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East Rutherford, NJ - The Meadowlands offered twin $30,000 Open harness racing features on a brisk late February Friday night.   Odds On Amethyst took the top class trot for the second time this season with a start to finish romp in 1:52 for Brett Miller. Miller set his charge away sharply from post eight and crossed over instantly. Odds On Amethyst set honest fractions, fought off a legitimate bid from Melady's Monet through a grueling 27.3 third panel then held sway for the win. B Yoyo sat a tight pocket throughout, menaced the winner late and held well for the place with DW's NY Yank surviving an adventurous trip from the far outside to be third in his first seasonal start. The winner returned $9.20 and the exacta a healthy $122.60. Jimmy Takter trains for Diamond Creek Racing.   The Open Mare Pace went to Inittowinafortune and Corey Callahan in an identical time of 1:52. Callahan fashioned an ideal second-over trip then rallied the mare late from just off the pace to track down Radar Contact after a stretch-long battle and prevail in a photo. Inittowinafortune returned $18.40 while winning her third straight for owner Mike Pagonas and trainer Mike Russo. It was Callahan's third winner of the night.   In wagering news, the Hi 5 Jackpot carried over in the fifth race at $37,167 and the last race Jackpot eclipsed $142,000 going into tomorrow night's program.   The Saturday card features three Winter Series finals among the thirteen races. Post time is 7:15 pm.   From The Meadowlands Media Relations Department  

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, February 22, 2015 - Not even an assigned eight-hole in a Sunday expanded field could stop favored Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $4.90) from dominating Yonkers Raceway's $46,000 featured Open Handicap Trot. The week's marquee trot was the third of the seven, French-themed trotting events to begin the card, all at the added (1¼-mile) distance and all with overflow (12-, 11-, four 10- and a nine-horse) fields. Leaving but having to wait his turn, Not Afraid took over from On the Podium (Eric Carlson) just past a 29-second opening quarter-mile. Another pair of identical intervals (:58, 1:27) ensued before Count Me In (George Brennan) moved meekly from fourth. That one never came close as Not Afraid rolled through a 1:55.4 milepost. He owned a three-length lead entering the lane, then widened. The final margin, over Lorenzo Dream (Brian Sears), was 4½ length in 2:25.3. Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter), Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) and Awesome Valley (Brett Miller) rounded out the payees. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 4-for-6 this season (career earnings up and over a half-million dollars). The exacta paid $42, the triple returned $1,008 and the superfecta paid $3,503. Note that the next two "French" Sunday matinees are March 8 and 15, with post times TBA as of this writing. The Raceway's live season continues Monday (7:10 PM), with a $10,000 guaranteed pool Pick 5 (50-cent base wager, races 7 through 11). After that, it's Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Evening simulcasting accompanies all night programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily (all provided Mother Nature cooperates). Frank Drucker

Making a name yourself in The Meadowlands driving colony is no easy task. But Brett Miller has been making it look easy. Miller would spot-drive at The Meadowlands in 2014 when some of the top drivers were out of town and Miller did quite well. Making the move to drive at The Big M on a regular basis has proven to be a great one as coming into Friday night Miller sat fourth in the driver standings, behind just Yannick Gingras, Dave Miller and Tim Tetrick. He gained on all three of those rivals with four winners on the Friday harness racing program, including a pair of upsets in the two featured events. The top-trotting level this winter meet at The Meadowlands has belonged to Melady's Monet, winning five of six starts, including a three length romp just one week ago. On Friday, he was sent off as the 3/5 betting choice, but this night would belong to another trotter. Driver John Campbell was content to allow Melday's Monet to settle into last position early-on in the field of six in the $27,500 Open Trot. Lindy's Tru Grit was sent to the lead by Andy Miller and would proceed to cut the mile, setting fractions of 28, 56.4 and 1:24.4. Odds On Amethyst tracked the leader from the pocket throughout the mile and set sights on the leader in the stretch. Meanwhile, Melady's Monet still had plenty of work to do, five lengths off the speed as the field turned for home. Brett Miller and Odds On Amethyst turned the perfect trip into an upset victory as they scored at 5-1 in 1:52.3. Lindy's Tru Grit saved the runner-up spot with Coffeecake Hanover trotting well to be third. Favored Melady's Monet put forth his first disappointing effort of the season, finishing fifth as the 3/5 favorite. Odds On Amethyst is trained by Jimmy Takter for Diamond Creek Racing. . The second round of the Burning Point series for pacing mares was contested Friday night as well. Witch Dali, the Worldly Beauty Champion, who finished third in round one of this series last week was sent off as the even-money favorite. The entry of Southwind Serenity and Donttellruss for Ron Burke was the 7/5 second choice. Witch Dali was aggressive from the start, sending hard from post seven with Dave Miller and making an easy lead through an opening quarter of 26.4. The mare would take the field to the three-quarter pole, through fractions of 55.4 and 1:24.1 before seeing pressure from a first over Southwind Serenity. Witch Dali tried to fight back, but she had no answer for the Burke-trainee and conceded in the stretch as Southwind Serenity took over the lead in mid-stretch. But the race was far from over, as round one winner, Empress Deo, who was tracking Southwind Serenity loomed boldly just off the lead. Brett Miller guided his mare off that cover and the instant she saw racetrack, she responded again and chased down Southwind Serenity to win again, in 1:51.3. Empress Deo is now in the position to sweep the Burning Point series when she races in the $50,600 Final on Saturday, January 21st. Somenicebeach raced well to finish third. Empress Deo is owned by Legacy Racing of Delaware Incorporated and trained by Wayne Givens. Both Jackpot Super Hi-5 Pools went unclaimed with multiple winning tickets in both events. The fifth race carryover will be $20,600.71 into Saturday night while the last race carryover grew to $116,386.10. Post Time for the Valentine's Day program is 7:15 P.M. Darin Zoccali

