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Chester, PA --- Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter has seen his share of great trotters over the years and he thinks Father Patrick is among them. The 4-year-old Father Patrick, who was a division champion at ages 2 and 3, made his 4-year-old debut a winning one by capturing Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters by two lengths over Bee A Magician in 1:52.1 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Lindy's Tru Grit finished third. Father Patrick's time equaled the track record for a 4-year-old male trotter. "If everything stays perfect I think he's going to be very dominant," said Takter, whose past stars include Horse of the Year Award winners Moni Maker and Malabar Man. "I really do. I've been around greatness, and I think he's going to be a horse people talk about for many, many years." Father Patrick has won 23 of 29 career races and earned $2.51 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. Takter also visited the winner's circle following the inaugural $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers, which was won by his Great Vintage by three-quarters of a length over Dancin Yankee in 1:50.2. Mach It So finished third. Radar Contact won the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers by a neck over Anndrovette, who won last year's race. Ooh Bad Shark was third. The Maxie Lee field featured a deep group of trotters, including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician as well as division champions Classic Martine and Market Share, who won last year's edition of the event. Father Patrick and Bee A Magician were among four horses to go for the lead on the first turn and Father Patrick got to the front before the group neared the second turn. The opening quarter was :27.1, followed by a half in :55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.2. Bee A Magician tried to launch a challenge coming off the final turn, but Father Patrick yielded no ground. "He did it so easy too," winning driver Yannick Gingras said. "The earplugs are still in; I never really called on him. I let him trot the last eighth (of a mile). "Bee A Magician got the right trip, but with those kinds of fractions maybe I got a little bit of a jump on her. But she's a great horse and I was definitely worried around the turn when Brian (Sears) pulled because I knew she would give me a run. But he just showed what kind of horse he is." A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal debut by qualifying three times, with his final effort being a 1:52 victory at the Meadowlands on May 16. "Last week we wanted to get him a race but weren't able to, so I treated that (qualifier) as a race," Gingras said. "We went decent fractions and he stretched his legs out a little. I knew he was about as ready as he could be. He's not in peak, peak form yet, but he was good enough to win today." In addition to preparing for his racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty. He made three trips to the breeding farm in the week leading up to the Maxie Lee. "It's individual," Takter said about whether breeding and racing could work for all horses. "I know horses that won't go at all; when you start breeding them they lose total interest in racing. In his case, it hasn't been negative. So far so good." Great Vintage also has done stud duty, but after he bred just a handful of mares this year Takter decided it was better to give him a chance again on the racetrack. Great Vintage had been "retired" after suffering a ligament injury last August. A 7-year-old son of American Ideal out of the mare Art's Vintage, Great Vintage is 2-for-2 this season. He has won 28 of 95 career races and earned $793,108. "He came back very happy," Takter said. "He got hurt in the fall last year, so I thought he was done. But he came back sounder and better. He was a really good 2-year-old, but he got hurt in the paddock when he was turned out so he didn't come back good as a 3-year-old. He had a bad injury on the knee. "He raced good (in the two years) after that. He's a good horse. He's a brother to ($2.1-million-earner) Vintage Master, so he's got a license to play. He's a tough horse." Takter trains Great Vintage for owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Goran Anderberg and Goran Falk. In the Betsy Ross, Radar Contact went to the front in the opening quarter-mile and never looked back, holding off multiple Dan Patch Award-winner Anndrovette at the wire. A 7-year-old daughter of Dontgetinmyway out of the mare Topville Cyberwave, Radar Contact has won six of 16 races this year and finished worse than second only twice. For her career, she has 31 victories in 97 starts and $877,006 in purses. Radar Contact is trained by Noel Daley for owners Charles Stillings and Dean Ehrgott. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

Harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter looks at Sunday's $150,000 Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for older trotters at Harrah's Philadelphia and can't help but be impressed. "It's like a mini Elitloppet," Takter said, referring to the famed invitational in Sweden that brings together an international field of 16 trotters. "This would have been a top field in Elitloppet elimination, anyway. It's going to be a great race." Takter's Father Patrick - who on Sunday makes his debut as a 4-year-old - is among four trotters entered in the Maxie Lee with Dan Patch Awards on their resumes. The others are Bee A Magician, who was harness racing's 2013 Horse of the Year, Market Share, and Classic Martine. The race is part of a star-studded card that also features the $150,000 Jerry Taylor Invitational for older male pacers and the $150,000 Betsy Ross Invitational for older female pacers. Father Patrick, who received Dan Patch Awards at both ages 2 and 3 and was the sport's top money-winner last season, drew post five with driver Yannick Gingras and is 7-2 on the morning line. He has won 22 of 28 career starts and earned $2.43 million for the Father Patrick Stable ownership group. A son of Cantab Hall out of the mare Gala Dream, Father Patrick prepped for his seasonal bow with three qualifiers. He was second to Melady's Monet in the first in 1:55, then won in 1:53.3 and 1:52. "Everything is much better than I expected," Takter said. "The horse had three qualifiers and he was stronger in every one of them. The last one was in (1):52 with the plugs left in; (Gingras) never really asked him anything. The horse is ready." In addition to getting ready for the racing campaign, Father Patrick has been doing stud duty. "It hasn't hurt him," Takter said. "He's going to breed three times this week. He's got a busy schedule, this guy. He doesn't seem to mind it. We've been fortunate that it hasn't been that hot. Sometimes when they've got to ship back and forth and breed, you just want to make sure their weight stays right." Bee A Magician, who on Saturday became the first female trotter to win the Arthur J. Cutler Memorial and is No. 1 in the first Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown poll, drew post three and is the 2-1 morning line favorite. The 5-year-old mare is 3-for-3 this season, defeating male rivals in all of her starts. She won the Cutler in 1:51.2, which is the season's best time for any trotter. Her trainer, Nifty Norman, also is impressed with the Maxie Lee lineup. "I would say that's the best field she's met - maybe in her life," Norman said. "That's a really, really good field. I think we got probably the best draw out of that crew so we'll see how it shakes out. "You couldn't be more pleased with her," he added. "She's been fantastic every start and maybe got better each start. I'm thrilled." Classic Martine, who received last year's Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, got post seven and is 5-2. She has won two of three races this season, including the Miami Valley Distaff at Miami Valley Raceway in a track-record 1:52.2. Market Share, a Dan Patch Award honoree in 2012 and 2013, drew post four and is 8-1. "This is (Father Patrick's) first time racing against aged horses," Takter said. "Bee A Magician has really impressed me this year. She's a horse that's going to be tough to beat. But I feel optimistic. I think he can give her a run for the money. Classic Martine has been racing really good and you can't rule out Market Share with the class he has." Following is the field for the Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Lindy's Tru Grit, Andy Miller, Julie Miller, 20-1 2. DW's NY Yank, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 9-1 3. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman, 2-1 4. Market Share, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano, 8-1 5. Father Patrick, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 7-2 6. Melady's Monet, John Campbell, Kevin McDermott, 12-1 7. Classic Martine, George Napolitano Jr., Chris Oakes, 5-2 8. Bourbon Bay, John Cummings Jr., Megan Wilson, 15-1 Following is the field for the Jerry Taylor Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Doctor Butch, John Campbell, Linda Toscano, 6-1 2. Sapphire City, Mark MacDonald, Paul Blumenfeld, 20-1 3. Domethatagain, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 2-1 4. Great Vintage, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 10-1 5. Mach It So, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 5-2 6. Dancin Yankee, Brett Miller, Josh Green, 15-1 7. Clear Vision, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 5-1 8. Modern Legend, James MacDonald, David Drew, 6-1 Following is the field for the Betsy Ross Mare Invitational in post order with drivers, trainers and morning line: 1. Sayitall BB, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1 2. Anndrovette, Tim Tetrick, Jeff Bamond Jr., 7-1 3. Radar Contact, John Campbell, Noel Daley, 9-2 4. Jerseylicious, David Miller, Wayne Givens, 9-1 5. Table Talk, Andy Miller, Bart Dalious, 20-1 6. Yagonnakissmeornot, Simon Allard, Rene Allard, 9-5 7. Ooh Bad Shark, Allan Davis, William Wiggins, 12-1 8. For The Ladies N, Brian Sears, Peter Tritton, 20-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA      

