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The Hambletonian Future wager proved to be an extreme value play for those following and cashing in on the race winner Forbidden Trade.   The son of Kadabra captured the $1 million event at The Meadowlands in dramatic style returning $33.80 to win for those placing wagers close to post time. In the four separate Future wagers heading into the first jewel in Trotting's Triple Crown sharp players saw profits rise from the opening wager until the last. Forbidden Trade returned $22 in the first pool that closed with just $1,810 wagered in total. Price shoppers struck gold in the second pool when Forbidden Trade's backers were rewarded with a $103.60 payout, more than triple his post time odds. Forbidden Trade was still an overlay in the third Future wager with a $40.20 payout. The Hambletonian Future wager got significantly more traction as the race got closer to post time with $13,304 wagered in the fourth pool. Sharp players who backed the Ontario-sired colt trained by Luc Blais and driven most ably by Bob McClure took in $57.80 for a $2 wager nearly double the post time payoff. by Jay Bergman for the Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, NJ -- Mission Accepted and driver Yannick Gingras converted on a perfect pocket trip to capture the $60,000 Vincennes Trot on Saturday afternoon (Aug. 3) at The Meadowlands.   The 4-year-old by Manofmanymissions scored in a 1:50.2 clocking, his fastest in 16 career victories.   Mission Accepted left strongly from the start and cleared the lead before the :26.4 opening panel. Gingras allowed Lindy The Great to secure the top on the backstretch, and that one carved out middle fractions of :54 and 1:22.1 in front of a stalled outer tier.   Mission Accepted rallied from the pocket into the stretch and drew off from former Hambletonian winner Pinkman, who had to settle for second. World champion Homicide Hunter put in a solid late rally, just missing the place spot and settling for third.   Ron Burke trains Mission Accepted for owners Knox Services Inc. and David Willis. Sent off as a 5-1 offering, Mission Accepted returned $12.60.   Favorite Rich And Miserable made a break early in the race and was no factor.   Of note, the first- and third-place finishers -- both trained by Ron Burke -- raced without shoes in the Vincennes.   by Jay Bergman

East Rutherford, NJ — Heavy public choice Evident Beauty marched to the front for harness racing driver David Miller and never looked back, scoring in the $124,000 first division of the Del Miller Memorial for 3-year-old trotting fillies at The Meadowlands on Saturday night (July 13).   The New Jersey-bred daughter of Trixton stopped the timer in 1:52.3, equaling her lifetime best.   Evident Beauty, trained by Richard "Nifty" Norman for owners Melvin Hartman, Little E LLC and RAW Equine, displaced Beautiful Sin from the lead at the :28.3 opening quarter. From there a soft :57.3 half gave the 1-5 favorite the confidence she would need. Cloud Nine Fashion and Tim Tetrick made a strong coverless challenge at the half and looked on the verge of going by the favorite through three-quarters timed in 1:25.3.    But once into the homestretch, Evident Beauty was driven by Miller and found her best stride to turn back Cloud Nine Fashion with a :27 final quarter.   Miss Trixton finished third behind the winner, who returned $2.40 as the prohibitive favorite.   "I felt pretty confident," Miller said after the second-half duel. "My mare held strong."   The $126,500 Del Miller division saw Millies Possession remain undefeated, capturing her seventh straight career outing in impressive fashion. The Fashion Farms LLC homebred by Possess The Will scored in 1:53.2.   Dexter Dunn rated Millies Possession in the early stages, allowing Starita to cut fractions of :28.1 and :57.3 before taking any interest. Dunn moved up methodically as Sears and Starita hit three-quarters in 1:26 and were in control. But in the homestretch, Millies Possession just kept eating up ground and devoured the leader, eventually drawing clear with a :27.2 final quarter. Queen Of Trixs was airborne in closing late for second, with The Ice Dutchess finishing third.   Also sent off as the public choice, Millies Possession returned $3.00 to win.     "I knew we were going slow, but at the moment she seems to overcome these kind of trips," said Dunn of Millies Possession, who last week was parked the mile winning the Reynolds and followed it up with another overland journey.   The victory capped a huge night for trainer Jim Campbell and Fashion Farms, who captured the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity earlier in the night with Crystal Fashion. by Jay Bergman, Meadowlands Media

