CAMPBELLVILLE, July 17 - Mister Herbie, a two-time harness racing O'Brien Award winner, will make his third appearance in the Maple Leaf Trot this Saturday night, at Mohawk Racetrack. Owned and trained by Jeff Gillis, the six-year-old millionaire son of Here Comes Herbie is overlooked on the morning line at odds of 15-1 with favoured Sebastian K, a decisive 2/5 mutuel favourite, capturing most of the attention. However, it was only two years ago that Mister Herbie, sent to post at 8-1, upset the heavily-favoured Chapter Seven to win the Maple Leaf Trot with a strong stretch run in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4. "I'd take a repeat of that," grinned Gillis. Stepping up against Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), on Saturday, Gillis knows that Mister Herbie will have to be at his best. In 2012, Chapter Seven was a well-backed favourite, but certainly not as touted as Sebastian K. "It's not to the same extent," agreed Gillis. "Sebastian K looks fairly invincible when you can leave as hard as he can, and then come some pretty wicked back halves. "It's pretty hard to figure out a strategy to beat that. But, that's why we run the race. Favourites go down. Horses are not machines and they can come up with a less than one hundred percent performance. Someone could take a run at him." Mister Herbie is lightly raced this campaign. He made his qualifying debut by trotting home a dominant 15-length winner in 1:55.3 on June 6, his first start since an even effort at Meadowlands Racetrack in late November. He's posted a trio of second-place runs since that qualifier including a runner-up effort to Market Share in last week's elimination, the very rival Mister Herbie chased home in the 2013 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Gillis was intent on giving his champion gelding some time off this winter following a year in which Mister Herbie won just once, yet still banked $492,607 in purse earnings thanks to six runner-up finishes in stakes competition. "He spent eight weeks in Kentucky. We deliberately brought him back a little bit slower, in part, because of how late the season ran last year," explained Gillis. "We took our time with him and hopefully we'll finish strong. He's done everything on schedule so far and gotten a little bit better each time. He's heading into the race in good form." Gillis knows his charge will need to drop considerable time off his 1:53.2 elimination clocking on Saturday to win a second Trot final. In fact, Mister Herbie will likely need to equal or better his own Trot final performance of 1:50.4. "If they get a good track on Saturday, I suspect they're going to flirt with the track record, and I'd be just as happy if we held it when it was over too," he grinned. Steve Condren, who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image, will be charged with engineering a winning trip and Gillis has every confidence in the veteran driver. "Steve is a tremendous driver and very accomplished. He has a lot of experience and I think he suits the horse," said Gillis. As for the conditioner's idea of the perfect trip? "Ideally, we'll get away mid pack and someone would soften up Sebastian K and we'd be second over and pounce on tired horses," he offered. "It takes a lot of luck for something like that to unfold, but I think it's going to be an interesting race. I'm not sure everyone will lay back and let him (Sebastian K) get an easy half." And while the Maple Leaf Trot is certainly first and foremost for Gillis and Mister Herbie heading into Saturday's lucrative $603,000 event, the conditioner does have one other key date circled on the calendar later in the season for Canada's reigning champion aged trotter. "The race I'd really like him to win is the Breeders Crown," said Gillis. In 2012, Chapter Seven turned the tables on 'Herbie' to win the Breeders Crown at Woodbine and last year, at Pocono Downs, 'Herbie' dueled with Market Share to a furious finish only to lose by a nose. "I feel he deserved a better fate the last two years and that would be one that would mean a lot to me. It was heartbreaking (losing the photo)," said Gillis. Until then, its eyes on the prize for Gillis and a horse he clearly has a lot of respect for. "He's the perfect horse in every sense of the word. He does everything right, full of personality and I'm extremely fond of him," said Gillis. "We haven't really won a big one in a couple years. Herbie's Maple Leaf Trot was probably our last big win, so I feel like we're due for another." Mark McKelvie WEG Communications - Standardbred
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Mohawk Racetrack hosted a compact five-race qualifying session on Friday morning under pristine conditions. A trio of upper echelon performers took to the Campbellville oval and recorded wins by large margins. Strictly in terms of winning margin, the biggest victory of the morning came in Race 5 when Sunshine Beach, who was in rein to Chris Christoforou, motored off to a 23-length win in Race 5. The mile was clocked in 1:51.3 and the four-year-old son of Somebeachsomewhere capped off his mile with a :25.2 final quarter. The morning effort was the second qualifying performance of the season for the career winner of $950,108 in purses. One race prior, two-time O’Brien Award winner Mister Herbie made his 2014 charted debut by trotting to a dominant 15-length win for trainer Jeff Gillis and driver Steve Condren in 1:55.3. The millionaire son of Here Comes Herbie was trotting his first charted mile since having last raced at the Meadowlands Racetrack in late November. To read the rest of the story click here.
