ANDERSON, Ind.-September 17, 2014 - Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter, will make his Hoosier Park Racing & Casino debut as he heads a powerful field of ten in the $238,500 Centaur Trotting Classic on Saturday, September 20. Offering arguably the best 14-race card of the 2014 live racing season to-date, Hoosier Park will play host to a stakes-filled card that boasts lofty purses as Grand Circuit racing action returns to the seventh-eighths mile oval. As Hoosier Park's signature trotting event, The Centaur Trotting Classic will highlight the 14-race program that begins at 5:15 p.m. The 8-year-old Swedish trotter Sebastian K has taken the sport of harness racing by storm since arriving in North America earlier this year, setting records nearly everywhere he goes. Boasting a career bankroll of over $2.9 million, Sebastian K has won 34 of 72 races in his career and has only been defeated one time in eight starts since racing in North America. Sebastian K's stunning 1:49 victory on June 28 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in the $100,000 Sun Invitational was the fastest mile clocking ever recorded by a trotter. In addition to trotting the fastest mile in history, he is also the first trotter to ever win four times in 1:50.3 or faster. The No. 1-ranked harness racing horse in North America last appeared on August 29 at Vernon Downs when he won the Crawford Farms Open Trot in 1:53. Sebastian K is owned by Knutsson Trotting Inc. and is trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt. Svanstedt and Sebastian K will start from post six in the field of ten and have been enlisted as the 3-5 morning line favorite. Joining the stellar cast of entrants in the Centaur Trotting Classic is Hambletonian winner, Market Share who will start from the coveted rail position with regular driver Tim Tetrick at the lines. Market Share, who has won 24 of 51 races and $3.4 million in his career, was last season's Dan Patch Award winner for best older male trotter and the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male trotter. The triple millionaire is trained by Linda Toscano and has been enlisted as the morning line second choice. The Centaur Trotting Classic is part of a stakes-filled card on Saturday at Hoosier Park, which also includes the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes for two-year-old trotting and pacing fillies, the $150,000 Elevation Pace for two-year-old pacing colts and the $50,000 Jenna's Beach Boy Invitational Pace for three-year-old pacing colts. HRTV, The Network for Horse Sports, will provide exclusive coverage for the 14-race card. Racing fans can also catch exclusive interviews on the HRTV programming from drivers and trainers racing at Hoosier Park. Following is the Centaur Trotting Classic field in post order with trainers: 1. Market Share, Linda Toscano 2. Natural Herbie, Verlin Yoder 3. Red Hot Herbie, Byron Hooley 4. Creatine, Bob Stewart 5. Master of Law, Jimmy Takter 6.Sebastian K, Ake Svenstadt 7. Uncle Peter, Jimmy Takter 8. Fusion Man, Jeff Smith 9. Arch Angel, Ron Burke 10. Appomattox, Liisa Vatanen For more information on the upcoming entertainment or live racing schedule at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino, please visit www.hoosierpark.com. by Emily Gaskin, for Hoosier Park
Delaware, OH --- Lifetime Pursuit made it six wins in a row by dominating Wednesday’s (Sept. 17) $89,475 Buckette for 3-year-old female harness racing trotters at the Delaware County Fair, crossing the wire in front by 12-3/4 lengths in 1:53.4. Driven by Yannick Gingras, the filly started from post six and raced three wide around the first turn to get the lead from Broadway Socks. Once there, she never looked back through fractions of :28.2, :56.4 and 1:25.1. The winning time was three-fifths of a second off Frau Blucher’s half-mile-track world record for a 3-year-old female trotter, set last year in the Buckette. Sent off at odds of 1-9, Lifetime Pursuit paid $2.10 to win. Bikini So Teeny was second, followed by Yoga and Broadway Socks. “It definitely was a walk in the park today,” Gingras said. “Since Hambletonian Day, she’s turned from being a very good filly to a great filly. She was awesome that day and she’s been awesome ever since.” Lifetime Pursuit started her six-race win streak by winning the Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 2 at the Meadowlands. Since then, she’s added divisions of the Casual Breeze and Simcoe stakes, plus the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. “She is amazing to drive but she is a filly where you can't hurt her feelings,” Gingras added. “Before the Hambletonian Oaks I always drove her behind cover or made sure I got her out of the pocket. But in the Hambletonian Oaks she had the perfect trip, I just pulled the plugs and popped her out. Since then she has been so good she's been the 1-5 or 1-9 favorite so she's needed to be involved earlier. She's probably been on the front a little too much because of that but she really feels tremendous to drive right now.” The daughter of Cantab Hall-Queen Of Grace is trained by Jimmy Takter and owned by Brittany Farms. She has won eight of 13 races this year and $652,054. For her career, she has won 14 of 24 starts and is nearing $1 million. by Ken Weingarter with Kimberly French
Delaware, OH --- Wild Honey trotted the fastest mile in history by a 2-year-old trotter on a half-mile racetrack Wednesday (Sept. 17) at the Delaware County Fair, winning the second $32,323 division of the Standardbred Stakes for 2-year-old female trotters in 1:55.2. The recently crowned Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion left no doubt about the race’s outcome, leading from start to finish at odds of 1-9. The fractions were :28.4, :57.3 and 1:25.4 with driver Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Hot Start finished second by 7-3/4 lengths and Gee O’Keeffe was third. Wild Honey’s performance erased one of trotting’s oldest records from the books. She eclipsed the previous best time of 1:56.3 by a 2-year-old female trotter on a half-mile track set by CR Kay Suzie on Sept. 21, 1994 at Freehold Raceway. The only trotting record to stand longer is Pine Chip’s 1:54 time for a 4-year-old male trotter on a half-mile oval, set on Sept. 18, 1994 at Delaware. In addition, Wild Honey bettered the mark of 1:55.3, set by colt Dontyouforgetit in 2012 at Delaware, for the fastest ever half-mile time by any 2-year-old trotter. Wild Honey is trained by Jimmy Takter, as was Dontyouforgetit. A daughter of Cantab Hall out of the mare U Wanna Lindy, Wild Honey is owned by Christina Takter, John Fielding, Herb Liverman, and Jim Fielding. She was purchased for $35,000 under the name Can Can Lindy at the Lexington Selected Sale. Her family includes 1994 Hambletonian winner Victory Dream. Wild Honey has won six consecutive races since finishing second by a head to Gatka Hanover in her debut. She has earned $271,031. “She won all of her (PA Sire Stakes) legs and had just one defeat by a (head) in her first lifetime start,” said trainer Jimmy Takter. “She’s just a tough filly. She’s got it. She’s the real deal.” Takter said Wild Honey is on her way to Lexington for the Grand Circuit meet next week. “When I got a first quarter of :28.4, I thought it would be hard for anybody to beat her in here,” said driver Yannick Gingras. “At the five-eighths I just let her roll along. I didn’t really ‘let her go,’ I just let her do what she wanted to do. The 1:55.2 was all her. The plugs were still in. I didn’t dig into her. She could have gone in (1):54 and change.” Sweet Shurga and driver Ron Pierce charged through the stretch and overcame favorite Smokinmombo in the final strides to win the first $32,323 division of the Standardbred Stakes. Smokinmombo, driven by Aaron Merriman, led for nearly the entire race after vanquishing Avalon Hall in a battle for the top spot coming off the first turn. Sweet Shurga was third until the final turn when Pierce moved to the outside and followed Dancewithme Chuck into the stretch. From there, Sweet Shurga cruised past her foes to reach the finish line in 2:00. Sent off at odds of 17-1, the daughter of Donato Hanover-Sweet American paid $36 to win. Sweet American is a full sister to 1993 Hambletonian winner American Winner. Smokinmombo finished second, followed by Dancewithme Chuck and Yanks Ball Girl. The fractions were :28.3, :59.3 and 1:29.3. Sweet Shurga has won two of four races and earned $19,629 for owner Bob Key and trainer Norm Parker. "She’s a green filly of Mr. Key’s,” said trainer Norm Parker. “She goes back to the family of American Winner. (Mr. Key) always liked that family. I liked her when I got her. Paul Reid trained her in Florida. When I got her she was really green. "Her manners are her biggest problem. She’s very temperamental, but I think she’s going to be a nice filly. "(Since her break on Aug. 20) we did some field time. In her last race at The Meadows, Dickie Stillings took good care of her. I just did the same thing -- gave her some field time and thought I’d bring her here and give her a shot.” by Ken Weingartner with Kimberly French & TJ Burkett/USTA