East Rutherford, NJ -- An extra eighth of a mile can make the difference, and that seemed to be the case when 23-1 shot Crystal Fashion drove by heavy harness racing favorite Atlanta nearing the wire to capture the $450,000 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-olds at The Meadowlands on Saturday night (July 13) for driver Tim Tetrick.   The outcome of the race appeared to go through the 1-5 favorite Atlanta, as Yannick Gingras got her away in third in the early stages while Crystal Fashion wrestled the lead from Custom Cantab through a :26.1 opening quarter. Gingras hit the accelerator, and Atlanta hustled to the front after the opening fraction. Atlanta appeared in complete command through a half in :55 and three-quarters of a mile in 1:23.1, with Manchego on the offensive but Gingras appearing relaxed and ready to sprint home.   The fourth quarter had Atlanta leading through a 1:50.2 mile, but the mare started to bear out, enabling Tetrick and Crystal Fashion to find room along the pylons to go by the favorite. Custom Cantab and David Miller flew to the finish and came up just a nose off the winner, with Atlanta third past the finish line. However, a judges' inquiry into the race revealed that Custom Cantab had in fact interfered with three horses -- Phaetosive, Fiftydallarbill and Six Pack -- and was placed behind them as a result. The revised order of finish elevated Atlanta to second, with Six Pack placed third and Manchego fourth.   Crystal Fashion is a 4-year-old gelding by Cantab Hall trained by Jim Campbell for Fashion Farms LLC of New Hope, Pa. Sent off at 23-1, Crystal Fashion returned $48.20 in his third win of the season in seven starts.   "I wanted to be forwardly placed," said Tetrick following the victory. "I followed Atlanta last week and it didn't work out. I thought the extra distance would help my horse."   Crystal Fashion completed the mile and one-eighth distance in 2:04.3.   by Jay Bergman, Meadowlands Media

ANDERSON, Ind. - Downbytheseaside got back on the winning track Saturday night, taking the first of two harness racing $25,000 eliminations for the Breeders Crown sophomore pacing male division at Hoosier Park. Driven by Brian Sears, Downbytheseaside led virtually wire-to-wire winning in 1:51.1. A son of Somebeachsomewhere from the Allamerican Native-sired mare Sprig Hanover, Downbytheseaside was able to rate fractions kindly after a :27.3 opening quarter. There were no challengers, allowing Sears to coast through fractions of :57 and 1:24.3 before sprinting home in :26.3 to win by a length over Boogie Shuffle. A $55,000 yearling purchase from the 2015 Lexington Selected sale, Downbytheseaside won for the 18th time in his career for owners Country Club Acres, Joe Sbrocco, Richard Lombardo and Diamond Creek Racing Stable. Brian Brown conditions the colt. "He was having problems with his liver enzymes," said Brown. "Cranberry juice has been helping the horse." An even-money favorite, Downbytheseaside returned $4 for the victory. Joining him in next week's final will be runner-up Boogie Shuffle, Photobombr Hanover, Miso Fast and Ocean Colony. Downbytheseaside The second elimination was the wildest race of the night as 28-1 shot Rock N Tony, an Indiana-bred son of Rockin Image from the Cole Muffler-sired Pandemonious, pulled off a major upset that saw both favorites - Little Brown Jug winner Filibuster Hanover and North America Cup champion Fear The Dragon - fail to qualify for the final. Rock N Tony scored in 1:50.2 for driver Trace Tetrick. With the favorites racing from off the pace, Blood Line and Rock N Tony both blasted to the front in a :27 opening quarter with Blood Line able to walk to the half in :55.4. That set up a second-half sprint that led to the Indiana Sires champion finding room along the inside and score by a length over Blood Line. Erv Miller trains Rock N Tony, a $49,000 yearling purchase from the Hoosier sale for owners Anthony Lombardi and Rocco Ruffolo. "I expected him to be good. That's why I entered him," said Miller. "He was plagued with sickness about a month ago, but he's over that now." Following Rock N Tony and Blood Line into the final will be Beckhams Z Tam, Mac's Jackpot and the supplemental entry Funknwaffles. Rock N Tony returned $58 to win. Rock N Tony By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. - Lost In Time, the top-rated freshman pacing colt, made it look easy in the first of three harness racing $20,000 eliminations for the Breeders Crown on Saturday night at Hoosier Park. With Scott Zeron in tow, Lost In Time was an easy winner in 1:52 4/5 as the 2-5 public choice. Lost In Time, a son of A Rocknroll Dance from the Artiscape-sired dam Summer Mystery, left belatedly and overtook early leader This Is The Plan past the :27 opening quarter. Zeron efficiently shut down the middle half and then put the Jim Mulinix-trained colt in gear for the homestretch. A :26 4/5 final quarter secured the victory with This Is The Plan second, 1¼ lengths behind the winner. Lost In Time, a $47,000 yearling purchase at last year's Lexington Selected auction, returned $2.80 to win. He's owned by A Rocknroll Dance Racing, D. Miller, W. Rufenacht and Team S Racing. Lost In Time, the Metro Pace winner, has now taken four of six starts in his first year of racing. "There's a huge headwind tonight and the fractions worked out perfectly," said Zeron following the victory. Keystone Tenacious rallied late for third, earning a berth in next week's final. Lost In Time Patience paid off for driver Doug McNair in the second Crown elimination for juvenile colts as Stay Hungry nosed out Indiana-bred Shnitzledosomethin on the wire in a brisk 1:50 4/5. There was plenty of early activity with Grand Teton taking control at the quarter in :26.1 and cutting a swift clip for Mark MacDonald. Shnitzledosomethin sat