracks that major tracks are able to prosper.  “B” tracks provide strength and support which is vital to the success of our sport. That is the beauty of a “B” track. Sydney Weaver is 16 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, groom's horses, jogs them on the track, owns both a Standardbred and a Thoroughbred racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy and spends most of her time in a wheelchair, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.

A total of 34 upper level trotters have been engaged for Sunday’s Gr. I Prix de Paris, the third leg of the France Triple Crown, and raced over 4150 meters (just over 2.5 miles) for a purse of €400,000. The group, which will be finalized and narrowed on Thursday, includes Bold Eagle, Timoko, Up And Quick, Tiego d’Etang and Voltigeur de Myrt among the largest career money winners. J-M Bazire has named Belina Josselyn and Tornade du Digeon; Philippe Allaire entered Bird Parker and Traders; Daniel Reden named Wild Honey, Lionel, Propulsion, Call Me Keeper and Bold Eagle’s conditioner Sebastien Guarato also entered Valko Jenilat and Beau Gamin. The February 26 Paris-Vincennes program also includes the Gr. II Prix Paul Bastard (monte, purse €120,000, 2700 meters) and the Gr. III Prix de la Mayenne (purse €105,000, 2700 meters). On February 23 will be the Gr. III International Prix du Plateau de Gravelle (purse €110,000, 2100 meters) and the Prix du Cantal (purse €90,000, 2850 meters, European eligibles). Trotting action on February 24-25 is at Enghien. More to follow. by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink

Harnesslink’s award winning columnist, Sydney Weaver, is set to go on another world adventure starting this week. Last August it was Ireland and now she’s headed to Australia. Weaver, along with her parents, Lisa and Don, will be enjoying the trip of a lifetime down under, compliments of a host of sponsors making this “dream come true” for the Weaver’s. “I am truly blessed to be going on this trip,” Weaver said. “It’s the trip of a lifetime. It is hard to put into words my excitement, joy and gratitude. Being able to go to Australia is a dream come true!” The sports leading breeders, owners and trainers, many of whom met Sydney for the first time in Ireland, were enchanted by the young women’s enthusiasm for harness racing and her passion to achieve whatever goals she set for herself despite having Cerebral Palsy. Led by Alan Galloway of Alabar Farms, Sydney Weaver and family will be spending three weeks in Australia, sponsored in part by Adam Bowden’s Diamond Creek Farm, A Rocknroll Dance Syndicate, Nevele R Stud, Blue Chip Farm, Pepper Tree Farm (Art Major’s owners), the owners of Auckland Reactor and Joe Bellino and the owners of Rock N Roll Heaven (Pepper Tree Farm and Alabar).  "Sydney is a very inspirational person," Said Alabar's Alan Galloway. "When I first met her in Ireland I was just blown away by her enthusiasm for Harness Racing. I just knew we had to help her come down to Australia. This trip will enable her and her parents, Don and Lisa, to see some of the best horses and racing in the World. We can't thank our fellow stallion owners enough for their support as well."  Once Sydney arrives in Sydney, the funs gets started right away as she will be attending the $750,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle Park in New South Wales this Saturday, February 25. Her trip will also feature attending the APG Sydney Yearling Sales, the Lyn McPherson Memorial Night at Tabcorp Park Melton on March 11, tours of Alabar Farm, the training facilities of Andy Gath and Emma Stewart in Victoria, Aldebaran Park in Victoria plus getting to visit Tanya McDermott, who is the manager of Harness Racing Victoria’s HERO (Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities) operations. “To think that soon I am leaving on a grand adventure still feels surreal.” Weaver explained. “I have so much to look forward to, but I am most looking forward to meeting new friends and getting to meet those who I have connected with on social media.” Of course, Sydney will be posting daily on her great adventure to Australia. By Steven Wolf, for Harnesslink