Perfect Alliance puts her perfect 10-for-10 record this season on the line in the first of two Armbro Flight eliminations for older female trotters Friday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The 4-year-old Perfect Alliance is coming off a world-record 1:51.2 win over 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician on May 19 in a division of the Miss Versatility Series at Woodbine. The time is the fastest by a 4-year-old female trotter on a mile racetrack. She is the 3-5 morning line favorite in her elimination, which also includes Upfrontluckycarol, Intense America, Rockin With Dewey, Ma Chere Hall, Bax Of Life, and Lady Laker. Perfect Alliance starts from post seven with Yannick Gingras driving for trainer Julie Miller. Perfect Alliance had totaled two wins in 18 starts at ages 2 and 3 before bursting onto the scene this season with wins in the Singer Memorial Series and Bobby Weiss Series. "She couldn't be much better," Gingras said. "She's done everything asked of her and has been very impressive. I couldn't be happier with her." Gingras, who also is the regular driver of 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best older female trotter Maven, has been driving Perfect Alliance since Andy Miller was injured in an accident in April. Maven just recently returned from Sweden, where she finished sixth in the international invitational Elitlopp. "I think (Perfect Alliance) fits really well (with the top older female trotters) off that last start," Gingras said. "You really don't know until they go out and do it, but she had raced very well and I felt she had some more. I was very happy to find out she did." Four-year-old Bee A Magician is the 6-5 favorite in the second Armbro Flight elimination, with Classic Martine the second choice at 8-5. It will be Bee A Magician's second start of the campaign after going 17-for-17 last season on her way to Horse of the Year honors in both the U.S. and Canada. She is trained by Nifty Norman and driven by Brian Sears. Chris Oakes' Classic Martine, another 4-year-old, has won all three of her starts this season, including her division of the Miss Versatility in 1:52.2. One race earlier, she won in 1:51.2 at Pocono Downs to become the fastest 4-year-old female trotter on a five-eighths-mile oval. The remainder of the second Armbro Flight elim field is Angies Lucky Star, Charmed Life, Daylon Miracle, and D'Orsay. * * * Trainer Joe Holloway sends out the favorites in each of Saturday's two eliminations for the Roses Are Red Stakes at Mohawk. Shebestingin is the 2-1 morning line pick in the first division and Somwherovrarainbow is the 4-5 selection in the second elim. Somwherovrarainbow has won six of eight races this year, including the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series final, and was last seen pacing the fastest mile ever by a female pacer on a five-eighths-mile track when she won in 1:48 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. She brings a three-race win streak to Mohawk. Shebestingin, who happens to be the fastest female pacer in history thanks to her 1:47 win last year at The Red Mile, is returning to stakes action after being scratched from the Betsy Ross Invitational because of a fever on May 25. She has won two of four races this season, with one second-place finish. She finished fifth in the mares preferred at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on June 1. "These girls can rock," Holloway tweeted recently. (Follow @joehollowaystab). "Rainbow is feeling very good and trained well," he texted Wednesday. "I hope Sting rebounds; she might still be off her game some from being sick." Anndrovette, the three-time Dan Patch Award winner for best older female pacer, is the 5-2 second choice in the first elimination. She won the Betsy Ross in 1:50.2 at Harrah's Philadelphia. "Rumors of her demise are premature," co-owner Jeffrey Bamond quipped after Anndrovette picked up her second win in seven starts this season. Also in the first elim are Jerseylicious, Charisma Hanover, Summertime Lea, Shelliscape, and Drop The Ball. Joining Somwherovrarainbow in the second elimination are Krispy Apple, Rocklamation, Monkey On My Wheel, Voelz Hanover, Yagonnakissmeornot, and Camille. * * * Precocious