in the pocket throughout but came out at headstretch and easily disposed of the leader. Stay Hungry was sitting third throughout but in midstretch Doug McNair was able to find a seam and the son of Somebeachsomewhere from My Little Dragon (Dragon Again) drove by him as they hit the wire. A $150,000 yearling purchase from the Lexington Selected sale by trainer Tony Alagna for owners Bradley Grant and Irwin Samelman, Stay Hungry has now won five of his seven starts in his brief career. "He's much better off a helmet," said Alagna after the race. "Doug (driver McNair) said he was never better. He exploded when he popped the plugs." Whos Bettor came through inside to finish third with Western Passage wide in fourth. Western Passage earned a berth in the final as the high earner among the fourth-place finishers. Sent off at 5-2, Stay Hungry returned an even $7 to win. Stay Hungry Driver David Miller was aggressive with Karpathian Kid and that paid off handsomely in the final elimination. The Erv Miller-trained colt scored in 1:51. Karpathian Kid made a second move to regain past the :26.3 opening quarter from I'm A Big Deal but was immediately under pressure from Closing Statement with Brian Sears. That colt took control at the half and kept up a lively clip. In the homestretch, Closing Statement bore out opening the door for Miller and Karpathian Kid to squeeze through and score by a length over Closing Statement with Dorsoduro Hanover finishing third and advancing to the final. Karpathian Kid is a homebred son of Somebeachsomewhere from Vysoke Tatry, a daughter of Dragons Lair. The winner is owned by D. & J. Prushnok, D.J. Miller and L. Means. "The trip worked out well," said Miller following the race. As the favorite in the field, Karpathian Kid returned $3.40 with his fourth career win in 11 starts. Karpathian Kid By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. - Manchego continued her unbeaten ways capturing the second of two $20,000 Breeders Crown eliminations for harness racing juvenile trotting fillies Friday night at Hoosier Park. Yannick Gingras was in the sulky for the victory, which was clocked in 1:54.1. Gingras and Manchego floated out at the start and allowed rail-starting Looking For Zelda to take control of the race and cut the opening fraction of :27.3. Manchego was rated to take command after the first three-eighths and was able to set well-rated fractions sprinting off in the late stages for her 11th win in as many career starts. Lily Stride went a brave trip racing much of the mile without cover to gain the second spot, though a full 2½ lengths off the winner. A $120,000 yearling purchase by Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman from last year's Lexington Selected auction, Manchego is a daughter of Muscle Hill from the Cantab Hall-sired mare Secret Magic. Asked about the threat to Manchego at headstretch, trainer Jimmy Takter offered this: "It would take one heck of a filly to go by this filly," he said. "So far, we haven't seen anyone." Manchego, a 1-20 proposition, returned $2.10 for the victory while pushing her career bankroll to $573,948. In addition to the winner and Lily Stride, Top Expectations, S M S Princess and Looking For Zelda all advanced to next Friday's finale. By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown    

ANDERSON, Ind. - Youaremycandygirl captured the second $20,000 Breeders Crown elimination for harness racing 2-year-old pacing fillies with an eye-catching 1:51 victory at Hoosier Park Friday night. Yannick Gingras guided the daughter of American Ideal to the score. Stablemate Strong Opinion and Matt Kakaley bolted to the :26.2 opening quarter lead but Youaremycandygirl, the 1-9 betting choice, shunned an early tuck and drove to take command between the first- and second-quarter mark. From that point the Ron Burke-trained filly cruised to victory easily holding off runner-up Reign On Me by a half-length. A $150,000 yearling purchase from last fall's Harrisburg auction, Youaremycandygirl is owned by W J Donovan of Delray Beach, Florida. "She was a little excited tonight," said Gingras after the race. "I heard the other filly (Reign On Me) and I asked her. She's a very honest filly." Youaremycandygirl won for the sixth time in eight career starts, which includes an impressive score in the Shes A Great Lady at Mohawk. Joining Youaremycandygirl in next Friday's Breeders Crown finale for juvenile pacing fillies will be Reign On Me, along with Strong Opinion, Pueblo Blue Chip and Im With Her. The overwhelming betting favorite Youaremycandygirl paid $2.20 to win. by Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. - Nike Franco N cruised to victory in the second $25,000 elimination of the Breeders Crown Mares Pace Friday night at Hoosier Park. Tim Tetrick guided the 2-5 harness racing favorite to a 1:51.2 score. Call Me Queen Be took the lead early but Nike Franco N was able to regain command past the :26.2 opening quarter and then set even fractions of :55.3 and 1:24 with Medusa offering token pressure. In the stretch, Nike Franco N cruised to a handy victory with her :27.2 final quarter putting her 2¼ lengths ahead of runner up Bedroomconfessions at the wire. Owned by Richard Poillucci of North Easton, Massachusetts, the 7-year-old by McArdle mare was a winner for the 29th time in her 52-race career. Jim King Jr. trains Nike Franco N. "She's just a sweetheart," said Tetrick. "She's just as good on or off the pace. When they let her go 1:24 to the three quarters, she likes that, too." Nike Franco N returned $2.80 to win. Joining the top pair in the October 27 Breeders Crown finale will be L A Delight, Seventimesavirgin and Sassa Hanover. Post positions for the final: 1. L A Delight 2. Pure Country 3. Nike Franco N* 4. Darlinonthebeach* 5. Windsun Glory 6. Bedroomconfessions 7. Sassa Hanover 8. Lady Shadow 9. Seventimesavirgin 10. Blue Moon Stride AE1. Medusa AE2. Wrangler Magic   *Elimination winners draw from posts one through five. Nike Franco N By Jay Bergman, for Breeders Crown    

