Shake It Cerry proved supreme once again, winning the last major harness racing stake of the season for the aged trotting mares at The Meadowlands, capturing the $200,000 TVG Mares Trotting Championship. Released as the even-money second-choice, Shake It Cerry was gathered off the gate by her pilot Dave Miller, while the 4/5 favorite Bee A Magician moved to the lead early in the mile. The 2013 Horse of the Year reached the quarter in 27.2 and as soon as the field straightened up on the backstretch, the 2014 Trotter of the Year made her move for the lead and Shake It Cerry took charge three-eighths of a mile into the race. The four year old mare reach the half in a sharp 55.4, before getting a third-quarter breather, hitting three quarters in 1:25, with Handover Bell committed first over, Classic Martine in the outer flow and Bee A Magician pinned in behind the leader. But Shake It Cerry was under a hand drive at the head of the stretch and when Miller called on his mare, the response was instantaneous and she dominated through the stretch, the result never in doubt and she scored decisively in 1:52.3. Bee A Magician could only manage a runner-up performance tonight, with Handover Belle a game third in what was the final start of her wonderful career. Shake It Cerry Trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but praise for his star mare. "She's just really good. She chased the boys earlier in the year and trotted in 1:49.4 and maybe that was a bit hard on her. But, she rebounded now and has been just fantastic. She is in the caliber with Moni Maker and I think when she is done, she will be on the list as one of the great fillies that ever was." Shake It Cerry was named Trotter of the Year for her 2014 campaign that included 15 wins from 17 starts and $1.2 Million in earnings. The 2015 season had been tougher on her, but she closes it out with a runner-up try in the Breeders Crown and then back to back wins in the TVG series, sending her lifetime earnings to $2,482,335, while earning her 28th victory. She is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. Venus Delight Rebounds The pacing mares were up first in the $200,000 TVG Championships and delivered a compelling stretch drive with a familiar name finding the winner's circle. Despite being the beaten favorite in her last two starts, Venus Delight was given the majority of support again by the bettors, established as the 8/5 choice and this time she did not disappoint. Driven by Tim Tetrick for the first time since her Milton elimination, Venus Delight worked out a perfect pocket trip throughout the mile behind the speed of the very sharp Sandbetweenurtoes, who ripped through fractions of 27, 55.3 and 1:22.4 before turning home with a tenuous lead. The leader was facing challenges from all parts of the racetrack and began to drift, opening a path for Venus Delight to charge through, which she did convincingly and drew clear to a sharp 1:49.4 triumph over a fast closing Gallie Bythe Beach. Color's A Virgin went a tough first over trip and fought-on to hold on to the show spot. Venus Delight is trained by Jeffrey Bamond Jr. for Bamond Racing L.L.C, earning her eighth win of the season, sending her seasonal earnings to $605,265. Venus Delight Filly Divisions of Fall Final Four With Broadway Donna done for the season, the Breeders Crown winner All The Time had a chance to make her case for divisional honors in the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final. The bettors believed she was the horse to beat, establishing her as the 2/5 morning line favorite. But in the end, it was the lightly raced Double Exposure who proved best on this night. Following a solid runner-up try in the elimination last week, Double Exposure was supported well at the windows, sent off as the 4-1 second choice. Tetrick moved his filly forward off the gate and she remained parked through an opening quarter of 28.1 as the favorite, All The Time set the pace. Double Exposure cleared the lead and put up a sharp second quarter, reaching the half-mile in 55.4. All The Time was content to ride her pocket until the three-quarter pole, when Gingras showed his filly racetrack as the field moved past three-quarters in 1:24.3, but Double Exposure had plenty left in the tank and accelerated on the lead. All The Time could not trot with the winner and Double Exposure reached the wire in 1:54, a lifetime best effort. Haughty rallied off the cover of All The Time to be second, while Woman's Will stayed on to be third. Driver Tim Tetrick expressed confidence in his filly. "I loved her at Lexington," said Tetrick. "She got sick after baby races but she has really matured. I have never gone three big quarters with her, but she proved she is really good tonight." Double Exposure is owned by Brittany Farms and Mel Hartman, and her earnings soar past $224,000 with the victory. The $385,250 Three Diamonds was scratched down to a field of seven, with three fillies gathering the majority of the attention at the windows, Yankee Moonshine, Shezarealdeal and Penpal. Shezarealdeal made a break heading to the start which changed the complexion of the race for Yannick Gingras who was driving Yankee Moonshine. "Absolutely, when she (Shezarealdeal) took off running, I looked over and saw Pat (Lachance) taking off the gate, so I made the lead rather easily," said Gingras. "We were going pretty good to the half and (Penpal) leaned in and we got hooked up for a few steps, but the other filly took it tougher than we did." Yankee Moonshine was allowed to set the pace through fractions of 27.4, 56.2 and 1:24.3, turning for home with Penpal right off her flank. But, Yankee Moonshine kept on going in the stretch, keeping Blue Moon Stride trapped in the pocket for much of the stretch. That filly shook free but it proved too late, while Shezarealdeal made a great recovery to rally to be third. Yankee Moonshine completed the mile in 1:52.2. The winner is owned by Burke Racing Stable, JT45, Karr and Weaver Bruscemi. The victory was the fourth in the career of Yankee Moonshine, sending her earnings north of $370,000. Handle for the 13-race Friday program was $2,426,263. Racing returns on Saturday, with a 14-race blockbuster card that begins at 7:00 P.M. Featured on the program are the $400,000 TVG Free For All Championships as well as the Governor's Cup, Valley Victory, Continentalvictory and Tarpot Hap Finals. Darin Zoccali Director of Racing Operations Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment | 1 Racetrack Drive | East Rutherford, NJ 07073
The Bank will try to cash in Saturday when he faces seven older foes in the $400,000 TVG Free For All Series championship for trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. A 3-year-old colt, The Bank was invited to the TVG final as a Breeders Crown champion. For the year, the Jimmy Takter-trained trotter has won five of 17 races and earned $994,652. He enters the TVG off victories in the Breeders Crown on Oct. 24 at Woodbine and the American-National Stakes on Nov. 7 at Balmoral Park. According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Information and Research Department, The Bank is seeking to become the first 3-year-old male trotter in recent history to win against older foes in a series final worth at least $100,000 since Before He Cheats captured the $120,000 Chester Late Closing Series in 2007. The only other instance since 1992 of a 3-year-old trotter winning a race worth at least $100,000 against older horses came on the female side, when filly CR Kay Suzie defeated seven mares in the Breeders Crown at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The Bank is 4-1 on the morning line, the third choice behind 9-5 favorite Resolve and E L Titan at 5-2. "It's the end of the year; it's a long year," said Takter, who trains