Beauty, who was the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old female pacer, was among 14 horses entered in the Fan Hanover Stakes for 3-year-old female pacers. The group was split into two seven-horse eliminations, to be contested Saturday, with the top five finishers from each division advancing to the final. Sent out by the father-and-son team of trainer Gregg McNair and driver Doug McNair, Precocious Beauty is in the second elim. She is coming off a 1:52.4 win in a division of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs last weekend in her seasonal debut. She is owned by breeder Jim Avritt Sr., who was looking forward to her campaign. Precocious Beauty has won eight of 12 lifetime starts and finished worse than second just once. She is unbeaten in four starts at Mohawk, where last year she captured the She's A Great Lady Stakes and divisions of the Champlain and Eternal Camnation stakes. Precocious Beauty is the 2-1 morning line favorite in her elimination. The rest of the second elim is Rock N Roll Xample, Mamas Fallen Angel, Table Talk, Major Dancer, Lady Shadow, and Bahama Blue. Uffizi Hanover, who won the 2013 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers, is in the first elim. She is joined by Take That Hanover, Barefoot Beauty, Nat A Virgin, Beach Gal, Wanna Rock N Roll, and Fancy Desire. Beach Gal, who beat older horses her last time out, is the 5-2 morning line choice. She finished third in last year's She's A Great Lady. * * * There are two eliminations Friday for the Goodtimes Stakes for 3-year-old male trotters. Elim No. 1 features 2013 New York Sire Stakes champion Flyhawk El Durado, who is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Trained in the U.S. by Mark Ford, he races out of the stable of Jeff Gillis in Canada. The colt has a win and two third-place finishes in three starts this season. Entranced, trained by co-owner Garth Gordon, is the second choice at 9-2. He is coming off a second-place finish to Massive Talent in a division of the Ontario Sire Stakes. Massive Talent, from the barn of Nifty Norman, is 9-1 in the same Goodtimes elim. Thomas Durand's Hitchin A Ride, another Ontario Sire Stakes winner last week, is 5-1. The rest of the field is Massacaia, Musical Spell, Skates N Plates, Verdi, Il Sogno Dream, and So Not Cool. The second elim features Jimmy Takter's New Jersey Sire Stakes champion Trixton, who has won three in a row since finishing second to Odds On Amethyst in his seasonal debut. Trixton's three wins are by a total of 22 lengths. He is the 3-5 morning line choice. Harper Blue Chip, trained by Mark Steacy, is the second pick at 6-1. Last year, he won a division of the Champlain Stakes and finished second to Father Patrick in the Wellwood Memorial. Pasadena Star, trained by Bob McIntosh, also won a division of the 2013 Champlain and has won six of nine starts in his career. Lightly raced Speak The Truth, from the stable of Linda Toscano, won a leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes in May. The remainder of the field is Adversity, Dontcheatonmenow, Mister B's Way, Sas Warkentin, See The Wind, and Raise The Curtain. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
Favourite Cougar Hall earned his second consecutive win over the game Machal Jordan in the featured $34,000 Preferred Pace on Saturday night at Woodbine Racetrack. Driven by Jack Moiseyev, Cougar Hall matched his 1:51.4 season's mark that he established while winning the top class by half a length over Machal Jordan last Saturday. In this evening's Preferred, J J Shark (Sylvain Filion) forced the leaving post eight starter Lucky Terror (Jonathan Drury) to settle for the pocket spot during a :26.3 first quarter battle. Dali (Luc Ouellette) got away third with 6-5 favourite Cougar Hall following in fourth. As the field headed into the backstretch, Dali moved underway from third and took over the lead before hitting the half-mile marker in :55.3. The stallion was then confronted by Cougar Hall, who cleared to command past the 1:23.4 third quarter station and began to open up multiple lengths on the field to secure the victory. The late-closing Machal Jordan (Roger Mayotte) narrowed the winning margin to one and a quarter lengths. In Commando (Chris Christoforou), a half-length winner over Cougar Hall in his last outing two weeks ago, finished third. Cougar Hall now has four wins in six starts during his four-year-old campaign and a seasonal bankroll totalling $60,100. The grey son of Somebeachsomewhere is owned by trainer Jeff Gillis, Gerald Stay, Mac Nichol, Thomas Kyron and Carl Jamieson. Cougar Hall paid $4.40 to win. by Greg Gangle, for WEG