It's hard to believe that one race could make such an enormous difference, but to harness racing trainer Trent Stohler, being part of Extreme Velocity's upset victory in the 1997 Breeders Crown Mare Pace was a life changing experience. Stohler will start Rock On Ladys in an elimination of the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Pace on Friday at Hoosier Park, but the memory of his first Crown experience is still fresh, 20 years later. "I was doing pretty well driving in Indiana," Stohler said, "But because of Extreme Velocity and the people I was able to meet traveling with her to the Meadowlands and to Ontario, it changed my life and my career." Stohler recalls that the trip to the Meadowlands prior to the 1997 Breeders Crown by no means meant the horse, owned by his father Kenneth and uncle Merrill, would participate in the actual event. "They had paid the supplement to make her eligible for the Breeders Crown," said Stohler of the decision to nominate the once-beaten 4-year-old mare that had dominated in Indiana as a sophomore. "But when they sent her to the Meadowlands they were just trying to see how she fit." The good news for Stohler and Extreme Velocity was that they put John Campbell up to drive her. "John came back and said that we had to put her in the Breeders Crown and that she deserved a shot." The Extreme Velocity story is one of extremely humble beginnings and that of two brothers, who, upon retiring from years of work at General Motors, decided to breed a mare of somewhat questionable pedigree. "They owned the mare together and raced her," said Stohler of Hasty Grand Slam, a mare that raced 20 times total as a 3- and 4-year-old and won exactly once with $1,617 in career earnings. "Hasty Grand Slam was a mare with a lot of heart," said Stohler. "She broke a knee and they decided to breed her." The brothers proved right about the mare as her first seven foals all made the races; included in that group was Smartdecision, a son of The Denman who scored in 1:53 3/5 as a 2-year-old at The Red Mile in 1991. But it was the mating with Camtastic that yielded Extreme Velocity. The filly trained down very well as a 2-year-old before beginning to sore up late in the training sessions. "They decided to stop with her and give her time to mature," said Stohler. As a relatively small stable back then, the Stohlers returned Extreme Velocity to training for her 3-year-old season, but were pretty much unable to assess just how good the filly was. "We really didn't have anyone to train her against to get a feel of just what kind of horse she could be," said Stohler. "One day I was talking to Ernie Gaskin, I had worked for him for a few years and I noticed that he had an Open horse (at Hoosier Park) that had missed a week and that he was going to go a big training trip with. I asked him if I could tow along with Extreme Velocity." That training trip let Stohler know just what kind of horse he was sitting behind. "I tracked Ernie's horse into the stretch and when Extreme Velocity pulled out, she finished right with him." In 1996, Trent drove and trained Extreme Velocity to 15 wins in 16 starts. "She never lost a race at Hoosier Park that year," said Stohler. Her lone defeat came at Fairmount Park in Open company. It was the end of the 3-year-old campaign and the first meeting with John Campbell at Garden State Park that gave the family confidence that Extreme Velocity belonged. "When we took her out east to Garden State Park it was perhaps the first time we realized how good she was," said Stohler recalling the late closing series in the fall that Extreme Velocity captured. Stohler drove her in the final, but Campbell sat behind her on one victorious occasion. That Stohler was driving or training Extreme Velocity so late in her sophomore season was a turning point as well. "They were offered $200,000 for her during the Lexington Grand Circuit that year," said Stohler, who remembered clearly what was at stake. "Since both were retiring from General Motors, they consulted with their accountant to find out exactly what $200,000 would actually come to with taxes and such. In the end they decided it would be best to continue to own her and watch her race." Extreme Velocity had developed a racing style during her 3- and early 4-year-old season as a strict closer. Stohler explained how that evolved. "It was in the early days at Hoosier Park with the long stretch," he said. "You could just sit and wait and she would chase and pass horses. Boy have things changed, it's much more