Many of the best four-year-old harness racing pacers in North America will do battle this Sunday in the $200,000 revival of the Prix D’Ete at the Hippodrome 3R. The drawing for post positions will take place at a special media function at the Hippodrome 3R on Thursday at 11:00 am. The Prix D’Ete is the richest race in North America this year for four-year-old pacers and many of the nation’s top harness racing drivers will be coming to Quebec province to compete on the race card. Headlining the field of eight starters will be Apprentice Hanover from the Ben Wallace Stable. The son of Somebeachsomewhere enters the race off of a lifetime mark performance last week at Mohawk Raceway in 1:49.2. Jody Jamieson will do the driving. World renowned trainer Jimmy Takter has entered his top pacer, Sunfire Blue Chip, who is on a four-race winning streak including a 1:49.2 triumph in the $50,000 Open at Pocono Downs in his last start. Yannick Gingras returns to his home track to drive Sunfire Blue Chip. Also entered are Captive Audience; local favorite and Hippodrome 3R all-age track record holder, Duc D’Orleans; Casie Coleman’s Lucan Hanover; PJ Fraley’s Mach It So, who has won three of his last four starts; Si Semalu and Sunshine Beach, the richest pacer in the field with career earnings of $971,037. “What a great field that has entered our revival of the Prix D’Ete,” said Vincent Trudel, the general manager of the Hippodrome 3R. “We could not have asked for a more competitive field. I am sure that Duc D’Orleans track record of 1:52.4 will be in jeopardy this Sunday and that our racing fans and horsemen are going to see a superb world-class race.” Here is the field in alphabetical order: Apprentice Hanover Jody Jamieson Benjamin Wallace Captive Audience James MacDonald Corey Johnson Duc Dorleans Daniel Dube Jacques Dupont Lucan Hanover David Miller Casie Coleman Mach It So Scott Zeron Paul Fraley Si Semalu Doug McNair Isaac Waxman Sunfire Blue Chip Yannick Gingras Jimmy Takter Sunshine Beach Chris Christoforou Mark Steacy There will be no consolation race. Initially known as the Prix d’Automne and won by older horses such as the three-time Horse of the Year Bret Hanover, the marquee event at Blue Bonnets racetrack in Montreal was converted into the Prix D’Ete race for 3-year-old pacers in 1970 and remained one of the major North American stakes in the division until its last running in 1992. Past winners included Cam Fella, Niatross, Albatross, Strike Out, Abercrombie, Matts Scooter and Beach Towel. The Prix D’Ete weekend gets underway Saturday evening with a special live race program beginning at 7:30 pm. Sunday’s Prix D’Ete race card first race post time is 1:00 pm. For additional information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Since there were only two nights of live racing in the past seven days at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs due to the Oktoberfest festivities on the grounds, it seems like a good time to look at the broader picture of harness racing through the Pocono lens. This is the time of year when people start to talk about yearend awards and horses of the year and things like that. We've been graced with the presence of many of the year's best, so let's examine the performances of the Top 10 horses in the latest Breeders Crown/Hambletonian poll when they travelled to MSPD this year. Four out of the top ten, #8 JK Shesalady, #7 Artspeak, #5 He's Watching, and #4 Trixton, have not appeared at Pocono. (Trixton, this year's Hambletonian champ, did have a winning qualifier at Pocono.) The other six have not only raced here, but they've all picked up at least one victory on the Pocono oval this year, often in impressive fashion. #10 Sandbetweenurtoes, a 3-year-old pacing filly from the Larry Remmen barn, just suffered the first loss of her season with a disappointing seventh in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships at Harrah's at Philadelphia. But her lone voyage at Pocono was successful, as she rallied from an early deficit to win a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes race on August 9 in 1:50. #9 Lifetime Pursuit wasn't quite on top of her game when she raced at Pocono earlier in the meet, going once across the board in three starts with the win coming in a Pennsylvania All Stars race in June. The 3-year-old trotting filly from the Jimmy Takter barn has been sizzling since, winning her last five races including the Hambletonian Oaks and the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final in her age group. It's been an amazing 3-year-old season for pacing colt Mcwicked, trained by Casie Coleman. Much of that success took place at MSPD. He's won three of four at Pocono in 2014. Although his record includes wins in the prestigious Adios and in the Pennsylvania Championships, his signature victory for the year was likely his incredible effort in winning the Max Hempt Memorial pace at Pocono in June in a world-record time of 1:47:3. The #3 horse on the list is Father Patrick, who has made an impact everywhere he's raced but has been absolutely spotless at Pocono. The 3-year-old trotting colt went four-for-four at Pocono as a 2-year-old, including a Breeders Crown title. He has won all four of his starts at MSPD this year as well, the highlight of those coming in the Earl Beal Jr. Memorial trot in June when he won in 1:50:2, the fastest ever trotting time for a 3-year-old on a 5/8-mile oval. On that same night in June, #2 Sweet Lou, a 5-year-old stallion from the Ron Burke barn, was solidifying his amazing return to prominence in the sport. After struggling in the early part of the season, which included a ho-hum 3rd in an Open at Pocono in May, Sweet Lou found the stride that made him such a force early in his career. In the Ben Franklin at Pocono on that fateful June night, the stallion dominated a stellar field with the fastest pacing time ever on a 5/8-mile oval of 1:47. The #1 horse on the list has been a revelation all year long and his one start at Pocono was one for the ages. Of course, I'm talking about the sublime Sebastian K, the eight-year-old trotting stallion trained and driven by Ake Svanstedt who has won eight of his nine 2014 races, usually in record-breaking fashion, despite never have raced in the U.S. prior to this year. In his lone start at Pocono in an Open trot on that same June 28 that saw so many incendiary performances, Sebastian K stole the show with a win in 1:49, the fastest mile trotted on any track of any size in the history of the sport. As you can tell, many of the superstars of the sport have left indelible marks on the Pocono racing wars in 2014. There is still a lot of racing to go in the season before such things as yearend awards are decided. But when those honors are chosen, it's likely that some of the most compelling evidence for those choices will come courtesy of action at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. That will do it for this week, but we'll see you at the track. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. by Jim Beviglia, for Pocono Downs