Sent postward at odds of 12-1, the class-climbing Lucky Terror upset the popular millionaire, Mystician, in a final quarter sprint to take the top conditioned class at Woodbine Racetrack on a cold Saturday night. With Jack Moiseyev catch-driving, Lucky Terror prevailed by a nose in the 10th race for non-winners of $28,000 in the last five starts (also eligible non-winners of $175,000 lifetime). Mckinney (Sylvain Filion) set up shop on the front-end after leaving from post three and led the field of seven through fractions of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:24.2. Meanwhile, Lucky Terror moved underway from fifth at the half with 3-5 favourite Mystician (Scott Zeron) following his cover. Lucky Terror battled the leader around the final turn, eventually edging by, while Jeff Gillis trainee Mystician launched his late attack to make it into the win photo in a 1:52.3 mile. Lucky Terror paid $26.40 to win. Third-place honours went to Mckinney, who held off Frankies Dragon (Chris Christoforou) and Grande Seelster (Randy Waples) over a length and a half behind. Lucky Terror is trained by Shaun McDonald and owned by Glenview Livestock Ltd. of Guelph-Eramosa, Ont. and Leonard Christopher of Acton, Ont. The win was the seven-year-old Western Terror gelding's 28th lifetime and the lion's share of the $28,000 purse lifted his career bankroll to $254,683. Lucky Terror pulled off the biggest upset on the 12-race card, which only saw three post-time favourites make it to the winner's circle. The fastest mile of the -10 degree night was 1:51.4, posted by post 10 starter Alexas Jackpot ($18.10) and Jonathan Drury in the fourth race for conditioner Marty Fine. The winner upset another popular Gillis-trained and Zeron-driven starter, Speed Again, who cut fractions of :26.2, :55, and 1:23 from post nine. To view Saturday's harness racing results, click on the following link: Saturday Results - Woodbine Racetrack. Videos of all races are attached. Printed with permission of Standardbred Canada
Ontario Success doubled up in the Snowshoe Series thanks to a 1:54 score in Monday’s second-leg assignment at Woodbine Racetrack, and his perfect record in the preliminary legs figures to make him a popular item in next week’s rich final. With Chris Christoforou at the lines, Ontario Success survived a first turn park out before grabbing the lead as the field moved into the backstretch. He led the field to the half in :57, but was overtaken going into the final turn by Meetyouatmidnight. That foe sprinted to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.4, but his wheels started to wobble as the field entered the stretch. Ontario Success used a :27.4 closing to re-rally to the lead, and he managed to fend off a late-rushing KG Dragonator by a neck in 1:54. Tex finished third. The four-year-old son of Lis Mara-Loving Success, who was sent off as the 3-5 favourite, resides in the barn of trainer Tony O’Sullivan for owner/breeder Emerald Highlands Farm of Mount Vernon, Ohio. The four-time winner pushed his lifetime earnings to $44,884 with the victory. Sanattle Slew turned a second-over trip into a 1:55.1 tally in the second division for the tandem of driver Billy Davis, Jr. and trainer/owner/breeder Jeff Gillis. Brother John shot to the lead and threw down panels of :27.2, :57.4 and 1:27, but he couldn’t last on the lead. Sanattle Slew tracked cover behind Allcardsallthetime, and when Davis flipped him off cover Sanattle Slew charged home in :27.4 to win by a length over Hopiesdragninthedo in a career-best clocking of 1:55.1. Third prize went to Dreydl Hanover. Sent off at odds of 8-1, Sanattle Slew won for just the second time in his career. The lion’s share of the $15,000 purse boosted his bankroll to $25,990. The $34,600 final of the Snowshoe Series is scheduled for Monday, January 27 at Woodbine Racetrack. In other Monday