aggressive today." As far as Breeders Crown day, it was one that Stohler remembers vividly. "I flew in from Indiana and got there in time to warm her up. She was really good that day, but after she won I had to run out quickly and catch a plane because we had horses in stakes at Hoosier Park that night. When I got to Indiana, a friend drove me to the airport right to the paddock. I had my colors on and when I got to the gate the guard asked to see my license. I didn't have my license on me, but I was in full colors and they finally let me in right before the horses were going on the track," Stohler said. "It was a great night. I won a few races and afterwards we were all able to have a big party." Extreme Velocity went on to career earnings of $856,070 and helped Stohler's career immeasurably. "When I was in Ontario I would run into Carmen Hie, John Hayes and so many others. I meet plenty of horsemen from New Jersey. It was fantastic and over time, when many of those would need to send horses to Indiana, they would give me a call," Stohler said. Extreme Velocity went on to be a solid broodmare in her own right, producing three open class mares in Real Velocity, Ultimate Velocity and Continual Velocity, a trio that earned over $1 million collectively. The Stohlers' Captain Velocity, a 3-year-old by Somebeachsomewhere is currently campaigning at Hoosier Park, the host of this year's Breeders Crown. For Stohler it has come full circle, as 20 years ago he was first arriving on the national scene and today, the racetrack he calls home gets its moment to share the spotlight. By Jay Bergman for Breeders Crown

In 1984, the first year of the Breeders Crown, Gaskin was an assistant harness racing trainer for legendary Hall of Fame trainer William R. Haughton. Gaskin was keenly involved with Nihilator, the stable's spectacular juvenile pacing colt who captured the hearts and souls of the Standardbred world with eye-catching victories in the Woodrow Wilson at The Meadowlands and then the Red Mile, where he was the star. "We had pretty much turned him out for the season," said Gaskin remembering that time as if it was yesterday. "Then (owner) Lou Guida called and said that this Breeders Crown was an important race and that we should go there with his horse Nihilator," Gaskin said. This was the first year for the Breeders Crown, contested throughout North America, with tracks hosting separate divisions of age, sex and gait. That call put Nihilator back in serious training and set the stage for an historic moment in harness racing. Nihilator was unbeaten heading into the 1984 juvenile pacing colt Breeders Crown held at The Meadows. There, he met another precocious colt for the first time. Dragons Lair, trained and driven by Jeff Mallett, was stabled at The Meadows and though impressive locally, hadn't shared the national spotlight with Nihilator. The $772,500 Breeder Crown 2-Year-Old Colt Pace was conducted in same-night heats and was an epic race, with the hype extremely high, especially for a race involving two-year-olds. When Dragon's Lair upset Nihilator, it set off a chain reaction of opinions and decisions that led to Guida's purchase of Dragons Lair. "Yes, it was a great race," said Gaskin recalling the loss, "But Nihilator came back the following year to win the Crown. In 1985, there were no more fireworks on the racetrack between the king and his rivals. Still, the memory of that one race gave the fledgling Breeders Crown the opportunity to give the sport the attention it deserved and give owners, trainers, breeders and drivers a showcase event to determine a champion. In 1984, Gaskin was a key assistant trainer in the impressive Haughton stable. He had begun as a groom for Haughton in 1974 and advanced up the ladder when The Meadowlands opened in 1976; among his charges were top older trotters Cold Comfort and Keystone Pioneer. While 1984 has many memories for Gaskin because of his close connection to Nihilator, he was also at the cutting edge of a dramatic shift in the sport. The use of catch-drivers, independent contractors who stepped into the sulky before a race and stepped off after, with little to no impact on the rest of the horse's training, had become more and more widespread in a sport that originated with trainers driving their own horses. "When Billy (Haughton) called me and told me to put (Hall of Famer Bill) O'Donnell down to drive Nihilator, I was shocked," said Gaskin. The moment resonated in the history of the sport, because, in spite of his age, Haughton was considered a master in the sulky. He was admired by many of the catch drivers amassing the headlines. "Billy said to me that he'd rather put one of those guys down to drive his horse than have one of them beat him," Gaskin said, with a clear understanding of the reason for Haughton's decision. "I can remember Billy Popfinger coming up to me and warning me not to make the change," Gaskin said. Gaskin's admiration for Haughton, who ran the sport's largest and most successful stable before his death in 1986, was immense. "He had an incredible personality. He knew how to talk the right way to everyone. It was amazing that he could be speaking to, say, a George Steinbrenner one minute and then a groom the next and not change at all," said Gaskin. Gaskin stayed