The Bank for owners Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. "Most of these horses are starting to get a little tired and this colt's last two starts have been his best almost. It's a matter of how a horse's form is. I think I have a horse going into the race in good form and that's going to take me somewhere anyway." Takter will have a busy weekend at the Meadowlands. On Friday night, he sends three horses to the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid for 2-year-old female trotters - including 4-5 morning line favorite All The Time - plus Katie Said in the $200,000 TVG final for female pacers and Shake It Cerry in the $200,000 TVG final for female trotters. On Saturday, in addition to The Bank and Master Of Law in the TVG trotting championship, Takter has Lagerfeld in the $489,400 Valley Victory for 2-year-old male trotters, JK Endofanera and Somewhere In LA in the $400,000 TVG final for pacers, and Wild Honey in the $144,000 Continentalvictory for 3-year-old female trotters. The Bank, a son of Donato Hanover out of the mare Lantern Kronos bred by Falk's Falkbolagen AB, has finished first or second on 13 occasions this season. His other triumphs this year include the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial. He finished second in the Colonial and Goodtimes stakes. David Miller will drive The Bank in the TVG final, starting from post two in the eight-horse field. Miller guided The Bank to victory in the Breeders Crown - one of a record five winning Crown drives for Miller that night at Woodbine and one of Takter's record six Crown triumphs as a trainer. Also part of the TVG field is 4-year-old Resolve, who won last week's final preliminary round of the TVG and finished second in the Breeders Crown and Maple Leaf Trot in his two previous starts. Resolve, trained by Ake Svanstedt, has finished no worse than second in his seven most recent races and hit the board a total of 11 times in 12 starts this year. He has earned $506,938 this season for owner Hans Enggren. The field also includes Takter's Master Of Law, who won the American-National Stakes for older trotters, Cashman Memorial winner Flanagan Memory, Crawford Farms Trot winner Obrigado, Sebastian K Invitational winner E L Titan, Melady's Monet and DW's NY Yank. "Fortunately (The Bank) got a good seat, with two post he can bust out of the gate, and if the race sets up like it did last week, with Resolve going a (29.4) second quarter, that's definitely not going to hurt our horse if he's right up there. If he would finish in the top three I would be very happy." The Continentalvictory attracted only four starters, but features harness racing's top money-earning 3-year-old female trotters: Wild Honey, with $1.11 million, and Mission Brief, with $929,317. Mission Brief defeated Wild Honey in last week's Matron Stakes with a world-record 1:50.2 performance at Dover Downs. Wild Honey had won her two most recent previous encounters with Mission Brief, in the Breeders Crown and Kentucky Filly Futurity. All The Time is another of Takter's Breeders Crown winners racing this weekend and heads to the Goldsmith Maid off a 2-3/4 lengths win in 1:56.2 in last week's single elimination for the event. She has won seven of 11 races this year, including three in a row going into tomorrow's race. "I think All The Time is the best out of my three, and she's the favorite too," Takter said, referring also to Haughty and Kathy Parker. "She's been amazing all year basically and she stands out from my three." Shake It Cerry, last season's Trotter of the Year, heads to her TVG championship off a 1:53.3 win in last week's final preliminary round. She raced last week on Lasix for the first time, following second-place finishes to D'One in the Breeders Crown and Il Sogno Dream in the Dayton Trotting Derby, where she was the lone female taking on the boys. She is 7-5 on the morning line, second choice behind 4-5 Bee A Magician. "We put her on Lasix and I think that's going to make a big plus," Takter said. "She is really, really good. I expect her to be right there." by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications/USTA
EAST RUTHERFORD - All The Time was last seen in The Breeders Crown winner's circle at Woodbine three weeks ago. The Muscle Hill filly picked up right where she left off winning in authoritative fashion in the $20,000 elimination for the $409,950 Goldsmith Maid Final, which will be contested next Friday, November 20th at The Meadowlands. All The Time left for position, while Ultimate Shopper appeared intent on the lead in the early stages. Yannick Gingras guided the 4/5 favorite, All The Time, to the pylons briefly through a 29-second opening quarter before showing her racetrack as the field turned down the backstretch. The Breeders Crown champion easily cleared the lead before the 58.1 half-mile and the lead would only grow from there. All The Time powered away to a three length lead on the far turn, while Double Exposure assumed the daunting task of trotting first over against the favorite. All The Time reached three-quarters in 1:56.2 and poured it on to win by a geared down two and three-quarters lengths, tripping the timer in 1:54.4. Double Exposure trotted home well despite the first over trip to finish second with Haughty third. The top nine finishers qualified for the Final, therefore all but Lindy's On Fire will move on to that Final next Friday night. All The Time is a homebred of Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and is trained by Jimmy Takter. She has now won seven of 11 starts this season with earnings of $452,240. The mares got their final tune-ups for the $200,000 TVG Free All Championships for both the pacing and trotting mares tonight. In the $25,000 Mare Trot, Shake It Cerry, adding Lasix for the first time, made a powerful first over move on the far turn and quickly trotted past pace-setter Classic Martine and drew clear to win convincingly in 1:53.3. Longshot Handover Bell was second while Classic Martine faded to third. Favored Bee A Magician was fourth. The 2014 Trotter of the Year won for the fourth time this season and she inched closer to $2.4 Million in her career. Shake It Cerry was driven by Dave Miller for Jimmy Takter and the champion is owned by Solveig's Racing Partners. The pacing mares also went in the final TVG preliminary leg for $25,000. Sandbetweenurtoes was compromised by traffic in the stretch of the Breeders Crown, but she faced no such issue on this night winning in wire to wire fashion in 1:52 with Brett Miller in the sulky. Skippin By, a 24-1 longshot sat the pocket and stalked the winner throughout and mounted a strong challenge up the pylons through the stretch, but Sandbetweenurtoes was dead-game and held off the challenge for the fourth win of the season as she closes in on $500,000 lifetime. In his 40th season racing a horse at The Meadowlands, fittingly trainer Larry Remmen earned a victory on opening night for owner Bradley Grant. In other action, Penpal put forth a fine effort in her tune-up for the $385,250 Three Diamonds Final with a three and a half length victory over Albany Girl in a condition event for younger filly pacers. She scored for Pat Lachance in 1:54.2. Radar Contact returned to her favorite location, winning for the seventh time in 15 starts at The Meadowlands in a condition event for pacing mares in 1:52.3. It was not an easy victory as Radar Contact was headed in mid-stretch by Sir Jillian Z Tam, but the battle-tested mare fought back tenaciously to earn the victory for John Campbell and trainer Noel Daley. The driving star of the night was Dave Miller, winning three races, including the late Daily Double. Total Handle for the opening night program was $2,127,362, a slight increase from this same night in 2014. That is despite two less races and being up against a 13-race card that featured six Breeders Crown elimination races. The Late Pick 4 was well-received in its new eighth race slot, handling over $76,000. Racing resumes on Saturday with a 13-race program that includes eliminations for the Governor's Cup and Valley Victory as well as the final preliminary legs for the TVG Pacing and Trotting Championships. Post time for the Saturday program is 7:00 P.M. Darin Zoccali