Strathlachlan Andy and Bobs Farm trainer Geoff Harding will hit the road this weekend for Sunday's Carnival Of Cups harness racing meeting at Cootamundra. The son of Blissfull Hall does all of his fast work on Birubi Beach but will travel more than 1180 kilometres on his return trip to the Riverina this weekend. "All of my horses do their fast work at the beach, they can jog at home and I take the babies to the track but the majority of the time they are on the sand," said Harding. "Strathlachlan Andy is a good traveller so the long trip to Cootamundra won't worry him and I will leave on Saturday so it will give us plenty of time to get there for Sunday." Strathlachlan Andy will compete in Cootamundra's South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup, the feature event on the eight race programme. The five year old has won seven of his last nine starts and despite drawing the back row does look hard to beat. "There is no doubt that he is getting stronger and he has been driven more aggressively this season but he is still a better horse when he is sat up. "James (Harding) is going to drive him again on Sunday, he has got a good record on him." Harding spent some time in America when James headed across to work for a leading trainer. "When James was in the USA I went over and spent some time watching Jimmy Takter and how he trains and I have brought back some of the ideas and I think it has made an improvement to my team. "I'm working eight at the moment and there are a couple of young ones there as well so there is enough to keep me busy." Harding is mindful that Strathlachlan Andy has had a long preparation and is considering a spell. "I'll see how he pulls up after Sunday but he is still only assessed M0 so I might take him to Queensland for a couple of races before giving him a break. "I can then bring him up again and concentrate on racing him at Menangle in M0 races next preparation." Stathlachlan Andy is looking to win his fourth Carnival Of Cups event for the season after winning at Tamworth, Narrabri and Armidale and is well placed to be crowned the leading horse for the series and win his owner a further $5,000. The South West Fuel Centre Wattle Time Cup is race seven and is scheduled to begin at 3:44pm. Greg Hayes

Three invitationals headline a star-studded program of harness racing at Harrah's Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, each going for a purse of $150,000. The Jerry Taylor Invitational for colt and gelding pacers is race ten on the fourteen race program.   Jerry Taylor was a prominent horse owner for many years, owning horses like Devil's Adversary, Exotic Earl, Sunny Disposition, Mister Karamea, Sands A Flyin, among others.   George Morton Levy winner Domethatagain drew post three in the field of eight.   The son of Bettors Delight had a perfect trip behind defending champ PH Supercam before gunning him down in the stretch, pacing the mile in 1:51.1, just one-fifth of a second off the stakes record at Yonkers.   Millionaire Dancin Yankee is making his ninth start of the season for Baron Racing and Richard Lombardo.   The 7-year-old son of Yankee Cruiser is looking to regain the form of last season, where he won eighteen of twenty-nine starts, highlighted by a world record performance (1:48.4) in the Gerrity Pace at Saratoga.   Two-time millionaire Clear Vision drew post seven in Sunday's event.   The multiple-stakes winner is looking for his first win of the season, finishing on the board in four straight starts against open competition for trainer Ron Burke.   The field also includes 2013 Art Rooney winner Doctor Butch (post 1), millionaire and Levy Consolation winner Sapphire City (post 2), Jimmy Takter trained pacer Great Vintage (post 4), Bamond Racing's Mach It So (Post 5), and 2014 Canadian Derby up setter Modern Legend (post 8).   The Betsy Ross Invitational for pacing mares is race eleven on the all-star program.   Multiple Dan Patch and O'Brien award winner Anndrovette will be looking to add to her $3 million dollar bankroll.   Drawing post two for this event, the forty-two time winner, trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr., is looking to go back-to-back in the Betsy Ross.   She also won this event in 2011.   Yagonnakissmeornot drew post six.   The 6-year-old daughter of The Panderosa is just shy of one million dollars in career earnings.   The Rene Allard trainee is coming into this race off back-to-back wins including a narrow win in the Chip Noble Pace at Miami Valley.   She finished a close second after setting the tempo in the Blue Chip Matchmaker at Yonkers three starts back.   The field also includes Ron Burke trainee Sayitall BB (post 1), who had a tremendous season in 2014, thirty-time winner Radar Contact (post 3), Jerseylicious (post 4), Table Talk (post 5), who suffered a heart-breaking loss to Yagonnakissmeornot in the Chip Noble in Ohio, Ooh Bad Shark (post 7), and For The Ladies N (post 8).   The Maxie Lee Memorial Invitational for trotters is race twelve on the program.   It features perhaps the most anticipated matchup in all of harness racing as superstar mare Bee A Magician squares off against the great Father Patrick.   Bee A Magician drew post three for the event, with wins against the boys in her first three starts of the season.   She is the only female to win the Cutler Memorial, which she did easily in her last start.   Approaching three million in career earnings, she looks to be in top form heading into this affair.   Jimmy Takter trainee Father Patrick (post 6) has qualified well at The Meadowlands in preparation for his 4-year-old season.   The multi stakes winner put an exclamation point on his unforgettable 2014 season, with a win in the Breeders Crown.   He is making his first start of the season.   The field also includes Lindy's Tru Grit (post 1), Ron Burke trainee Dw's NY Yank (post 2) who is making his 100th start of his career, three time millionaire Market Share (post 4), Meladay's Monet (post 6), millionaire Classic Martine (post 7), and Bourbon Bay (post 8).   Sunday will be Family Day at Harrah's Philadelphia.   There will be family friendly activities including prize giveaways and much more.   The Riverview Terrace will be open for lunch from 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM.    Michael Bozich