on with the Haughton stable after Bill's death, helping son Tommy achieve Breeders Crown championship status with the incomparable mare Peace Corps. "She had a ton of speed, but Tommy and I were actually looking to trade her for a pacer we were interested in while she was training down for her 2-year-old season," said Gaskin. "Peace Corps had incredible speed. In the Merrie Annabelle, she almost went to her knees, but somehow came back trotting to win." Peace Corps captured the Crown as a two and three-year-old with Gaskin and the younger Haughton teaming up. The Haughton stable gave Gaskin a foundation, and his love for the breed became part of the effort in Indiana to bring pari-mutuel racing to the state. He helped lead the drive to passage of enabling legislation in 1993. Soon after came Hoosier Park, site of this year's Breeders Crown championships on October 27-28. "It's really been incredible what has happened in Indiana," said Gaskin, who was appointed by the Governor in August of 1994 to the Standardbred Breed Development Advisory Commission. From the birth of pari-mutuel racing 23 years ago, to hosting the Breeders Crown, appears to be a long journey. Yet, those who know the time it takes to build an effective breeding program are astonished how quickly Indiana has made a remarkable impact on the sport. "When you see horses like Wiggle It Jiggleit, Always B Miki and Hannelore Hanover, it says a lot about what we were trying to accomplish as far as breeding development," Gaskin said. Household names in harness racing have emerged from Indiana, testament to hard work and determination to spread the word throughout North America -- not just about the Indiana Sires program -- but that the state can produce Grand Circuit quality horses of the highest level. Noted farms like Hanover Shoe Farms sending quality mares to be bred in Indiana is not something that happened overnight, but also something that wouldn't have happened without the correct structure and foundation of their breeding program. The success of the breeding industry is, of course, what drives the Breeders Crown and 23 years after its opening, Hoosier Park won't just be the location for the grand finales in all of the sport's divisions. While it will bring regional stars from throughout North America to Anderson, Indiana, the state also has home-grown talent to showcase and a history of exceptional state-bred performers as previous Breeders Crown champions. "I think when you look at the quality of mares that we breed in Indiana you see it improving year over year," said Gaskin. Such is the development of a program that has become richer over time and much more competitive on a national scale. Champions have been born in Indiana and will be crowned there in 2017. By Jay Bergman for BREEDERS CROWN

TORONTO --Harness racing stars Jimmy Takter and David Miller completed an incredible Breeders Crown night capturing the final event, the open pace with Always B Miki in a sensational 1:49.3 mile over a rain-soaked surface. The victory, a year removed from when the son of Always A Virgin had to be scratched from the Crown final at The Meadowlands came at the expense of stablemate J K Endofanera and Mach It So. State Treasurer and driver Chris Christoforou blasted to the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter, but the driver was looking in the rear view mirror and when Miller came with Always B Miki on the backstretch he was anxious to yield. The half was a solid :55.2 and Always B Miki pushed it into another gear on the turn as Foiled Again attempted to come up without cover but couldn't make a dent in the leader's margin. Always B Miki hit three quarters in 1:23 and then was high-lined to the wire with a :26.3 final quarter, an awesome closing quarter given the conditions. It was the third win in as many starts this year for Always B Miki capturing the $400,000 U.S. ($518,960 Cdn) Breeders Crown and pushing his lifetime bank account over $1 million. Owned by Bluewood Stables, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the victory was the sixth of the 12 Breeders Crown races for trainer Takter and the fifth by winning driver David Miller. Takter now has 27 Breeders Crown victories lifetime, while Miller has 19. "He's pretty special," said Miller about Always B Miki. "It's a thrill to sit behind him and to feel his power." The 2-5 favorite in the field Always B Miki impressed the trainer as well. "He's a very unique horse. I put him in the top horses to ever compete in this sport," said Takter. Takter finished 1-2 with J K Endofanera's finish as All Bets Off earned fourth money. Foiled Again was placed fifth after being lapped on a breaking State Treasurer at the finish. As for Takter wrapping up his record night. "It was almost like 100 per cent," Takter said. By Jay Bergman