COVERAGE OF ALL DIVISIONS & PHOTOS
Obviously the top story to come out of Saturday’s Breeders Crown races was the record six wins by Jimmy Takter and the five by David Miller. The former added more than $2 million to his earnings total, while Miller added a million dollars. Takter, who won three BC races last year, increased his all-time series leading total to 27, while David Miller, who was shut out in 2014, remains in fifth place with 19 wins. The fact that all-time leader John Campbell got his forty-eighth win in the series with Wild Honey is also significant. Campbell now leads Ron Pierce by eighteen. He captured a pair last year with Shelliscape and Thinking Out Loud. There wasn’t much left for the rest when Takter and Miller got through: several trainers had one each, including Ron Burke, who got two in 2014. Gingras, who won four races last year, won two, and five other drivers took one each. Several of these races had a marked impact on the quest for division honors. Jimmy Takter’s SBSW filly Pure Country and Bob McIntosh’s Bettor’s Delight filly, LA Delight, have only one loss between them; both won their respective sire stakes championships and they each have a few GC wins. Pure Country’s impressive 1:51.4 BC win gives her an edge though. Combine that with a pair of wins in Lexington, and the fact that she’s staked to the Three Diamonds and the Matron, and it looks like she has a clear path to the title. Prior to the BC LA Delight, who called it a year after her Super Final win, was ahead by $143,000 in the earnings column, but the SBSW filly is now up by almost $153,000. A win for Pure Country in either the Three Diamonds or Matron should secure the Dan Patch. Control The Moment, who like LA Delight has only raced in Canada and was undefeated entering the BC, with wins in the Metro and Nassagaweya, lost any edge he had in a muddled race for freshman pacing honors with his sixth place finish in that BC division, won by longshot Boston Red Rocks. This one should come down to the remaining races on the calendar. Control The Moment is not staked to the Monument Circle, Governor’s Cup or Matron. The latter can be supplemented into for $20,000. Boston Red Rocks is eligible to the Governor’s Cup. The Alagna pair, American Passport and Racing Hill, are both staked to the Governor’s Cup and the Matron. Southwind Frank, who won his eleventh in twelve starts with another 1/9 romp, will be the Dan Patch winner among the freshman trotting colts. Things aren’t so simple with the first year trotting fillies. Broadway Donna, who entered her BC elimination with wins in the Doherty, Bluegrass and PA Championship, and had a perfect record to boot, was poised for a coronation, but she failed to advance to the final. If not her the thought was it would be Tony Alagna’s Kadabra filly, Caprice Hill, who won the Peaceful Way, Champlain and OSS Super final. But she fell short in her elimination and the final. Takter’s Muscle Hill filly, All The Time, engineered big wins in both, while his Donato filly, Haughty, was second best. All but Caprice Hill are staked to the Goldsmith Maid. Broadway Donna is the only one eligible to the Matron. The jury is still out on this one, but All The Time looks like the best at this point. Not that it always matters. Joe Holloway’s relentless RNR Heaven filly Divine Caroline, who only won once in 11 tries at two, probably won the division for herself on Saturday night. Timing is everything and within the past few weeks she took splits of the Bluegrass and Garnsey as well as the BC. Others in the division, like Sassa Hanover, Stacia Hanover, Wrangler Magic and Caroline’s stablemate Bettor Be Steppin, have had their moments in the Sun, but Divine Caroline has taken control at the right time. She’s staked to Friday’s $100,000 USS Indianapolis at Hoosier Park and the Matron. Holloway said she will race in the latter and at The Meadowlands. Wiggle It Jiggleit, who was not supplemented to the BC, won a split of the Circle City at Hosier Park on Friday. The Jug and Pace winner will take his division. Wild Honey, who beat Mission Brief off a pocket trip in the KY Filly Futurity, beat her again in the BC, when the Muscle Hill star galloped to the center of the track while leading in the stretch. With wins in the BC, Oaks, Filly Futurity and Bluegrass the little Cantab Hall filly clearly deserves to win that division. Both fillies are staked to the Matron, and as the winner of the BC, Oaks and Filly Futurity, Wild Honey qualifies to be added to the TVG Mare Final. Takter stated definitively that his filly should win the division. Pinkman was picked up by stablemate The Bank in the BC, but the winner of the Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and CTC, will win his division. Bee A Magician beat the boys in the Maple Leaf, Centaur, Cutler and Charlie Hill, and also won the Armbro Flight. She chose to try them again in the BC Open, but finished fourth. Prior to that she was sixth in the Yonkers International. Throughout most of the season it’s been a given that BAM would win the Dan Patch, but the repatriated Donato Hanover mare, D’One, is clouding the picture. She won the Open Mare BC on Saturday, and prior to that she won the Allerage Mare, which BAM did not compete in, and she beat BAM in the Fresh Yankee at The Meadowlands and the Muscle Hill at Vernon Downs. Trainer Roger Walmann said D’One will start in the TVG Mare, which Bee A Magician is also eligible to. The aged male trotters are by far the softest division in harness racing. You can’t give the Dan Patch to BC winner Creatine, who has that one BC win since returning from Europe. JL Cruze was good early, but fell to pieces when the four-year-old restricted races came to a close. He has no open stakes wins outside that class. Resolve won the Vincennes. I don’t think so. Luminosity has 14 wins, primarily in the Yonkers open. No. Skip it this year, I guess. Venus Delight, who has wins in the BC Matchmaker, Artiscape and Milton, and has amassed a bankroll of over $500,000--$140,000 more than second place Anndrovette—had an opportunity to win the division in the BC, but she finished third from the nine post for Jason Bartlett. Last year’s sophomore division winner Color’s A Virgin won from the rail. The latter has had a disappointing year, but she took the Allerage Mare over a very short field a couple of weeks ago and now she has the BC win that eluded her last year. She still only has about half as much money as Venus Delight, but if Color’s A Virgin wins the TVG Mare Pace, she’s in the running for division honors. Between August 8, when he won the USPC, and October 2, when he took the Dayton Pacing Derby by five lengths, State Treasurer was in Sweet Lou 2014 territory—he lorded it over the division. The notion that he would not win the Dan Patch was too outrageous to even contemplate. Then he faded to seventh in the Allerage, beaten by JK Endofanera, and was crushed by late season arrival Always B Miki in the BC elimination and final. The latter is eligible to Friday’s Hoosier Pacing Derby; State Treasurer is not. If Miki was also eligible to the TVG final he’d have a chance to take down the six-year-old son of Real Desire, but he is not. After Friday’s race, opportunities to make up ground on State Treasurer will be few and far between. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.