evening action at the Rexdale oval, Catch The Dream took home weekly bragging rights in the $34,000 Preferred Trot. Randy Waples came first-over with the Bruce MacDonald trainee, and the six-year-old son of Cash Hall-Anything But Love gelding got up to win by three-quarters of a length over the tempo-setting Take My Picture in 1:55.2. Watkins came on late to grab the show dough. It was the second consecutive victory for the 21-time winner, who pushed his lifetime earnings past $260,000 in the process. To view results for Monday's card of harness racing, click the following link: Monday Results – Woodbine Racetrack. Reprinted with permission by www.standardbredcanada.ca
TORONTO, December 28 - Sylvain Filion and Richard Moreau retained their titles as Woodbine Entertainment Group's (WEG) leading harness racing driver and trainer, respectively, after the 2013 Standardbred racing season came to a close Saturday night at Woodbine. Filion finished with 248 wins at Woodbine and Mohawk Racetracks, five in front of Scott Zeron, who had 243 victories, while Jody Jamieson was third with 213, including a pair on the final night. Moreau collected his third WEG training title after winning 126 races. Jeff Gillis had 81 wins, while Carmen Auciello wound up third with 76 victories. Filion, who lives in Milton, had to share his first WEG driver championship with Jody Jamieson in 2012, each with 284 wins. But this year he stands alone. "This past year has been a memorable one for me both on and off the track," said Filion. "I drove many terrific horses and am very thankful for the opportunity. Winning with Boomboom Ballykeel (in the $683,000 Metro Pace for trainer Richard Moreau) was certainly unexpected and that was a great thrill. Off the track, my wife and I adopted a baby and that's something very special." The 44-year-old Filion, who also led all drivers in purse earnings on the WEG circuit with over $5.3 million, is seeking a second consecutive O'Brien Award as Canada's Top Driver, an honour he earned for the first time for his accomplishments last year. The 49-year-old Moreau, who captured his first WEG title in 2010, also led all trainers in purse earnings with over $2.5 million. The Puslinch, Ontario resident is an O'Brien Award finalist for Canada's Trainer of the Year. Live racing returns to Woodbine on Monday, January 6 and continues on a three-day-a-week schedule (Monday, Friday and Saturday). First race post time is 7:25 p.m. Videos of all Saturday night races are attached.
Santanna Blue Chip was a household harness racing name back five years ago in 2008 when the excellent son of Art Major won $1.6 million. He raced successfully in his three-year-old season against none other than Somebeachsomewhere, Art Official, Shadow Play and Dali. Well, he’s back and back winning again too! Returned to racing after a four year stint as a stallion, Santanna Blue Chip rewarded his backers in his third start, winning the fourth race $16,000 n /w pace and at a price of 9-1! In his first two start, and now he is eight years old, Santanna Blue Chip, driven by Billy Davis, Jr., enjoyed a third-over trip behind Real Rocker (Randy Waples) who was following the first-over Lennon Blue Chip (Jonathan Drury) as they were coming on to challenge pacesetter Kindly Poet (Sylvain Filion) with My Man Charley (Anthony Macdonald) sitting the two-hole trip. At the three-quarters in 1:24.4, Davis sent Santannta Blue Chip three-wide and he looped the field and then held on in the stretch to win by a half length in 1:53 over late closing The Ladies Man (Mike Saftic) and Lennon Blue Chip. He is trained and owned by Jeff Gillis of Hillsburgh, Ontario and paid a generous $18.90 to win. As a stallion he bred 123 mares last year in New Zealand. Click here for a recent article on Santanna Blue Chip on Harnesslink. Videos of all races are attached. by Steve Wolf for Harnesslink.com
Super sire Somebeachsomewhere quinelled the richest race on the card at Woodbine raceway tonight Saturday the 7th of December. The $24,000 second race was won by the three-year-old colt Apprentice Hanover with Jody Jamieson in the bike for harness racing trainer Ben Wallace. Another three-year-old colt Cougar Hall was second for trainer Jeff Gillis. Videos of all races are attached.