TORONTO -- Sometimes you have to get the breaks to win a Breeders Crown race and that proved to be the case in the harness racing event for three-year-old filly trotters as 1-5 shot Mission Brief broke stride on a clear lead in early stretch and Wild Honey emerged with the victory in the $500,000 U.S.($648,700 Cdn) event on Saturday at Woodbine. The race began as expected as Mission Brief cleared the 8-5 Wild Honey going to the quarter in a respectable :26.2. Mission Brief and Yannick Gingras cruised to the half in :56.2 with no movement from the trailers. Mission Brief kicked it into high gear late on the final turn and appeared to be opening ground effortlessly on Wild Honey hitting the three quarters in 1:25 and looking on her way to an open lengths victory. That victory would not materialize as Mission Brief blew up and was pulled to the outside in the stretch leaving Wild Honey and driver John Campbell suddenly in the lead and concerned about the trailers. Closers Im So Fancy and Speak To Me gained gradually on the Jimmy Takter-trained daughter of Cantab Hall, but neither could dent the filly's margin as she won for the third straight time this year and avenged a defeat to Mission Brief in last year's Breeders Crown juvenile event. "I don't think I was going to catch her," said John Campbell of Mission Brief. "My filly was struggling on the turn and she got away from me. If you're going to beat Mission Brief you've got to stay right on her back." But Campbell's strategy to stay on Mission Brief's back was not important once the filly made a break. Mission Brief's trainer Ron Burke said his filly, "didn't warm up the best. The track didn't suit her today and she has those issues that we're not 1,000 per cent over just yet. I thought she was, but I knew warming her up that maybe we had an issue. "She was home. All she had to do was keep herself trotting so, you know, it's bad. That's the high of the sport and the lows of the sport right there. She'll be fine and there will come a time yet when she'll put it all together. She's the best horse I've ever trained." Winning trainer Jimmy Takter -- who captured his third Crown of the evening and 24th lifetime -- said he thought he had a chance. "I saw Yannick was having trouble with her (Mission Brief). She wasn't trotting as smoothly as she usually does," Takter said. Takter also put his vote in for division honors. "She won the Hambletonian (Oaks), The Kentucky Futurity (filly division) and The Breeders Crown. I think she should be the divisional champion," Takter said. Wild Honey, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, has now won over $1.5 million during her career. She's won 17 of 26 lifetime starts. Classical Annie and Elegant Serenity earned the final checks in the field. It was the 12th Breeders Crown victory for John Fielding, who ranks second in Crown victories by owners. By Jay Bergman

TORONTO - Southwind Frank made it look easy for harness racing driver Yannick Gingras clearing to the lead by the quarter pole and never looking back to capture the $600,000 U.S. ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown event for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings at Woodbine Racetrack. The son of Muscle Hill has been a dominant force in the division all season long and the Crown performance was no exception as he cruised over the rain-soaked Woodbine oval in a 1:54.2 clocking under wraps. Owned by Burke Racing and Weaver Bruscemi, Our Horse Cents Stables and J & T Silva Stables, Southwind Frank is out of the Cantab Hall-sired Flawless Lindy. Sent off as the prohibitive 1-10 favorite, Southwind Frank left alertly but Gingras waited for Sliding Home inside of him to clear the lead before hustling his colt to the front before the :27.1 opening quarter. With little movement behind him, Gingras took the second quarter to shut down the pace with Southwind Frank trotting a :30.2 second quarter while in complete command. The first horse to pull was Marion Marauder and Scott Zeron. Also by Muscle Hill the colt grinded up towards the winner through the third quarter as Gingras let a notch out and Southwind Frank hit three quarters in 1:26.2. With Marion Marauder in pursuit, Gingras allowed Southwind Frank to hit his best stride and the colt opened ground effortlessly cruising a final quarter in :28 and winning with ease. Marion Marauder was a determined second-place finisher, the fifth time this year in 11 starts he finished in the bridesmaid role. Early leader Sliding Home earned the final board spot. The victory was win number 11 in a dozen starts for the impressive colt trained by leading conditioner Ron Burke, who celebrated his ninth Breeders Crown victory. "He was a bit more aggressive behind the gate this week," said Gingras, who won his 12th Breeders Crown and 11th in the last three years. "Once I settled him down he was all business... From the first time I sat behind him he's been all business." Deep Impact and Milligans School earned the final checks. Southwind Frank returned $2.20 as the third consecutive Crown odds-on winner on the Woodbine program. QUOTES; Yannick Gingris driver; Any anxious moments? YG: Maybe a few moments behind the gate.  He was a bit more aggressive than he has been the last few weeks. He was like that in the beginning of the year.  So, I just wanted to get him off on the right foot, because he was not sure footed then. The rest of the way I had no problem. From the first time that I sat behind him, at Gaitway, he has been all business.  Every time that I have raced him, he has been a perfect professional. Jerry Silva: I think that he may have surpassed his father, Muscle Hill, and that is saying a lot.  No one knows until next year how good he is going to be. I had this conversation with Ron Burke, trainer,  He should be able to do a lot.  This is his last race for the year.  We are not going to do anything else with him now.  Hambo: There is something in August that we like to go to.  The Hambo.  This year we tried it, but we were not good enough.  Next year we will try it again with Southwind Frank. Nights that make it all worthwhile? It makes it all worthwhile.  1to9 makes me nervous, trotters make me nervous.  Everything makes me nervous. You saw how relaxed he was out in the Woodbine winner’s circle.  He is just the picture-perfect horse. You love them more when they are that way. By Jay Bergman