TORONTO --Harness racing stars Jimmy Takter and David Miller completed an incredible Breeders Crown night capturing the final event, the open pace with Always B Miki in a sensational 1:49.3 mile over a rain-soaked surface. The victory, a year removed from when the son of Always A Virgin had to be scratched from the Crown final at The Meadowlands came at the expense of stablemate J K Endofanera and Mach It So. State Treasurer and driver Chris Christoforou blasted to the early lead in a :26.3 opening quarter, but the driver was looking in the rear view mirror and when Miller came with Always B Miki on the backstretch he was anxious to yield. The half was a solid :55.2 and Always B Miki pushed it into another gear on the turn as Foiled Again attempted to come up without cover but couldn't make a dent in the leader's margin. Always B Miki hit three quarters in 1:23 and then was high-lined to the wire with a :26.3 final quarter, an awesome closing quarter given the conditions. It was the third win in as many starts this year for Always B Miki capturing the $400,000 U.S. ($518,960 Cdn) Breeders Crown and pushing his lifetime bank account over $1 million. Owned by Bluewood Stables, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the victory was the sixth of the 12 Breeders Crown races for trainer Takter and the fifth by winning driver David Miller. Takter now has 27 Breeders Crown victories lifetime, while Miller has 19. "He's pretty special," said Miller about Always B Miki. "It's a thrill to sit behind him and to feel his power." The 2-5 favorite in the field Always B Miki impressed the trainer as well. "He's a very unique horse. I put him in the top horses to ever compete in this sport," said Takter. Takter finished 1-2 with J K Endofanera's finish as All Bets Off earned fourth money. Foiled Again was placed fifth after being lapped on a breaking State Treasurer at the finish. As for Takter wrapping up his record night. "It was almost like 100 per cent," Takter said. By Jay Bergman
TORONTO -- Harness racing division leader Pinkman failed to go wire-to-wire in the $500,000 U.S. ($648,700 Cdn) Breeders Crown three-year-old colt and gelding trot, with stablemate The Bank and David Miller grinding by from first over to win in 1:54.3. Yannick Gingras sent Pinkman to the lead through a :27.2 first quarter, with Muscle Diamond tucking into the pocket and The Bank parked out early. The Bank edged closer first over while Pinkman passed the half in :57.2. With the plugs pulled, Pinkman passed three quarters in 1:26.4, while The Bank crept closer on the outside. Into the eighth pole, Pinkman's lead diminished to a neck as The Bank became a threat, proving so by driving by and progressing to the wire in front of Pinkman, Muscle Diamond, and French Laundry. The Bank, a colt by Donato Hanover out of the Viking Kronos mare Lightning Kronos, competes for the interests of Christina Takter, Goran Falk, and Goran Anderberg. Trained by Jimmy Takter, the Falkbolagen Ab-bred colt paid $30.50 to win. "Around the last turn, Yannick [began] to ask his horse and I was just sitting on mine," Miller said. "At that point, I thought that he might be second for sure, but he went a big trip; he hung a long ways and he got the job done." Takter, who has won four Breeders Crowns on the night and 25 lifetime, said the victory was a good one for The Bank. "He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back," Takter said. "In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite." Miller, who has won three Breeders Crowns on the night and 17 lifetime, said the rain-soaked track was holding up relatively well. "It's a little sticky, but under the conditions, it's pretty good." QUOTES; Jimmy Taker - The Bank and Pinkman "It was good for Bank. He's been racing tremendous all year and chasing Pinkman and, you know, Pinkman was just a little more excited today. Normally, he's very laid back. In the warm up, I told Yannick, 'either it's a good thing or bad thing' but he's very different. He was very aggressive today and normally he's very much the opposite. But for Bank to come and win the Breeders Crown it's great." If one of your horses was going to beat Pinkman tonight, would you have guessed The Bank? "Well, you know, we didn't up giving Bank a bad race last time in the Futurity and Tim and I were fighting for the lead a little too much and came up short. He's been a good horse and I'm really happy." By Ray Cotolo
TORONTO -- In the second start of his homecoming, Jimmy Takter-trainee Creatine displayed an effortless harness racing performance, taking the $531,250 U.S. ($689,244 Cdn) Breeders Crown open trot at Woodbine Racetrack in 1:52.4 over Resolve, Gural Hanover, and Bee A Magician. Under minor encouragement by driver Johnny Takter, Creatine swept to the lead over Resolve and Gural Hanover, passing the first quarter in :27.2 and remaining unchallenged through a :56.4 half. Bee A Magician made her move into the far turn, flushing out Resolve heading to the third quarter. Timed in 1:25.1, Creatine began to sprint home. Resolve chased in second, while Gural Hanover snuck by a stalled Bee A Magician to the inside. Creatine was a two-length winner at the wire. "He was a little bit hot at sometimes," Johnny Takter said of Creatine. The Andover Hall horse, out of the Muscles Yankee mare Berry Nice Muscles, passed $2 million in career earnings with the Crown victory. He has 17 wins from 52 starts. Bred by Diamond Creek Farm, he competes for the interest of Big C Racing and conditioner Jimmy Takter. The $7.00 winner gave Jimmy Takter his fifth win on the Breeders Crown card and 26th lifetime. This was also brother Johnny Takter's first Breeders Crown win. "We [Johnny and I] have come a long way together," Jimmy Takter said. "John had a fantastic career in Europe, and I've done well over here. He has driven a few race for me over the years here, too, but it's always special when your brother wins a race for you like this. He had done a fantastic job with the horse over in Europe. It's very special for us." Asked about how Creatine's connections decided to supplement to the Breeders Crown, Takter said, "Of course [it was a hard decision] because $62,500 is a lot of money to bring into this game. The horse raced well at Yonkers. Unfortunately, he tied up a little bit there, and I thought he would've had a heck of a shot to win that one, too. The horse is razor sharp and has been racing well in Europe, so I know we belong. I also basically knew what was going to be here, and I knew he could beat these horses." By Ray Cotolo
