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YONKERS, NY, Sunday, November 20, 2016 - Not Afraid (Dan Dube, $38.20) led the harness racing longshot legion Sunday morning, winning Yonkers Raceway's mile-and-a-quarter, $56,000 Open Handicap Trot. Away alertly from post position No. 3 for his 11:30 AM local time road test, Not Afraid then saw an interesting floor show develop. Centurion ATM (Steve Smith) made the next lead before yielding to a wide-early Hemi Seelster (Jason Bartlett). That one found front before a :28.2 opening quarter-mile. Then came 4-5 fave Bee a Magician (Brian Sears), even wider early and parked two turns before grabbing the baton after a :56.4 half. An antsy 'Hemi' wanted to reclaim his turf, but was rebuffed and eventually broke in a retreating pocket. However, the $4 million lass Bee a Magician had been sufficiently softened up before a 1:26,4 three-quarters, as Not Afraid moved with purpose from fourth. That one went up and over and, after a 1:56.2 mile station, owned a 2½-length lead into the lane. Not Afraid held off a charging, 73-1 Springbank Sam N (Jordan Stratton) by a head in 2:25.4 for the added distance. Tweet Me (Pat Lachance) and her 149-1 self rallied for third, with Centurion ATM and Dweycolorintheline (Mark MacDonald) settling for the minors. Bee a Magician tired badly to finish eighth-beating just a pair of misbehavers-her first non-payday since she was sixth in the 2015 Yonkers International Trot. For fourth choice Not Afraid, a 7-year-old S J's Caviar gelding trained by Jimmy Takter for co-owners the missus Christina, John Fielding and Goran Anderberg, it was his seventh win in 30 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $494.50, with the triple (first two finishers and ALL) returning $1,073. As an aside, Sunday's edition of the 'New York, New York Double' was scratched after Aqueduct cancelled its card. The gimmick is scheduled to return next Sunday, Nov. 27th, with Yonkers' first post at 11:10 AM. Frank Drucker

East Rutherford, N.J. - Always B Miki ($2.10) will always be remembered as a harness racing champion. The fastest pacer in the history of harness racing capped his career in triumphant fashion, using a sustained first-over bid to overpower All Bets Off and sprint off to a 1:48.2 victory in the $400,000 TVG Free-For-All Pace on Saturday (November 12) evening at The Meadowlands. David Miller moved Always B Miki first-over out of midfield after patiently stalking sizzling fractions of :25.4 and :54.1, making gradual gains into pacesetter All Bets Off (Matt Kakaley) through the far turn. The 5-year-old Always a Virgin entire pushed to the fore in upper stretch, leaving All Bets Off well in his wake and evading eventual runner-up Mach It So (Tim Tetrick) by 4-1/4 lengths. Melmerby Beach (Marcus Miller) benefitted from the outer flow and saved third with a mild stand-side push over the tiring All Bets Off. Miller and trainer Jimmy Takter had nothing but glowing reports of Always B Miki's curtain call. "When I asked him, he took right off," said Miller. "Jimmy [Takter] has done a great job keeping him good all year, and I tell you what, he's good today as he's been all year. He's an incredible horse; he's a true champion." "It's a wonderful feeling standing here at our home track," said Takter. "He's just a wonderful horse to be around. He's so personable, anybody working with this horse just would love him." "It's nice to quit on the top, too," Takter concluded. "This horse has a future ahead of him, and it's going to be very, very exciting to train his offspring." Always B Miki wraps up his racing career with 30 wins in 53 starts--12 of those wins coming this year--as well as $2,719,368 in earnings for the Bluewood Stable, the Roll the Dice Stable, and Christina Takter. by James Witherite, Meadowlands    