Hopes of finding missing harness racing horseman Shane Hayes alive are sadly fading. The popular 53-year-old who spent much of his adult life training and driving out of Kumeu, NZ, has been missing at sea since February 10. Family friend and spokesman Peter Smith said Hayes took his boat out over the Mangawhai Heads, north of Auckland, to test it for an upcoming fishing competition and has not been seen since. “There are a lot of people searching for him and we even have helicopters and a crop dusting plane from a local farmer involved,” said Smith. “But the family are realistic now. They are holding on to hope but everybody realises we may not see Shane again. “It is terribly sad but it may be a case of searching for a body now.” Hayes, who is married to Laureen and has two children, Harry and Jackie, is best known for his association with talented trotter Chiola Cola in the late 1990s. Along with his father Don they trained the giant trotter to win 17 races and he even campaigned in Scandinavia alongside champion mare Pride Of Petite. The Hayes were rarely without a good horse and had their share of success with pacers but were best known for their trotters through their association at stud with Great Evander. Shane moved out of harness racing full-time when the family moved from Kumeu a decade ago but still dabbled. He is an immensely popular figure in northern harness racing, a big man with a big smile and engaging conversationist. A Givealittle page has been set up to help fund the search for Shane and support the family through this tough time. by Michael Guerin

The barrier draw for the Group 1 New South Wales Derby has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. The Mark Purdon trio Vincent, Motu Meteor and Ultimate Machete have all drawn the front row while 2400m world record holder Atomic Red has drawn wide in barrier nine. See full field for the $200,000 classic that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25). RBD. 2400m. MS.         1--1r1  VINCENT, by Art Major - Mark Purdon 3C7 FT 2--312 OUR LITTLE GENERAL, by Mach Three - Chris Alford 3C1 FT 3--515  MAXENTIUS, by Mach Three - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT Em 1 4--214  HES MY MATE, by Passmaster Hanover - Mitchell Reese 3C2 FT 5--121 MOTU METEOR NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 6--213 OUR TRIPLE PLAY NZ, by Shadow Play - Brad Hewitt 3C1 FT 7--113 ULTIMATE MACHETE NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 8--432  ASTRIDE, by Somebeachsomewhere - Luke McCarthy 3C0 FT 9--s11  ATOMIC RED, by Rocknroll Hanover - Amanda Turnbull 3C2 FT 10--124  PRETTY HOT, by Courage Under Fire - Bernie Hewitt 3C1 FT ----------------------------------Second Row-------------------------- 11-553 WARDAN EXPRESS, by Art Major - Amanda Turnbull 3C1 FT 12--522  CONVICTION, by For A Reason - Amanda Turnbull 3C0 FT 13--114  REDBANK BLAZE, by Rocknroll Hanover - KerryAnn Turner 3C4 FT 14--s15  ROLL WITH ME, by Roll With Joe - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT ODM Em 2 AMANDA RANDO

The barrier draw for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. Defending champion Frith has drawn barrier two while top New Zealand mares Our Dream About Me and A Piccadilly Princess have drawn barriers nine and 10 respectively. See full field for the $200,000 feature that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25).             1--925 BETTORTHANSPECIAL, by Bettor's Delight - C13 M0 FT 2--3s3 FRITH, by Four Starzzz Shark - Luke McCarthy C29 M14 FT 3--211 ROCKER BAND NZ, by Rocknroll Hanover - Zac Butcher C10 M4 FT 4--8s2 AMERETTO, by Million Dollar Cam - Ashlee Grives C11 M2 FT 5--821 CYCLONE KATE NZ, by Mach Three - John McCarthy C10 M6 FT 6--134 MY LUCKY BELLE NZ, by Gotta Go Cullect - Chris Alford C6 M0 FT 7--524 DU VELLA NZ, by Courage Under Fire - Jim Douglass C8 M1 FT 8--674 MISTRESSOFILLUSION, by Jereme's Jet - Todd McCarthy C6 M1 FT 9--111 OUR DREAM ABOUT ME NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon C9 M4 FT 10--121 A PICCADILLY PRINCESS NZ,  by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon C10 M4 FT -----------------------------------------------------------------Second Row----------------------------------------------------------------- 11--183 SALLY FLETCHER, by American Ideal - Gavin Fitzpatrick C8 M2 FT 12-257 TACT HAYLEYS DELIGHT NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Pete McMullen C6 M2 FT Em 1 13--760 HELENS BONUS, by Grinfromeartoear - Blake Fitzpatrick C6 M1 FT Em 2 Amanda Rando  