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, February 7, 2015 - Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $2.80) and a repeating Sapphire City (Eric Carlson, $10) grabbed the gusto Saturday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's harness racing co-featured $35,000 Open Handicaps. Not Afraid made it three wins in his last four featured trot tries. Outsprinted--from post position No. 6--at the outset by outside number Count Me In (George Brennan), the odds-on choice settled fourth. After early intervals of :27.4 and 58 seconds flat, Not Afraid took off after the leader, engaged in and out of the 1:26.3 three-quarters. Not Afraid took over early in the lane, then held off a trio of closers to prevail in 1:55.4. On the Podium (Carlson) grabbed second, beaten, three-quarters of a length, with Awesome Valley (Jason Bartlett) third. A from-last Struck By Lindy and Murmur Hanover (Pat Lachance) completed the cashers. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, he's 3-for-5 this season. The exacta paid $34.80, with the triple returning $200,. Sapphire City, from post No. 3 in the pacing feature, made the first lead before Michael's Power (Dube) went by. That one, from an assigned eight-hole, cleared and led early (:27.1, :57.1). Invading Dapper Dude (Brian Sears) tried it first-up from fifth, prompting past a 1:25.1 three-quarters. The leader remained so, with a length-and-a-half in and out of the final turn. However, he began to tire as Sapphire City ducked in and went by. In a virtual carbon copy of last week's race, he was able to whip a closing 2-1 choice Take it Back Terry (Brennan). The margin was a half-length (same as last Saturday) in 1:52.4. Dapper Dude held credibly for third, with Michael's Power and BJ's Guy settling for the minor spoils. For third choice Sapphire City, a 7-year-old Metropolitan gelding trained by Paul Blumenfeld for co-owners Centaur Stable and Jordan Sklut, it was his second win in five seasonal starts (career earnings now over $900,000) The exacta paid $39, the triple returned $292.50 and the superfecta paid $699. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then a French-centric Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker

Maven has been the darling of the harness racing press and a hefty chunk of the sport’s fan base for the past few months. She’s taken the crown from Foiled Again, who held that distinction for a couple of years. The six-year-old daughter of Glidemaster—the only top tier trotter that sire has produced in North America—only won four races during 2014, and only one of those was a grade one stakes race. She set a track record in winning the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs in November. Her other three wins came in the Miami Valley Distaff in mid-May, a preferred trot at Pocono in August and the BC elimination at the Meadowlands. Maven finished out in three legs of the Miss Versatility Series, which she won in 2013, and was third in the final at Delaware, which division champ Classic Martine won. She earned $333,027 between her dozen starts in NA and a pair in Europe. So what’s all the fuss about? Why is Maven the flame of the Twittersphere and the horse harness scribes have elevated to the top of the pile? Her pedestrian numbers during the past year scream journeyman in a slump—not superstar. Racing in Europe adds some panache to her resume, but she has one third place finish to show for five European starts last season and this. Maven’s popularity obviously extends to the sales ring as she brought a record $750,000 bid from Herb Liverman at Harrisburg in November. And he already owned a piece of rival Bee A Magician. One of Maven’s problems is that Liverman is determined not to have the pair go head to head. That means Maven is stuck in Europe, or destined to take on the boys back home. Neither of those scenarios looks promising at the moment. Contrast Maven’s overseas performance with the much less celebrated Arch Madness, who made eight starts in Europe during 2011, 2012 and 2013. He won two of them, the 2011 Oslo Grand Prix and a heat of the Elitlop. He finished second in the latter twice and was third three times in European races. Arch got some publicity for all of this, particularly in Canada, but Maven seems to be leaving him in the PR dust despite a much shorter record of accomplishment. Something similar has been happening on the pacing side. Eleven-year-old Foiled Again is still the most popular pacer in NA. He was second to Sweet Lou in division earnings in 2014, thanks to making the board in 19 of 26 starts, but he had no grade one stakes wins. The Quillen was his only significant victory, and that one isn’t very important at this point. He won four legs of the Levy, then went winless for the season except for his Quillen elimination and final. In 2013 he was wildly popular and a candidate for Pacer of the Year, despite suffering 18 losses. Foiled’s hook is excellence over many years, consistency and the money record for pacers that he holds. Maven was good at two and three, winning 15 times and earning more than $900,000, but she took a back seat to Check Me Out until the late fall of her sophomore campaign. She was the standout in her division at four, winning 10 times and banking more than a half million dollars, and had an off year in 2014. This exaltation on the part of fans and the press is curious. Some of it has to do with her newsworthy passage from Jonas Czernyson to Ron Burke to Jimmy Takter. And participating today in the premier race in France for last year’s trainer and driver of the year doesn’t hurt. But with each non-competitive loss on the Continent, we should get less cheerleading and more questions about why she has been placed on a pedestal.  by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

YONKERS, NY, Saturday, January 24, 2015 - Harness racing driver Dan Dube, off to a solid start to the season, continue his roll Saturday night by sweeping both of Yonkers Raceway's Saturday night $35,000 co-features. In-form Not Again ($4.40) defended his marquee trot title, winning this Open Handicap event in 1:56.3. Assigned outside his six rivals, Not Again, as the second choice. was in play early. Eschewing a three-hole, he drove on, getting around Meadows invader Count Me In. That one, the 11-10 favorite, took over from lone lass Backstreet Hanover (Tyler Buter). Not Again threw down the gauntlet (:27.3, 57.3, 1:26.2), taking no outer-tier pressure whatsoever. Count Me In pulled pocket early, and that would cost him. Not Again wound up winning by length-and-a-quarter, with 45-1 rank outsider Sim Brown (Mark MacDonald) slipping up the cones for second. Count Me In was third, with Hoorayforvacation (Eric Carlson) and Star Photo (Eric Goodell) rounding out the payees. Backstreet Hanover jumped it off entering the final turn. For Not Afraid, a 6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his second win in three seasonal starts. The exacta paid $98, with the triple returning $228. Dube won the blind-draw Open Pace was a pocket-patrolling Michael's Power ($10.40). That one, from post No. 6, left outside of Sapphire City (Carlson). He then gave it up to a quarter-move by just-over-even-money favorite Warrawee Needy (MacDonald). It was "Needy" laying down the law through intervals of :27.1, :56 and 1:23.2, taking a length-and-a-half lead into the lane. However, that quick third quarter could not separate himself from the gang, and the gang swallowed him up. It was Michael's Power ducking inside, beating a closing Take it Back Terry (Brennan) by three-quarters of a length in 1:51.4 Sapphire City, Warrawee Needy and a season-debuting P H Supercam (Jason Bartlett) settled for the remainder. For third choice Michael's Power, a 6-yer-old Camluck homebred gelding owned by Jeff Snyder and trained by Mark Silva, it was his second win in three '15 tries. The exacta paid $52, with the triple returning $244. Dube won four races during Saturday's dozen-race card. The Raceway's live season continues (weather permitting) Monday (7:10 PM), then Tuesday (1 PM) and Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). Frank Drucker  