Monday evening’s qualifiers served as a dress rehearsal for Saturday night’s grand opening of Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment’s brand new grandstand. Meadowlands employees and their families were invited to Pink, the terraced dining room in the new building, for a complimentary tasting of the new menu and give the servers a test run of the facility. The races began at 6:00pm with the accomplished older trotter Mister Herbie cruising around the oval in 1:53- for driver Tim Tetrick. After a 57- half, “Herbie” turned on the jets and won by many lengths. Trainer Jeff Gillis shares ownership of the $1.7 million winning son of Here Comes Herbie with Mac Nichol and Gerald Stay. So Surreal (Somebeachsomewhere) won easily in 1:53.4 (final half in 55-) for trainer/driver Ray Schnittker prepping for next week’s Governors Cup eliminations. Gewertz, Kurnit & Arnold are partners with Ray on the colt. Don’t Blame Her, long a favorite of the Bongiorno family, sharpened up with an eye catching 1:54.2/27.1 effort in the third. Barbara and Bobby own the mare, driven by their son Joe. Brad Irvine trains. Another preview night of qualifiers comes along this Thursday at 6:00pm. Horsemen have been invited to attend on that occasion to sample the fare in Pink. Then the house opens for real on Saturday with a stakes laden card of racing. Stay informed with a visit to The Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment website. by Nick Salvi for the Meadowlands
In otherwise an uneventful Saturday night harness racing driver Jack Moiseyev won three races at Woodbine Racetrack. He won two for trainer Jeff Gillis. Three-year-old Somebeachsomewhere colt Cougar Hall in 1:51 and five-year-old Camluck son Mystician in 1:52.2. Videos of all races are attached.
TORONTO, November 6 – It’s best known as “Harrisburg” in Harness racing. But to many others, it’s the Standardbred Horse Sales Company Annual Sale and the 2103 edition is underway with more than 2,100 racehorses offered at public auction. The ‘Black Book’ will feature a Select Yearling Sale held Monday through Thursday, followed by the Mixed Sale on Friday and Saturday at the PA Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Some of the sport’s brightest starts, including those who are currently racing at Woodbine, will be offered on Saturday during the Mixed Sale. Atop the list is the four-year-old Knows Nothing, who is fresh off an open-length victory in the $34,000 Preferred Trot at the Rexdale oval. Hillsborough conditioner Jeff Gillis will auction the top sales prospect. The trotting star has a terrific 5-4-2 record from 17 starts this season, along with his 1:51.4 career best. The talented son of Kadabra competed in the Grand Circuit this season when he contested in the Maple Leaf Trot, Arthur Cutler Memorial,and TVG Free-For-All Series. The Ontario Sires Stakes graduate has $729,356 in career earnings and will sell as hip number 1970. Click here to see Knows Nothing’s latest victory. Another Gillis-trainee that will sell at the Mixed Sale is Continual Velocity. The classy five-year-old has found the winner circle in 21 of 85 career starts along with $344,166 in career earnings. A regular overnight campaigner on the WEG Circuit, Continual Velocity has a 1:50.3 career best and has raced in the Fillies and Mares Preferred Pace. She will sell as hip number 1797. Cheltenham conditioner, Dave Menary will offer four top campaigners in Tarpon Hanover, Windsong Jack and Tea Party Princess and Macharoundtheclock. Tarpon Hanover, who captured the $300,000 Battle of Waterloo last season as a rookie, will sell as hip number 1947. The pacing son of Badlands Hanover has banked $503,854 in his two season of racing. Fresh off a second place finish in the $200,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final, Tarpon Hanover recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30 in 1:55.3. The brown colt has a 5-3-8 record from 24 career starts. His stablemate is another top OSS campaigner