Here is Jay Wolf's Road To The Little Brown Jug updates for Week #4 1. He's Watching (1:46.4; $983,969) Owner: Menary Racing (ONT), Brad Gray (ONT), Michael Guerriero (ONT) & Muscara Racing (PA) Trainer: David Menary Driver: Tim Tetrick He has not raced since winning the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs (8/10) in 1:49.1. He should be the betting favorite in the Cane Pace Final at Tioga Downs on Labor Day. 2. McWicked (1:47.3f; $907,888) Owner: SSG Stables (NY) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Was tapped as the morning line choice in the first LBJ Future Pool. 3. Somewhere In LA (1:50f; $317,136) Owner: J & T Silva Stables (NY), Deo Volente Farms (NJ) & TLP Stable (NJ) Trainer: Robert McIntosh and Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller/Tim Tetrick Won the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace at the Meadows (8/22) in 1:50. 4. At Press Time (1:48.2f; $325,903) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA) and Weaver Bruscemi (PA) Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley and Yannick Gingras Has not raced since finishing second in the leg of the PASS at Harrah's Philadelphia (8/7). 5. Sometimes Said (1:50.1f; $383,395) Owner: Fashion Farms (PA) Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: John Campbell/Tim Tetrick The son of Well Said won a $13,000 Conditioned Pace at Harrah's Philadelphia (8/20) in 1:50.4. 6. Jet Airway (1:50s; $262,159) Owners: Erv Miller Stables (PA), Tangie Massey (FL), Paul Sunderhaus (OH) and Larry Agle (OH) Trainer: Erv Miller and Tony Alagna Drivers: Marcus Miller and Randy Waples Has not raced since winning a conditioned event for three-year olds at Mohawk Raceway (8/16). 7. Limelight Beach (1:49.4; $285,952) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA), Weaver Bruscemi (PA), M1 Stable (PA) and Wingfield Brothers (OH) Trainer: Ron Burke Drivers: Yannick Gingras and Matt Kakaley He finished second by a neck in the $100,000 Millstein Consolation (8/15). 8. Cammikey (1:49.4f; $217,788) Owner: Cam Land LLC (PA) Trainer: William Zendt Driver: Brian Zendt He has been racing well in the Keystone State, finishing in the top three in 10 of 11 seasonal starts. He won a qualifier at the Meadows in 1:53.2 (8/14). 9. Let's Drink On It (1:48.3; $331,112) Owners: Tina Seekman (IL), Larry Bond (IN), Hal Hewitt (KY) and Vincent Boido, Jr. (MI) Trainer: Joe Seekman Driver: Tyler Smith He was forced to race on the outside for almost the entire mile, finishing 5th in the Millstein Memorial. 10. Beat The Drum (1:49.2f; $290,274) Owner: Bender Sweden Inc. (FL) Trainer: Staffan Lind Driver: Ron Pierce Won a conditioned event at Pocono Downs (8/24) in 1:49.2, establishing a new lifetime mark. This week's expert ranking is courtesy of Gordon Waterstone. Gordon is the Associate Editor of the Horseman and Fair World and its companion publication Harness Racing Weekend Update. 1. He's Watching 2. McWicked 3. Somewhere In LA 4. Jet Airway 5. Tellitlikeitis 6. Limelight Beach 7. Sometimes Said 8. Cammikey 9. At Press Time 10. Western Vintage by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 26, 2014 -- Nuncio rolled to a facile 8-1/4-length victory in a division of Tuesday's $199,980 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows, completing his sweep of the four PASS preliminary legs. In the other split of the event for sophomore colt and gelding trotters, known as the Hickory Smoke, Datsyuk had to work harder but still won and cemented his spot in the championship, which is set for Sept. 7 at Harrah's Philadelphia. Nuncio, who hadn't raced since his tough loss to stablemate Trixton in the Aug. 2 Hambletonian, had little trouble dispatching the field, vaulting to the front for John Campbell and scoring in 1:53.2. Dony Andreas overtook Don Dorado late for place. Campbell called it just the type of start Nuncio needed, since Stall TZ's son of Andover Hall-Nicole Isabelle will perform again this week, in Friday's $376,000 (est.) Zweig Memorial at Vernon Downs. "I didn't have to stress him at all today; he was cruising pretty easy," Campbell said. "You're always concerned a little bit when they come out of a couple hard races like you had in the Hambletonian. But he's bounced back, put on a little weight, and he felt great today." In most other years, Nuncio's impeccable credentials -- six wins in nine seasonal starts, first or second in all 19 career outings, nearly $1.1 million in lifetime earnings -- would place him at the forefront of divisional championship discussions. But the only horses to have beaten him this year, Trixton and Father Patrick, also are Jimmy Takter trainees and are grabbing more attention. Campbell cautioned not to count Nuncio out just yet. "The year's not over," he said. "It's a long time between now and the vote, and there are a lot of big races yet, so I'm not conceding anything in that regard. He's talented enough that he could win any of those races or all of them." Fresh off his 25-1 upset of Father Patrick in the Tompkins-Geers, Datsyuk was headed for the lead from post 6 when trainer/driver Charlie Norris noticed an early duel developing and dropped in fourth. The Explosive Matter-Pink Ribbons gelding moved confidently first over and defeated the rallying Madewell Hanover by 1-1/2 lengths in 1:53.4. Early leader Wheelsandthelegman saved show. "I could have gone on with him, but I thought the leader would carry us to the stretch anyway," said Norris, who owns Datsyuk with Leonard Buckner. "I really wasn't worried. The way he's been racing out of a hole, I was pretty confident. I had to get after him in the stretch a little -- he was kind of lazy. "I don't think he's as sharp as he was, like for the Beal, but he's coming back. He got beat a couple times, but now he has his confidence back. I look for him to be really sharp for the final." Norris said the tentative schedule for Datsyuk, who extended his career bankroll to $250,650, includes the Old Oaken Bucket at Delaware and Grand Circuit action at the Red Mile. Stake racing at The Meadows continues Wednesday when the program features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series event for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers. First post is 12:55 PM. On Wednesday, Aug. 27, The Meadows Racetrack & Casino will offer a $10,000-guaranteed pool for its Pick 4 wager as part of the United States Trotting Association's Strategic Wagering Initiative. The Meadows added the “instant” guarantee after Tuesday’s Pick 4 was uncovered, resulting in a $2,941.17 carryover. Minimum wager for the Pick 4 (Races 4-7) is 50 cents. Since Pennsylvania law requires a minimum per-race wager of $2, a player wagering at the 50-cent level must bet at least four tickets. First post for Wednesday’s card, which features a $60,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers, is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
