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As of September 27 the Monte America/RUS category leaders are as follows: Leading Horses by Earnings: Flex The Muscle, $19,740, 3 wins Chinese Cuisine, $12,500, 1 win Muscolo, $5,724 Sundance Bayama, $5,600, 1 win Flowing James, $5,586 Leading Riders by Earnings: Ray Schnittker, $19,750, 3 wins Tina Duer, $12,500, 1 win Jenny Melander, $8,850, 1 win Karen Isbell, $7,250, 1 win Emma Pettersson, $5,586 Leadings Trainers by Earnings: Ray Schnittker, $19,750, 3 wins Brett Bittle, $11,300, 1 win Paul Kelley, $5,724 Henrik Lundell, $5,600, 1 win Mark Harder, $5,586, 1 win Thanks to David Carr (USTA) for data management and to all monteamericaa/RUS participants, sponsors and hosting racetracks for their support and extra effort to make the 2013 racing program happen. Next up is Lexington’s Red Mile on October 6th (Kentucky Futurity Day). Interested sponsors should contact Helene Gregory or Tina Duer (www.monteamerica.com). by Thomas H. Hicks        

Celebrity Playboy (9g Yankee Glide-Clover Mist-Balanced Image) prevailed over seven rivals in today’s monte event at Freehold Raceway, The one mile distance race went for a purse of $5,000. The winner scored in 2:06.2h by eight lengths in a wire to wire journey for jockey Jenny Melander and trainer Robert Bresnahan. Veteran open class performer Master Pine overcame two miscues to be a fast closing second with a final panel in :30.3 for Helene Gregory and trainer Julie Miller. Docdor Chaser took the show spot for Ruth Calcagni. The Monte race was part of the special festivities for The Open Space and Festival of Horses in Freehold, NJ.  The event helps to preserve open space by supporting the NJ equine industry. This years event had a horse parade in town and the days activities at Freehold Raceway. by Thomas H. Hicks for Harnesslink.com  

Firing off a fast pace, veteran Flex The Muscle (6m Muscles Yankee-Alix Hall-Conway Hall) with trainer Ray Schnittker aboard stormed home to easily take the $32,800 Hambletonian Monte Final in 1:59.2. The winning stallion is owned by Schnittker, J&T Silva Stable LLC and Arden Homestead Stable and was bred in Indiana by Silver Linden Farms. Now a career winner of over $847,000 and a 27 time winner in 114 total starts, Flex The Muscle was ten lengths back of early pacesetter Point Of Honour ridden by Tara Hynes as she rolled to the half in :57 and three-quarters in 1:28.1. Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue-Missymandarine-Malabar Man) then closed in and took the lead for Tina Duer before Flex The Muscle rolled by to score by four lengths with Flowing James (8g Ilooklikemymom-Flowing Jody-Rule The Wind) closing for third with Emma Pettersson. The fourth and fifth checks went to Muscolo with Michelle Crawford up and Waldorf Hall handled by Jenny Melander. Flex The Muscle and Ray Schnittker Twelve horses and riders faced starter Danny Dale's starting gate in what was to-date the richest and most prestigious monte event in North America. Thanks to the Meadowlands, the Hambletonian Society and the sponsors (Jeff Gural, William Weaver's Valley High Stable, Ron Burke Racing Stable, Back On Track, White Birch Farm, Blue Chip Farm and Global Graphics) and supporters that made the Hambletonian Monte Series successful. www.monteamerica.com Thomas H. Hicks  

The $32,800 Hambletonian Monte Series Final will go postward at the Meadowlands on Hambletonian Day between the second and third races. A fine field on 12 qualifying point leaders will face the starter led by six 2013 monte winners, Chinese Cuisine, Motown Dreamgirl, Point of Honour, A Penny Earned, Flex The Muscle and Sundance Bayama. The full field of equine stars, riders and trainers are listed below in post position order: 1. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, Brett Bittle 2. Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander, Jim Raymer 3. Flowing James, Emma Pettersson, Mark Harder 4. Motown Dreamgirl, Jennifer Lowery, Robert Lounsbury 5. Muscolo, Michelle Crawford, Paul Kelley 6. Armbro Doyle, Ashley Eldred, Dawn Anderson 7. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor, Janice Connor 8. Point Of Honour, Tara Hynes, Frank Scamporino Jr. 9. Amoreena, Marielle Enberg, Pat Lachance 10. A Penny Earned, Heather Reese, George Ducharme 11. Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer) 12. Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder, Henrik Lundell Separately, yesterday the New York Fair at Morris, NY conducted a monte race with the win going to Vassar Hall (9f Striking Sahbra-Vera Hall-Conway Hall). Michelle Crawford rode the winner for trainer Brett Crawford, covering the mile in 2:13.4h over an off track. Veteran Lemon Pepper was placed second ridden by Jennifer Lowery with First Tail U See second placed third for Ashley Eldred. by Thomas H. Hicks  

Hambletonian monte action was in full display tonight at the Big M. The first division went to Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue S-Missysmandarine-Malabar Man) with Tina Duer up for Peninsula Farm and trainer Brett Bittle in a sharp 1:58.1, final quarter :29.3. The winning connection scored decisively over Amoreena with Marielle Enberg in the irons. Muscolo finished third for Michelle Crawford. Ambro Doyle (Ashley Eldred) and Admirable Hanover (Jennifer Connor) earned the other checks. Division two went to pacesetter Pointe Of Honour (7g Striking Sahbra-Garland Bonita-Garland Lobell)) ridden by Tara Hynes for trainer Frank Scamporino Jr. and owner James Datri. This pair scored in 1:59.1 over Flowing James and Emma Pettersson with Flex The Muscle third for Ray Schnittker. Waldorf Hall (Jenny Melander) and Celebrity Playboy (Maria Andersson) also earned checks.   Top point winners from the legs will be back on the Meadowlands oval during Hambletonian Day seeking the $25,000 purse in this Hambletonian Society managed monte event. Be there to applaud the participants and thank the sponsors and Meadowlands management for their direction and drive to make monte (under saddle) racing part of the American standardbred sport. by Thomas H. Hicks