in Windsong Jack. A son of Santanna Blue Chip, Windsong Jack has banked $438,486 in his career for Menary. The brown gelding has amassed an impressive 6-7-2 record from 21 career starts along with a 1:49.4 career best. He recently qualified at Mohawk on October 30, winning gate-to-wire in 1:54. He will sell as hip number 1953. Macharoundtheclock, a daughter of Mach Three, has banked $239,837 in her young career. From 21 career starts, the bay filly has a 3-5-1 record and a 1:51.1 lifetime best. She talented filly competed in the Jugette, Shes A Great Lady, Canadian Breeders along with the OSS. She will sell as hip 1825. The richest of Menary’s offerings is Tea Party Princess, who has banked $666,934 in her career. The daughter of Art Major has found the winner circle in 18 of 73 career starts. A regular overnight competitor on the WEG Circuit, Tea Party Princess has competed in the Breeders Crown, Fan Hanover and Milton Stakes, just to name a few. The $40,000 yearling purchase will sell as hip 1836. Hall of Famer Bob McIntosh will sell top OSS graduate Pan Luis Obispo as hip 1832. The daughter of No Pan Intended enjoyed a terrific three-year-old season in 2013 with $240,833 banked from 16 starts and five wins. The pacing miss has a 1:51.4 lifetime best and was a top competitor in the Ontario Sires Stakes program this season. She was primarily driven by Randy Waples. WEG’s top conditioner Richard Moreau will sell top trotting mare Smarty Pants as hip 1807. The daughter of Kadabra banked $305,836 last season while racing primarily in the provincial program. She classy mare recently finished third in the $34,000 Preferred Trot as she took on aged pacing horses of both sexes. With career earnings of $389,017, Smarty Pants has a 1:54.3 lifetime best. She competed in the Miss Versatility, Armbro Flight, Elegantimage and Casual Breeze in her career. Greg Gangle
Mississauga, ON --- Wednesday morning's qualifying session at Mohawk Racetrack looked like a blast from the past as two horses that had been retired to stallion duty both returned to the races in impressive fashion. The first horse to show up on the docket was 2011 Canadian Trotting Classic and O'Brien Award winner Daylon Magician. Now five, the son of Kadabra-Daylon Marvel last saw action almost one year to the day with a fifth-place finish in the 2012 Breeders Crown Open Horse Trot. Jack Moiseyev was back in the bike for the David Lemon pupil, and the duo showed no signs of race rust whatsoever. With temperatures hovering just a few degrees above freezing, Daylon Magician closed with a :28.3 quarter to trounce his trotting rivals in 1:56.1 by a margin of more than 11 lengths. Daylon Farms still owns the millionaire, who set world records on both a half-mile (3,1:54.2h) and five-eighths-mile (4,1:52f) track before standing stud in 2013. Another stallion returning to the races after a tour of stud duty is 2007 Breeders Crown winner Santanna Blue Chip. The 8-year-old son of Art Major was back at the familiar controls of driver Jody Jamieson for the first time since December 2008 and the combination clicked once again. Santanna Blue Chip was a comfortable winner, nearly eight lengths to the good in a time of 1:56.3. After standing in Ontario and Ohio, Santanna Blue Chip now reports to the barn of trainer and co-owner Jeff Gillis. Reprinted with permission from www.standardbredcanada.ca
TORONTO, October 17 – As WEG’s harness meet resumes at Woodbine Racetrack this evening, both Scott Zeron and Richard Moreau have commanding leads in the WEG driver and trainer standings. Zeron, a resident of Oakville, currently has 229 victories this season, 31 more than his closest rival Sylvain Filion. Zeron, who was a finalist for the O’Brien Award as Canada’s top driver for the past three seasons, finished third in the standings last year behind Filion and Jamieson, who tied for the win. “There really isn’t any better feeling than being the top driver at any track let along Woodbine/Mohawk,” Zeron said. “I’m driving