For the second consecutive year, harness raciing trainer Jimmy Takter will send a 3-year-old colt to challenge older rivals in the TVG Free For All Series championship for trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Last season, it was The Bank. This time, it is Bar Hopping, who on Saturday will try 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. The Bank and Bar Hopping received invitations to the TVG championship as Breeders Crown winners. Bar Hopping won his Crown on Oct. 29 with a stakes-record-equaling 1:51.4 mile at the Big M and followed that victory with a track-record 1:53.4 triumph in the Carl Erskine Trot on Nov. 4 at Indiana's Hoosier Park. For the year, Bar Hopping has won nine of 18 races and earned $1.17 million in purses. He has won six of his last seven starts, including the Breeders Crown, Erskine, and Canadian Trotting Classic. His only setback during that span was a third-place finish in the Kentucky Futurity, where he was beaten by a half-length by Trotting Triple Crown winner Marion Marauder. Bar Hopping and driver Tim Tetrick will start the $400,000 TVG championship from post three and are the 4-1 second choice on the morning line. Resolve, the defending TVG champion from the stable of Ake Svanstedt, is the 7-5 favorite. "He's definitely on top of his game," Tetrick said of Bar Hopping. "Really all year he's raced pretty good. He had a couple hiccups here or there, but the horse is sharp right now. He won really good at Hoosier and he was great in the Breeders Crown." According to the U.S. Trotting Association's Information and Research Department, Bar Hopping 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 in Ohio. Last year, The Bank finished seventh in the TVG. Joining Bar Hopping and Resolve in this year's TVG final are Obrigado, Centurion ATM, Crazy Wow, Wind Of The North, JL Cruze, and Lookslikeachpndale. Resolve has won five of 12 races this year and earned $1.31 million. He won the Yonkers International Trot and Maple Leaf and finished second in the Breeders Crown Open Trot and Sweden's Elitlopp. Obrigado is a multiple-stakes-winner and JL Cruze, last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner, was third in the Breeders Crown. "All we can do is hope for a good trip and hope some of those big boys have a day off," Tetrick said of Bar Hopping's challenge. "Maybe we can end the season on a great note." TVG Series finals for older female trotters plus older male and female pacers are also on Saturday's Meadowlands card. Breeders Crown Mare Trot winner Hannelore Hanover is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the TVG for trotting mares. Bee A Magician is the 2-1 second choice. Always B Miki, the Breeders Crown Open Pace champ and the fastest horse in harness racing history with a 1:46 mile record, is the 1-5 choice in the TVG for older male pacers while Breeders Crown Mare Pace winner Lady Shadow gets the 4-5 nod on the distaff side. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

East Rutherford, N.J. -- The harness racing duo of Tim Tetrick and Jimmy Takter has done it again.   Bar Hopping, the 4-5 favorite, kicked off cover and won by a length and a half to capture the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old trotting colts and geldings at The Meadowlands.   It was Bar Hopping's sixth win in his last seven races, and the 30th career Breeders Crown victory posted by Takter.   Bar Hopping, who won $250,000 for his efforts, paid $3.80, 2.60, and 2.60.   "I felt really good [going into the race]," said Tetrick. Last week he raced really well; we opened him up a little bit and he trotted a big mile. Today, off cover, he really responded well."   "My horse has raced against [Southwind Frank and Marion Marauder] all year, and a couple of times he drew bad and could never get into the race when they raced hard, but we still got checks," continued Tetrick, who captured his third Crown win of the weekend wit the son of Muscle Hill. "Those are great horses that he has beaten ,and my horse is right there with them."   Southwind Frank, driven by Yannick Gingras, paid $4.20 and $3.20 for second. Double L Lindy, driven by Ãke Svanstedt, finished third paying $10.40 and Lagerfeld, who dueled with Sutton at the top of the stretch, finished fourth.   Split times were 28.3, 56.2, and 1:24.1, with the mile time of 1:51.4 equaling the stakes record of Father Patrick, established in 2014 (also trained by Takter).   "They're all very special to me. Any time you win one of those big trophies, they are very, very hard to get," Tetrick concluded. "That's why we [start] qualifying in May and we work so hard to get to those big races. It's very, very special."   Marion Marauder, the most recent Triple Crown of Trotting winner less than three weeks ago, finished last of the ten. by Lou Monaco, Hambletonian Society