WASHINGTON, PA, May 16, 2015 -- Livininthefastlane beat the field -- and a raging thunderstorm -- Saturday at The Meadows when she scored in a stake-record 1:53 in a $193,364 Pennsylvania Sires Stake for harness racing 3-year-old filly trotters. The event, known as the Stenographer, was contested over four divisions, with Wild Honey, Sarcy and Magic Marker taking the other splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed for a pair of stake victories with Wild Honey and Sarcy. Livininthefastlane's victory was hard earned. She was looped from the gate and had to step lively for Andy Miller to make the front in 27.2, then hold off the strong late challenge of Smexi to down her by a neck. Matter Hatter finished third. The time erased the old Stenographer mark of 1:53.4 established by Maven in 2012. "I didn't want to use her quite that much early, but she responded. She's a good filly," Miller said. "She's grown up, and she's a lot easier to handle than she was last year. If she has a little luck, she could have a very big year." Julie Miller trains Livininthefastlane, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole's Promise who soared over $300,000 in lifetime earnings, for Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. Andy Miller said Livininthefastlane likely will take several weeks off before her next engagement. Shortly after Livininthefastlane triumphed, a gully gusher inundated the track, forcing a brief delay in the program and costing Wild Honey any shot at breaking the new stake record. Wild Honey, who won 10 of 12 starts and $439,703 at 2, was sharp nevertheless, quarter-poling to the lead and winning geared down in 1:55.1. Sweet Thing was second, 1-1/2 lengths back, while Smokinmombo earned show. "She's awesome," Palone said. "I'm just trying to get it done as cheap as I can this early in the season. She finished well within herself -- just a beautiful filly to drive. She's not a real big, stout filly, but she's as quick as a cat and so versatile." Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman and Jim Fielding campaign Wild Honey, a daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy. Sarcy also quarter-poled to the front for Palone and needed all her determination to thwart the first-over bid of Sky Hanover, who fell a head short. Gatka Hanover completed the ticket. A daughter of Donato Hanover-Southwind Allaire, Sarcy triumphed in 1:54.4 for owners Christina Takter, Oakwood Farms, John Fielding and Jim Fielding. "I had to use her twice," Palone said, "but I really felt the whole way through the stretch my filly would fight (Sky Hanover) off. I was happy with her. That's a good mile in these conditions." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino

After edging clear of her eight rivals in a :27.4 third quarter, Brixton Medical's Shaqline ($5.30) narrowly held off a valiant stand-side charge from Barn Doll to take her $41,300 New York Sire Stakes event at  the harness racing meeting at Tioga Downs on Friday (May 15) evening. The fastest of twenty-seven three-year-old trotting fillies split into three divisions, Shaqline protected the early lead from a host of other leavers, including Nunkeri (Jim Meittinis), Northern Obsession (John Cummings, Jr.), and Miss B'ville J (Mike Simons). After establishing the lead through a :28 first quarter, the Credit Winner-Vivica Hall mare managed to keep the first-over Northern Obsession at bay enough to catch a :30.2 second-quarter breather before accelerating clear on the backstretch. While widening her margin to 3-1/2 lengths on the far turn, Jeff Gregory angled Barn Doll three-wide off the cover of a stalled Northern Obsession, charging after Shaqline upon cornering. Despite that late threat, Jim Morrill, Jr. was able to encourage Shaqline to hold sway, prevailing in 1:55.1 by the scantest of margins. Frou Frou (Mark MacDonald) sustained her third-over rally to narrowly take third over Northern Obsession.   Jimmy Takter trains Shaqline, whose career bankroll eclipses the $145,000 mark with her fourth career win.   In earlier New York Sire Stakes action, Magic City ($22.40) rallied from off cover to just defeat 3-5 favorite Allerage Belle in a 1:56.2 score. Co-owner and trainer Jeff Gregory handled the driving duties aboard the Conway Hall-Beach Magic filly. Lindy Land ($20.40) earned a pillar-to-post 1:56.3 victory in rein to Mark MacDonald, holding clear of a chasing Zanna Blu for the entirety of the journey. Frank Antonacci trains the daughter of Crazed-Nana's Best.   Live racing continues at Tioga Downs on Saturday evening (May 16), with post time at 6:15 p.m. The New York Sire Stakes picks up on Sunday afternoon (May 17), with three-year-old pacing colts and geldings headlining the ten-race card. Top pacer In The Arsenal, a six-time winner at two, has been installed the 3-5 morning line favorite in Sunday's fifth race, a $31,050 Sire Stakes division. Brian Sears is slated to drive the Kelvin Harrison trainee.   The week concludes with a special Monday evening (May 18), with post time at 6:15 p.m.   James Witherite