Post No. 7 proved lucky for Lyonssomewhere in the Cane Pace and his connections will hope for the same good fortune Thursday when the colt starts from the same spot in his first-round elimination heat in the Little Brown Jug at the Delaware County Fair. The outside post positions at Delaware's half-mile oval are historically regarded as difficult starting spots, but driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter are hopeful that Lyonssomewhere can overcome the draw. The colt, who supplemented into the race thanks to his victory in the Cane Pace, is the 5-2 favorite in his heat. A total of 16 3-year-old male pacers entered the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, presented by Fazoli's, but the number was reduced to 15 on Tuesday when Cammikey scratched because of illness. The field was divided into two first-heat elimination divisions and the top four finishers from each group will advance to the second round. If a first-heat winner also is victorious in the second heat, he is declared the Little Brown Jug champion. If not, there will be a race off between the three winners of the heats. "He ended up, on paper anyway, in a little softer division than the others," said Takter, who won the Little Brown Jug in 2006 with Mr Feelgood. "What are you going to do? "The horse is in good form. We'll give it a try." Gingras was able to put Lyonssomewhere in front early in the Cane Pace at five-eighths-mile Tioga Downs and held off favorite He's Watching by a half-length for the win. "In the Cane, I wasn't planning on leaving," Gingras said. "It's not like I had him wound up. He looped them, but I went to the gate thinking I was going to race him from off the pace. The gate was picking up speed and no one was leaving, he's a very handy horse, and I just had to put the whip on his tail and he went. "In the Jug, from post seven, I'll wind him up a little bit. He can leave a little faster than he did in the Cane. There's no doubt the plan is to go forward and I'll make my mind up in the first turn." Lyonssomewhere has won five of nine races this year and earned $370,892 for owner Geoffrey Lyons Mound. The horse wasn't eligible to the Little Brown Jug, but the conditions allow the winner of the Cane Pace to supplement to the Jug for $45,000. The Cane Pace is the first leg in the Pacing Triple Crown, the Jug is the second. Since supplements were first allowed in 1999, three horses have used that route to enter the Jug field: Four Starzzz Shark in 2001, Art Official in 2008, and Betterthancheddar in 2011. All three finished third in the Jug. "I think (Lyonssomewhere) has got a great chance," said Gingras, who is North America's leading purse-earning driver and is seeking his first Jug. "It would be awesome to win it. This is a race everyone wants to win. With the fans there, it's a different atmosphere. The Jug is different than any other race. It's been a great year for me and it would add to what an unbelievable year it's been." The last horse to win the Pacing Triple Crown was No Pan Intended in 2003. The third and final leg, the Messenger Stakes, will be raced on Oct. 25 at Yonkers Raceway. Lyonssomewhere is not Takter's only chance to win the Jug. He sends out Capital Account and Somewhere In L A in the second division of opening-round heats. Capital Account starts from post four with driver Ron Pierce and is 10-1 on the morning line. Somewhere In L A starts from post six with driver Brett Miller at odds of 7-2. The favorite in the elimination is Casie Coleman's McWicked, who drew post No. 1 and is the 7-5 choice. Somewhere In L A has won six of 15 races this year and earned $301,502 for owners Deo Volente Farms, J&T Silva Stables, and T L P Stable. The gelding finished second to McWicked in the Delvin Miller Adios. "He's a very good horse," Takter said about Somewhere In L A, adding with a laugh, "He's been consistently racing against McWicked, and McWicked has got to be the luckiest horse I ever saw at getting a good post position. We have six or seven and McWicked has all these good posts. "But he's been racing gamely. I'm really proud of him. This race is going to be interesting. Hopefully they're going to mix it up a little bit and there will be some action." Capital Account has won four of 16 races this season and earned $114,744. He is owned by Brittany Farms. "If he would have been in the other division, he would have had a better shot to make the final," Takter said. "He's a quick little horse. He's a good horse. But in that division, it's tough. He's a longshot." Following are the first-round elimination heats for the Little Brown Jug in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Let's Drink On It, Tyler Smith, Joe Seekman, 5-1; 2. Winds Of Change, Brett Miller, Linda Toscano, 8-1; 3. Three Of Clubs, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 10-1; 4. On Golden Ponder, John Campbell, Bob McIntosh, 7-2; 5. At Press Time, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 6. Beat The Drum, Ron Pierce, Staffan Lind, 15-1; 7. Lyonssomewhere, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 8. Rediscovery, Chris Page, Ben Davis, 20-1. Elim Two: 1. McWicked, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-5; 2. Limelight Beach, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 6-1; 3. Avalanche Hanover, Aaron Merriman, Ron Potter, 12-1; 4. Capital Account, Ron Pierce, Jimmy Takter, 10-1; 5. Somewhere In L A, Brett Miller, Jimmy Takter, 7-2; 6. He's Watching, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 7. Sometimes Said, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 8. Cammikey, scratched. The Little Brown Jug brought to you by Fazoli's will air live from 5-6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The last Jug elimination heat will be shown live at approximately 5:11 p.m. The remaining elimination will be covered on a tape delay basis. The second heat of the Jug will be shown live at approximately 6:15 p.m. If a race-off is necessary, CBS Sports Network will cut into its regularly scheduled program at 7 p.m. to show the race-off live. Post time of the race-off would be approximately 7:02 p.m. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
This Week: Delaware Grand Circuit, Delaware County Fair, Delaware, Ohio; American-National, Balmoral Park, Crete. Ill; Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; Milton Stake final, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; Centaur Trot, Kentuckiana Stallion Management and The Elevation, Hoosier Park, Anderson, Ind.; and Prix D'Ete, Hippodrome 3R, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Wednesday (Sept. 17) at Delaware with the $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old filly pacers, the $89,475 Buckette for 3-year-old filly trotters and two divisions in the $64,646 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday (Sept. 18) card at Delaware is highlighted by the $647,500 Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds. Also on tap that day are the $121,000 Miss Versatility final for older trotting mares, the $118,300 Old Oaken Bucket for 3-year-old colt trotters, the $59,445 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt trotters, the $58,045 Standardbred for 2-year-old colt pacers and the $51,000 Standardbred for 2-year-old filly pacers. Balmoral Park will host a pair of Grand Circuit events on Wednesday with the $73,000 American-National for 2-year-old colt trotters and the $57,200 American-National for 2-year-old filly trotters. The Thursday card at The Red Mile will feature four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 20) with the C$286,000 Milton Stake final for older pacing mares. Hoosier Park on Saturday will host the $250,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly pacers, the $225,000 (est.) Centaur for Open trotters, the $200,000 (est.) Kentuckiana Stallion Management for 2-year-old filly trotters and the $150,000 (est.) Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers. Rounding out the busy week of Grand Circuit racing, on Sunday (Sept. 21) Hippodrome 3R will offer the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete for 4-year-old pacers, plus a C$50,000 Prix D'Ete consolation. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Canadian races are available at this link. Last time: The Grand Circuit spotlight was on Mohawk Racetrack this past Saturday, with the finals of four stakes, led by the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic for sophomore male trotters. Father Patrick, the 1-5 choice with driver Yannick Gingras, scored a popular 1-3/4 length victory in a time of 1:52.4. Father Patrick captured the $613,800 Canadian Trotting Classic in a time of 1:52.4. Trainer Jimmy Takter held more than a strong hand going into this year's renewal for 3-year-old trotters, sending out Hambletonian winner Trixton and Father Patrick, last year's divisional champion who had been expected to win the Meadowlands showcase event in August but made an unexpected early break. The toteboard reflected that, as Father Patrick was 1-5, Trixton 9-5 when they went behind the gate, while their five rivals ranged from 18-1 to 80-1. The two favorites, both of whom had won eight of their 10 starts this year, were expected to duke it out but this time it was Trixton, driven by Takter, who went off-stride at the start to eliminate himself. It wasn't a walk in the park but the win at least put aside the nightmare of this year's Hambletonian for Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream. Parked in fourth for the first half-mile, as Damfoolrmillionair took the field through a quarter in :26.4 and the half in :55.2, Gingras sent Father Patrick up to challenge the pacesetter, took over before the three-quarters was reached in 1:24, then powered home for the win in 1:52.4. E L Titan came on for second, with Harper Blue Chip third. The winner is owned by the Father Patrick Stable. On Monday (Sept. 15), the venerable 10-year-old pacing superstar Foiled Again (Yannick Gingras) prevailed in the eighth annual $220,000 Bobby Quillen Memorial at Harrington Raceway in 1:50.2. Foiled Again held off Clear Vision to win the Quillen Memorial in 1:50.2. Owned by Burke Racing, Weaver Bruscemi and JJK Stables, Foiled Again assumed command from his rail post position just past the quarter-mile in :26.3. He led the rich field of eight, whose combined lifetime bankroll is near $15 million, to the half-mile in :55.1 and three-quarters in 1:23.1. Stablemate Clear Vision, who won the 2013 Quillen, received his marching orders from driver Brett Miller at the half-mile and battled first over but could not get closer than a half-length from Foiled Again at the wire. Bettor's Edge finished third. Foiled Again, the richest horse in harness racing history, boosted his lifetime bankroll to more than $6.6 million. It was his sixth consecutive year in Harrington's marquee event. Clear Vision was making his fourth consecutive start. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke. 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 - 1,025; 2. Tim Tetrick - 583; 3. David Miller - 506.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 443.5; 5. Corey Callahan - 321. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,335.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 815; 3. Tony Alagna - 245: 4. Erv Miller - 244; 5. Ake Svanstedt - 222. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 291.25; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 263.75; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 187; 4. Robert Key - 185; 5. Bamond Racing - 167.5. Looking ahead: Grand Circuit action will be taking place next week at Lexington's historic Red Mile. There will be eight Bluegrass stakes for 2- and 3-year-olds of both sexes and gaits, as well as eliminations in the Allerage for open pacers and trotters. Scioto Downs will also be hosting a Grand Circuit event, the $200,000 (est.) Jim Ewart Memorial for open pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit
Although he is still relatively new as an owner, Lindsey Rankin understands how rare it is to find a top racehorse. So he is trying to enjoy the ride with Lady Shadow to the fullest. Lady Shadow is among 22 horses in Wednesday's $298,100 Jugette for 3-year-old female pacers at the Delaware County Fair in Ohio. The field was divided into three eliminations, from which the top three in each will advance to the same-day final. The winner of 10 of 18 career races, Lady Shadow competes in the first elimination. She drew post No. 2 for the son-and-father team of driver Doug McNair and trainer Gregg McNair and is the 5-2 morning line favorite. Beach Gal, who is coming off a third-place finish in the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship, is the 5-2 favorite in the second elimination. She starts from post four for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Dave Menary. Gettingreadytoroll, who has won three in a row including the Simcoe Stakes and Miss New Jersey, is the 5-2 choice in the third division. She will start from post two with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Jimmy Takter. Lady Shadow has earned $426,753 in her career, racing to this point only in Ontario. "We've only been in it for five years, but I think she's probably our once-in-a-lifetime horse," said Rankin, a Michigan resident who owns Lady Shadow with his wife, Connie. "So we're going to try to enjoy it. It would be nice to make the final. We have family and friends coming to see her. "She's got a lot of ability. She's a really nice filly. She's got a big heart. It's been a lot of fun." Lady Shadow won five of eight races last year, including the Battle of the Belles at Grand River Raceway, and finished second by a neck in the Ontario Sire Stakes championship. So far this season, Lady Shadow has won five of 10 starts, including the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association final and two preliminary divisions of the Ontario Sire Stakes Gold Series. She won her elimination for the Canadian Breeders Championship by more than eight lengths in a career-best 1:49.2 on July 12 at Mohawk, but went off stride at the start of the final on a sloppy track and finished sixth. But even with the miscue, which left her trailing the early leaders by 27 lengths after the first quarter and 21 lengths at the halfway point, she missed by just 1-3/4 lengths. "We're not really sure what happened," Rankin said. "Doug said she was fumbly gaited and just started to run. Once he set her, she was fine, but he wasn't real sure what that was all about. She did that once earlier this year too. She's kind of a hot head sometimes. She's settled down as the season has gone on, but at the beginning of the year she was a lot to handle. "She's got a lot of speed, but sometimes she's hard to rate. She likes to be put up in the front, in contention, from the get-go." Rankin owned horses for three years beginning in 1979, but got out of the sport because of the demands of running a business that supplies graphic design equipment. Five years ago, he asked his then 11-year-old daughter Abby if she wanted to get a horse, and when the young girl's eyes lit up, he was back in the game. "Now we're kind of hooked back into it," said the now-retired Rankin, who owns six horses. He bought Lady Shadow for $19,000 at the Forest City Sale in Ontario. The filly is a daughter of 2008 Little Brown Jug winner Shadow Play out of the mare Lady Camella. The dam's family includes 1962 Little Brown Jug winner Lehigh Hanover as well as famed trotter Peter Volo. "I liked a lot about her; her conformation," Rankin