Freehold, NJ --- As the owner of a breeding farm, Mike Gulotta would seem an unlikely candidate to buy a horse that was gelded. But when longtime horse agent Gerry Bloch called Gulotta about gelded 3-year-old pacer Somewhere In L A, Gulotta knew he had to listen. After all, it was Bloch who directed Gulotta to a 4-year-old pacer named Lis Mara in 2006. Lis Mara, who had earned $180,536 entering that season, banked $1.96 million the rest of his career and was the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer in 2006. So far, Gulotta is happy he listened to Bloch and partnered with J&T Silva Stables and TLP Stable to buy Somewhere In L A on June 1. Since then, Somewhere In L A has won four of eight races, finished second in the Delvin Miller Adios, and earned $186,373. The fact (Somewhere In L A) was a gelding gave me some pause, but I thought that if Gerry was recommending the horse, I needed to pay attention,” said Gulotta, who is the CEO of Deo Volente Farms in New Jersey. “I have a great deal of respect for Gerry. He’s found a number of horses for me, so when he calls, I have to listen. “I think this horse is pretty special. He’s a fast horse that can take a lot of air. I think he’s getting better and better.” Somewhere In L A races Friday in the first of two $99,990 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes divisions at The Meadows. He will start from post seven with driver Dave Palone at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Also in the race is Adios champion McWicked, who leaves from post four with David Miller driving for trainer Casie Coleman. A son of stallion Somebeachsomewhere, Somewhere In L A is the first foal out of the stakes-winning mare West Of L A. She is a half-sister to millionaire Thinking Out Loud and stakes-winner You See L A. Somewhere In L A was bred and owned by Robert McIntosh Stables, C S X Stables, and Al McIntosh Holdings before the sale to Gulotta’s group. Last year, he won three of 11 races, including a division of the Nassagaweya Stakes, and earned $71,831. He enters Friday’s Pennsylvania Sire Stakes start with three wins in his last four races. His only setback during that span came by one length to McWicked in the Adios, and Somewhere In L A is coming off a victory over older horses in the preferred on Aug. 22 at The Meadows. “Jimmy is doing a great job with him,” Gulotta said. “I thought if he had a better trip in the Adios, he would have been right there with McWicked. He was on the outside a long time.” Gulotta is hoping for a long and prosperous career for Somewhere In L A, noting the earning potential for gelding pacers while making reference to Foiled Again, harness racing’s richest all-time North American performer. “What’s wrong with making $6 million,” Gulotta said, laughing. “(Buying Somewhere In L A) fits from a business perspective. He can bolster our finances.” Tom Pontone, who along with his father, Lou, makes up TLP Stable, was unaware the horse was a gelding when he committed to be a partner. He was given the chance to leave the group, but decided to stay on board. “I thought he was going to do good,” Pontone said. “I saw his stakes schedule and we have the opportunity to get back our money this year. And I love owning horses with Mike because he’s like a brother to me. I told Mike I think we’re going to have a little fun with him. “He’s turned out to be a pretty good buy for us so far. He’s a tough horse and he keeps on trying. That’s the one thing I liked about him. He’s had some tough races where he’s had to come first up, but he never stops. He just keeps on going right down to the wire. He never gives up.” If all goes well, Somewhere In L A will go to the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship on Sept. 7 at Harrah’s Philadelphia, then head to the Little Brown Jug on Sept. 18 at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. Somewhere In L A is the No. 3-ranked horse in the Road to the Little Brown Jug ratings, behind Meadowlands Pace winner He’s Watching and McWicked. None of the current owners of Somewhere In L A have had a horse win the Little Brown Jug. “It would be a thrill,” Gulotta said. “It would be a dream come true. “Even with a gelding.” by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
The very finest trotters in the land will converge on Vernon Downs the evening of Friday, August 29 for Grand Circuit racing. The Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial drew full fields for both colt and filly divisions and the Crawford Farms Free For All looks to be the race of the season thus far for the veteran trotting set. The Crawford Farms offers a powerful field of ten to compete for a purse of $236,000. Current Top Ten Poll leader and multiple world record setting trotter Sebastian K will bring his impressive arsenal to Central New York for owners Knutsson Trotting and trainer / driver Ake Svanstedt. He will find plenty of competition here including 2013 Horse of the Year Bee A Magician, last year's winner of this race and the only horse to vanquish Sebastian K in North American thus far Intimidate and the always formidable Market Share to name but a few. The $340,000 Zweig Memorial main event has landed both Father Patrick and Nuncio from the Jimmy Takter stable. Father Patrick will seek to reestablish his position at the top of the sophomore crop and Nuncio will be coming in on short rest, being entered in a PASS event on Tuesday afternoon. There is also a $60,000 Zweig colt consolation on the Friday card. Takter will also bring the likely favorite for the $150,000 Zweig companion filly race in Shake It Cerry. Last year's divisional champion has won seven of nine this season and is over $1.1 million lifetime for owner Solveig's Racing Partners. Local debutante Avalicious, PASS invader Broadway Socks and NJSS champ Heaven's Door will provide ample resistance to the top choice. The first leg of the 8th annual Tioga & Vernon Downs Drivers' Championship will be on the Friday program as well with four overnight races dedicated to that competition. The Vernon Racing Under Saddle series draws to a close with a $5,700 final and local driving legend, the late Jack Bailey, will be memorialized with the feature preferred trot. The hotly anticipated Jimmy Marohn, Jr bobble-head giveaway and free T shirts will only add to the festivities on this important occasion. Post time for the Friday evening extravaganza will be 6:45pm. Visit the Vernon Downs website for complete entry information and further details on racing and promotions.