TORONTO -- Sometimes you have to get the breaks to win a Breeders Crown race and that proved to be the case in the harness racing event for three-year-old filly trotters as 1-5 shot Mission Brief broke stride on a clear lead in early stretch and Wild Honey emerged with the victory in the $500,000 U.S.($648,700 Cdn) event on Saturday at Woodbine. The race began as expected as Mission Brief cleared the 8-5 Wild Honey going to the quarter in a respectable :26.2. Mission Brief and Yannick Gingras cruised to the half in :56.2 with no movement from the trailers. Mission Brief kicked it into high gear late on the final turn and appeared to be opening ground effortlessly on Wild Honey hitting the three quarters in 1:25 and looking on her way to an open lengths victory. That victory would not materialize as Mission Brief blew up and was pulled to the outside in the stretch leaving Wild Honey and driver John Campbell suddenly in the lead and concerned about the trailers. Closers Im So Fancy and Speak To Me gained gradually on the Jimmy Takter-trained daughter of Cantab Hall, but neither could dent the filly's margin as she won for the third straight time this year and avenged a defeat to Mission Brief in last year's Breeders Crown juvenile event. "I don't think I was going to catch her," said John Campbell of Mission Brief. "My filly was struggling on the turn and she got away from me. If you're going to beat Mission Brief you've got to stay right on her back." But Campbell's strategy to stay on Mission Brief's back was not important once the filly made a break. Mission Brief's trainer Ron Burke said his filly, "didn't warm up the best. The track didn't suit her today and she has those issues that we're not 1,000 per cent over just yet. I thought she was, but I knew warming her up that maybe we had an issue. "She was home. All she had to do was keep herself trotting so, you know, it's bad. That's the high of the sport and the lows of the sport right there. She'll be fine and there will come a time yet when she'll put it all together. She's the best horse I've ever trained." Winning trainer Jimmy Takter -- who captured his third Crown of the evening and 24th lifetime -- said he thought he had a chance. "I saw Yannick was having trouble with her (Mission Brief). She wasn't trotting as smoothly as she usually does," Takter said. Takter also put his vote in for division honors. "She won the Hambletonian (Oaks), The Kentucky Futurity (filly division) and The Breeders Crown. I think she should be the divisional champion," Takter said. Wild Honey, owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Jim Fielding and Herb Liverman, has now won over $1.5 million during her career. She's won 17 of 26 lifetime starts. Classical Annie and Elegant Serenity earned the final checks in the field. It was the 12th Breeders Crown victory for John Fielding, who ranks second in Crown victories by owners. By Jay Bergman
TORONTO, ON--The Jimmy Takter-trained All The Time brushed to the lead after a quick quarter set by stablemate Kathy Parker, advancing to a 1:56.2 harness racing victory in the $600,000 U.S. ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown two-year-old filly trot at Woodbine Racetrack. Going :26.4 to the first quarter, Kathy Parker held control while Caprice Hill occupied the pocket. All The Time swiftly pulled first over midway into the first turn and took the lead into the backstretch. By dictating the tempo, All The Time passed the half in :58. The lone pressure to All The Time came from Dewdle All Day heading to three quarters, passing that pole in 1:28.2. All The Time drew away in the stretch from pocket-rider Kathy Parker, who battled for second from Caprice Hill and Haughty in the final stages. Haughty, Caprice Hill, and Womans Will secured the bottom spots to All The Time at the wire. Paying $4.50 to win, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld's homebred All The Time claimed her sixth win in 10 starts this year, earning $448,010. She is by Muscle Hill, out of the Cantab Hall mare Cantab It All, and was driven by Yannick Gingras, who celebrated his 13th career Breeders Crown victory and 12 in the last four years. "The minute I hit the track tonight, she's never felt better," Gingras said. "Jimmy's [Takter] second trainer told me that he thought she was better than she was last week, and he was right. They did a tremendous job with her in the last three or four weeks to get her where she is today." Gingras also said in regards to getting a start over the track that "for the two-year-olds, I think it matters more than [for] the rest of them. The other horses have probably been here at some point in the past, but for [the freshmen] it definitely helps to get around the racetrack; there's a different toteboard, different type of things everywhere. She's a true professional. I don't think it would have mattered with her." Katz said, "This is really fulfilling of all the expectations that Al Libfeld and myself, and Sam [Goldband], and the long journey we've had. This is the idea we had many, many years ago, where we would produce champions like this for ourselves, and out of our own broodmare bed." When asked about All The Time's future, Katz said that "I really don't know; she just won a Breeders Crown, and I think we will leave it at that. We'll talk to Jimmy [Takter] in a day or two and let the dust settle, and see from there." QUOTES; All The Time 1:56.2 Yannick Gingras Walk us through this one. She is really super, the minute that I hit the track, I knew that she had never felt better. She was awesome to drive tonight. They have done a great job the last few starts, getting her ready. With a 2yo is more important than the other horses. Get them on the race track and feel things out. She is a true professional, I don’t think that it would have mattered if she got a start here, or not. By Ray Cotolo
TORONTO, ON-- Pure Country maintained her undefeated streak in the $600,000 ($778,440 Cdn) Breeders Crown two-year-old filly pace, winning in 1:51.4 as the 1-9 harness racing favorite at Woodbine Racetrack. Call Me Queen Be obtained the lead from the outset, setting a :26.1 quarter while Mayhem Seelster rushed towards the top. Immediately into the backstretch, Pure Country was moving first over and towards the top, securing the lead through a :55.1 half. Flying towards the pacesetter into the far turn, first-over Lyons River Pride put her nose in front of Pure Country, but couldn't clear the lead. With the plugs pulled, Pure Country retook command and journeyed by three-quarters in 1:23.4. After three-quarters, Pure Country extended her lead to three lengths over closing Shezarealdeal and Mayhem Seelster. She held her three-length lead until the wire, winning in 1:51.4. Yankee Moonshine and Soft Idea were fourth and fifth, respectively. A homebred filly from Diamond Creek Farms by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, Pure Country collected her 10th win of the season and pushed her seasonal earnings to $692,954. Trained by Jimmy Takter, she paid $2.30 to win. It was Takter's 22nd Crown victory, extending his lead on the all-time record for Crown wins by a trainer. Driver Brett Miller scored his first Breeders Crown win aboard the filly. "Oh my God, it feels so good to win it," Miller said. "I'm so glad this race was early and I'm so glad we were able to win it. "I was being a little cautious with her out of the gate, and it almost cost me [the race]. I got very lucky to get out. Once I got out, I kind of eased her to the front, even though :55.1 is a big half. She's just a tremendous horse." Miller said he had Pure Country, "pretty much shut down" when Pure Country was headed by Lyons River Pride in the last