Maven, with Jimmy Takter aboard, trained today at Paris-Vincennes and impressed observers. Video in French is atttached with this story. She reportedly (by Paris-Turf) trained three 1,600 meter trips including a 500 meter sprint in 1.13.5kr. She will race barefoot on Sunday over the Vincennes surface, as will many other starters. Originally built in 1860, and subsequently rebuilt on several occasions, the track can handle 60,000 spectators and its’ surface is a cinder-like material that the trotters effortlessly float over, almost without sound. Paris-Vincennes has hosted the Prix d’Amerique since 1920 when it was created to honor America for its efforts to save France in WWI. Except for two years during WWII when the facility accommodated American troops and supplies. The fabulous Prix d’Amerique has been raced continuously and, in my opinion, honors America like no other sporting event. Fans from throughout the world make the annual trip to Paris to take in Prix d’Amerique week and cheer for their favorites. Here is the field for the Prix d'Amerique 2015 2700 meters, €450,000 for the winner. 1. Vulcain de Vandel - Franck Nivard 2. Tumble Dust - Jos Verbeeck 3. Voltigeur de Myrt - Gabriele Gelormini 4. Solvato - Örjan Kihlström 5. Olmo Holz - Christophe Martens 6. Linda di Casei - Alessandro Gocciadoro 7. Aladin d'Ecajeul - Mathieu Abrivard 8. Kadett C.D. - Robert Bergh 9. Mosaique Face - Pierre Vercruysse 10. Uhlan du Val - Cédric Megissier 11. Severino - Damien Bonne 12. Napoleon Bar - Enrico Bellei 13. Texas Charm - Julien Dubois 14. Maven - Yannick Gingras 15. Up And Quick - Jean Michel Bazire 16. Tiego d'Etang - Christian Bigeon 17. Timoko - Björn Goop 18. Roxane Griff - Eric Raffin by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink;com

YONKERS, NY, Sunday, January 11, 2015-Yonkers Raceway's first French-exported program of the season went postward Sunday afternoon. The first seven races on the dozen-race card were oversized fields (11, 12, 10, 10, 9, 10 and 10 trotters, respectively, after scratches) at the mile-and-one-quarter distance. The seven races attracted 1.16 million Euros (approximately 1.38 million U-S dollars) to an audience which included France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spanish Basque community, Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, Holland, Estonia and Malta. The week's marquee trot, a $44,000 blind-draw Open, featured the standard eight starters at the standard eight furlongs. It also featured a predictable result with 2-5 fave Not Afraid (Dan Dube)-from post position No. 5--going as the distance (:28.4, :57.4, 1:26.3, 1:55.1) to win as he pleased. The final margin was five lengths over second choice Backstreet Hanover (Eric Carlson), with Take My Picture (Jason Bartlett) third and In Nomine Patri (Jim Marshall III) fourth. The gimmicks returned $5.60 (exacta), $11.80 (triple, three wagering choices in order) and $89.50 (superfecta). Not Afraid, a now-6-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for his wife, Christina, John Fielding and Goran Andeberg, earned more than $154,000 a season ago. Special Sunday props to driver Brent Holland, who is taking his talents to Miami...Valley, that is. The affable Holland, an Ohio native, is relocating there and we wish him well. Holland did win Sunday's $15,500, second race with favored Bambino Hall ($4.50), trotting the added distance in 2:31.2. The Raceway's live season continues Monday night (7:10 PM). After that, it's Tuesday (1 PM), then Thursday through Saturday (all at 7:10 PM). The next scheduled Sunday matinee is Feb. 22. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway

For the first time since 1979, one of the last preparatory race prior to the Prix D’Amerique, the Prix de Belgique , has only ten trotters entered for this Sunday at Paris-Vincennes. The purse is at $145,000 (US). Since 1990, the last of the "B" race has at least twelve starters. This edition promises to be very special, and will not be supporting the quinté + bet. The morning line favorite for the race is Vabellino (2 - Eric Raffin), who races barefoot and can win his ticket to the big race if successful as the winner of the race gets an automatic entry into the Prix D’Amerique . Another favorite in the field is Up And Quick ( 10 - Jean- Michel Bazire ) who will be handicapped twenty-five meters, and will wear shoes with Jean -Michel Bazire driving . Texas Charm (9 - Julien Dubois), will race with shoes too. Elles W Phedo (1 - Johanna Lindqvist ), better known in the European races, tries his luck against the elite, racing without shoes. Here is the field for the Prix de Belgique 1. Elles W Phedo–Johanna Lindqvist 2. Vabellino–Eric Raffin 3. Very Nice Marceaux–Pierre Vercruysse 4. Solea Rivelliere–Philippe Daugeard 5. Kadett CD–Robert Bergh 6. Uhlan du Val–Cedric Megissier 7. Roxana de Barbray–Gabriele Gelormini 8. Severino–Christian Bigeon 9. Texas Charm–Julien Dubois Trailing the field by 25 meters 10. Up and Quick–Jean Michel Bazire Maven also races on the same program and headlines the Prix Tenor de Baune, a race for 6-year-old trotters over the 1-11/16 mile distance, also for a purse of $145,000. There are ten entered in the race and Maven drew the far outside post 10 as she is the highest money earner in the field. She will again face Solvato (Orjan Kihlstrom), who two weeks back captured the Prix de Bourgogne at Vincennes and earned an automatic entry to the Prix D’Amerique. Solvato was bred in the United States and is a full brother to world champion filly, Shake It Cerry. Here is the field for the Tenor de Baune 1. Claes Boko–Johanna Lindqvist 2. Valko Jenilat–Glenny Delaune 3. Voyage de Rêve–Jean Philippe Dubois 4. Vulcain de Vandel–Franck Nivard 5. Villeroi–Eric Raffin 6. Chelsea Boko–Bjørn Goop 7. Voltigeur de Myrt–Gabriele Gelormini 8. Solvato–Örjan Kihlström 9. Mosaique Face–Jos Verbeeck 10. Maven–Jean Michel Bazire By Steve Wolf, for Harnesslink.com