YONKERS, NY, Monday, August 25, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Monday night hosted the $197,500 New York Sire Stakes Pat Quaglietta Trot for 2-year-old fillies. Four divisions comprised the event. Division leader Barn Doll (Jeff Gregory, $3.10) did nothing to diminish her standing, winning the $49,150 third division in 1:58.4...by far the night's fastest. Racing second-up from post position No. 4, she went up and over a last-turn bolting Nunkeri (Mark MacDonald), beating that one by three-quarters of a length. Frou Frou (Jim Morrill Jr.) was a best-of-the-rest third. The effort was just two ticks off the track record (Some Girls, 2010) for this division. "She's just a professional and she enjoys what she does," Gregory said. "Mark's filly looked like she wanted to go home early, but nothing seems to bother (Barn Doll). For Barn Doll, a daughter of Conway Hall co-owned by (trainer) Steve & Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, it was her sixth win in eight seasonal starts. The exacta paid $6.30, with the triple (three wagering favorites in order) returning $12.20. Driver George Brennan doubled his pleasure in the first two ($49,150 each) sire stakes events, with odds-on Pig Hunt ($2.50) in 2:01, and second choice Counsellor AS ($5.80) in 2:00.3 The former, a Conway Hall miss, controlled from the pole, defeated pocket-sitting Zanna Blue (Gates Brunet) by three-quarters of a length. Summer Scent (Dan Daley) was third. For Pig Hunt, co-owned by (trainer) Jennifer and Janice Connor, she's now 4-for-7 this season. The exacta (two wagering faves in order) paid $8.20, with the triple returning $28.40. "The best thing about her? She trots," Brennan said. "I was able to back it down enough (1:31.3 three-quarters) to make sure she had something late." Both Barn Doll and Pig Hunt are 2-for-2 locally in NYSS competition. Counsellor AS, second-up from post No. 4, went right by even-money Miss B'ville J (Morrill Jr.), drawing out to win by a couple of lengths. Make it Blue Chip (Ray Schnittker) was third. For "Counsellor," a Conway Hall homebred miss owned Acl Stuteri Ab and trained by Annette Lorentzon, it was her third win in eight '14 tries. The exacta paid $14.40, with the triple returning $30.40. "She's learning," Brennan said. "I think she'd have won the last time, but I drove her off her feet." The evening's final ($50,050) sire stakes event went to down-the-road favorite Concentration (Sears, $4.30)-from post No. 4--in 1:59.3. The margin was a length-and-three-quarters over, Duolectra (Brennan), who skimmed to cones to grab second at 28-1. Shaqline (Jimmy Takter) was third. For Concentration, a daughter of Conway Hall owned by Raymond Campbell and trained by George Ducharme, she's 3-for-7 in her first season. The exacta paid $88.50, with the triple returning $332.50. A special Monday shoutout to the veteran Wholly Louy, whose win in the $21,000, 10th-race pace made him harness racing's newest millionaire (66-for-220, $1,000,063). The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
One of the best sophomore pacers in the country, All Bets Off, from the powerful Ron Burke Stable, will be the featured attraction when Monticello Raceway presents the last preliminary leg of the rich New York Sire Stakes program on Tuesday afternoon, August 26. All Bets Off, owner of a 1:48.2 record, is currently fourth on the list of money winning 3 year old colt pacers this year with over $511,000 in earnings. The son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope has seven wins, two seconds and one third in 10 starts this year and he comes into his $38,500 split off three consecutive victories the last in 1:50.3 in the Carl Millstein Final at Northfield Park on August 15. Owned by Burke Racing, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell, Burke has once again assigned the driving duties to Matt Kakaley when All Bets Off starts from post five in the first race on the card. In all, Burke will send out six sophomore pacers that afternoon, four in the three NYSS splits while two others will race in the Excelsior Stakes. That means the Burke Stable will have an entry in one of the NYSS events and it so happens that it will be in the event that All Bets Off is in. Joining him on the mutuel ticket will be stablemate Forty Five Red, to be driven by Mark MacDonald, another nice colt but not the caliber of All Bets Off. It appears that Burke is probably starting All Bets Off in the sire stakes to make sure he has a enough points to qualify for the $225,000 Final at Yonkers Raceway on September 13. In the second NYSS division, race four, the Jimmy Takter-trained Capital Account gets the odds maker's nod as the early favorite from the pole position. A winner of almost $105,000 this year the American Ideal-Copywriter colt, owned by Brittany Farms owns a record of 1:51 taken earlier this year at the Meadowlands. Brett Miller will be in the pilot's seat when Capital Account leaves from post position one. Another Brittany Farms pacer, Winds Of Change, whom they co-own with Val D'Or Farms, is rated the favorite in the third NYSS split, race eight on the card. Trained by Linda Toscano the son of American Ideal-Art's Temptress, has won two of his last three starts at Tioga Downs the fastest in 1:50.2. Winds Of Change will leave from the four hole with Brett Miler at the controls. The undercard features four Excelsior Series paces which will go as races two, five, six and seven on the 11- race card. Arguably, the best of the starters in those events is Lauren and Bob Tucker's Believeinthespirit, an Art Major gelding out of Spirit Of the West, who is a five-time winner thus far this year with over $41,000 in earnings. Trainer Ed Lohmeyer, has assigned Jimmy Morrill, Jr. to do the driving when the pacer leaves from post five in the second race on the card. First post is slated for 12:50pm. by John Manzi, for Monticello Raceway