said. "She's always been high strung. We had a lot of issues with her when she was a yearling. She was always trying to do something stupid, but we got through it all. "We've been real happy with her this year. She paces a half-mile track just as well as she does a big track, so we think she deserves a shot." Below are the elimination fields for the Jugette in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line odds. Elim One: 1. Shell Bell, Kurt Sugg, Kurt Sugg, 12-1; 2. Lady Shadow, Doug McNair, Gregg McNair, 5-2; 3. Color's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 4. Southwind Silence, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 6-1; 5. Ali Blue, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-1; 6. Beach Body, Ron Pierce, Chris Oakes, 10-1; 7. Also Encouraging, David Miller, Casie Coleman, 7-2. Elim Two: 1. Uffizi Hanover, David Miller, Jimmy Takter, 4-1; 2. Allstar Rating, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 7-2; 3. Somethinincredible, Ron Pierce, Bob McIntosh, 8-1; 4. Beach Gal, Tim Tetrick, Dave Menary, 5-2; 5. Fits Well, Scott Zeron, Brian Brown, 12-1; 6. Gallie Bythe Beach, John Campbell, Jim Campbell, 10-1; 7. A La Notte Hanover, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 8-1; 8. Sectionline Aqua, Brett Miller, Steve Bauder, 5-1. Elim Three: 1. Cut A Deal, Jim Pantaleano, Nick Surick, 12-1; 2. Gettingreadytoroll, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter, 5-2; 3. Beautiful Lady, Matt Kakaley, Ron Burke, 5-1; 4. Someislandsomwhere, Ron Pierce, Casie Coleman, 6-1; 5. Candy's A Virgin, Trace Tetrick, Brian Brown, 4-1; 6. Sandbetweenurtoes, Brett Miller, Larry Remmen, 7-2; 7. Beach Story, David Miller, Kelvin Harrison, 8-1. by Ken Weingartner, for Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 13 - Father Patrick, the 1-5 choice with harness racing driver Yannick Gingras, scored a popular one and three-quarter length victory in the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack. Trainer Jimmy Takter held more than a strong hand going into this year's renewal for three-year-old trotters, sending out Hambletonian winner Trixton, a son of 2009 Classic winner Muscle Hill and Father Patrick, last year's divisional champion who had been expected to win the Meadowlands showcase event in August but made an unexpected early break. The toteboard reflected that, as Father Patrick was 1-5, Trixton 9-5 when they went behind the gate, while their five rivals ranged from 18-1 to 80-1. The two favourites, both of whom had won eight of their 10 starts this year, were expected to duke it out but this time it was Trixton, driven by Takter, who went off stride at the start to eliminate himself. It wasn't a walk in the park but the win at least put aside the nightmare of this year's Hambletonian for Father Patrick, a son of Cantab Hall-Gala Dream. Parked in fourth for the first half-mile, as Damfoolrmillionair took the field through a quarter in :26.4 and the half in :55.2, Gingras sent Father Patrick up to challenge the pacesetter, took over before the three-quarters was reached in 1:24, then powered home for the win in 1:52.4. E L Titan came on for second, with Harper Blue Chip third. Owned by the Father Patrick Stable, of which Torontonian John Fielding is a partner, Father Patrick had won 15 straight prior to his gaffe in the Hambletonian. Since then, he'd won two of three and was hammered down to heavy favouritism in the Classic. "It's definitely huge (winning the Canadian Trotting Classic)," said Gingras. "That race (Hambletonian) is one I'd like to forget. He's a great horse. From here on out, I think he'll be the best horse, no doubt. He went a huge trip. He was out the whole way, never saw the rail. When I made my move, it was never in doubt." Added Fielding, "It was just a fantastic effort tonight. We've always thought this colt was the best colt I've ever owned. Jimmy, his wife Christina and myself have owned many, many great horses over the years. But this colt ranks up as probably number one of all of them. It was disappointing at the Hambletonian but tonight he was fantastic. It was just a great thrill. Tonight he showed himself well." With the win, Father Patrick went well over the $1 million in earnings for the season and is now closing in on the $2 million mark in career earnings. Prior to tonight, six of the last 10 winners of the Canadian Trotting Classic, including the last two (Royalty For Life in 2013, Market Share in 2012) had also prevailed in the storied Hambletonian. Takter previously won the Classic on two occasions, but surprisingly it had been awhile. Kadabra took the 2002 edition while Red Xing won in 1997. Father Patrick paid $2.70, $2.10 (no show wagering), combining with E L Titan ($14.60) for a $45.80 (6-1) exactor. A 6-1-2 (Harper Blue Chip) triactor was worth $158.10 while a $1 Superfecta [6-1-2-7 (Damfoolrmillioinair)] came back $282.20. Mark McKelvie
CAMPBELLVILLE, September 13 - Shake It Cerry, driven by Ron Pierce, destroyed nine harness racing rivals in the $409,000 Elegantimage Stakes Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A daughter of Donato Hanover - Solveig, Shake It Cerry continued her sensational season Saturday evening with arguably her best performance to date. Sent off as the 4/5 favourite, Shake It Cerry was parked around the first turn in fourth and eventually would clear to the front as the field approached the half-mile pole. After reaching the three-quarter pole in 1:24.3, Shake It Cerry found another gear and opened up on the field under a hand drive from Pierce. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Shake It Cerry cruised to a 9¼ length victory in a Track, Stakes and Canadian record equaling time of 1:52.1. "I asked her to go a little bit turning for home and she responded well and was just full of trot," said Pierce following the race. "I never turned the whip around, I never pulled her ear plugs, I just sat there, I was just a passenger. Jimmy had her tuned up and I just had to sit there." Takter's other starter in the Elegantimage final, Scream And Shout, finished second in a photograph over Vanity Matters. Shake It Cerry has now won nine of her eleven starts this season and 17 of 21 career appearances. Following the race, Takter had high praise for his star trotting filly. "I always said this is the best three-year-old filly in this crop," said Takter. "Lifetime Pursuit is quite good too, but I know with this filly she had a tough run in the Hambletonian (Oaks), but she is just a fantastic horse and bounces back every time and I think she's earned all the respect she can get." Owned by Solveig Racing Partners, Shake It Cerry increased her career earnings to $1,427,880 with her victory Saturday night. She paid $3.60 to win. Mark McKelvie
This is the last weekend before the revival of the $250,000 Prix D’Eté for the best four-year-old pacers in North America, to be held at Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, September 21. We take one last look at the major contenders for the $200,000 Prix D’Ete main event, and also spotlight a few horses who may race in the $50,000 Consolation. The numbers in the parentheses (5$/2LR) after the horse’s name indicate where on the money winning list a horse is, and what his ranking was in our last report (“x” means he was below the Top Ten); if he is in to race this coming weekend, such fact is noticed after his comment in (parentheses). SUNFIRE BLUE CHIP (5$/2LR) – On fire right now, with four straight wins at four different tracks for Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter, including a 1:49.2 victory at Pocono this past Saturday, with a 26.4 last quarter. Regular driver Yannick Gingras comes home with a likely favorite. MACH IT SO (2$/1LR) – He was third in the Pocono race that Sunfire Blue Chip won, coming from seventh at the half to be beaten in a photo for second. Before that he had reeled off three straight triumphs, including a 1:48.2 mile at Pocono. CAPTIVE