The final field of 18 is set for Sunday’s Prix de Bourgogne, the third “B” leading to the Prix d’Amerique. The lineup is shown (not in post-position order) below, in sequence by career earnings. Some drivers have not yet been listed The Gr. II UET Masters Series International event carries a €120,000 purse over 2100 meters autostart distance. The winner of the race gets an automatic invite to the prestigious Prix D'Amerique. (horse, driver, trainer, career earnings in euros) Viscaria,tbd, Gillot, 346,360 Oibambam Effe, Carro, Carro, 384,992 Viking de Val, Lambertz, Lambertz, 547,340 Solvato, Kihlstrom, Heiskanen, 596,686 Amour d’Occagnes, tbd, Rebiche, 635,180 Soleil du Fosse, tbd, Duvaldestin, 685,160 Talicia Bella, Barrier, J-P Marmion,685,250 Kadett CD, Locqueneux, Bergh, 814,722 Mosaique Face, Kolgjini, Kolgjini, 850,598 Uhlan du Val, C. Megissier, C. Megissier, 895,390 Severino, Bonne, Ch. Bigeon, 956,649 Texas Charm, tbd, Moulin, 1,070,530 Up And Quick, Vercruysse, Leblanc, 1,258,060 Maven, Gingras, J.W. Takter, 1,267,094 Tiego d’Etang, Ch. Bigeon, Ch. Bigeon, 1,394,280 Roxane Griff, E. Raffin, Guarato, 2,567,218 Timoko, Goop, Westerink, 2,824,278 Ready Cash, tbd, Duvaldestin,4,282,300 The richly-talented field should produce an exciting event and should solve questions such as the fitness of Ready Cash and Up And Quick, whether Solvato can handle this deep group, Maven’s ability to handle the ship from the US and Texas Charm’s form as he seeks to defend his victory last year in this race. Earlier it was announced that Bjorn Goop will rein Timoko in the Prix d’Amerique due to his experience versus Criterium Continental winner Tumble Dust. The traditional Christmas Day Quinte+ at Paris-Vincennes features the Prix Constant Herview (Gr. III European, €105,000 purse, 18 starters). This well-balanced group includes Lutfi Kolgjini trainee Olympic Kronos (Locqueneux), Vico du Petit Odon (Bonne), Osiride Grif (Pierre Levesque), Velleroi (Gelormini) and Rapay Merci (Barrier). by Thomas H. Hicks, for Harnesslink.com