Jimmy Takter trainee French Laundry ($2.50) proved a convincing winner in his $10,000 Kindergarten Classic preliminary at Tioga Downs on Sunday (August 24) afternoon, as did other odds-on favorites Wheels Ah Smokin ($2.10) and Bee the Queen ($3.00) in their respective races. However, freshman trotting filly Mission Brief, sent off at 1-20 after her dominant Merrie Annabelle win at the Meadowlands three weeks ago, faltered in her Kindergarten Classic event, enabling Lady Clarabella to score a 22-1 upset. French Laundry, sent off the 1-4 favorite in the sixth race for two-year-old trotting colts and geldings, wasted no time asserting himself on the lead. He forced Party on the River (Tyler Buter) into the pocket on the first turn, rated a 1:00.2 half mile, and sprinted clear upon facing late pressure from the first-over SS Poseidon (Marcus Miller). The son of Muscles Yankee kicked clear to a 2-1/2 length win in rein to Yannick Gingras, besting SS Poseidon and RG's Thunderbolt (Jim Marohn, Jr.) in 1:57.1. The fourth race was the earlier colt division of the Kindergarten, with Chuck Sylvester trainee Wheels Ah Smokin (David Miller) repelling a late challenge from Lucky Ten K (Chris Lems), sprinting clear to a 3-1/2 length win in 1:57.3. Fillies contested their pair of $10,000 divisions in races eight and ten, with Bee the Queen (Chris Lems) never looking back off an early brush to the fore, edging clear of Fashion Gab Alot (Scott Zeron) by 2-3/4 lengths for a 1:57.3 win in the eight race. George Ducharme trains the Donato Hanover filly. While three of four odds-on favorites had no trouble in their respective victories, Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (Yannick Gingras) was a victim of multiple breaks in the tenth race, faltering on the first turn after lagging the gate by three lengths. Josie's Joy (Tyler Buter) assumed the early pacesetting duties, controlling a :58.2 half mile while under no pressure. While eventual winner Lady Clarabella (David Miller) commenced her first-over bid into the far turn, Mission Brief had caught the field, closing ferociously through the middle half. Unfortunately for those backing the prohibitive favorite, the daughter of Muscle Hill broke again at the top of the stretch while the Randy Beeckman-trained Lady Clarabella pushed clear of Josie's Joy to win by 2-1/4 length in 1:57.3. Josie's Joy held second, while Cocoacabana (Jacqueline Ingrassia) stayed on for third after tracking the winner's cover. Live racing returns to Tioga Downs on Friday (August 29) evening, with first post set for 6:15 p.m. EDT. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
Trainer Tony Alagna is best known for his skill as a trainer of pacers thanks to the exploits of champion Captaintreacherous who was scheduled to compete in an elimination tonight at Mohawk for the Canadian Pacing Derby, Canada’s oldest harness stake race, but was scratched earlier today due to sickness. However, Alagna still has eight starters into go at the Campbellville oval this evening, all pacers. He has two starters in the eliminations for the Metro Pace, including the undefeated colt Artspeak, and four fillies competing in the Shes A Great Lady eliminations. To switch things up, tomorrow night, Alagna sends out a trotter in the form of Mystical Wishes who has been rounding into form since shifting to his stable last month. The Muscle Mass lass has won all three starts since Alagna took over her conditioning, two overnights at Mohawk and an Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots event at the same track on August 12 which she won by more than three lengths in 1:55.1, her life mark to date. Mystical Wishes has drawn the rail in the second of five $18,000 OSS Grassroots divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies Sunday evening at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Mario Baillargeon will catch drive for Alagna and owners Mystical Marker Farms, who also bred the filly, and Peggy Hood of Indiana. Among her competition is locally owned Diamonds For Life, a daughter of Angus Hall who will leave from post four with one of Rideau’s top pilots, Gord Brown, in the bike. Mark Steacy trains the filly who had some issues with breaks earlier this season but seems to have that resolved and finished third in the Grassroots event at Mohawk on August 12. Owned by Frank Spagnolo and Frank Schimizzi of Ottawa, Ontario, Diamonds For Life was bred by Tom Porchak of Woodstock Ontario. She is the first foal of his $116,000 winning mare Jayportcashforlife, a full sister to $743,000 winner Susies Magic. Porchak also bred another starter in the same division, Jayport Princess who has post eight with Anthony MacDonald slated to steer. Trained by Chris Beaver who co-owns with Synerco Ventures Inc., of Toronto and Glenview Livestock, Ltd., of Guelph, Ontario, the daughter of Kadabra is making her first 2014 OSS appearance. She’s raced exclusively at Scioto Downs this year but competed in the OSS last year at two. Jayport Princess is the first foal from $172,000 winner Jayport Sweetheart, by Balanced Image, an OSS winner at three. This division’s leading point earner, Torches Star, has post one in race eight. Steve Condren has the driving assignment behind the Angus Hall filly owned by Brad Grant of Milton, Ontario and trained by Ben Wallace. Torches Star has accumulated 105 points in this division to lead the way. The second placed filly, Love Detective, has drawn into the same division on Sunday night. She’ll leave from post three with MacDonald up for trainer Jimmy Takter. Racing at Rideau gets underway at 6:30 Sunday night with the OSS gals features in races one, four, six, eight and nine. The full card may be viewed through this link Rideau Entries - August 24. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 23, 2014 -- Livininthefastlane pounced on the leaders down the backside, then blazed home in a stake-record 1:55.1 in Friday's $234,584 Pennsylvania Sires Stake at The Meadows. The event for freshman filly trotters, known as the Delmonica Hanover, was contested over three divisions, with Wild Honey and Kirsi Hanover taking the other splits. Livininthefastlane sat a comfortable third as the two favorites dueled for the early lead. Jersey Strong won that early battle but was no match late for Livininthefastlane, who defeated Speak To Me by a length for John Campbell. Jersey Strong saved show. "I didn't want to be a player in that first argument, but I was hoping for honest fractions at least," Campbell said. "She felt so good down the back stretch that I thought she would give me a good run." Julie Miller trains the daughter of Donato Hanover-Nicole's Promise for Marvin Katz, Al Libfeld and Sam Goldband. The time knocked a tick from the previous stake record shared by Sand Violent