The Hambletonian Society managed Hambletonian Monte Series Leg #2 takes place Friday at The Meadowlands. The Final, comprised of the top point earners in the two legs, will face the starter on Hambletonian Day for a $25,000 purse. Be there tomorrow night to watch the non-wagering monte action starting at 7:00 pm and wager on an exciting Meadowlands card of pari-mutuel harness racing. Leg #2 entries (horse, rider, trainer) are shown below with the first division slated to go postward at 7:00pm. Monte RUS 1st Division, one mile, $5,000 purse, non-wagering 7:00pm 1. Armbro Doyle, tba, Dawn Anderson 2. Where's Harry, Caroline Green, James Porter 3. Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer, Brett Bittle 4. First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred, John Battiato 5. Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor, Janice Connor 6. Amoreena, Marielle Enberg, Pat Lachance 7. Muscolo, Michelle Crawford, Paul Kelley Monte RUS 2nd Division, one mile, $5,000 purse, non-wagering after race 3 1. Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder, Henrik Lundell 2. Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander, Jim Raymer 3. Pointe Of Honour, Tara Hynes, Frank Scamporino Jr. 4. Celebrity Playboy,Maria Andersson, Ron Burke 5. Flowing James, Emma Pettersson, Mark Harder 6. Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer) 7. Motown Dreamgirl, Jennnifer Lowrey, Robert Lounsbury 2013 monte winners in the fields include First Tail U See, Sundance Bayama, Flex The Muscle and Motown Dreamgirl. by Thomas H. Hicks  

Hambletonian monte action was in full display tonight at the Meadowlands with two $5,000 divsiions. The first division went to Chinese Cuisine (5g Revenue S-Missysmandarine-Malabar Man) with Tina Duer up for Peninsula Farm and trainer Brett Bittle in a sharp 1:58.1, final quarter :29.3. Chinese Cuisine and Duer won with ease by four and three-quarter lengths. The winning connection scored decisively over Amoreena with Marielle Enberg in the irons. Muscolo finished third for Michelle Crawford. Ambro Doyle (Ashley Eldred) and Admirable Hanover (Jennifer Connor) earned the other checks. The second division went to the frontrunnerr Pointe Of Honour (7g Striking Sahbra-Garland Bonita-Garland Lobell)) ridden by Tara Hynes for trainer Frank Scamporino Jr. and owner James Datri. This pair scored in 1:59.1 by two and one-half lengths over Flowing James and Emma Pettersson with Flex The Muscle third for Ray Schnittker. Waldorf Hall (Jenny Melander) and Celebrity Playboy (Maria Andersson) also earned checks. Top point winners from the legs will be back on the Meadowlands oval during Hambletonian Day seeking the $25,000 purse in this Hambletonian Society managed monte event. Be there to applaud the participants and thank the sponsors and Meadowlands management for their direction and drive to make monte (under saddle) racing part of the American standardbred sport. by Thomas H. Hicks

Two divisions of Hambletonian Monte's first leg are set to go Friday at the new Meadowlands. Last year winners Master Pine, Chinese Cuisine and Armbro Doyle will be at the start along with early 2013 winners Flex The Muscle, First Tail U See and Sundance Bayama. Entries are shown below (horse, rider, trainer). Second division entrant Flowing James just qualified under saddle at M1 on July 13, scoring in 2:00 for rider Emma Johansson. Thanks go to the host track, all participants, series manager The Hambletonian Society and sponsors Allerage Farm, William Weaver, White Birch Farm, Back on Track, Blue Chip Farm, Burke Stable and Global Graphics for supporting this exciting series that showcases the leading point winners final on Hambletonian Day for a $25,000 purse. Monte/RUS Division 1 - post time 7:00pm, Purse $5,000, One Mile Master Pine, Helene Gregory/Julie Miller Where's Harry, Caroline Green/James Potter Admirable Hanover, Jennifer Connor/Janice Connor Waldorf Hall, Jenny Melander/Jim Raymer Pointe of Honour, Tara Hynes/Frank Scamporino Jr. A Penny Earned, Heather Reese/George Ducharme' Amoreena, Marielle Enberg/Pat Lachance Chinese Cuisine, Tina Duer/Brett Biddle Monte/RUS Division 2 - after race 3 on M1 card, Purse $5,000, One Mile Motown Dreamgirl, Jennifer Lowery/Robert Lounsbury Flowing James, Emma Pettersson/Mark Harder Flex The Muscle, Ray Schnittker (also trainer) Muscolo, Michelle Crawford/Paul Kelley Celebrity Playboy, Maria Andersson/Ron Burke First Tail U See, Ashley Eldred/John Battiato Sundance Bayama, Stephanie Werder/Henrik Lundell Armbro Doyle, tba/Dawn Anderson by Thomas H. Hicks  

Jenny Melander always wanted to train her own horses, but she was too busy helping other harness racing trainers with their stables. Last summer, though, Melander decided to give it a go. She bought a 6-year-old trotter, Don Dinero, and became the lessee on a 3-year-old trotter, Wisenheimer.

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