Showing she's all the way back from a freakish injury, Manhattan Miss blazed home in a stake-record 1:54.4 in Friday's $100,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series event for 3-year-old filly trotters at the harness racing meeting at The Meadows The stake was conducted over five divisions, with Lilu Hanover, Shewontkissandtell, Love Me Madly and Speak To Me taking the other splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed for a pair of stake victories with Lilu Hanover and Speak To Me. Co-owners Acadia Farms and trainer Marty Wollam consigned Manhattan Miss to the Delaware sale as a yearling but withdrew her when a nasty scar from a leg gash suffered as a weanling appeared to diminish her sale value. The daughter of Broadway Hall-Sneaky Speed raced for the partners at 2, showing talent but breaking problems. They soon discovered the cause of the breaks. Late in her sophomore campaign, her leg disgorged a sizable wood chip left over from the earlier injury. "It took that long for the wood to work itself out," Wollam said. "Since then, she's been good." On Friday, she quarter-poled to the lead for Mike Wilder and downed Alpha Alpha by 3-3/4 lengths, with Murderers Row third. Her time erased the mark of 1:55.2 set last year by Broadway Socks. "We'll race next here in an overnight. Then we may try her in a sires stake," Wollam said. "I wanted to, but my partner didn't. He was right. It worked out well." Lilu Hanover withstood a serious backside challenge from Big Barb and scored in 1:55.4, 1-1/2 lengths better than Global Ice. Big Barb saved show. "She actually welcomed the horse when the horse came to her," Palone said. "She picked me up. I drove her last year and liked her, and she's only become bigger and stronger. She should have a great season." Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld campaign the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover, who pushed her career bankroll to $133,455. Shewontkissandtell produced the stake's tote board fireworks when, trailing by 4-1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch and seemingly blocked by a pair of horses, she poured through a gift opening in the Lightning Lane and prevailed in 1:59.2, at 14-1, for Brian Zendt. KB's Big Gainer was second, 2-1/2 lengths back, while Sand C-Four earned show. "Someone ran in the last turn, and I thought I would get some room," Zendt said. "Then two horses moved outside, and I thought I was better off just staying left. Man, I didn't have to worry about her having enough trot. A little luck helps." Lisa Dunn-Adams conditions the homebred daughter of Glidemaster-Caviar And Kisses for Dunn Stable. In the $22,500 Filly & Mare Not Listed Preferred/Preferred Handicap Pace, the always-tough Do Me Honor was at it again, coming first over to triumph for Aaron Merriman and owner/trainer Bill Bercury in 1:52.4. Bad Glamour Girl split horses late for second, 1/2 length behind, while Miss Pinky Pie completed the ticket. The 7-year-old daughter of Cheyenne Rei-Do Me Right now boasts a lifetime bankroll of $584.198. Saturday's special Preakness Day card at The Meadows features four divisions of The Stenographer, a $193,264 PA Sires Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters. First post is 11:25 AM. Evan Pattak    

There were four divisions of Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters at the harness racing meeting at Harrah's Philadelphia on Thursday (May 14), each going for a purse of approximately $63,000. Solveig Racing Partner's Uncle Lasse checked in as the heavy favorite in division one. The son of Donato Hanover is coming off of a solid freshman campaign, banking $350,000 in 2014, including a tough loss to Pinkman in the Valley Vic at Woodbine. He showed solid early speed at the start, but had company in the form of Suit And Tie (Mike Simons) who took the lead by the quarter in :27.4. That lead was short lived however, as Uncle Lasse quickly went back on the offensive, re-taking the lead by the half in :57. After putting away a first-over challenge from Shoot The Thrill (Tony Hall), Uncle Lasse began to pull away at three-quarters 1:25.1. He went on to win easily from that point, stopping the clock in a lifetime's best 1:53. Bob Key's Cue Hall (Dave Miller) rallied up for second, while Explosiveday (Tim Tetrick) rallied for third. It was the fifth career win for Uncle Lasse out of fourteen starts. He is trained by Jimmy Takter, and was driven by Brett Miller. The second division went to another Jimmy Takter trainee, Whom Shall I Fear (Yannick Gingras). The son of Cantab Hall was one of three horses coming into the race undefeated in 2015. At the start, it was Real DJ Hanover (Ake Svanstedt) taking command. The favorite however quickly brushed to the front after the quarter (:28.2). They remained that way throughout the middle half, which went in :57.2. Consus Racing Stable's Pierre (Scott Zeron) mustered a lukewarm first-over bid, but began to stall rounding the final turn. In the stretch, it was down to Whom Shall I Fear and Real DJ Hanover, with the former winning the stretch duel. The final time was 1:54.1. Pierce Wave Hanover (Corey Callahan) finished a distant third. Whom Shall I fear is owned by The Whom Shall I Fear Stable. Trainer Jimmy Takter remained hot in the third division, as The Bank came from off the trot to win. The son of Donato Hanover finished second in a Breeder's Crown elimination last season, and was coming off of two sharp qualifiers in preparation for Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. The Bank was taken off the trot at the start, as Sixteen Encores (Dave Miller) and Divisionist (Charlie Norris) left for the lead from the outside. Sixteen Encores made a break at the quarter, and that left Divisionist with a sizable lead. After the half, Boots N Chains emerged first over to challenge, with the eventual winner latched on to that cover. They fanned across the track at the top of the stretch, with The Bank kicking clear to win by a length, stopping the timer in 1:56. Wicker Hanover (Andrew McCarthy) finished second, while Boots N Chains finished third. The Bank is owned by Christina Takter and Goran Falk, and was driven by Jimmy Takter. The fourth division featured the heavily favored Pinkman. The Breeders Crown Champion of a year ago is coming off of two sharp qualifiers at the Meadowlands in preparation for his 3-year-old campaign. He went right to the lead at the start. After hitting the quarter in :28.1, Pinkman went into beast mode. He posted a :56.1 middle half, a back half in :55.3, and an impressive clocking of 1:52.2, a track record for 3-year-old gelding trotters. Bobs Hope (Corey Callahan) finished second, while Soboro Hanover (Brett Miller) finished third. Pinkman is owned by Takter, the Fieldings, Mc Clelland, and Liverman, and was driven by Yannick Gingras. Michael Bozich

Goshen, NY --- Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter gave the keynote speech at Wednesday's opening session of the U.S. Trotting Association's 17th annual Driving School.   Takter's talk followed dinner at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. He discussed his roots in the sport, training philosophies, and reflected upon his memorable 2014 campaign, which included driving Trixton to victory in the Hambletonian Stakes and seeing Shake It Cerry named Trotter of the Year.   A three minute PROMO with excerpts from the speech can be found on the Museum's YouTube channel by following this link: http://youtu.be/-ztAqnWZ02o   "Jimmy Takter was a very gracious and accommodating speaker. He offered the USTA Driving School students a heart-felt and humble inside look into the life a superstar horse trainer. It's hard to imagine getting any greater inside access to success," noted Janet Terhune, the Museum's director, who has several staff members participating in the four-day driving school program.   The Driving School has attracted 24 participants, from 12 states plus the Canadian province of Quebec, for four days of hands-on activity at the Mark Ford Training Center as well as classroom presentations at the Harness Racing Museum and Hall of Fame.   Participants have the opportunity to take the written portions of the trainer's and driver's exams at the conclusion of the program.   The entire 45-minute keynote address can be found at this link: http://youtu.be/jEha6OBfdDo   by Chris Tuly, for the Harness Racing Museum