against guys that I’ve idolized since I was 12 years old and I’m fortunate enough to have a great support system that provides me with quality horses on a nightly basis. “As much as I focus on maintaining the lead, all I can do is show up every night and try to get into the winners circle as much as possible,” Zeron continued. The talented reinsman, who led the WEG driver standings with 123 victories when the spring meet at Woodbine concluded, is hoping to continue where he left off. “I’m looking forward to returning to Woodbine and excited to make the most of the remaining months of the year,” Zeron said. The 24-year-old has 2,172 career tallies to his credit and is approaching $30 million in purse earnings. Moreau has also separated himself from his rivals in the training standings. The Puslinch resident has 111 victories this season, 46 more than nearest rival Jeff Gillis. The veteran conditioner, who has been a mainstay on the WEG circuit for the last decade, celebrated his biggest of his career this season as Boomboom Ballykeel captured the $683,000 Metro Pace at Mohawk Racetrack. Moreau, who was a finalist for Canada’s trainer of the year in 2012, has 4,214 lifetime victories to his credit along with over $34 million in purse earnings. The Woodbine Fall-Winter-Spring Standardbred meet is now a three-day-a-week schedule, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, through December. Following its Saturday, December 28 card, Woodbine will be “dark” until Monday, January 6, when a Monday-Friday-Saturday night schedule through March, is launched. First race post-time is 7:25 p.m. The special Thursday, December 26 Boxing Day card is scheduled for 1 p.m. by Greg Gangle for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, October 17 - Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) today announced that overall handle and average nightly handle on the 2013 Mohawk Standardbred meet, which concluded Monday, October 14, were up over last year. The Campbellville oval, which celebrated its 50th racing season with 84 race cards, recorded an "all-sources" betting total of $131,619,692, a 6.5 per cent increase over last year's $123,533,108 (81 dates). The average per night total of $1,566,901 in 2013 was a 2.7 per cent increase over the $1,525,100 bet per card in 2012. The company was especially pleased with the betting numbers on its signature event, the Pepsi North America Cup. The 'Cup' card proved successful once again with $3,001,079 wagered, while $2,988,123 was wagered in 2012. The evening's on-track handle also showed an increase with $935,630 wagered compared to $885,710 last year. "We are very encouraged to see the wagering growth during the Mohawk meet," said WEG's Executive Vice President of Racing, Jamie Martin. "The industry situation, with the cancellation of the Slots At Racetracks Program, created a difficult operating environment this summer for staff and horsepeople. I'm pleased to see everyone's effort produced positive results." When the 2013 Mohawk summer meet came to an end, a fresh face was atop the driving leaderboard. Sylvain Filion, who finished second during at the 2012 Mohawk meet, was the leading driver for the first time in his career. The Milton resident captured 114 wins in 752 starts, eight more victories than nearest rival, Scott Zeron. O'Brien Award finalist, Richard Moreau led all trainers with 48 victories from 296 starters during the meet. Moreau finished one victory ahead of conditioner Jeff Gillis. The Woodbine Fall-Winter-Spring Standardbred meet, which kicks off Thursday, October 17, offers a three day-a-week schedule, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, through December. Following its Saturday, December 28 card, Woodbine will be "dark" until Monday, January 6, when a Monday-Friday-Saturday night schedule through March, is launched. First race post-time remains unchanged at 7:25 p.m. The special Thursday, December 26 Boxing Day card is scheduled for 1 p.m. by Greg Gangle for WEG