AUDIENCE (3$/4LR) – Finished fourth against older horses in the Canadian Pacing Derby Final last Saturday at Mohawk, with the vaunted Sweet Lou trailing him at the wire. (In to go: Saturday at Mohawk in the Preferred.) SHAMBALLA (9$/xLR) -- The “sleeper” in the group. He’s never faced stakes horses, but he’s won five out of his last six, including a 1:49.3 win with a 26.4 last quarter at Mohawk. And it’s doubtful having Rick Zeron as trainer/driver will be a disadvantage in a Quebec race. WINDSONG JACK (6$/8LR) – Another late developer who comes out of the top-rated Ron Burke barn. Last week he was blocked much of the way, but then delivered a devastating last 1/16 to blow by the best horses at The Meadows. (In to go: Friday at The Meadows vs. the same type,) WORD POWER (4$/3LR) – Not quite as sharp as a few weeks ago. (In to go: Saturday at Yonkers.) LUCAN HANOVER (11$/xLR) – Raised his stock greatly with a 1:51.1 win at Yonkers last week. (In to go: Saturday at Yonkers.) APPRENTICE HANOVER (1$/6LR) – “The best” almost to midseason, but has tailed off. (In to go: Saturday at Mohawk.) TWILIGHT BONFIRE (13$/xLR) – Has been getting sharper by the week at The Meadows. (In to go: Friday at The Meadows.) SUNSHINE BEACH (21$/5LR) – Locally-trained, but off-form as of late. Track management has “beefed up” the Prix D’Ete race card on Sunday, September 21 and has now added to their overnite sheet a $15,000 Invitational Trot and Pace. Hoping to lore some of the trainers and owners coming for the Prix D’Ete to bring one or two more horses to race that day could develop into a superb under card to go with the $200,000 Prix D’Ete and the $50,000 consolation races. From the Quebec Jockey Club
Mohawk Racetrack offers a stakes laden harness racing card Saturday evening anchored by the $682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic which has two top Ontario-sired colts taking on five very talented sophomores. The card also features the $385,000 Peaceful Way final with several OSS fillies in contention, the $390,000 William Wellwood Memorial with one lone Ontario-sired colt, and the $409,000 Elegantimage final with four OSS girls vying for their turn in the winner’s circle. In addition to those great trotting races, the program will also headline the top pacing mares in North America in two eliminations for the Milton Stakes which feature three OSS graduates including a Breeders Crown winner. In the showcase event Harper Blue Chip will attempt to duplicate his sire, Majestic Son’s, 2006 Canadian Trotting Classic victory. Mark Steacy of Lansdowne, Ontario, trained Majestic Son, who won the ’06 CTC by more than six lengths over a very talented field, and also conditions Harper Blue Chip. A son of Angus Hall, Majestic Son was a dominant force in the OSS during his sophomore season, winning seven of 10 OSS events. In total, he won $622,000 in the provincial program during his career. Majestic Son now stands at Tara Hills Stud Farm in Port Perry, Ontario, and Harper Blue Chip, with $547,000 in earnings, is his second richest performer to date, behind only Charmed Life ($592,000). So far this year Harper Blue Chip has a summary of 4-2-2 in 10 starts and although he’s won two OSS Gold events and swept the Canadian Breeders, he’s best known for finishing third in the $1,006,125 Hambletonian last month at the Meadowlands. The Hambletonian winner, Trixton, is also slated to start in the CTC final, with post five. Trainer Jimmy Takter will drive the colt who has won eight of 10 starts this year. Tatker’s other talented colt in this division, Father Patrick (also eight for 10) is right alongside in post six. It’s a formidable duo facing Harper Blue Chip whose driver Sylvain Filion is cautiously optimistic, especially given that the colt has finally drawn a decent starting position, post two, compared to post 10 in the Goodtimes final and post nine in the Hambletonian. “He’s been drawing real bad all year and he finally gets a good post,” Filion noted earlier this week. “We’ve got a tough bunch of horses to race against, but he’s very good right now. I’m hoping for a good, close to the front trip and hopefully some top horses won’t be on their game, because we’ll need a lot of luck to beat those horses. It’s a very high quality group.” The other OSS colt joining Harper in the CTC final is Muscle Matters, a son of Muscle Mass who will start beside Harper Blue Chip in post three. Mario Baillargeon will be at the lines for his brother Ben who handles the colt’s training. Yet to win a race this year, Muscle Matters has been close, with five second place finishes in six starts, three of those to Harper Blue Chip. The CTC final goes as race nine on the card. In the third race, the $385,000 Peaceful Way final, there are six OSS fillies in the mix including a pair trained by John Bax, Stubborn Belle (post one, Paul MacDonell) and Juanitas Fury (post nine, Steve Condren). Both fillies have two OSS wins to their credit this season and both finished second in their respective Peaceful Way elims. Stubborn Belle was aptly named according to Bax. “She’s always been a lot like her name, that’s why she was named Stubborn Belle. She’s been a little hard to get to do it the way we want her to.” Despite that the Taurus Dream daughter, owned by Bax of Peterborough and Al Libfeld of Pickering, Ontario, has set two records so far this year – a track record at Rideau Carleton (1:55.4) in an OSS Gold event and a stakes record in a Champlain stake (1:54.2). Bax also starts the Muscle Hill filly Southwind Champagne in the Peaceful Way final. She has post six with Steve Byron at the controls. The other OSS rookies attempting to capture the event named for one of the greatest Ontario-sired trotting mares of all time, $3.2 million winner Peaceful Way, include Daneille Hall (post two, Jody Jamieson), Elegant Serenity (post four, Roger Mayotte), Amoureuse Hanover (post eight, Doug McNair) and Lady Caterina (post 10, Phil Hudon). The dam of Elegant Serenity, Elegantimage, is the namesake for the seventh race on the program. A star of the OSS in the late 1990s, Elegantimage earned just shy of a million dollars during her impressive racing career. A quartet of three-year-old Ontario-sired fillies will attempt to capture the $409,000 event including Bax’s Riveting Rose (post three, Paul MacDonell), Tosca (post two, Per Henriksen), Sweetie Hearts (post eight, Randy Waples) and Muscle Babe (post 10, James MacDonald). The other major trotting stake on the program is named for one of Canada’s most respected horsemen of all time, the late William Wellwood, a member of Canada’s Horse Racing Hall of Fame and a successful participant in the OSS since its inception 40 years ago. The only Ontario-sired rookie colt in contention for this event is a son of Infinitif, Dont Rush who has drawn post four with Chris Christoforou in the bike. The colt captured a division of the first Gold event for this group in early July which surprised his trainer/owner and breeder Dustin Jones of Waterdown, Ontario. “If you had told me in October he was going to win a Gold the first week of July I don’t think I would have believed you,” laughed Jones. “He’s exceeded my expectations since I brought him in the barn.” The OSS graduates competing in the two Milton eliminations are Monkey On My Wheel, a Breeders Crown winner at three and 10-2-6 in 24 starts this year for owner/breeder Mac Nichol of Burlington, Ontario. The winner of $1.5 million to date in her career has post seven in the sixth race which also features the Camluck mare Camille ($1.1 million to date) in post four. Voelz Hanover ($1.5 million lifetime) is the lone Ontario-sired distaffer in the second Milton elim, race 10. In addition to all of the on-track action, Mohawk is also celebrating their fans with Fan Appreciation Night Saturday featuring a first bet on the house, giveaways after each race and a $5 food voucher to the first 1,000 fans. To view the full card please click Mohawk Entries - September 13.