turn. "I was trying to give her a breather; I was still pretty confident in the last turn. She's got all the tools and some grit to her, too." QUOTES; Brett Miller – Pure Country; On how it played out in his head vs. reality: “No, I was actually hoping I could get away somewhere either right up close or right to the front where I didn’t have to do any work. But in the first turn, I almost got myself into a lot of trouble and almost got trapped and once I got her out she had to do a lot of work but she’s such a tough filly and I’ve never driven anything like her before she just toughed it out after that.” On winning your first Crown with a star favorite vs. a long shot surprise… pressure? “The pressure is different with THIS filly. She was coming into the race undefeated. I’ve driven some undefeated horses before and, you know, at one time they’ve all gotten beat. There was pressure tonight, being undefeated and knowing I had a shot at getting one of these. I feel so relieved now. I’m so glad this was the second race. If she was in late and I was having a bad night through the night, it would’ve weighed on me. As good as you dreamt it? “Oh yeah. It felt great” [Brett’s wife is from Canada.. “so any time we get to come up here it’s fun because it’s home for her”. Trainer Tony O’Sullivan (2nd Shezarealdeal and 3rd Mayhem Seelster) It surprised me Mayhem Seelster I little, just because you’re not going to get anything from the back and she ended up going to the front which ended up affecting Call Me Queen Be (also trained by O’Sullivan), but they raced great. I’m ecstatic. Ecstatic. As for Shezarealdeal, last week she was a little flat and this week she had plenty of pace and chased horses down and Mayhem Seelster really hung in tough against horses that are better than her. I didn’t see it happening like that. I knew Call Me Queen Be was going to leave because that’s what she likes to do. Mayhem, we just wanted to get her into the race. I didn’t know that’s how the race was going to unfold and I’m just really, really proud of Mayhem Seelster. By Ray Cotolo
TORONTO ---Harness racing trainer/driver Jimmy Takter made his first appearance in the Breeders Crown in 1986, but it was seven years before he got to hoist a trophy. Takter, who trains and sometimes also drives, had two second-place finishes and one third-place effort in eight championship starts before driving Gleam to victory in the 1993 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters at Florida's Pompano Park. And if the waiting was the hardest part, it also made the triumph all the more satisfying. "That is my No.1 memory in the Breeders Crown, my first one," Takter said. "It was hard to win that first one. I drove her, too, and when she won it meant a lot to me. That to me was the most emotional." Takter has created many more Breeders Crown memories since that first win with Gleam. He heads to Saturday's 12 Breeders Crown finals at Toronto's Woodbine Racetrack as the top trainer in the history of the series, with 21 victories and $9.48 million in purses. He has posted three victories in each of the past three years and 10 triumphs overall in the past four editions of harness racing's championship event. "I'm very proud of that," Takter said about his Breeders Crown record. "I really am. Winning 21 of them to me is amazing. It's really hard. It's like the saying, 'It all comes down to the Breeders Crown,' and I believe that. That's what it is. I think the Breeders Crown is the most prestigious. It's the end of the year and every horse normally is most mature and most ready." Takter moved to the U.S. more than three decades ago, but could have enjoyed a comfortable career in Sweden, where his father, Bo, was already established as one of the sport's top trainers. But after getting a taste of racing in the States as a teenager during a 10-month stint with the powerful Continental Farms Stable, Takter decided at the age of 22 to leave his homeland for good. The decision was not easy. Takter and his wife, Christina, had a 1-year-old girl, Nancy, and Takter knew he was unlikely to see his family in Sweden very often. Nancy is also now a trainer and in 2014 conditioned Dan Patch Award Horse of the Year winner JK She'salady. "It was a big decision to start all over, but I loved the United States; it was something special," said Takter, who became a U.S. citizen in 2000. "The harness racing was so different compared to our country. It was a big sacrifice for my wife and me, but I'm glad I did it. It's a special country." Takter rose to prominence in 1997 when Malabar Man won the Hambletonian and Breeders Crown and was named Horse of the Year. Malabar Man was followed by the trotting mare Moni Maker, who was Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999. She was an international star thanks to victories in major races in Europe, including the Prix d'Amerique and Elitloppet, and is the last mare to win the Breeders Crown Open Trot, which she won in 1998. This year, Takter has 17 horses in Saturday's Breeders Crown finals. His group is led by returning Breeders Crown champion Pinkman, who captured last year's Crown for 2-year-old male trotters and is the sport's second-richest horse this year, with $1.75 million in purses. Pinkman's wins this season include two legs of the Trotting Triple Crown - the Hambletonian Stakes and Kentucky Futurity - as well as the Canadian Trotting Classic. Takter, who was voted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, has won the Hambletonian four times and this year became the first trainer since 1992 to win the race in consecutive years. Takter has three horses joining Pinkman in the Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male trotters: French Laundry, The Bank, and Uncle Lasse. Last year, French Laundry finished third, Uncle Lasse fifth, and The Bank sixth in the Breeders Crown. "They all are players," said Takter, who is a four-time Trainer of the Year Award winner in the U.S. "They all belong there. Overall, they've had a great season." Takter has won the two most recent Breeders Crown finals for 2-year-old male trotters, and three of the past four trophies. He sends out Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Lagerfeld in Saturday's final for 2-year-old male trotters. He also has captured two of the most recent three finals for 2-year-old female trotters, where this year he sends out elimination winners All The Time and Haughty --- who is 7-for-7 this year --- plus another contender in Kathy Parker. "(All The Time) is the one to beat," Takter said. "I was very impressed with her in her elimination. That was a helluva performance; (1):56.1 and the way she did it, never pulling the plugs. She was amazing. "Haughty is undefeated, so you have to respect a horse like that. I didn't like her much early. She was a pain in the (butt). But she's good. She won in (1):54.1 for me in Lexington. I know she's got the gear." Other top contenders for Takter include undefeated Pure Country in the 2-year-old filly pace, Always B Miki and JK Endofanera in the Open Pace, Wild Honey in the 3-year-old filly trot, Shake It Cerry in the Mare Trot, and