Pompano Beach, FL...Sunday, February 19, 2017..."February Madness" continued at Pompano Park on Sunday night (February 19) as the "fourth quarter" of the Italian-American Amateur competition was contested and it was Italy that captured the crown with an 87 to 81 victory over the American team consisting of members of the Florida Amateur Driving Club. The win was sealed when Italy's Ciro Ciccarelli earned a hard-fought win measuring a half- length with Y S Joe in 1:55.3 over Stronski, handled by yet another Italian visitor, Antonio Simioli. A Fool For Mark, driven by Shane Arsenault, was third, just another nose back, after a valiant effort carving out early panels of :28.2 and :56.3 before being encountered by Y S Joe around turn three, reached in 1:25.4. A Fool For Mark cut the corner turning for home to reclaim a short lead, but Y S Joe, parked every step of the route, was ultra-game in forging by and holding off the late surging Stronki. Orlando's Express, with Billy Muggleston in the bike, was fourth, 1 ¾ lengths away while College Major and Joe Pennacchio teamed up to claim the nickel in the octet. In a post-race interview Ciccarelli, through an interpreter, lamented, "This was the thrill of a lifetime for me. "I have never driven a pacer before and they are very fast--faster than I have ever been before. "This horse was outside the whole way and was very strong to the finish despite this. "This was a great experience for all of us from Italy and I want to thank Mr. Dein Spriggs and Mr. Joe Pennacchio for being such great hosts for us all." Ciccarelli led the Italian contingent with 29 points while Simioli had 28 for the winning team. While there were only four drivers from Italy competing, the U.S. team had 16 drivers from their Florida Amateur Driving Club on their roster with Dein Spriggs and Gary Barbere sharing top honors with 13 points each. Y S Joe, a chestnut five year-old horse by Mach Three trained by Fannie Saul-Beaulieu for owner Michel Daneault of Quebec, Canada, earned his first win of the year in seven starts. As the 6 to 5 tote-board favorite, Y S Joe paid $4.60 to win. Pompano Park's $12,000 Open Handicap Pace went, in a mild upset, to Drachan Hanover, driven by John MacDonald. This five year-old son of Jereme's jet, used his rail post to perfection by carding front end panels of :26.1; :54.4 and 1:22.3 before a :27.4 finale held off the late furious rally by Rocky's Z Tam, handled by Ricky Macomber, Jr., by a neck in 1:50.2. First Of Itskind, with Tom Jackson in the bike, closed fastest of all--:27.2--to finish third, two lengths away, while Mystic Desire finished fourth. The 3 to 5 tote-board favorite, Panocchio, made a mild bid on the backstretch but could only manage to pick up the minor award in the septet of classy pacers. After the race, Mac Donald related, "he (Drachan Hanover) raced well last week after missing one and I thought he'd be tighter tonight so I sent him and let him do his thing. He's won before on the front end, so this mile didn't surprise me. He beat a very classy field. Trained by Marcel Barrieau for Lloyd Maclean and Kenneth Rankin, Drachan Hanover won for the initial time this semester and 13th win lifetime in 56 starts, vaulting his earnings to $353,457. As the third choice at 4 to 1, Drachan Hanover paid $10.80 to win. The $10,000 Open 2 Pace went to the 4 to 5 favorite Uncmprmising Z Tam, driven by Mike Simons, in a lifetime best performance of 1:50.2--his previous winning 1:50.2 mile being over the larger 7/8ths oval at Hoosier Park. The four year-old son of Shadyshark Hanover made a quarter move (:27.1) to the top and went on to post subsequent fractions of :54.4 and 1;22.1 before sprinting home untouched by two lengths over Fritzie Pic Up Man, handled by Kevin Wallis. King Of The Crop, with Dave Ingraham in the bike, rallied from last to finish third, 3 ¼ lengths back, while Pointsman and Heart Felt picked up the final two awards in this septet. Trained by Jamie Macomber for the Z Tam Stables, Uncmprmising Z Tam now sports a 3-2-0 scorecard in six starts this year, good for $18,975. The win--the 10th in only 36 career starts--vaulted him over the $250,000 mark in bounty--$251,163 to be precise. He paid $3.80 to win to his multitude of backers. Racing continues on Monday night with post time set for 7:20 p.m. by John Berry, for Isle Pompano Park