WILKES-BARRE PA - Harness racing driver Jim Morrill Jr. took the first two divisions of the $96,000 Pennsylvania All-Stars event for three-year-old colt pacers Saturday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, putting new marks on Wakizashi Hanover (1:50.2) and Blood Brother (1:51), before missing the "sweep" by a nose when Rise Up Now (1:50.2, driver Simon Allard) edged Allbeef N Nobull.   Wakizashi Hanover, an altered son of Dragon Again trained by Joanne Looney-King for the Tri County Stable of Nova Scotia, kept his seasonal tally perfect in two starts in winning by 1¼ lengths. Wakizashi took the early lead in 27, saw first 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Yankee Bounty and then Dragon Eddy brush by him to the 54.3 half, which necessitated his moving first-over ahead of the oncoming Cardiac Fashion, who already had skirted trouble at two points in the mile. The winner took the lead past the 1:22 3/4s, with Yankee Bounty vacating the collapsing pocket when Cardiac Fashion tipped wide, but Wakizashi Hanover already had the jump, with Yankee Bounty able to clear back to the winner's inside to edge Cardiac Fashion by a neck for second.   Blood Brother paced his own last half in 54 flat to be up by a neck over a stubborn Rufo in the second cut. The Somebeachsomewhere gelding was taken off the gate and was rambunctious back in fifth as Joe Hill and Rufo were the prime disputers in the 26.4 opener, and was still seven lengths behind at the 55.3 half. Morrill had to take the uncovered route as Rufo was going unmolested on the lead, and had gained to within three lengths by the 1:23.2 3/4s. Taking the far turn very well, Blood Brother showed great ability to go up by a neck over his rival in early stretch, but Rufo never let the margin get bigger than that as he put up a fierce struggle down the lane. The talented winner still looks like he'll learn from (and improve with) more racing, and with Jimmy Takter training him for Diamond Creek Racing and the J&T Silva Stables LLC, it seems likely he'll build on his 2 for 2 2015 start.   Morrill had Allbeef N Nobull on top twice before the 3/8 in the third cut, but the deck reshuffles more on the Pocono racetrack than it does in the casino, and after the 26.3 quarter Rise Up Now and driver Allard were following their main rival to the top, hitting the half in 55.2 and the 3/4s in 1:23.1. The stretch duel boiled down to these two, with "Allbeef" gaining in the famed Pocono Pike, and might have taken it all were he bigger than the smallish sophomore he is, but Rise Up Now, also an altered son of Somebeachsomewhere, held gamely and won by the smallest margin to give him both a perfect yearly record after four starts and a new mark. Trainer Brian Brown, the defending Jugette champion with Color's A Virgin and who has a Pennsylvania UTR this year of (no typo) .821 at the moment, may find himself with a ticket to the Thursday big race at the Delaware dance for the Strollin Stable, King McNamara (the Floridian is the only non-Buckeye in the ownership group), William Robinson, and Country Club Acres Inc.   '********* "The girls" would have to put on quite a show Sunday to match the colt fireworks tonight, but there's lots of talented in tomorrow night's $128,000 All-Stars sophomore distaff pace, including 2014 PA Sire Stakes champion Southwind Roulette, fellow Breeders Crown finalist Well Hello There, and first-round Sire Stakes winners Safe From Terror and Storm Point - all of whom come from the ubiquitiously-victorious barn of Ron Burke.   Brian Brown? His PASS winner of last week, Serious Filly, is sitting this one out, but he has Somewhere Sweet and Triple V Hanover, both second last week, in Sunday night. Maybe he'll be in both big Delaware dances - and can you think of anything better for a "hometown boy"?   PHHA / Pocono  

With The Championship Meet upon us, The harness racing Grand Circuit took center stage on Friday night at The Meadowlands. The three year old filly pacers contested the $43,106 W.N. Reynolds Memorial. On paper it was a very competitive field of seven and it played out that way on the racetrack. Bettor Be Steppin, sent off as a very slight 8/5 favorite would dictate the terms establishing a tempo of 27, 55.4 and 1:24. She turned for home with the 9/5 second choice, Happiness right on her back. Bedroomconfessions was grinding away first over, with Divine Caroline riding her cover. With just an eighth of a mile to go, these four fillies lined up across the track. Happiness found room at the pylons and sprinted through to the tune of a 26.3 final quarter to win going away in the end. Divine Caroline rallied off cover to finish up second with Bedroomconfessions third. Happiness was driven to victory by Yannick Gingras for Ron Burke who co-owns the filly with Weaver Bruscemi L.L.C. The 1:50.3 clocking was a lifetime mark for the three year old daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. The $39,816 John Simpson Memorial for three year old filly trotters was also a part of the Grand Circuit action on Friday night. Riley's Dream was bet down to 3/5 favoritism, but she would find herself locked in throughout the first three-quarters of a mile as Shaqline never found the pylons and remained parked out outside Riley's Dream throughout. In the meantime, Rules Of The Road showed tremendous early speed for Dave Miller as she reeled off fractions of 27.1, 56.1 and 1:25.1 while trotting unopposed on the lead throughout the mile. Turning for home, Rules Of The Road kicked away from the field and she was never threatened, winning in 1:54. The win was one of four on the night for Dave Miller and the winner is eligible to The Hambletonian Oaks for trainer Janice Connor who co-owns the filly with Arden Homestead Stable. A field of six top mares went to the gate in the $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap Pace. Sayitall BB was the aggressor moving to the front and leading the charge around the track, reaching the half-mile in 55.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.3. The Breeders Crown winner turned for home with the lead, but the field began to close in. With mares coming from anywhere, the mare coming fastest of all was the one closing from last, Weeper. She appeared on the far left of the screen and sprinted home to a sub-26 second final quarter to win. Weeper was driven by Brett Miller for Jimmy Takter and owners Bay Pond Racing Stable. Weeper is eligible to all the major stakes for the mare pacers at The Meadowlands, including the TVG Championships. Jerseylicious returned a winner on Friday night at The Meadowlands, winning an upper level condition event for fillies and mares pacers. Sent off as the overwhelming 1/5 favorite Jerseylicious secured a pocket trip behind the speedy That Woman Hanover. But Dave Miller decided it was time to move with three-eighths of a mile to go and he pulled the pocket with Jerseylicious, securing the lead prior to the three quarter pole. From there, the five year old daughter of Western Ideal opened up several lengths and was able to fend off the late brush of Beautiful Lady to score in 1:50.4, just three-fifths off her lifetime mark. Jerseylicious is well-staked at The Meadowlands, including eligibility to the TVG Championship for the Pacing Mares, Golden Girls and The Lady Liberty. Muscle Network made it back to back wins Friday. The former Valley Victory Champion made it five wins from 13 career starts with his 1:53.3 winning performance. His earnings are now past $335,000 lifetime and he is eligible to The Graduate series which gets underway on Memorial Day at Tioga Downs. Hambletonian Eligibles were prominent on the program Friday night and a couple of them won. Saboro Hanover won a maiden event for Nifty Norman and Dave Miller. The $75,000 Harrisburg yearling was equipped with trotting hobbles and responded by sprinting a visually impressive final quarter to score in a sharp 1:54.3. Additionally, Dapper Don, making his three year old debut, scored in impressive first-over fashion in 1:55.4. The connections have a Hambletonian-ring to them, being the same that won the 2012 Hambletonian with Market Share, including driver Tim Tetrick, who was very high on the colt. "He's come a long way," said Tetrick. "He let me drive him how I wanted, let me put him where I wanted. He's matured. Current Crisis and Robert Krivelin were victories in the $15,000 GSY Amateur Final. Despite a frenzy of action that saw trotters stacked three and four wide on the first turn, Krivelin was able to secure a position near the lead where he tracked Mr Ridgetaker who was very wide early and Bambino Hall. Kriven guided his trotter to the lead past the half-mile pole and Current Crisis opened up daylight from there, soaring past three-quarters and romping to an easy triumph. Hannah Miller was forced very wide behind stalled trotters coming off the bend and finished with a flourish to be second while Jenny Melander and All About Justice checked in third. Robert Krivelin trains and drives Current Crisis for the Hero Stables. The win was the 25th in the career of the six year old trotter, sending his earnings to nearly $240,000. On the wagering front, the 11th race on the program featured the fourth largest payout in the history of The Meadowlands and the second largest trifecta of all time. It was a perfect storm, as Two Hip Dip, Donnie Darko and Lock Down Lindy, the three favorites all broke stride. Battle Mage avoided any trouble and scored the 32-1 upset. Cutup Hanover was second at 34-1 and Silverhill Volo was third at 99-1. That combination resulted in a $2 trifecta return of $62,559.60. The largest trifecta of all time came nearly twenty years ago and returned over $88,000 for a $2 return. The only larger payouts were a pick-6 that yielded over a $100,000 return and the recent $200,000 jackpot that was paid out in the Super Hi-5. The total handle of $2,597,671 was a ten-percent increase over this same Friday in 2014. Racing resumes on Saturday, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. There are carryovers in both $.20 cent Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers, with the fifth race carryover now standing at $108,703 and the last race carryover growing to $83,532. Darin Zoccali