MANALAPAN, NJ - December 23, 2014 -Harness racings Hambletonian winner Trixton will receive the 2014 Secretary of Agriculture's Trophy as New Jersey Standardbred of the Year as selected by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture. Trixton and Deo Volente Farms, the 2014 New Jersey Breeder of the Year and the trotter's new home, will be among the honorees at the 58th Annual New Jersey Breeders Awards Luncheon at 1 p.m. on January 25, 2015 at Charley's Other Brother in Eastampton Township, NJ. Trixton will begin his career as a stallion in 2015, standing at Deo Volente Farms in Franklin Township, NJ for a fee of $12,000. "We think Mike Gulotta [CEO of Deo Volente Farms] has demonstrated great foresight to stand Trixton in New Jersey," said Standardbred Breeders & Owners Association President Tom Luchento. "We hope breeders will share his faith in the future of the New Jersey program and breed their mares to Trixton." Trixton was one of three stellar three-year-old trotting colts in the stable of Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter in 2014, heading into the prestigious Hambletonian on August 2 at the Meadowlands. While his stablemates, Father Patrick and Nuncio, seemed like the stronger contenders, it was Trixton who prevailed, with Takter picking up his first Hambletonian as a driver and third as a trainer [Malabar Man in 1997 and Muscle Massive in 2010]. Nuncio was second and Father Patrick made an uncharacteristic break in stride, finishing out of contention. Trixton's sire, Muscle Hill, is a son of Muscles Yankee; all three generations are Hambletonian winners and stallions who have stood in New Jersey. Trixton's 2014 victories also included the Good Times, Simpson, Reynolds, Simcoe and the New Jersey Sire Stakes Championship. He was also honored as New Jersey Sire Stakes Horse of the Year. A $360,000 Lexington Selected Sale purchase, the trotter raced for the partnership of Bengt Agerup's Brixton Medical AB of Orsundsbro, Sweden and Christina Takter of East Windsor, NJ. He was bred by Steve H. Stewart of Paris, KY; Martti Ala-Seppala of Hollola, Finland and John Bootsman of Ekero, Sweden. In two seasons of racing, Trixton earned $947,057, taking a mark of 1:50.3 and posting 12 wins, two seconds and two thirds in 19 career starts. For tickets to the awards luncheon, which are $35 each, contact Kim Tkacs at 609-292-8830. by Carol Hodes, for the SBOANJ          

For the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career, Jimmy Takter is the Trainer of the Year as voted upon by the members of the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA). Also voted a Dan Patch Award, as Driver of the Year, was Yannick Gingras, who led all drivers in purses this season with more than $17 million. Takter received 84 of 140 votes for Trainer of the Year, finishing ahead of Ron Burke, who got 56 votes. Gingras was the only driver nominated for Driver of the Year by USHWA's chapters. Despite starting horses only 729 times through Dec. 21, Takter's stable earned a career-best $13.35 million, for an average of more than $18,300 per start. Takter, 54, won this year's Hambletonian with Trixton, a horse he also drove to the victory, and the Hambletonian Oaks with Lifetime Pursuit. Takter became only the second trainer to win both races in the same year, joining Jan Johnson from 1988. The Hambletonian was the first jewel in the Trotting Triple Crown and Takter-trained Nuncio swept the remaining two legs, the Kentucky Futurity and Yonkers Trot. In addition, Takter won three Breeders Crown trophies, with 2-year-old male trotter Pinkman, 3-year-old male trotter Father Patrick, and 3-year-old female trotter Shake It Cerry. Shake It Cerry was named the Dan Patch Award Trotter of the Year while Pinkman and Father Patrick received divisional honors. Takter dominated the 3-year-old trotting ranks, as he had the top three money-earning colts (Father Patrick, $1.69 million, Nuncio, $1.45 million and Trixton, $893,370) and the top two money-earning fillies (Shake It Cerry, $1.23 million and Lifetime Pursuit, $795,216). Father Patrick and Nuncio made Takter the first trainer in history to have two million-dollar trotters in the same division in the same year. Among Takter's top pacers were 3-year-old male stakes-winners Lyonssomewhere, who captured the Cane Pace, Somewhere In L A and Tellitlikeitis, along with 3-year-old filly stakes-winner Uffizi Hanover. Takter's previous Trainer of the Year honors came in 2010, 2000 and 1996. The 35-year-old Gingras has established career highs in purses, with $17.29 million, and wins, with 555. His earnings led all drivers in North America and were more than $5 million ahead of second place. Never in history has a driver finished at least $5 million in front of his nearest competitor. In addition, Gingras' purses were fourth highest in history for a driver. Gingras won four Breeders Crown titles, victories that were among 15 triumphs worth more than $300,000 this year. Those 15 lucrative wins came with nine different horses and included the Canadian Trotting Classic, Hambletonian Oaks, Little Brown Jug and Cane Pace. A native of Quebec, Gingras was USHWA's 2003 Rising Star Award winner. Takter and Gingras will receive their awards at USHWA's annual Dan Patch Awards banquet, to be held Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Doubletree Hilton Orlando at Sea World. by Ken Weingartner, for the US Harness Writers Association    