Creatine in the Open Trot. Shake It Cerry, a 4-year-old mare, won Breeders Crown trophies at ages 2 and 3. She can join Peace Corps, Grades Singing, and Mack Lobell as the only trotters in history with three or more Breeders Crown titles. Wild Honey won this year's Hambletonian Oaks --- giving Takter a sweep of the Hambletonian and Hambletonian Oaks for the second consecutive year --- and defeated Mission Brief, last year's divisional Breeders Crown champ, in the Kentucky Filly Futurity. Always B Miki was the favorite in last year's Breeders Crown for 3-year-old male pacers, but was scratched because of injury. He joined the Takter Stable during the winter, suffered another injury setback in the spring, but has returned to win his first two starts of this season, including his Crown elimination by three lengths in 1:49.4. "This is what it's all about for me, with this horse," Takter said. "It was 10 months to get here. He's the king. He's unbelievable. They supplemented him to the Breeders Crown last year and he won his elimination and never got to race in the final. Now, hopefully, he can continue the story." Ken Weingartner for the Breeders Crown
TORONTO, ON -- After staying put in the first-over position around the far turn, Always B Miki began to slide towards control and quickly roared by pacesetter State Treasurer en route to an open length harness racing victory of 1:49.4 in the second US$35,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace elimination on Saturday, Oct. 17. All Bets Off secured the lead approaching the first turn, but State Treasurer, who was parked out into the first turn, soon brushed to the lead off a :27.1 first quarter. He took the field by the half in :55.2 while Always B Miki edged first over and began to progress towards the top, with Mach It So on his tail. Remaining stride for stride with pocket-rider All Bets Off off a 1:23 third quarter, Always B Miki started to chase down State Treasurer, who was drifting off the pylons slightly. All Bets Off managed to skid up the gap at the inside into the final eighth, but Always B Miki instantaneously powered by him and State Treasurer, drawing clear. ' Bettor's Edge finished second, State Treasurer third, Mach It So fourth, and All Bets Off fifth. Making his second start of the season for the interests of Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable, and Christina Takter, Always B Miki paid $2.90 to win. He pushed his career earnings to $957,591. The four-year-old horse by Always A Virgin, out of the Artsplace mare Artstopper, is trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by David Miller. "He's a fantastic horse," Jimmy Takter said. "We had a long journey here; we had a big bump in May when he got reinjured in the other leg, so I'm really, really pleased to see this horse [win], because he's really a special animal, and he's a very popular horse in the sport, with so many people asking about this horse. Seeing him come back, I thought he looked pretty darn good. I'm so pleased to be a part of his life." "This horse has the right determination, an extremely great set of lungs, and, like David [Miller] said last year, he had some problems steering him, but the horse never got tired," Takter also said. "Like in the Meadowlands Pace, he was three wide and finished second; the whole race he was outside. Standing here, I was nervous; I didn't like post one. But when they went off, I knew he was going to be right there." "You've got to be patient with them," Takter also said regarding Always B Miki's return to racing. "An injury takes time [to heal], and you have to listen to him [the horse]. He did very well; he was standing in his stall for a long time, and a lot of horses get frustrated doing that. He was able to keep his weight, so it's a heck of a story really. For this horse, he won the Breeders Crown elimination last year [in the 3-year-old colt pace], and never got an opportunity to show what a great horse he was in the final." Always B Miki by Ray Cotolo, for the Breeders Crown
TORONTO, ON - Heading into the first US $20,000 division of the Breeders Crown 2-Year-Old Filly Trot Friday night at Woodbine Racetrack, Haughty and Broadway Donna had yet to lose a race. Well, when the race ended, Haughty kept her harness racing unbeaten streak intact, while Broadway Donna suffered defeat after breaking stride and failing to advance to the final. Haughty, trained by Jimmy Takter for owners Al Libfeld, Marvin Katz and Sam Goldband, was a perfect six-for-six going into the race. And of the eight starters in the race - Ultimate Shopper was scratched - Haughty had the least amount of starts. But the late-developing daughter of Donato Hanover has done everything right. "She was really late to get ready," Takter said. "She's got a long way to go still, but one thing about her is she has the right desire. She likes to win and she's got good lungs. It's terrible weather here - it's cold and windy - but she knows how to do it. This to me on paper was a very deep and good class field. She's going to be all right. I think she has a heck of a shot for the final." Two horses broke stride early, which led to 30-1 shot Kathy Parker, starting furthest out, gaining the lead after an opening quarter of 28 3/5 and a half in 58 1/5. Broadway Donna pulled and was full of trot to gain the lead after a three quarters in 1:26 4/5, but then she broke stride and Kathy Parker inherited the lead. Haughty had been as far back as fifth by 11 lengths after the opening quarter and trailed by 6¾ lengths after three quarters, but she advanced strongly under the deft steering of Dave Palone and was second by three quarters of a length going into the stretch. She won by a comfortable three lengths in 1:59. Magical Wonder, the longest shot on the board at more than 70-1, placed second, followed by Kathy Parker. Womans Will and Emoticon Hanover rounded out the top five which advance to the final. Haughty, second in the wagering at just under 3-1, paid $7.80, $4.90, $4.90. Magical Wonder paid $40.20, $17.50. Kathy Parker paid $7.10 to show. The exacta paid a juicy $339.70 and the trifecta a whopping $2,449.00. Haughty Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown
Undefeated Pure Country took her act to the North Country on Friday night but the results were identical to what's been expected from the juvenile daughter of Somebeachsomewhere in the United States. The Jimmy Takter trained filly was powerful in capturing the first of two $20,000 US eliminations for the Breeders Crown harness racing two-year-old filly pace in 1:52 3/5 at Woodbine. Driven by Brett Miller the homebred from Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Farm's racing stable got away third as the 1-5 betting choice as Lyons River Pride and Yannick Gingras jetted from the outside to take charge in a :28 1/5 opening quarter. Lyons River Pride kept an honest pace and because of it there was little movement through the second quarter with the half reached in :56 2/5 before anyone began to move. Darlinonthebeach and driver David Miller were the first to pull at that point and slowly progressed on the rim with Pure Country pulling to provide cover with roughly three-eighths of the mile remaining. The pace and activity got serious as the field reached the three-quarters in 1:24. Brett Miller worked on Pure Country in the early stretch and the filly responded with authority, blowing past the leader and drawing clear to win in handy fashion. Darlinonthebeach looked to be a serious threat off cover on the final turn but couldn't accelerate with the winner into the stretch. Nevertheless driver David Miller was able to urge the filly on late to get the place spot with early pacesetter Lyons River Pride holding on for the third spot. Mayhem Seelster and Shezarealdeal picked up the final two qualifying spots and return for the $600,000 October 24 final. The victory kept Pure Country with a perfect nine wins in nine career starts during her first season at the races. Sent off as the 1-5 choice Pure Country returned $2.40 to win. Pure Country With the elimination winners drawing for posts 1-5, the complete field for the final is as follows: 1 Darlinonthebeach, Dave Miller, Nancy Johansson 2 Shezarealdeal, Marcus Miller, Tony O'Sullivan 3 Pure Country, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter 4 Lyons River Pride, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 5 Yankee Moonshine, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke 6 Soft Idea, Tim Tetrick, Linda Toscano 7 Blue Moon Stride, Andrew McCarthy, Mark Harder 8 Skinny Dipper, Randy Waples, Tony O'Sullivan 9 Mayhem Seelster, Jack Moiseyev, Tony O'Sullivan 10 Call Me Queen Bee, Scott Zeron, Tony O'Sullivan AE: 1 Tipton Teeez, Tim Tetrick, Brian Brown AE 2 Rock Me Baby, John Campbell, Staffan Lind Jay Bergman for Breeders Crown
Brett Miller won eight stakes races at the Grand Circuit meet in Lexington, as well as one late closer. He took splits of the Bluegrass and ISS with top filly Pure Country and came from off to win the Allerage Open with JK Endofanera, all for Jimmy Takter. JK End won a split of the Tattersalls Pace last year. And David Miller, who finished with a rush on Saturday, with wins in the Allerage Mare Pace with Color’s A Virgin, Allerage Mare Trot with D’One, and both splits of the Tattersalls Filly Pace, with the Rock N Roll Heaven fillies Rock Me Gently and Divine Caroline, was second in stakes wins with seven. He also won four late closers. Tim Tetrick, who won eleven late closers, had six stakes wins, including Bluegrass splits with Split The House, Crazy Wow and Bedroomconfessions. Tim won eleven late closers two years ago, in addition to nine stakes. Last year Yannick Gingras won an incredible sixteen stakes races and four late closers at The Red Mile. This year that dropped off to five stakes wins and a single late closer. On the other hand, Yannick did take the most lucrative race at the meet, the $527,000 KY Futurity with the Explosive Matter gelding, Pinkman. He also steered the Muscle Hill colt Southwind Frank to a 1:52.2 world record performance in a split of the ISS. Scott Zeron also had five stakes wins, including the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak and the Allerage Open with Il Sogno Dream on closing day. Scott won five late closers. John Campbell drove the diminutive Cantab Hall miss, Wild Honey, to a win over 1/9 trotting queen Mission Brief in the Filly Futurity. He also had three other stakes wins. Upstart Muscle Hill has been looking down his nose at Cantab lately, including at the Lexington Selected Sale, but the latter took his measure in the Futurity. In 2011 Campbell won 13 late closers but no stakes. The following year it was only two late closers, but four Bluegrass splits and one ISS. He also got bilked out of an ISS win with Odds On Equuleus. This year JC took four stakes and three late closers. Ake Svanstedt and Andy Miller each drove three winners. The late blooming Andover Hall colt Dupree beat Takter’s highly regarded Muscle Hill colt, Bar Hopping, in both the Bluegrass and ISS for Ake. Andy doubled with the Yankee Glide freshman Milligan’s School. Ake also took a pair of late closers, and Andy one. Jimmy Takter led all trainers with seven stakes wins. This is down from 13 last year. He has back to back wins in the KY Futurity and three in a row in the Filly Futurity, with To Dream On, Shake It Cerry and Wild Honey. Pure Country and Wild Honey were both double winners. Tony Alagna was next with six winners. He took the Tattersalls Pace with Artspeak, who was his only stakes winner in 2014. The American Ideal colt, American Passport, and the Roll With Joe colt Racing Hill were both double winners in Lexington. Steffan Lind, who saw his sophomore trotter Billy Flynn go cold in his second year on the track, won four stakes. The Manofmanymissions freshman Celebrity Eventsy won twice for him, helping raise his sire’s profile in the process. Ron Burke, who won nine stakes in 2014, only captured four this time around. Burke had eight second place finishes in Red Mile stakes, one of which he also won. Mission Brief disappointed, while Crazy Wow was beaten up by Takter and The Bank in the early part of the Futurity. Horses bred in Pennsylvania won three-quarters of the trotting stakes at The Red Mile. There were three New Jersey wins for Muscle Hill—less than one would expect—who is now in Pennsylvania. And MOMM, who is now in Ohio, had two wins from Ontario sired Celebrity Eventsy. There was only one win for a New York bred trotter, that being Crazy Wow, who took a Bluegrass split. Cantab Hall topped the Pennsylvania list with five wins, followed by Yankee Glide with four and Donato with three. The Empire State fared much better in the pacing stakes, with eleven wins to six for PA. New Jersey had five, four of them by the late Rocknroll Hanover. And one of Western Ideal’s three winners was bred in the Garden State. Indiana had one—Allerage Mare Pace winner, Color’s A Virgin. SBSW, like his trotting counterpart Muscle Hill, only had three wins. None of the major stakes on the last day of the meet went to sons or daughters of either of these high dollar stallions. American Ideal had four wins, as did Rocknroll Heaven. Racing Hill put the spotlight on his successful first year sire, Roll With Joe, with wins in the Bluegrass and ISS. The weather was awful the first week of the meet, and didn’t really reach its peak until the final day. The $150,000 guarantee on Thursday’s Super High Five sparked interest, but too many fields were short, and the pari-mutuel prices reflected that. Participation from Ontario and Indiana, which were in the middle of carding their sire stakes programs, was very weak. The Keystone Classic in Pennsylvania hurt the Red Mile meet, and was hurt by it; that series and the Liberty Bell featured too many five and six horse fields. Ohio added very little. Will the Grand Circuit gradually fade away as casino enhanced restricted racing offers bigger prizes for much less effort? Perhaps. Joe FitzGerald has been an avid harness racing fan and historian for the last half-century. He writes a weekly blog for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/. Joe’s commentary reflects his own views and not that of Harnesslink.