The barrier draw for the Group 1 New South Wales Oaks has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. Early fancies Partyon and Petacular have both drawn the second row. See full field for the $200,000 classic that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25). RBD. 2400m. MS.           1--512                   TAKARA TRUFFLE NZ,  by American Ideal - Mitchell Reese 2--245                  SANNA CRUZA, by Art Major - Josh Aiken (C) 3--124                  ROYAL STORY, by Always A Virgin - Bernie Hewitt  4--237                  MISS AMI SLOY, by Art Major - Vincent Langdon Em 1 5--s22                    MISS GRACELAND, by Rocknroll Hanover -  Chris Alford  6--117                   SHARTIN NZ, by Tintin In America - Luke McCarthy  Em 2 7--475                  WESTERN JEWELS, by Always A Virgin - Adam Sanderson 8--334                  TAYLORS REASON, by For A Reason - Bernie Hewitt 9--s16                  SHEZALLAPPLES, by Sportswriter - Jim Douglass 10--213                DONT THINK TWICE, by Armbro Operative - Jason Grimson (C)  --------------------------Second Row---------------------- 11--111                 PARTYON NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 12--353                 ELIZA DUSHKU NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Amanda Turnbull  13--226                 ANGEL IN WHITE NZ, by Santanna Blue Chip - Chris Geary (C) 14--211                 PETACULAR, by Somebeachsomewhere - Michael Stanley  Amanda Rando

February 19, 2017 - A top flight harness racing program today at Paris-Vincennes included three groupe races led by the €200,000 Prix Comte de Montesson for three year-olds, but first the apprentice jockeys were on display in the monte Prix de Grenade (purse €50,000, 2175 meters, apprentice jockeys) that started the day’s action. 1.7/1 favorite Aida des Valoisien (7f Chef du Chatelet-Ida des Valois) scored, clocked in a quick 1.12.3kr, for Jean-Yann Ricart and trainer Eddy Castelleta. Four lengths back second was 7.8/1 Atout de Fontaine (7g Oxford du Rib-Mistina de Tragui) for Julien Balu, in the irons for breeder/owner/trainer Bruno Courault. Third went to 20.4/1 Aphrodite Child (7f Love You-New Orleans) for Honorin Guerot and trainer Matthieu Abrivard. Univaldi d’Aval (9g Vivaldi de Chenu-Kiss Me d’Aval) was victorious as 4/5 favorite in the Prix d’Aras (purse €45,000, 2700 meters, 18 European entrants – one scratch) for pilot J-M Bazire and trainer/owner Daniel Bethouart (picture below). Time was 1.14.3kr off even modest fractions. 29/1 Bazir Dimanche (9g Orlando Vici-Stora Mellosa) was second for Dominik Locqueneux and trainer Robert Bergh. Third was 11.2/1 Queasy (8g Donato Hanover-Merinated Herring) reined by Bjron Goop for trainer Ronny Kuiper and Sweden’s owner Stall Tavkompaniet AB. 40/1 Alexia du Cherisay (7f Le Big Boss-Precious Thing) was fourth for Franck Ouvrie and fifth in this Quinte+ contest was the Jerry Riordan owned/trained 5.2/1 Radysin America (7f Donato Hanover-Zagabria Dei) with Franck Nivard up. The exact order Q+ payoff (without jackpot) was €11,792 for a €2 wager. The Gr. III monte Prix du Pontavlle de Heussey (purse €110,000, 2175 meters, eight starters) produced a well earned victory, clocked in 1.12kr (fractions 1.09.9kr at the 1500; 1.10.5kr with 1000 remaining; 1.11.6kr with 500 to go), for 13.5/1 Valse de Reve (8f Mister President-Nouba Houba) with Camille Levesque up for owner/trainer Alain Roussel. 20.2/1 Udayama (9f Echo-Lancia du Pont) was next for Guillaume Martin and owner/trainer Lois Gruossard. Third was 1.2/1 favorite Adelia de Melodie (7f Lilium Madrik-Piccola Stella) for David Thomain and the 3/2 second betting choice, Val Royal (8m Capriccio-Quarda du Rib), took fourth for Alexandre Abrivard and trainer J-M Bazire for Ecurie Charmes. The Gr. III Prix d’Orthez (purse €100,000, 2700 meters, 15 starters – four year-olds) produced a blanket finish led by 9/2 invader from the north, Phantasm Soa (4m Cromwell-Ulver H), in rein to Matthieu Abrivard for trainer Olivier Raffin and Norway’s owner, Gudbrand ALM Skiaker. The 1.13.9kr timed winner closed stoutly to defeat 11.5/1 Discours Joyeux (4m Goetmals Wood-Quelloe Copine) and Damien Bonne, for trainer Thierry Raffegeau and owner J.Y. Roze. The 2.4/1 favorite Detroit Castelets (4m Neoh Jiel-Rosanna Bonheur) and pilot Franck Ouvrie took third for trainer J.L. Dersoir and Ecurie Luck. Fractions throughout were modest. The featured Gr. I Prix Comte Pierre de Montesson (purse €200,000, 2700 meters. 14 three year-starters) went to 1.14.5kr timed and 6.9/1 Ecu Pierji (3m Tucson-Tosca Pierji) with Mathieu Mottier aboard. Sebastien Guarato trains this one for Philippe Dewulf and he was bred by Pierre Julienne. 23.8/1 Eros du Chene (3m Un Amour d’Haufor-Oulamova de Lou) was second for driver J-M Bazire and breeder/owner Claude Guedj. Julien LeMer is the trainer. 8.3/1 Estella Love (3f Love You-Shucca) rallied strongly for Franck Ouvrie to gain third for owner Jean-Pierre Dubois, who bred this filly through Ecurie Dream With Me. Yves Boireau is the trainer. Elisone Mag and Eliseo were fourth and fifth. Well regarded Erminig d’Oliverie,Elea Madrik and Equinoxe was miscue dq’s. The Prix Finistere (purse €80,00, 2850 meters, 10 startes) went to 5.7/1 Cathy A Quira (5f Password-Quira des Jacquets) driven by Matthieu Abrivard and trained by Jarmo Niskanen, for breeder/owner Etienne Desmet. 10.4/1 Carla Love (5f Royal Lover-Queridade Vonnas) was second for J-M Bazire, ahead of 33.3/1 Crescendis (5f Querido de Blart-Libertatis) and driver J.F. Senet. This winner powered home in 1.13.9kr after the clocking at 500 meters remaining was 1.14.9kr. Later in the Vincennes card the $56,000 Prix de la Gacilly went to 1.14kr timed and 3/1 odds Basic (6f Sam Bourbon-Buwarienne) raced over 2850 meters by trainer/driver Bjorn Goop for Stall Ardvidssons AB. The coldbloods contested the Prix des Trotteurs “Sang-Froid” for €20,000 over 2100 meters autostart. The 1.24.5kr clocked winner was 10/1 Finnskog Fokus (10g Spiked-Silje Spretta) with Gunnar Astevoll at the lines. Thomas H. Hicks