Blu and Designed To Be. Wild Honey completed a sweep of the four PASS preliminary legs with a facile front-end victory in 1:56.1, aided by a measured 1:00.1 first half when no one challenged her. "She's the best (2-year-old filly) I've sat behind so far this year," said Dave Palone, who drove for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman. "It's nice when you're driving that kind of power that gets so much respect." Gatka Hanover closed well for second, 3/4 lengths back, while Smokinmombo earned show. A daughter of Cantab Hall-U Wanna Lindy, Wild Honey has won four of five career starts. Kirsi Hanover had lost all five of her previous career outings, and it appeared that she would extend that streak when she had to take back after dueling for the early lead, then challenge first over. But she kept on coming for Matt Kakaley and scored in 1:56.3, 3/4 lengths ahead of Kelsey's Keepsake, with Smexi third. "We always had high hopes for her, but she was sick at the beginning of the year," Kakaley said. "Tonight she raced as good as we thought she could be. I kind of sat on her until the last turn before I started to drive on her." It was a sweet victory for Kakaley, as he owns the Ron Burke trainee, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Kimberidge Hanover, with Burke Racing Stable, Weaver Bruscemi LLC and Tracy Hendler. In the $18,000 Preferred Handicap Pace, top 3-year-old Somewhere In L A took it to a distinguished field of older horses and geldings by prevailing in a sharp 1:50, 1-1/2 lengths better than Windsong Jack. Visible Gold completed the ticket. Tim Tetrick drove Somewhere In L A, a Somebeachsomewhere-West Of L A gelding who extended his career bankroll to $317,136, for Takter and owners J&T Silva Stables, Deo Valente Farms and TLP Stable. Palone drove four winners and Kakaley three on the 15-race card. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Monday, when the card features a $60,000 PA Stallion Series stake for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. First post is 12:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
CAMPBELLVILLE, August 22 - A full weekend of Grand Circuit racing action at Mohawk got underway Friday night with two $101,296 Casual Breeze Stakes divisions for three-year-old trotting fillies. Lifetime Pursuit, this year's Hambletonian Oaks winner, cruised to a stakes record victory of 1:52.1 in the second division. A daughter of Cantab Hall - Queen Of Grace, Lifetime Pursuit and driver Yannick Gingras got away third and followed along as Cantabs Fortune and Rick Zeron set fractions of :27.4 and :56.4. As the field made their way around the final turn, Gingras sent Lifetime Pursuit first up and she immediately blew by Cantabs Fortune to trot by the three-quarter station in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Lifetime Pursuit put on a show as she separated herself from her rivals and trotted effortlessly to a 3 ¾ length stakes record victory. The old stakes mark of 1:52.4 was set by Action Broadway in 2010. Designed To Be finished second, while Cantabs Fortune held on for third. The clocking of 1:52.1 was not only a stakes record, but it also equaled the track and Canadian record co-held by Check Me Out and Bee A Magician. "She can really scoot," Gingras said following the race. "She's been good all year, but she's really stepped it up since Hambletonian Oaks day and she was scary good that day and she's just as sharp now as she was then." Trained by Jimmy Takter, Lifetime Pursuit was coming into the Casual Breeze off World Record setting miles in the Hambletonian Oaks at the Meadowlands and a division of the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes at the Meadows. While Lifetime Pursuit has really come into her own over the last month, Gingras said she was starting to show her true talent leading up to the 'Oaks'. "No doubt she's got better in the last three starts, but also a couple starts leading up to the 'Oaks' it was just the trip wasn't working out," said Gingras. "Maybe she was getting a little bit sharp then and the trip just wasn't working out, maybe it's a combination of both, but obviously on paper it looks like her last three starts have been vicious, but she's been good all along." Lifetime Pursuit is owned by the Brittany Farms of Versailles, Kentucky. The Casual Breeze Stakes victory was the eleventh win of her career, fifth win in ten starts this season, and it boosted her career earnings to more than $700,000. Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.90 to win. The first division of the Casual Breeze Stakes saw Sweetie Hearts pull off a 45-1 upset. Sweetie Hearts and driver Randy Waples grabbed the early lead and led the field into the backstretch. On the way to the half, My Inspiration came first up and overtook the lead to reach the half way point in :56.3. Donatella Hanover, the 6/5 favourite, was sent to the outside and came up to challenge My Inspiration as they reached the three-quarter pole in 1:25.3. In the stretch, Donatella Hanover took the lead, but Waples brought Sweetie Hearts off the rail from the two-hole to go around a fading My Inspiration and trotted up the inside by Donatella Hanover to win by a quarter of a length in 1:54.2. Danica, who made a charge on the far outside, finished third by only three-quarters of a length. Trained by Ron Parsons, Sweetie Hearts was coming into the Casual Breeze off a victory in an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg at Grand River on August 13. Following the race, Parsons said the daughter of Angus Hall - Sweetheart K has been getting better as the season goes on. "She's a great mare and she gets stronger as the year goes and I think you're going to get a lot cheaper price on her in the next few weeks," said Parsons. Owned by Robert Key of Leechburg, Pennsylvania, Sweetie Hearts was moved during her two-year-old season from Paul Reid's barn to Ron Parsons stable. "When I got her from Paul Reid (last year), he told me 'you're getting a nice filly, but just take your time, put the right driver on her and she'll be good and that's what she did. She went a big race in the Goldsmith Maid and then we shut her down and then we brought her back and she's just starting to get her mojo about her." The mile time of 1:54.2 is a new career best for Sweetie Hearts and the victory was her third win in eleven starts this season. She has now visited the winner's circle seven times in her career and has earnings exceeding $210,000. Sweetie Hearts paid $100.70 to win. Next up for the three-year-old trotting fillies is the $215,000 Simcoe Stakes next Friday night at Mohawk. The following week, eliminations will be held for the $365,000 Elegantimage Stakes. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