Trixton, who trotted the fastest mile in New Jersey Sire Stakes history, has been selected as the New Jersey Sire Stakes' Premier Division Horse of the Year for 2014 while Strut My Stuff was named the Green Acres' Horse of the Year. The awards, which are voted annually by the New Jersey Sire Stakes Board of Trustees, are based solely on performances in races for New Jersey-sired horses, including NJSS races and other major stakes for NJ-sired horses. Trixton established the Sire Stakes record of 1:52.1 in winning the NJSS Premier Division Championship Final for three-year-old trotting colts and geldings in May at the Meadowlands. He was undefeated in NJSS competition, also winning a preliminary leg of the Premier Division. Jim Takter, who was the colt's trainer, drove in both victories. After his NJSS campaign, Trixton went on to win the Good Times and Simcoe at Mohawk in addition to the Reynolds and the $1,006.125 Hambletonian at the Meadowlands. The son of Muscle Hill won eight of 11 starts overall as a three-year-old, earning $893,370 overall this year for his owners Christina Takter and Brixton Medical Ab. The colt was bred by Steve Stewart, Marti Ala-seppala and John Bootsman. Strut My Stuff was undefeated in three NJSS Green Acres series starts at Freehold, including the $25,000 championship final for two-year-old pacing fillies in that series where she established a new Green Acres record for her division. Additionally, the daughter of Western Ideal was victorious in the $59,000 filly division of the Lou Babic. Trained by Ross Croghan for co-owners Let It Ride Stables of Boca Raton, FL and RBH Ventures of New York, Strut My Stuff finished the year with career earnings of $52,620. by Christopher Castens, for the New Jersey Sire Stakes

Winner: Jimmy Takter won three Breeders Crown races and is already an amazing $5.4 million ahead of last year’s $7.8 million earning’s figure. Shake It Cerry was already assured of a division win, while Father Patrick and Pinkman probably won their divisions last night. Loser: Always A Virgin came into the BC poised to have two winners and, if that happened, two division titles. This would have given the ten-year-old stallion, and the Indiana program he spearheads, a huge boost. Unfortunately, Always B Miki scratched out of the sophomore colt pace and his filly counterpart, Color’s A Virgin, was too far back in her race and finished fourth. Winner: McWicked stepped up and seized control of a floundering division with his BC victory. Neither the Adios nor the Hempt would rate grade one status in today’s environment, so McWicked needed a top shelf win to bolster his resume. That combined with his earning’s lead should give him a solid shot at division supremacy. Casie Coleman said he may have one more start in him. That would no doubt be the Progress Pace, which he can supplement to for $25,000. A win in the Progress should secure division honors. Loser: Joe Holloway had a clear path to a division title and a start in the lucrative TVG with Always B Miki, but that one was a late scratch when he injured a leg in his stall just prior to post time. Beyond that, Holloway came into the season positioned to dominate the aged pacing mares with four-year-old hotshots Shebestingin and Somwherovrarainbow. However, Rainbow finished tenth in the BC while the world record holder, Shebestingin, has only started three times since the end of July—all losing efforts. Winner: Yannick Gingras added $1.5 million to his earning’s pile over the past week. He has now handily eclipsed Tim Tetrick’s $16.1 million winning total from last year and Gingras is already $2.2 million up on what he earned in all of 2013. He won four BC races, and no doubt would have had five if he maintained his relationship with JK She’salady. Loser: Tony Alagna, the third leading trainer last year and currently ranked seventh, didn’t have any starters in the dozen BC finals. Captaintreacherous has been retired and Artspeak was shut down for the season. It’s unusual for a trainer like Alagna, who specialized in high-end stock, to be a bystander come BC weekend. Last year he won with Captain T and was second to Nitelife with Authorize. Erv Miller, who is the third ranked trainer on the earning’s list, also had no starters, but that’s not really his field of play. Winner: John Campbell’s off the pace wins with 4-1 Thinking Out Loud and 10-1 Shelliscape give him a record 47 Breeders Crown wins. Winner: Father Patrick has won 22 of his 28 lifetime starts and earned $1.6 million this year—$235,000 more than any other NA trotter or pacer. Yet, as was the case with Captaintreacherous during his sophomore season, Patrick seems to take a lot of heat. Going into last night’s race it was understood that a win by Nuncio would give him the division as well as serious Horse of the Year consideration. But now Patrick owns the division for good and will be given an opportunity to further his redemption for losses in the Hambletonion, Matron and Erskine when and if he takes on his elders in the TVG. Winner: JK She’salady probably secured Horse of the Year honors with her BC win in track and stakes record time. She completed a perfect 12 win season. The daughter of Art Major would be the first freshman filly ever to win that award. Loser: Jeff Gural had to be pleased that the weather cooperated and business was good over Breeders Crown weekend. However, BC wins by Traceur Hanover, trained by the indefinitely suspended Corey Johnson, and the PJ Fraley trainee Shelliscape, had to leave him with a sour stomach. Fraley, along with Rene Allard, whose Yagonnakissmeornot finished fifth as the favorite in the aged mare pace, were both deemed persona non grata by Gural last year. Legal precedent and BC staking rules left him with no choice but to allow the trio to compete. After Traceur won the freshman pace Johnson, who towered over everyone else in the winner’s circle, drew all eyes. The fact that good guy Andy Miller drove Traceur and handled the post-race interview offered some relief for Meadowlands and Breeders Crown execs. Winner: Hanover Shoe Farms had a very good weekend. Nineteen-year-old Western Ideal, who had grown out of favor with the buyers as his New Jersey eligibility lingered on, has turned that around of late. His son Always A Virgin has generated plenty of publicity this year and now Hanover has Traceur Hanover to join Artspeak at the vanguard of the freshman pacing ranks. The latter was a winner because In The Arsenal, who finished second behind Traceur Hanover, did not wrestle the division away from him. Also, Pinkman, winner of the two-year-old colt trot, gives the young stallion Explosive Matter the potential star performer he’s been searching for. Hanover also got wins from Father Patrick, a son of their premier trotting stallion Cantab Hall, and Donato’s daughter Shake It Cerry. Winner: With Thinking Out Loud, who is not a viable candidate for division honors, winning the BC open pace, Sweet Lou, who was second, set himself up nicely for division honors. Winner: Marginal pacing stallions stepped to the fore over the weekend. McArdle is trying to establish himself in slots rich Ohio and having McWicked, his number two son after One More Laugh, win the BC and in so doing pave the way for a division title, helps immeasurably in that regard. And ten-year-old Tell All has failed to light it up thus far in the stallion ranks, but that win by supplemental entry, Sayitall BB, certainly helps. Bob McIntosh would probably scoff at the notion that Ponder is a marginal stallion, but the volume has been so thin that it sometimes seems like they all belong to him. Diamond Creek is currently addressing that issue in Pennsylvania. Adding a BC trophy to Thinking Out Loud’s hardware collection will give the effort a boost. And while Artiscape’s great daughter Rainbow Blue has a BC trophy on the mantle; paternal sister Shelliscape now has two of them. by Joe FitzGerald for   http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com  