February 18, 2017 - Nuncio (6m Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle-Lindy Lane) record an easy, and well-rated. front end harness racing victory tonight in the V75 Gold at Axevalla in Sweden. The Orjan Kihlstrom driven and Stefan Melander trained and owned (Stall TZ) champion was timed in 1.15.7kr (fractions: 1.17.3kr at first 500 meters; 1.18.3kr at the first 1000; 1.18.1kr at the 1500) over 2140 meters autostart to earn 150,000SEK first prize. Nuncio last raced September 18, 2016 at Bjerke. Russell C. Williams of Hanover, PA bred Nuncio, the 1.07/1 favorite that bested 30.79/1 Bruno di Quattro (9m Broadway Hall-Ussel-Speedy Soma) with Kenneth Haugstad up and 31.88/1 Art On Line (9g Rite On Line-Fleur-Backstreet Guy) for Johnny Takter. Winmecredit and Spring Erom were fourth and fifth. Nuncio’s career slate now stands at 38-12-2 in 52 starts for 27,723,230SEK earned. He is now 12 for 12 in 2016-17. This night Nuncio was eased to the front, faced a challenge deep in the last bend, and then drew off for a four length score. Nuncio (Ö.Kihlström/S.Melander) Thomas H. Hicks  

February 18, 2017 - Trainer Emil Csordas teamed veteran, and 9/1 odds, Milliondollar Lex (11m Ganymede-Dadaumpa Jet-Supergill) to a 1.17.5kr timed harness racing victory in today’s featured Geza Sennyey Memorial (purse 1,500,000Huf, 1800 meters autostart). The Sun Systems Kft and Laura Pekker owned winner, pictured on this cold late afternoon, bested 10/1 Rinette Streamline (10f Kashner Hanover-Keys Praise-Prakas) and driver Csaba Lakatos and 19.2/1 Orderly (10f Yankee Glide-Dearest Darling-Ultra Decal) reined by trainer Attila Budai. Other action in the program included the several interesting winners: Szacharin (6f Vanito-Inzulin) for trainer/driver Istvan Papp and Gyolai Racing Kft. in the 600,000Huf purse Globus DIJ raced over 1900 meters autostart, timed in 1.19.9kr; Timoko RL (4m Doctor Sugar RL-Triestina) in the 400,000Huf purse Erika DIJ (1900 meters autostart) timed in 1.20.7kr for trainer/driver Imre Fazekas and owner Airzoom d.o.o; Rosamundi (9f Chipmate-Kama Sutra) for co-owner/driver Jozsef Karai and trainer Csaba Lakatos, timed in 1.21.6kr winning the 360,000Huf Mother’s Song Handicap raced over 1800 meters autostart. Next weekend Kincsem Park will zone in, as will most of Europe, on the Gr. I International Grand Prix de France, the final leg of the Triple Crown of France, as part of their simulcast offering. Thomas H. Hicks

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (February 18, 2017) - Alberto Contador lowered his lifetime mark for the second straight week at the Meadowlands, winning the harness racing featured $15,000 conditioned pace in 1:49.4. Alberto Contador won last week at 14/1 in 1:50.1 and stepped up in class in his repeat bid. Brett Miller moved the New Zealand bred 9-year-old Bettor's Delight gelding to the front past the quarter in :26.4. Miller controlled the rest of the action from there, easily holding sway from Ontario Success by two lengths at the wire. Jet Airway was third while racing for purse money only with Barimah finishing fourth and rounding out the trifecta. Alberto Contador, named for the champion Spanish cyclist, has won 33 times in 138 career starts with earnings of $452,431. Four preliminary divisions of the Dash For the G-Notes series were contested. So Take That won the fastest division in 1:51.4 for Corey Callahan and Mike Watson. It was Watson's third training win of the weekend. Iminurblindspot, the 3-year-old full brother to world champion Shebestingin, broke his maiden in his third career start in a "non-winners of two" in 1:55.3. He is trained by Nifty Norman and owned by Enzed Racing Stable and William Switala. He was a $35,000 Harrisburg yearling purchase. John Campbell, Corey Callahan, and Jim Marohn, Jr. each posted a driving double. Patti Harmon scored a training double. Total handle was $2,799,173 on the 12-race card. Live racing resumes Thursday with a 9-race card. Post time is 7:15 p.m. For more information, visit Justin Horowitz