A field of 22 filly pacers will compete for the $298,100 Jugette on Wednesday, September 17 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. In the first elimination Lady Shadow (Doug McNair) has been named the 5-2 morning line favorite. The Shadow Play lass has won two straight races in Ontario Sire Stakes action and has bankrolled $236,861 this season for Lindsey and Connie Rankin of Lexington, MI. Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick) was tapped the top choice in the $39,746 second elimination. The Somebeachsomewhere filly owns a 1:49.3 mark at Mohawk Raceway and has limetime earnings of 358,096. Beach Gal is trained by David Menary for Kenneth Ewen, Hewvilla Farms, Denis Breton and Larry Menary all of Ontario. The final elimination is shaping up to be a battle between Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras) and Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller) Gettingreadytoroll is coming into the Jugette off a 1:49.4 victory in the $191,074 Simcoe Stakes. Gettingreadytoroll is campaigned by John and Jim Fielding and the 2014 Lady Pace Honoree, Christina Takter. Jimmy Takter trains the daughter of Rocknroll Hanover. Sandbetweenurtoes has won eight of nine seasonal starts and has won nearly $250,000 this year. Larry Remmen trains the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere for Bradley Grant of Milton, Ontario. 44th Jugette -- Three-Year-Old Filly Pace PP Horse (Driver/Trainer) Odds 1st Elimination $39,746 1. Shell Bell (Kurt Sugg/Kurt Sugg) 12-1 2. Lady Shadow (Doug McNair/Gregg McNair) 5-2 3. Color’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown) 4-1 4. Southwind Silence (Matt Kakaley/Ron Burke) 6-1 5. Ali Blue (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 5-1 6. Beach Body (Ron Pierce/Chris Oakes) 10-1 7. Also Encouraging (David Miller/Casie Coleman) 7-2 2nd Elimination $39,746 1. Uffizi Hanover (David Miller/Jimmy Takter) 4-1 2. Allstar Rating (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 7-2 3. Somethinincredible (John Campbell/Robert McIntosh) 8-1 4. Beach Gal (Tim Tetrick/David Menary) 5-2 5. Fits Well (Scott Zeron/Brian Brown) 12-1 6. Gallie Bythe Beach (John Campbell/Jim Campbell) 10-1 7. A La Notte Hanover (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 8-1 8. Sectionline Aqua (TBA/Steve Bauder) 5-1 3rd Elimination $39,746 1. Cut A Deal (Brett Miller/Nick Surick) 12-1 2. Gettingreadytoroll (Yannick Gingras/Jimmy Takter) 5-2 3. Beautiful Lady (Yannick Gingras/Ron Burke) 5-1 4. Someislandsomwhere (Brett Miller/Casie Coleman) 6-1 5. Candy’s A Virgin (Trace Tetrick/Brian Brown) 4-1 6. Sandbetweenurtoes (Brett Miller/Larry Remmen) 7-2 7. Beach Story (Yannick Gingras/Kelvin Harrison) 8-1 Top three finishers in each elimination will return for the $178,862 final. by Jay Wolf, for the Little Brown Jug
Last weekend I was on a pretty good roll and ended up picking 12 winners out of 14 races and turned a $2 per race win wager into a $16.00 profit for the weekend! This weekend we have so much great racing throughout North America we can’t cover it all. Mohawk’s has the richest purses but Yonkers and Balmoral have their “Super Nights” Sire Stakes finals and in toll there are millions in purse money to be given away Saturday. Good Luck! $225,000 Pace Final NYSS 3YO Fillies Yonkers Raceway 3rd race SATURDAY – I tried a few times to find anyone in this race that can beat Spreester. But I couldn’t. She has been sensational having won six of her last eight starts and the two losses were by a head and neck. She can win from on and off the pace. Use Table Talk and Major Dancer in exotic plays. $385,000 Trot Final Peaceful Way 2YO Fillies Mohawk 3rd race SATURDAY – It is going to be hit or miss with Mission Brief once again. Superb filly is lightning fast but a bit erratic. If she minds her manners she wires the field. If she breaks she is totally out of it. My money is that she stays flat and sets a track record! Use Jolene Jolene and Stubborn Belle in exotic plays. $225,000 Trot Final NYSS 2YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 6th race SATURDAY – With just six career starts, Buen Camino has been outstanding for trainer/driver Trond Smedshammer with four wins, last three straight and has found new life on the front end. Can wire the field even from post 6. Use Crazy Wow and Wings Of Royalty in exotic plays. $390,000 Trot Final William Wellwood Memorial Mohawk 5th race SATURDAY – This could end up being a very competitive race. I like Uncle Lassie as he shows awesome front end speed and thus he should be able to go right to the lead and not look back. But some others in here could prevent him from getting away with it. Use Habitat and Alderbaran Eagle in exotic plays. $162,000 Pace Final ISS 2YO Fillies Balmoral Park 4th race SATURDAY – Mr. Leland’s Filly may be on a five-race win streak but I have a feeling that Sportsmuffler could bring an end to that. He has been super sharp in her last two starts including 1 :54.3 triumph that if repeated could make her a lot richer after this race. Use Mr. Leland’s Filly and Lex in exotic plays. $225,000 Pace Final NYSS 2YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 8th race SATURDAY – Just in his last two starts Betting Exchange has shown me enough. He wins from on and off the pace impressively. Can handle a half mile oval and I think for the big bucks in here he can wire the field tonight. Use Southwind Masimo and Cartoon Daddy in exotic plays. $409,000 Trot Final Elegant Image 3YO Fillies Mohawk 7th race SATURDAY – She may have not been right in her only two losses this year so Shake It Cerry is back to her winning ways and should be able to either get the jump on the field early or bide her time, work her way to the front and win once again for the Jimmy Takter Stable. Use Designed To Be and Sweetie Hearts in exotic plays. $225,000 Trot Final NYSS 3YO Colts Yonkers Raceway 9th race SATURDAY – Boy oh boy will this be a great showdown race. Flyhawk El Durado vs Gural Hanover. Both are superb trotters this season and if they finish in a dead heat that would be too cool. I have to give the edge and my vote in here to Gural Hanover as he has now won his last eight starts, wiring the field most times and is part of an entry with Lukas Hall, but it was a coin toss to pick one over the other. Use Flyhawk El Durado and Daley Lovin in exotic plays. $682,000 Trot Canadian Trotting Classic 3YO Colts Mohawk 9th race SATURDAY – I was one of the only ones to say that on a big track that Trixton can beat Father Patrick and I was right on Hambletonian Day and I think I will be right again in here. Two great horses will go at it but right now I like Trixton to beat his stable mate. Use Father Patrick and Harper Blue Chip in exotics. $145,000 Pace Final ISS 3YO Colts Balmoral Park 9th race SATURDAY – Erv Miller’s Unlocked has been super game with his four straight wins, all in stakes events. Grinds his way to the top in most cases by the opening quarter mile and has yet to be caught in a month. Use Fox Valley Deuce and Sleazeburgernfries in exotic plays. $186,000 Pace Final ISS 2YO Colts Balmoral Park 14th race SATURDAY – Very good match up in this Super Night finale. I ended up going with Lucpark and he has the great Hall of Fame driver Dave Magee in the sulky and that can make a difference. He has won last two starts both by a neck after getting perfect trips and Magee can work his magic once again. Use Earndawg and Rockin Cassinova in exotic plays. $220,000 Pace Final Bobby Quillen Memorial Harrington Raceway 8th race MONDAY - We will one day see trainer Ron Burke have every starter in a stakes race from his barn? We nearly did in here as he has five of the eight in the final from his stable. I am going with the class of the field, Foiled Again. He nearly won this last year and off his excellent 1:51.3 score in his elim last week he seems prime with the rail to wire the field once again. Use Clear Vision and Easy Again in exotic plays.