A quartet of Kindergarten Classic events headline this Sunday (August 24) afternoon's card at Tioga Downs. Freshman trotting fillies contest races 8 and 10 on the 13-race card, with the latter division attracting Tompkins winner Allerage Star (post 2) and Merrie Annabelle winner Mission Brief (post 6). Four-time winner Mission Brief has amassed quite a resume already, taking the New Jersey Sire Stakes and Merrie Annabelle finals both in dominant front-end fashion, taking a mark of 1:52.2 with Yannick Gingras in the bike. Gingras is once again listed to drive the daughter of Muscle Hill for trainer Ron Burke. Allerage Star, the other multiple stakes winner in the field, drew off to a four-length win in her Tompkins division last week, taking a mark of 1:55.4 in rein to Corey Callahan. Her other victory came in a Kindergarten division at the Meadowlands, holding off Dynamite Dame for a 1:57.2 win. Scott Zeron has been nominated to handle the driving duties by trainer Jessica Okusko. The first division for fillies, carded as race 8, features George Ducharme trainee Bee the Queen (Donato Hanover), who was a chasing fourth in her prior Kindergarten effort at the Meadowlands, turning in a 1:55.4 effort. With two of her seven rivals making their career debuts, she looks to be the filly to beat. Two-year-old trotting colts and geldings contest races 4 and 6 , with the stakes-placed Wheels Ah Smokin a top contender in the first division. The Chuck Sylvester-trained son of Muscles Yankee most recently finished third in his Tompkins division at Tioga, and was fourth to Habitat in a prior Kindergarten Classic division at the Meadowlands. Ron Pierce has been nominated to drive Wheels Ah Smokin, who starts from post 5. The field also drew Jimmy Takter trainee Falk On Hill S (post 4), who looks to rebound from a break in his Kindergarten split at the Meadowlands earlier in the month. Takter sends Kindergarten winner French Laundry in the second Kindergarten division, kicking clear to an impressive 1:55.3 Meadowlands win earlier in the month. Usual driver Yannick Gingras is nominated to drive the two-time winner, and they start from post 4. Among French Laundry's six rivals is Party On the River (post 7), a Kadabra colt who took his 1:58.3 mark in an Ontario Sire Stakes event. Mark MacDonald is listed to drive for trainer Patti Harmon. Due to the Cane Pace drawing only eight entries, they will head directly to the $437,325 final on Labor Day (Monday, September 1). Meadowlands Pace and Empire Breeders Classic winner He's Watching leads the octet, along with North America Cup and Geers winner JK Endofanera. The pair will be joined by Beat The Drum, Bushwacker, Doo Wop Hanover, Luck Be Withyou, Lyonssomewhere and Stevensville. Sunday afternoon's card at Tioga is slated for a 1:30 p.m. EDT post time. by James Witherite, for Tioga Downs
WASHINGTON, PA, Aug. 20, 2014 -- A five-race maiden entering the race, Lilu Hanover overpowered her field in Wednesday's $160,000 Pennsylvania Stallion Series stake at The Meadows, winning by 9-3/4 lengths in the stake-record time of 1:55.2. The event for 2-year-old filly trotters was contested over eight divisions, with Bright Baby Blues, Sarcy, Aarena Hanover, Fly Angel Fly, Focus On Me, Global Ice and Flirting Filly also taking $20,000 splits. Dave Palone and trainer Jimmy Takter teamed to win four divisions (Lilu Hanover, Sarcy, Fly Angel Fly, Flirting Filly) while trainer Nifty Norman fashioned a stake double (Bright Baby Blues, Aarena Hanover). Lilu Hanover, who had been taking on top youngsters in such stakes as the Merrie Annabelle, devoured her stallion series competition, moving first over easily to gobble up the leader, Devoted, and draw off. Devoted held place, with Cantabulous Julie third. The time erased Nitro Nittany's stake mark of 1:56.1. "She shows that she made a couple mistakes, so we just wanted to keep her clear of trouble," Palone said of the daughter of Andover Hall-Lady Luck Hanover. "She's definitely a Grand Circuit filly. It will be interesting when she goes to Lexington and faces the top ones. I don't think she'll take a back seat to too many." Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld campaign Lilu Hanover. Bright Baby Blues also dropped down a bit from PA Sires Stakes and enjoyed much the same result -- a maiden-breaking score in 1:57 when the track still was rated "good" before its upgrade later in the card. Wouldn't Itbesweet was 3 lengths back in second, with Party Right Now third. Bright Baby Blues finished with a tire that leaked most of its air during the race. "She had to come first up and do the dirty work, but I never pulled the plugs," said winning driver Mike Wilder. "What a nice filly -- straight as a string and perfect." Melvin Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee own Bright Baby Blues, a daughter of Andover Hall-Bar Slide. Aarena Hanover hadn't been on the lead at any point in the four previous starts of her career, but Scott Zeron quickly changed that when he gunned her to the front. She prevailed without a challenge in 1:57.4, 2-3/4 lengths better than Donato Babe. Red's Winner earned show. "Nifty's style is, for a main portion of the beginning of the year, to make sure they don't get rowdy and warm, so he likes to race them off the pace," Zeron said. "His assistant trainer today told me: 'This horse is smart now; do whatever you want out there.' I pulled her plugs just to get her attention down the lane, but she was real strong going across the wire." J&T Silva Stables and John Fielding own the daughter of Donato Hanover-Angel Pie. Elsewhere on the card, Ma Chere Hall moved first over in a $15,000 Filly & Mare Winners Over $10,000 Life Trot to score in 1:53.1, fastest ever by a 4-year-old mare at The Meadows. Prismatica was second, 4-1/4 lengths in arrears, with Dizzy Rizzy third. Zeron, who drove three winners on the 16-race card, piloted for trainer Jonas Czernyson and owners Walnut Hall Limited, Aldebaran Park Inc. and Joe Sbrocco, It was the first victory in nine tries this year for the 4-year-old daughter of Deweycheatumnhowe-Margarita Hall, who banked $506,869 at 3. Live racing at The Meadows resumes Friday, when the card features the Delmonica Hanover, a $234,584 PA Sires Stake for freshman filly trotters. First post is 6:55 PM. by Evan Pattak, for the Meadows