Another round of the annual Standardbred Yearling Sales with the harness racing “Sale of the Stars” as they are dubbed, set to start on Monday. The Australasian Classic Yearling Sale is to be staged at Karaka, in Auckland, on the 20th February, with the Parade Day the day before on Sunday the 19th February.  This sale is followed immediately by the NZ Premier Yearling Sale at Christchurch, on the 21st and 22nd February. Many internet based and hardcopy advertising programmes have long been put in place and Breckon Farms pride themselves on their proactive approach to yearling promotion for their entire draft of farm owned and client yearlings. Our promotion began back in December with exposure through banners on the Harnesslink, HRNZ and Australian Harness Racing websites, linking to Breckon Farms Website Yearling Sales section, where all the latest information, photos and videos have been available.  Added to this were regular in-depth articles on Harnesslink of all Breckon Farms lots, race sponsorship, racebook advertising, oncourse big screen advertising, industry magazine advertisements and on-farm parades, flowing through January and February. Three yearlings that harnesslink have not covered to date are; Lot 124 – Top Change (brown filly, Well Said - Changedown) The sire of Top Change is Well Said 1:47.3 ($2,690,820) who is by Western Hanover from the very good race mare Must See p2,1:52 ($562,858), an Artsplace daughter of the Matt's Scooter mare, Grand Lady 1:52.4 ($235,571). What can you say about a horse that paced in 1:47.4 as a three-year-old, won $2,690,693 in purses and only had 26 starts for 14 wins 4 seconds and 2 thirds? Nothing, except it was an outstanding result! A really smart two year old who could mix it with the best at that age without being dominant. At three Well Said was just a monster, running time and winning Grand Circuit races one after another. Any three year old who can top $2,000,000 in earnings has a right to be called a champion. As a stallion Well Said has delivered where it counts with his sons and daughters doing a fine job on the track. His overall numbers are up with the best. Sire of 2015 Canadian two-year-old of the year Control The Moment who went on to win the 2016 Meadowlands Pace and is now at stud. Top Change is a half-sister to dual Group 1 and Group 3 placed filly Renske B ($57,349) and from a half-sister to 10 winners, including New Zealand Cup winner, 6-time Group 1 winner, millionaire pacer and successful sire Changeover (1.53.4h, 29 wins 16 places $2,426,765). Lot 62 – Mathew James (bay colt, Bettor’s Delight - Taylor Kate) Matthew James is the third foal and first colt from a qualified Artsplace mare who is already the dam of a winner in Crystal Sparkles ($20,530) and who is a half-sister to 4 winners in multiple Group 1 winner and 3yo Pacing Filly of the Year who set a NZ Record Lauraella (1.55.9, 10 wins 7 places $649,946), multiple Group 1 placed The Muskeg Express ($111,331), The Pacman (15 wins 23 places $100,235) and Estilo (1.54.1f, 11 wins 16 places $66,797). Lot 147 – Hot Rhythm (bay filly, Bettor’s Delight - Hot Shoe Shuffle) Hot Rhythm is a half-sister to seven winners including Group 1 winner Glenferrie Shuffle (1.57m, 13 wins 16 places $279,839), Listed race winner and Group 2 & 3 placed Jivin Cullen (1.54m, 12 wins 15 places $169,082). Her dam Hot Shoe Shuffle ($295,011) is a Group 2 and dual Listed race winner and dual Group 1 placed Falcon Seelster mare who is a full-sister to Iwasborntoboogy (1.50.4m, 31 wins $282,306). With the Australasian Classic Yearling Sales now so close, it is pertinent to reinforce some of our historical achievements as the major yearling sales preparer at the North Island Sales. In the 23 sales from 1993 through to 2015 (current 3YO’s) we have produced 385 winners from 646 yearlings sold, which is almost 60% winners to yearlings sold. We have produced the winners of 39 Group 1 Races, including wins in such races as an Interdominion Grand Final, NZ Cups (3), Hunter Cup, Harness Jewels, Breeders