EAST RUTHERFORD, April 24, 2015 - For the past two weeks, Inittowinafortune has chased Radar Contact from the pocket and each time she came up short. That changed Friday night at The Meadowlands as the five year old mare earned a hard-fought harness racing victory by a flared nostril in the featured $27,500 Fillies and Mares Open Handicap. Inittowinafortune was released as the 4-1 third choice behind Radar Contact (3/5) and Rocklamation (2-1). Radar Contact was sent immediately to the lead from her assigned outside post and she would remain on the point through strong fractions of 26.2, 54 and 1:22.1 before turning for home with Inittowinafortune right on her tail. As the open mares straighted away, Corey Callahan guided Inittowinafortune to the outside and mounted their bid for the lead. Callahan's mare put a head in front in mid-stretch, but Radar Contact dug back in and the two talented mares paced all the way to the wire together. Only a nose separated the pair, with Inittowinafortune earning a well-deserved victory over Radar Contact. Rocklamation was three lengths back in third in the 1:50.2 mile. Inittowinafortune is trained by Michael Russo for owner Michael Pagonas. Whom Shall I Fear was the easiest of winners again Friday night at The Meadowlands, as he coasted to a dominant wire to wire performance in his division of the Spring Preview for the three year old trotters. It appeared as though the $475,000 yearling never took a deep breadth as he coasted to a 1:54.4 triumph. The brother of Father Patrick, controlled the tempo through fractions of 28.4, 58 and 1:26.2 while never facing a challenge. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for the Whom Shall I Fear Stable. For the second consecutive week, social media went abuzz as Whom Shall I Fear crossed the finish line Friday night. Many were asking the question as to if this is the three year old colt to watch leading up to The Hambletonian and if this is the horse that can push Mission Brief? The most interesting aspect of that question is that Yannick Gingras drives both horses. Muscle Network, the 2013 Valley Victory made his four year old debut a winning one, by taking a condition trotting event in 1:54.3. The Tony O'Sullivan trainee was last early in the mile and was allowed to find his stride through fractions of 28 and 56.4 before being guided to the outside by Dave Miller. Muscle Network found a live outer flow where he positioned himself third over and followed live cover past three-quarters in 1:25 where he set up his late rally as the field turned for home. From there, the classy four year old closed in on Quick Deal and reeled him in just before the wire to earn the comeback victory. Muscle Network is staked well, including the TVG Trotting Championship, and the upcoming Graduate series which begins one month from now at Tioga Downs. He is owned by Frank Bellino & Sons L.L.C. Stacia Hanover also returned a winner in a condition event for filly and mare pacers. The 2014 New Jersey Sire Stakes champion was relegated to last early in the mile through rather tepid fractions of 28.2 and 57.1. Shortly past the half-mile pole, Stacia Hanover was guided outside and tracked live cover from a third over position where she would remain past three quarters in 1:26.1. From there, Scott Zeron would show his filly racetrack and she responded rallying home well to score in 1:55 over an equally fast-closing Strut My Stuff. American Truth saw her three race win streak come to an end, cutting the mile and finishing third. Stacia Hanover is trained by Steve Elliot for David Van Dusen and Michael Cimaglio. In amateur racing news, Hannah Miller continues to ride her amazing hot streak. Miller won the first race on the evening, the French-American Friendship Amateur event with Jacks To Open. Her record this season now stands at 6 wins from 21 starts with 12 of those 21 races resulting in an in-the-money finish. For her career, Miller has won 15 of 41 starts. The other amateur event went to Mr Ridgetaker and Alan Charles who took the field wire to wire. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 wagers saw their carryovers continue. The 5th race carryover has grown to $91,918, while the last race carryover now stands at $62,450. Total handle for the 13-race program of $2,649,116 was an eight-percent (8%) increase over the same Friday one year ago. Racing resumes on Saturday, featuring the second round of the Whata Baron series, with first post time at 7:15 P.M. Meadowlands To Open For Two Year Old Training on April 30th Two Year Olds Welcome To Train at The Meadowlands through the end of May Beginning Thursday, April 30th, two year olds will be able to train at The Meadowlands on Thursday mornings throughout the month of May. Horsemen can supply The Meadowlands with $1,000 for an unlimited number of two year olds to train or can pay $50 per horse.  All payments made will be added to The Meadowlands purse account, less expenses. Horsemen must submit payment along with a list of horses that will be training to the Meadowlands Race Office on Tuesday of each week, with training hours taking place on Thursday morning. Any horsemen with questions should contact The Meadowlands Race Office. In addition, please note that qualifiers next week will take place on Friday, May 1st at 9:30 A.M.  Qualifiers will return to Saturdays the following week. Darin Zoccali