MCWICKED TAKES BREEDERS CROWN COLT PACE

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – One of two namesakes of the popular AMC drama Breaking Bad, the Jimmy Takter-trained Pinkman took the lead into the backstretch and held off all foes to win the $500,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot in 1:53.2.   Guess Whos Back gained control, while Uncle Lasse loomed closer to his outside. Through a :27.4 first quarter, Uncle Lasse (Ron Piere) took the lead. Pinkman soon followed the move of his stable mate, and gained the lead before the half.   Once in front, Pinkman was left uncontested through fractions of :56.4 and 1:25.3. French Laundry (Brett Miller) led the two-wide charge, with Muscle Diamond (John Campbell) riding his back.   Pinkman was drifting off the cones through the stretch, allowing French Laundry to dive to the inside and attempt to gain ground. Muscle Diamond put in his final charge towards the center of the course, and could only finish second to Pinkman, doing so in a track and stakes time. French Laundry was third, and Habitat (Brian Sears) was fourth. "I qualified him two starts ago, Gingras said, "and he was so good on the front in the qualifier. Last week in the eliminations, Brian came and I let him go, but tonight I felt it was his race to lose and I wanted him up on the front." "You know I love the Breeders Crown," said co-owner John FIelding. "We didn’t have much confidence in Pinkamn in the early stages, but boy has he come on since September, he’s just really turned into a different horse. We had him for sale and the magical Jimmy Takter got him figured out and he just went straight forward since then; he’s just been a real great surprise." Bred by O Narutac Equine Nursery, he’s owned by Christina Takter, John and Jim Fielding, Joe Mc Clelland, and Herb Liverman. Pinkman paid $4.00 to win. He closes out the 2014 season with six wins in just eight starts with earnings of $566,000.   Pinkman       by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown  

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