Crowns. Through the PGG Wrightson NZ Yearling Sales Series races we have produced the winners of 7 Open Finals, 10 Fillies Finals, Northern Hemisphere Time Final and Aged Handicap Pace. There have been 4 Millionaire Pacers that have come from our drafts, plus who could forget the Superstar of Harness Racing in the trotting ranks, I Can Doosit, who would have been the 5th millionaire if he hadn’t had to be withdrawn from the sales. Since this year’s catalogue was published there have been many updates to pedigrees of yearlings in our draft and these are listed below, so as you are fully aware of the latest successes in relation to Breckon Farms Draft yearlings. In lot order, they are:- Lot 22 – Drum Beat (bay colt Art Major / Milagro) Emiliana now has 5 wins & 8 places for $40,045 KATY PERRY now has 22 wins & 15 places for $504,533   Lot 32 – Goodman (bay colt Wishing Stone / Olesya) The Muscle Hill half-brother Star Of Olesya qualified on the 14th January 2017, running 2nd by a ½ neck in 2:10 and now has 2 starts for 2 seconds   Lot 40 – Oynas (bay colt Mach Three / Paddy Brown) BETTORBEASTAR now has 10 wins & 13 places for $72,520   Lot 46 – Toomuchlip (bay filly Art Major / Racketeers Girl) Dream To Reality now has 3 wins & 1 place for $14,065   Lot 50 – Rockin Regal (brown colt A Rocknroll Dance / Spirit Of Spring) MAJOR STAR now has a 1:53.5 Mile Rate and 13 wins & 21 places for $179,628   Lot 54 – Ball Of Art (bay colt Art Major / Star Of The Ball) (OUR) MCARDLE STAR now has 7 wins & 3 places for $42,847   Lot 62 – Mathew Jones (bay colt Bettor’s Delight / Taylor Kate) Crystal Sparkles now has 1 win & 6 places for $20,780 EXPRESS STRIDE is 3-from-3 this campaign and now has a best Mile Rate of 1:49.8 and now has 9 wins & 10 places for $191,790 ARMAZEM now has a 1:54.7 Mile Rate and 11 wins & 26 places for $84,640   Lot 66 – All Yours (bay colt Art Major / Temepara Cullen) STRAWBERRY STRIDE is now a winner in Australia and has 2 wins & 2 places for $41,884 and a best Mile Rate of 1:57.4 SMILEY SOPHIE is now a winner with a 1:56.5 Mile Rate and 1 win & 7 places for $54,486 ART I SPECIAL now has 8 wins & 23 places for $61,986   Lot 71 – Fantasize (bay filly Art Major / Thebestamancanget) MAJOR STAR now has a 1:53.5 Mile Rate and 13 wins & 21 places for $179,628   Lot 75 – My Kiwi Lass (bay filly Bettor’s Delight / Toast To Cullen) NIMBLE JACK now has another win and now has 12 wins & 37 places for $94,894 KENRICK also has another win and now has 4 wins & 11 places for $54,234   Lot 83 – Yorkshire Rose (bay colt A Rocknroll Dance / Veste) Purest Silk is a 2YO Young Guns Heat placed filly at her only start to date STRAWBERRY STRIDE is now a winner in Australia and has 2 wins & 2 places for $41,884 and a best Mile Rate of 1:57.4 SMILEY SOPHIE is now a winner with a 1:56.5 Mile Rate and 1 win & 7 places for $54,486 ART I SPECIAL now has 8 wins & 23 places for $61,986   Lot 91 – Zinny Mach (bay colt Mach Three / Zingara) LAREDO TORPEDO now has a best Mile Rate of 1:59.7 and now has 2 wins & 6 places for $18,692 EXPRESS STRIDE is 3-from-3 this campaign and now has a best Mile Rate of 1:49.8 and now has 9 wins & 10 places for $191,790 ARMAZEM now has a 1:54.7 Mile Rate and 11 wins & 26 places for $84,640   Lot 104 – Kokomo Beach (brown colt Bettor’s Delight / Beach Parade) PARTYON now has 7 wins from 7 starts and a Race, Track & Australian Record 1:51.3 Mile Time for $265,075   Lot 112 – Macca’s (bay colt Mach Three / Bella Me) ECLIPSE ME now has a best Mile Rate of 1:57.5 and now has 6 wins & 11 places for $84,264   Lot 137 – Miss Streisand (bay filly A Rocknroll Dance / Goodlookinggirl) FLAMING FLUTTER now has 21 wins & 35 places for $687,715   Lot 147 – Hot Rhythm (bay filly Bettor’s Delight / Hot Shoe Shuffle) JIVIN CULLEN now has 13 wins & 17 places for $175,572 SEM’S DELIGHT now has a best Mile Rate of 1:57 and now has 2 wins & 5 places for $46,076 We also look forward to seeing you at the Parade Day on the 19th February and then ready to go on Sale Day, the 20thFebruary, at Karaka.    