WASHINGTON, PA, April 23, 2015 -- Shake It Cerry, 2014 Trotter of the Year, and Classic Martine, 2014 Mare Trotter of the Year, headline a field of nine top older harness racing mare trotters who will contest Friday's inaugural $51,100 The Meadows Maturity at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino. The event goes as race 9, with first post at 6:55 PM. The Meadows created The Meadows Maturity, as well as a companion event for colts and geldings that's set for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Day card, as a rich earnings opportunity for the sport's trotting stars that could keep them from retiring early to the breeding ranks. That's a mission throughout harness racing, and in the case of The Meadows Maturity events, the effort appears to be a success. The distaff version attracted two Dan Patch Award winners in Shake It Cerry and Classic Martine as well as The Meadows' elite female trotters, including Daylon Miracle, Anaffairtoremember, Cowgirl Hall and Whata Donato. Shake It Cerry, who was won more than $2 million in her career, kicks off her 4-year-old campaign in The Meadows Maturity following a winning qualifier in 1:55 -- last quarter in 27.1 -- at the Meadowlands. Trainer Jimmy Takter was in the sulky that day and was pleased with her performance. "I was very impressed with how she felt," Takter reports. "I'm very happy with the way she's training." When Takter turns the reins over to Dave Palone, he won't be advising the Hall of Fame driver to take it easy on the champ her first time out." "She likes to be in charge," Takter said. "When she gets behind the gate, she wants to be part of the action." Takter indicated he and Shake It Cerry's owners, Solveig's Racing Partners, have mapped out an ambitious schedule for the champion that likely won't include any races against males. "It's possible she could race against boys if it's for 4-year-olds only, but we wouldn't race her against boys in anything that's 4 and up," Takter said. He said he does not expect this to be the final season on the track for Shake It Cerry. "At 5, I think she'll be a candidate to ship to Europe to race," Takter said. Classic Martine also is launching her 4-year-old campaign and must do so from post 9 for driver Dan Rawlings, trainer Chris Oakes and owners Hauser Brothers Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich and Edwin Gold. But The Meadows Maturity brings her back to the scene of a particularly memorable finish. That occurred in the championship of the 2013 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes for sophomore fillies, when Classic Martine and Frau Blucher crossed the wire together in 1:53.2. It was the fastest trotting dead heat in North American harness racing history, a mark that still stands. If she wins Friday, the daughter of Classic Photo-Drinking Days becomes a millionaire. Friday's program also features the $33,700 championship of the Do Me Honor Pace for 3-year-old fillies. Here is The Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1 2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1 3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1 4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1 5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1 6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1 7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5 8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1 9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1 Evan Pattak

Shake It Cerry, the 2014 Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year, is ready to shake off the rust and begin a new harness racing campaign. The 4-year-old female trotter, who closed out last season by winning her final nine races, will kick off this year in Friday's inaugural $51,100 Meadows Maturity for older female trotters at The Meadows Racetrack in western Pennsylvania. Shake It Cerry drew post No. 7 in the nine-horse field and is the 7-5 morning line favorite. Meadows leading driver Dave Palone will sit behind Shake It Cerry for trainer Jimmy Takter. Classic Martine, who received the 2014 Dan Patch Award for best older female trotter, drew post No. 9 and is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Dan Rawlings will drive for trainer Chris Oakes. Shake It Cerry won 15 of 17 races last year and earned $1.23 million for the Solveig's Racing Partners ownership group. In addition to being named Trotter of the Year, she was voted harness racing's best 3-year-old female trotter. She also was the 2-year-old Dan Patch Award winner in 2013. She prepped for Friday's Maturity with a 1:55 win in a qualifier on April 18 at the Meadowlands. "It's her first start and she had a soft qualifier, but she felt great," said Takter, who drove the mare in her qualifier. "She felt super. I was very happy." Shake It Cerry will try to become the first trotter since Moni Maker to win consecutive Trotter of the Year awards. Moni Maker, a mare who also was trained by Takter, captured three Trotter of the Year honors from 1998-2000. The only other horses in the last 45 years to earn back-to-back Trotter of the Year accolades were Pine Chip (1993-94) and Mack Lobell (1987-88). Of course, it will not be an easy task. Shake It Cerry will see tough competition in the older female trotting division alone, with the likes of 2013 Horse of the Year winner Bee A Magician also in its ranks. The trotting mares as a group in 2014 posted eight of the 12 fastest times in their division's history, with Classic Martine responsible for three of the efforts and Bee A Magician one. "It's no walk in the park there," Takter said. "By the same token, everybody knows (Shake It Cerry) is not just an average horse either. I'm sure she can go with them. Of course, sometimes those mares are a little tougher. They've been through a little bit more. "But she's a fighter. I'm excited to see her race. I'm sure she's not going to be as dominant as when she was as a 3-year-old. We have to pick our spots, but she's going to win one or two of those big ones this year." Last year, Shake It Cerry finished her season by winning the Breeders Crown in a stakes-record 1:52.2. She also won the Matron Stakes in a stakes- and track-record 1:52.4 over a "good" surface at Dover Downs, the American-National in a stakes-record 1:52.2 and equaled the stakes record of 1:52.1 in capturing the Elegantimage. Shake It Cerry is named in honor of one of Takter's sisters. The horse's dam, Solveig, was named in honor of Takter's mother. The horse's sire is Donato Hanover, who was Horse of the Year at age 3 in 2007. Solveig was voted best 2-year-old female trotter in 2004. Classic Martine won nine of 18 races last year and hit the board a total of 16 times to lead all older female trotters in purses with $438,912. Her victories included the Armbro Flight Stakes, Miss Versatility Series championship and the Ima Lula Series final in a then-world-record-equaling performance. She is owned by Hauser Bros. Racing, Susan Oakes, Conrad Zurich, and Edwin Gold. Here is the Meadows Maturity field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Sweetie Hearts, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 20-1 2. Cowgirl Hall, Eric Goodell, Ron Burke, 8-1 3. Anaffairtoremember, Mike Wilder, William Bercury, 10-1 4. Daylon Miracle, Aaron Merriman, William Bercury, 5-1 5. Rockin With Dewey, Eric Ledford, Benoit Baillargeon, 12-1 6. Handover Belle, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 12-1 7. Shake It Cerry, Dave Palone, Jimmy Takter, 7-5 8. Whata Donato, Doug Snyder, Doug Snyder, 20-1 9. Classic Martine, Dan Rawlings, Chris Oakes, 4-1 by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA  