This Week: Canadian Pacing Derby, Metro and She's A Great Lady eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Cane Pace eliminations and Kindergarten leg, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Saturday (Aug. 23) when Mohawk Racetrack hosts two C$40,000 eliminations in the Canadian Pacing Derby for older pacers, two C$40,000 eliminations in the Metro for 2-year-old pacing colts and a trio of C$35,000 eliminations in the She's A Great Lady for 2-year-old pacing fillies. More information on those races can be found by clicking on this link. On Sunday (Aug. 24), Tioga Downs will host a pair of Grand Circuit events, led by the $100,000 eliminations for the Cane Pace, the first leg of the Pacing Triple Crown. Tioga will also feature second round action in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters. Complete entries for the races at Tioga are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Northfield Park and Saratoga Casino and Raceway this past weekend with a pair of lucrative stakes for pacing males. All Bets Off used the passing lane to score in 1:50.3 in the Carl Milstein Memorial. All Bets Off, overlooked by the betting public at odds of 7-1, took advantage of a perfect trip to win the inaugural $400,000 Carl Milstein Memorial for 3-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Friday night (Aug. 15) at Northfield Park. Matt Kakaley was in the sulky for trainer Ron Burke as the son of Bettor's Delight-Armbro Penelope won for the seventh time in 10 season's starts, while his share of the purse took his 2014 earnings to $511,175. All Bets Off is owned by Burke Racing Stable, Frank Baldachino, The Panhellenic Stable and Rosemary Shelswell. Kakaley steered All Bets Off ($16.60) into the passing lane and he easily went by the tiring leader, McWicked, to reach the finish line on top by three-quarters of a length in 1:50.3. McWicked and Luck Be Withyou finished in a dead head for second. Stevensville was fourth and Let's Drink On It finished fifth. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace on Saturday night (Aug. 16) at Saratoga Casino and Raceway. The time was the fastest ever for an older pacing stallion on a half-mile track, breaking the mark of 1:49 previously shared by Jet Laag and Ponder. It was also the fastest mile ever paced at Saratoga. Dancin Yankee set a world record of 1:48.4 in capturing the $260,000 Joe Gerrity Jr. Memorial Pace. Dancin Yankee is a 6-year-old stallion by Yankee Cruiser-Dancewiththebest, owned by Baron Racing Stable and Richard Lombardo. Amber Buter is the trainer and Tyler Buter was in the sulky. The victory was the 15th in 23 season's starts for the bay pacer who lifted his 2014 bankroll to $457,640. Dancin Yankee ($3.90) started from post position three and went right to the front and was never caught through fractions of :25.4, :53.4 and 1:21, before pacing home in :27.4 for the record mile in 1:48.4. Heston Blue Chip (Marcus Miller) sat In The Pocket the entire mile and finished second, 3-1/4 lengths behind the winner. Foiled Again (Matt Kakaley) made a first over bid for the front down the backstretch, but could never catch the leader and ended up third. Complete recaps of all the races are available at the Grand Circuit website. Grand Circuit Standings: In 2014, the Grand Circuit leaders in three categories (driver, trainer and owner) will once again be tracked on a points system (20-10-5 for the top three finishers in divisions/finals and 10-5-2 for the top three finishers in eliminations/legs). Winbak Farms is the sponsor for the 2014 Grand Circuit awards. Here are the leaders following the past weekend. Drivers: 1. Yannick Gingras - 686; 2. Tim Tetrick - 512; 3. Ron Pierce - 386.5; 4. David Miller - 307.5; 5. Brian Sears - 245. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,071.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 529; 3. PJ Fraley - 204; 4. Ray Schnittker - 189; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 172. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 242.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 216; 3. Bamond Racing - 156.5; 4. 3 Brothers Stable - 132; 5t. Robert Key - 105; 5t. Knutsson Trotting - 105. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Vernon Downs with Zweig Memorial races for 3-year-old male trotters and 3-year-old filly trotters, along with the Crawford Farm Trot for older open trotters. Mohawk Racetrack will offer the finals in the Canadian Pacing Derby, the Metro and the She's A Great Lady, along with Champlain Stakes events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters and Simcoe Stakes events for 3-year-old colt and filly trotters and 3-year-old filly pacers. Tioga Downs will contest the final of the Cane Pace for 3-year-olds, along with the Shady Daisy for sophomore filly pacers and a leg of the Miss Versatility for trotting mares. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
YONKERS, NY, Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - Yonkers Raceway Tuesday night hosted the $202,599 New York Sire Stakes Jim Crawford Pace for 2-year-old colts and geldings. Three divisions -- at $67,933, $67,933 and $66,933 -- comprised the competition. As was the case Monday night, driver Yannick Gingras won two of the evening's three sire stakes events. In the second division, he went the distance-from post position No. 4--with Cartoon Daddy ($4.90), holding off some unwanted advances from 32-1 proposition American Crossroad (Scott Zeron). The former kept the latter at bay, winning by three-quarters of a length in 1:54.4. Berkley (George Brennan), at 78-1, was third, with 51-1 Ultimate G (Eric Carlson) fourth. Cartoon Daddy's job was made much easier when 7-10 fave The Spy (Tim Tetrick) broke in the first turn and division points leader coming into the night Americanprimetime (Tyler Buter) misbehaved while making a second move. For second choice Cartoon Daddy, a son of Art Major co-owned (as