Fifty-four of the 68 winners of the Little Brown Jug go back to Hal Dale. Two of those winners, Keystoner and Good Time, were his sons, while all the rest are linked to either his son, Adios, or his grandson Meadow Skipper, neither of whom won the Jug. Adios, who was born in 1940, pre-dated the Jug, which started in 1946. Meadow Skipper did participate, but he was parked most of the mile in the 1963 final and finished third to Overtrick, who set an all-age world record of 1:57.1. While Adios, who was twenty years older than Skipper, got a head start; eight sons and a grandson—Romeo Hanover—by Adios had won editions of the Jug before the principal of Skipper’s first crop, Most Happy Fella, won in 1970. Meadow Skipper certainly made up for lost time. Thirty-four of 43 Jugs since 1970 have been won by sons or other descendants of his—that’s about 80%. The only gap larger than one year during that run was the three year stretch at the beginning of the run, between 1971 and 1974, when Nansemond, Strike Out, Melvin’s Woe and Airliner were victorious. Between Hot Hitter’s win in 1979 and Abercrombie’s in 1993, there was a 13 year dry spell for Adios and any other progenitor not named Meadow Skipper. The last Adios line colt to win the Jug was Real Desire in 2007. Beyond his own failure to win the Little Brown Jug, Skipper’s prolific band of sons, grandsons and great grandsons, as successful as they have been at producing Jug winners, have a spotty record when it comes to winning the race. Yes, Most Happy Fella, Niatross and Bettor’s Delight won, but the list of Skipper’s descendants who produced winners but didn’t win it themselves is much longer: Cam Fella, Western Hanover, Falcon Almahurst, Western Ideal, No Nukes, Cam’s Card Shark, Rocknroll Hanover, The Panderosa, Tyler B, French Chef, Oil Burner, Tyler’s Mark…. While Adios had nine sons win the Jug, Meadow Skipper only had four. The difference is that while Adios only got four from his greatest son Bret Hanover and three via his great grandson Abercrombie, Skipper got twenty from the Most Happy Fella branch, eleven from the Cam Fella branch, and seven through Albatross. Since the turn of the century only three Adios Line colts have won the Jug—Astreos, Mr Feelgood and Real Desire—and none of those victories have come in the last six years. The other dozen were won by Skipper line stallions. This year’s Jug may prove to be a game changer, and there are a couple of ways that can happen. The field won’t be drawn until Saturday, but in his latest edition of Road to the Little Brown Jug, Delaware PR man Jay Wolf rates McWicked as the top contender. He, of course, is from the Adios line, being a son of McArdle, who has been keeping the Bret Hanover artery on life support in recent years. McArdle’s daddy, Falcon Seelster, wasn’t in the Jug, although he did set a world record of 1:51 at Delaware as a sophomore on Jug Day 1985. The call of that race by Roger Huston trumped the Jug itself, where Nihilator won in a time that was more than a second slower. A win by McWicked would prevent a seven race losing streak by Team Adios. Another way in which the 2014 Jug could be a game changer would be a win by a son of Somebeachsomewhere. Jay lists four possibilities on his Top Ten list: Ron Burke’s Limelight Beach, who just finished second to McWicked in the $260,000 PASS Championship Final; Jimmy Takter’s Cane winner, Lyonssomewhere; Bob McIntosh’s gelding, Somewhere In LA, who finished third to McWicked in the PASS Final; or Brent MacGrath’s Melmerby Beach, who won a split of the Simcoe over the weekend. This would represent a dramatic change because no member of the line running from Volomite through Sampson Hanover has ever won the Little Brown Jug, and no top line descendant of Volomite has won in 38 years, since Stanley Dancer’s Keystone Ore beat Joe O’Brien’s Armbro Ranger in 1976. The other two winners going back to Volomite are Overtrick in 1963 and Rum Customer in 1968. SBSW skipped the Jug, and last year Captaintreacherous, the star of his first crop, did the same. There may be no Jug winners on the branch he is now the figurehead for, coming down from his great, great, great grandsire Sampson Hanover, but that one was very handy on a half. In September, 1951, 4-year-old Sampson Hanover, who was converted from the trot as a three-year-old, became the first pacer or trotter to win a race in under two minutes on a half mile track. He accomplished that historic fete in the Almahurst Pace at Delaware, Ohio. So, we have the inspiration of Sampson Hanover’s Delaware heroics for the sons of SBSW and for McWicked his granddaddy Falcon Seelster’s world record mile over that track and his great granddaddy Bret Hanover’s world record of 1:57 in the Jug. Either way, it’s time for a colt not tied to Meadow Skipper to step up and take the prize. He’s Watching is quick as a cat around those turns and his pilot Tim Tetrick is no slouch. It won’t be easy, but it’s about that time. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/
This Week: Kindergarten Series, The Red Mile, Lexington, Ky.; W.N. Reynolds Memorial, Tioga Downs, Nichols, N.Y; Canadian Trotting Classic, Elegantimage, William Wellwood Memorial final, Peaceful Way final and Milton Stake eliminations, Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, Ontario; and Bobby Quillen Memorial final, Harrington Raceway, Harrington, Del. Schedule of events: Grand Circuit action kicks off on Thursday (Sept. 11) at The Red Mile with four $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old filly trotters and three $10,000 divisions in the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt trotters. The Friday (Sept. 12) program at Tioga Downs features four divisions in the $91,908 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old colt pacers and three divisions in the $77,309 W.N. Reynolds Memorial for 2-year-old filly pacers. Grand Circuit action at Mohawk will be held on Saturday (Sept. 13) with the C$682,000 Canadian Trotting Classic for 3-year-old open trotters, the C$409,000 Elegantimage for 3-year-old filly trotters, the C$390,000 William Wellwood Memorial for 2-year-old open trotters, the C$385,000 Peaceful Way final for 2-year-old filly trotters, and two C$35,000 eliminations in the Milton Stake for older pacing mares. On Monday (Sept. 15), Harrington Raceway will host the $200,000 (est.) Bobby Quillen Memorial final for older pacing horses. Complete entries for the races at the U.S. tracks are available at this link. Entries for the Mohawk races are available at this link. Last time: Mohawk Racetrack had several Grand Circuit races during the past week. Among the most noteworthy were a pair of Simcoe Stakes divisions for 3-year-old open pacers. Dancin Hill and Scott Zeron were 1:50.1 winners in a Simcoe division at Mohawk. In the first Simcoe Stakes division, Dancin Hill and driver Scott Zeron picked up the victory in a career-best clocking of 1:50.1. Dancin Hill powered by Western Vintage in the lane and paced strong to the wire to win by 2-1/4 lengths over Winds Of Change. Carracci Hanover took the show spot. A son of Rocknroll Hanover-Beyonce Blue Chip, Dancin Hill has now won two of his last three starts and improved his seasonal record to three wins in 12 starts. Dancin Hill is owned by Tom Hill of Lancashire, Great Britain and is trained by Tony Alagna. Melmerby Beach and Paul Macdonell scored their second victory in back-to-back weeks to take the second division. In the stretch, Melmerby Beach dug in and held off Play It Again Sam to win by a half-length in 1:50.2. Jet Airway couldn't find his best stride and finished third. A son of Somebeachsomewhere-Db Blue Chip, Melmerby Beach has now won three of his last five starts. Trained by Brent MacGrath for Schooner II Stable, Melmerby Beach has now won six of his 14 starts this year. The eighth annual Bobby Quillen Memorial stakes for older pacers commenced Monday (Sept. 8) at Harrington Raceway with a pair of $20,000 elimination divisions. Two-time Quillen champ Foiled Again was making his record sixth start in the Quillen, while 2013 champion Clear Vision was making his fourth. Those two rivals battled for a memorable finish in the 2013 event that resulted in a narrow win by Clear Vision over his stablemate. After Monday's eliminations, they appeared to be headed for a potential repeat duel as Foiled Again cruised to an effortless 1:51.3 triumph in his division, while Clear Vision was a 1:49.3 victor. Both horses are trained by Ron Burke. They will lead a field of eight into the Monday (Sept. 15) final at Harrington. 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 - 966; 2. Tim Tetrick - 551; 3. David Miller - 471.5; 4. Ron Pierce - 423.5; 5. Brett Miller - 266. Trainers: 1. Ron Burke - 1,276.5; 2. Jimmy Takter - 764; 3. Tony Alagna - 235: 4. Ake Svanstedt - 222; 5. Julie Miller - 210. Owners: 1. Burke Racing - 274.05; 2. Weaver Bruscemi - 246.55; 3. 3 Brothers Stable - 182; 4. Robert Key - 175; 5. Bamond Racing - 156.5. Looking ahead: A busy schedule of Grand Circuit racing will be taking place next week at the Delaware County Fair, Balmoral Park, The Red Mile, Mohawk Racetrack, Hoosier Park and Hippodrome 3R. Delaware will be hosting ten Grand Circuit events, led by the Little Brown Jug, the second leg of Pacing's Triple Crown for 3-year-olds; Balmoral will host American-National events for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; The Red Mile will feature another leg of the Kindergarten Series for 2-year-old colt and filly trotters; Mohawk will feature the final of the Milton Stake for pacing mares; Hoosier will host the Kentuckiana Stallion Management for freshman filly pacers and trotters and the Elevation for 2-year-old colt pacers; and Hippodrome 3R will feature the Prix d'Ete for 4-year-old pacers. by Paul Ramlow, for the Grand Circuit