EAST RUTHERFORD, (April 17, 2015) - Whom Shall I Fear, the full-brother to Father Patrick and a $475,000 yearling, served notice that he is a three year old trotter to watch in 2015 with a compelling harness racing performance in his 2015 debut at The Meadowlands. Released from the gate as the 1/5 prohibitive favorite, Yannick Gingras guided Whom Shall I Fear towards the rear of the field while following what would turn out to be a live outer flow. Danish Durango would establish the early lead through a 28.2 opening quarter, but quickly felt a challenge from Clifton Beach who he released going past the three-eighths marker. But, Whom Shall I Fear was tracking that trotter every step of the early stages and Gingras guided his three year old to the lead past the half-mile in 57.3. From there, the race was over as Whom Shall I Fear created separation on Clifton Beach and all the rest, gliding past three quarters in 1:26.2. The lead would expand from that point with the final margin listed as 10 lengths in the end. The final time was an impressive 1:53.3, including a 27.1 final quarter under no pressure. Starzinner was a distant second with Madman Hall third. Whom Shall I Fear is trained by Jimmy Takter for Whom Shall I Fear Stable. He is eligible to both The Hambletonian and The Stanley Dancer Memorial at The Meadowlands. There is a new kid on the block when it comes to the open trotters at The Meadowlands and his name is Wind Of The North.  The Daryl Bier trainee has gone back to back at the top trotting level after his win Friday night. Surprisingly dismissed at 5-1, Wind Of The North left for position and sat third on the pylons early in the mile as Lindy’s Tru Grit, the overwhelming 1/5 favorite (coupled with Master Of Law) established a rapid 26.2 opening quarter.  The favorite would continue to dictate the tempo through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.3 while turning for home with a diminishing lead.  Appomattox mounted a challenge from out of the pocket while Master Of Law ranged up off a live cover trip.  As Lindy’s Tru Grit tired, Wind Of The North quietly began to rally up the pylons and he powered through the stretch to grab the victory in the final strides in 1:52.  Appomattox finished second with Master Of Law third. Wind Of The North was driven to victory again by Dave Miller for Daryl Bier and Joann Dombeck. There was no single winner in the fifth race Jackpot Super Hi-5, that carryover has grown to $83,210.  The last race Jackpot Hi-5 also went unclaimed and that carryover will be $52,142 into the last race on Saturday. The 13-race Saturday program will feature the opening round of the Whata Baron series.  In addition the Spring Preview debuts for the pacing colts and fillies.  Post time is 7:15 P.M.   Darin Zoccali

Jimmy Takter-trained Canepa Hanover and Whom Shall I Fear headline a group of 12 harness racing Hambletonian hopefuls scheduled to qualify Saturday at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Whom Shall I Fear and Canepa Hanover both battled maturity and health issues last season at age 2, combining for only 11 starts and one victory. Canepa Hanover, who made six starts, won a Peter Haughton prep race in 1:58.1 at the Meadowlands and finished second in the New Jersey Sire Stakes championship. He went off stride in three races, including the Peter Haughton Memorial Stakes. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Cressida Hanover, Canepa Hanover is a half-brother to 2006 Horse of the Year Glidemaster. The colt sold for $300,000 at the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale. Whom Shall I Fear was winless in five starts last year, but finished second in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at The Red Mile. The colt is a full brother to Dan Patch Award winners Pastor Stephen and Father Patrick and sold - under the name Custom Fit - for a Lexington Selected Sale-record $475,000 in 2013. "They are huge horses, big horses," said Takter, who won last year's Hambletonian with Trixton and is a three-time winner of the trotting classic. "Canepa started getting more problems after a couple starts. But he was in the Peter Haughton, so at least he showed that kind of ability. He was probably one of the fastest colts early. "But both of them have come back super. I never turned them out; I kept them around and kept going with them. I actually wish they would have been out a couple of weeks earlier, but the weather hasn't cooperated. I'm very excited to go up with both of them. They should be able to qualify very nice and we'll see where we're heading." Other Hambletonian-eligible male trotters entered in Saturday's qualifiers are Explosive Brother, Fashion Creditor, Finish Line, Handover The Money, Michael's Pearl, Natural Kemp, P Mac Attack, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Natural Kemp, who last year won one of two starts for trainer Ake Svanstedt, is a son of Muscles Yankee out of the stakes-winning mare Impressive Kemp. His family includes last year's Hambletonian winner Trixton as well as Dan Patch Award winners Andover Hall and Conway Hall. Svanstedt also trains Handover The Money, Southwind Mozart, Stonebridge Force, and Workout Wonder. Handover The Money, a son of Andover Hall-CR Sister Suzie, is a half-brother to 2010 Yonkers Trot winner On The Tab whose family also includes Dan Patch Award winner CR Kay Suzie. Stonebridge Force, by Muscle Hill out of Cream Puff, is a half-brother to 2008 Hambletonian Oaks winner Creamy Mimi and his family includes Dan Patch Award winner Pizza Dolce. Trond Smedshammer, who won the 2004 Hambletonian with Windsong's Legacy, trains and drives Finish Line, a son of Yankee Glide-Calchips Finisher whose family includes past Smedshammer star - and Dan Patch Award winner - Blur. Explosive Brother, a son of Explosive Matter-Meadowbranch Irene in the stable of trainer Noel Daley, is a half-brother to Dan Patch Award winner Mr Muscleman. Fashion Creditor, now in the stable of trainer Tom Fanning, finished third in a division of the International Stallion Stakes last year. He is a son of Credit Winner-Bon Voyage. P Mac Attack is by Muscle Hill and out of the stakes-winning mare Under My Thumb. He is trained by Nancy Johansson. Michael's Pearl is from the stable of Bruce Lauer. The $1 million Hambletonian Stakes will be contested Aug. 8 at the Meadowlands, with eliminations and final on the same day. by Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications USTA

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