Burke Racing) by (trainer) Ron Burke and Joe DiScala Jr., it was his fourth win in a half-dozen seasonal starts. The exacta paid $53.50, the triple returned $887 and the superfecta paid $6,937. "The best thing about him is his gait," DiScala said. "We wanted a horse who could get around the small tracks, and he's been very impressive." Gingras and Bet You ($2.80) won the final statebred grouping, moving to the lead (from post No. 2) before the half and closing it out in 1:55.1. The final margin was a wrapped-up length-and-three-quarters over 25-1 Yippity Hanover (Tetrick), with 42-1 Betting Exchange (Jim Morrill Jr.) third. A breaking K Ryan Bluechip eliminated himself as the second choice. For Bet You, a son of Bettor's Delight trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners Christina Takter, Jim & John Fielding and Joyce McClelland, he's now 2-for-5 in '14, with both wins coming here. The exacta paid $44.40, with the triple returning $390. "Ideally, you'd like to race these 2-year-olds out of a hole, but the way the races shaped up, I had no choice but to put them on the lead," Gingras said. "Cartoon Daddy tends to wait on other horses a bit, but he dug in when he had to." The evening's first division saw a formful favorite in Southwind Masimo (Pat Lachance, $2.60) roll off cover to run his record to four wins in as many starts. From post No. 5, he tracked Azorean Art (Larry Stalbaum), then blew past that one to widen out by 2¼ lengths in 1:55.1. Dee's Rocketman (Brian Sears) was third. For "Masimo," a Bettor's Delight colt trained by his driver for co-owners Hudson Standardbred Stable and Conrad Leber, he took over the points lead in this division. The exacta paid $12.60, with the triple returning $66.50. The Raceway's five-night-per-week live schedule continues, with first post every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:10 PM. Evening simulcasting accompanies all live programs, with afternoon simulcasting available daily. by Frank Drucker, for Yonkers Raceway
For the next four weeks Jay Wolf, Little Brown Jug Publicity Director, will rank the top 10 eligibles for the Little Brown Jug presented by Fazolis. Week #3 August 19, 2014 1. Hes Watching (1:46.4; $983,969) Owner: Menary Racing (ONT), Brad Gray (ONT), Michael Guerriero (ONT) & Muscara Racing (PA) Trainer: David Menary Driver: Tim Tetrick He has not raced since winning the $255,525 Empire Breeders Classic at Tioga Downs (8/10) in 1:49.1 2. McWicked (1:47.3f; $907,888) Owner: SSG Stables (NY) Trainer: Casie Coleman Driver: David Miller Finished is a dead-heat for second in the $400,000 Milstein Memorial at Northfield Park (8/15). 3. Somewhere In LA (1:50f; $308,136) Owner: J & T Silva Stables (NY), Deo Volente Farms (NJ) & TLP Stable (NJ) Trainer: Robert McIntosh and Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller Has not raced since winning a leg of the PASS at Harrahs Philadelphia (8/7) in a lifetime best 1:50. 4. At Press Time (1:48.2f; $325,903) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA) and Weaver Bruscemi (PA) Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Matt Kakaley and Yannick Gingras Has not raced since finishing second in the leg of the PASS at Harrahs Philadelphia (8/7). 5. Sometimes Said (1:50.1f; $376,895) Owner: Fashion Farms (PA) Trainer: Jim Campbell Driver: John Campbell/Tim Tetrick The son of Well Said won his leg of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes (8/7) in a lifetime best 1:50.1. 6. Jet Airway (1:50s; $262,159) Owners: Erv Miller Stables (PA), Tangie Massey (FL), Paul Sunderhaus (OH) and Larry Agle (OH) Trainer: Erv Miller and Tony Alagna Drivers: Marcus Miller and Randy Waples Won a conditioned event for three-year olds at Mohawk Raceway (8/16). 7. Limelight Beach (1:49.4; $285,952) Owners: Burke Racing Stable (PA), Weaver Bruscemi (PA), M1 Stable (PA) and Wingfield Brothers (OH) Trainer: Ron Burke Drivers: Yannick Gingras and Matt Kakaley He is a recent addition to the Burke barn. He finished second by a neck in the $100,000 Millstein Consolation (8/15). 8. Cammikey (1:49.4f; $217,788) Owner: Cam Land LLC (PA) Trainer: William Zendt Driver: Brian Zendt He has been racing well in the Keystone State, finishing in the top three in 10 of 11 seasonal starts. 9. Tellitlikeitis (1:48.4s; $490,695) Owner: Lothlorien (ONT) Trainer: Jimmy Takter Driver: Brett Miller Was pulled up and did not finish the $400,000 Millstein Memorial (8/15) after breaking stride at the three-quarter pole. 10. Lets Drink On It (1:48.3; $331,112) Owners: Tina Seekman (IL), Larry Bond (IN), Hal Hewitt (KY) and Vincent Boido, Jr. (MI) Trainer: Joe Seekman Driver: Tyler Smith He was forced to race on the outside for almost the entire mile, finishing 5th in the Millstein Memorial. NR. JK Endofanera (1:48.2; $1,005,523) Owner: 3 Brothers Stables (NY) Trainer: Ron Burke Driver: Brian Sears Harnessracing.com reported that trainer Ron Burke noted that the owners have no thought of going to the Little Brown Jug. Burke added, "he's a big horse and I don't know if he'd even get around there (the half-mile track at Delaware, Ohio), and you'd have to pay $45,000 for the chance to not get around. I don't think he's going. This weeks expert ranking is courtesy of Dave Bianconi. Dave is the Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting at Northfield Park. 1. He's Watching 2. McWicked 3. Somewhere in L A 4. Beat The Drum 5. Cammikey 6. Jet Airway 7. Let's Drink On It 8. Western Vintage 9. Limelight Beach 10. Friskie Adam by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug
Eighteen of harness racing’s leading ladies are scheduled to assemble Friday evening at Mohawk Racetrack in a rich set of divisions of the Casual Breeze Stakes for three-year-old trotting fillies. The event, which in previous years was a lead-up to the Elegantimage Stake, features two $101,296 divisions which will be carded as Races 7 and 9. Headlining the event is this year’s Hambletonian Oaks winner, Lifetime Pursuit. The three-year-old trotting daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace enters the Friday evening assignment following a 1:51.3 world record-setting performance in a PASS event at The Meadows on August 12. Jimmy Takter trains the 10-time winner and Yannick Gingras will handle career winner of $516,672 from Post 7. To read the rest of this story click here.