Harness racing debuts don't come a lot more impressive than that of My Sweetchilliphilly's today at Bathurst! The daughter of Betterthancheddar went straight to the front and never gave her rivals a chance. Running home in 57.3, she won by an incredible 59.7 metres in an electric 1:55.3! What a performance! My Sweetchilliphilly will now head towards the Group One Bathurst Gold Tiara next month. Bred in New Zealand by Melissa Tapp, My Sweetchilliphilly is the 8th foal and 4th winner out of the In The Pocket mare Tact Philly. After My Sweetchilliphilly's win, Betterthancheddar now has three individual two year old winners in Australia this season.

Mark Purdon's star pair drew perfectly in the harness racing barrier draw for the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park @ Club Menangle today. The only problem was, neither of them was Lazarus. Inter Dominion winner Smolda drew gate one and Our Waikiki Beach drew four but is expected to come into gate three when the second emergency, Major Crocker, is scratched, despite drawing barrier two. Purdon's star four-year-old Lazarus threw the race open when he drew out in gate eight (will come into six with the emergencies out) but can be expected to endure a wide run if he is to figure in the finish. David Aiken's pair of hotshots Lennytheshark (six) and Hectorjayjay (gate 10) also drew poorly as did another speedster Yayas Hotspot, who has to contend with gate nine if he had any hope of being first to the pegs. The final draw for the $740,000 Group One classic, to be run next Saturday night at Menangle is: 1. SMOLDA 2. MAJOR CROCKER (2nd em) 3. BLING IT ON 4. OUR WAIKIKI BEACH 5. SALTY ROBYN 6. LENNYTHESHARK 7. AZTEC BROMAC (1st em) 8. LAZARUS 9. YAYAS HOTSPOT 10. HECTORJAYJAY   By MICHAEL COURT                    

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