Solar Sister and harness racing driver Doug McNair came right back from an impressive victory in last week's Ontario Sire Stakes Super final to capture the first of two US$25,000 eliminations for the Breeders Crown sophomore pacing filly division. In a wide-open and competitive event Solar Sister was sent off as the 7-2 second choice and McNair left enough in the early stages to get a three-hole as first The Show Returns blasted to the front and then was passed by Southwind Roulette with driver Yannick Gingras. Southwind Roulette took the field to the quarter in :27 1/5 and virtually walked to the half in :57 flat as the outside flow was slow to materialize. Bettor Be Steppin, the lukewarm favorite in the field of nine pulled but awaited cover and once past the half Solar Sister was taken to the outside by McNair and the race began. Tracking second over cover was the undefeated Frost Damage Blues with Bettor Be Steppin third over. Solar Sister reached even terms with the pacesetting Southwind Roulette as the third quarter was blitzed in :27 3/5. The well-bred daughter of Mach Three hit high gear for McNair in the homestretch and sprinted away from the leaders winning comfortably in 1:52 1/5. Frost Damage Blues lost for the first time in her brief career but was a solid second earning a trip to the final. Southwind Roulette held on for third with The Show Returns finding space between horses to get fourth with Bettor Be Steppin narrowly nosing Wicked Little Minx from a spot in the rich final. McNair, who guided Solar Sister for his dad, trainer Greg McNair, and owners David Wilmot and Clay Horner was quite happy with the way the trip worked out for the filly. "I was able to sit with her for five-eighths of a mile. She's actually very good coming from off the pace," McNair said.   The victory was the eighth of the season in 15 starts for Solar Sister, a homebred.   Solar Sister     Jay Bergman

Undefeated Pure Country took her act to the North Country on Friday night but the results were identical to what's been expected from the juvenile daughter of Somebeachsomewhere in the United States. The Jimmy Takter trained filly was powerful in capturing the first of two $20,000 US eliminations for the Breeders Crown harness racing two-year-old filly pace in 1:52 3/5 at Woodbine. Driven by Brett Miller the homebred from Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm's racing stable got away third as the 1-5 betting choice as Lyons River Pride and Yannick Gingras jetted from the outside to take charge in a :28 1/5 opening quarter. Lyons River Pride kept an honest pace and because of it there was little movement through the second quarter with the half reached in :56 2/5 before anyone began to move. Darlinonthebeach and driver David Miller were the first to pull at that point and slowly progressed on the rim with Pure Country pulling to provide cover with roughly three-eighths of the mile remaining. The pace and activity got serious as the field reached the three-quarters in 1:24. Brett Miller worked on Pure Country in the early stretch and the filly responded with authority, blowing past the leader and drawing clear to win in handy fashion. Darlinonthebeach looked to be a serious threat off cover on the final turn but couldn't accelerate with the winner into the stretch. Nevertheless driver David Miller was able to urge the filly on late to get the place spot with early pacesetter Lyons River Pride holding on for the third spot. Mayhem Seelster and Shezarealdeal picked up the final two qualifying spots and return for the $600,000 October 24 final. The victory kept Pure Country with a perfect nine wins in nine career starts during her first season at the races. Sent off as the 1-5 choice Pure Country returned $2.40 to win.   Pure Country     With the elimination winners drawing for posts 1-5, the complete field for the final is as follows:   1 Darlinonthebeach, Dave Miller, Nancy Johansson   2 Shezarealdeal, Marcus Miller, Tony O'Sullivan 3 Pure Country, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter 4 Lyons River Pride, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 5 Yankee Moonshine, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 6 Soft Idea, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano 7 Blue Moon Stride, Andrew McCarthy, Mark Harder 8 Skinny Dipper, Randy Waples, Tony O'Sullivan 9 Mayhem Seelster, Jack Moiseyev, Tony O'Sullivan 10 Call Me Queen Bee, Scott Zeron, Tony O'Sullivan AE: 1 Tipton Teeez, Tim Tetrick, Brian Brown AE 2 Rock Me Baby, John Campbell, Staffan Lind Jay Bergman for Breeders Crown  

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