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Ariana G (Yannick Gingras) came out of the clouds to win the $600,000 Breeders Crown for harness racing 2-year-old trotting fillies by a length and a quarter on Saturday at The Meadowlands. Araina G is owned and was bred by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld and trained by Jimmy Takter. For the daughter of Muscle Hill and Cantab It All, the win was her ninth in 11 starts. Cameron Hill (Andy Miller) was first to the lead at the :27.4 quarter, but Treviso (Charlie Norris) was on the move on her outside to take over the lead momentarily before That’s All Moni (Tim Tetrick) took a turn on the lead and held it to the :56.1 half. She stayed in the top spot to the 1:25.1 three quarters, with Sunshine Delight (John Campbell) right at her bridle on the outside.  Those two were trotting strong for the wire when Chezatter (David Miller) started to move on the winners, but outside of her, Ariana G trotted down the middle of the track to pass them both about a sixteenth of a mile from the wire. Princess Aurora (Brian Sears) closed for second for the same connections as the winner and Sunshine Delight was third. “Last week she got a little hot on me,” said winning driver Yannick Gingras. “But they went big fractions, so I was able to race her from behind, but last week she was really grabby and I really believe I choked her. Even at the top of the stretch, I still had a stranglehold of her and then two steps later I had two loose lines. I’m pretty sure she choked last week. The credit goes to Jimmy, he made equipment changes and obviously they worked tonight. “I drew in a good spot, Chezatter was inside of me. She looked like she was going to move to the front early on and I was really content to follow her and obviously it worked out.” “She raced good," said Takter. “There was a little commotion in front of her, horses in and out; she raced well. It was her race to lose. I think it was necessary. It’s a long year for her. This is her last for the year. We decided, she’s been racing since May, it’s a long year. It’s a great way to finish the year for her. I put the ear hood on her and opened her up a little so she could get a little more relaxed. "Princess Aurora finished very, very good. She’s probably the horse that’s in the best form out of my horses right now. But by the same token she wasn’t in the early races like those other horses were in the season. She’s going to continue racing, going to the Goldsmith Maid up in Canada."   by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications  

East Rutherford, N.J. -- Always a champion. The much-anticipated showdown between the top two harness racing horses in the world lived up to the hype as Always B Miki forged ahead by three-quarters of a length to upend  2015 Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit to capture his second straight $421,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at The Meadowlands. The 3-5 favorite Always B Miki, driven by David Miller and trained by Jimmy Takter, paid $3.20, 2.10, 2.10 and is the likely choice to take 2016 Horse of The Year honors.   “We saw two great, great horses, fighting side by side down the stretch.  To me, it was one of the better races, maybe the best ever had a horse participate in and it was so exciting to see it,” said Takter, who won his 29th Breeders Crown race to date. “When he dug in that little extra, that’s what a champion has.  I am so proud of this horse and I’m speechless – what a horse.  Two weeks from now (will be his last start in the TVG) and I hope everyone will come back.  Everybody should see it, it’s going to be his last appearance here in the TVG, so wonderful to do this on his home track on a cold night like this. Fantastic feeling.”   Wiggle It Jiggleit, with Montrell Teague aboard the 6-5 second choice, paid $2.20, 2.10 for second and Shamballa, with Scott Zeron aboard, paid 2.60 for third. “Me and Miki have been trading wins and losses back and forth all season,” said Teague, in just his second start in a Breeders Crown race. “One race isn’t going to deter me, I was happy with my horse, it was a big effort. There was a big headwind out there today and the horse got on the left line a little bit but from having all those difficult problems he still put in a game effort.”  Wiggle It Jiggleit stormed to the lead right from the gate and led throughout with Always B Miki right at his heels in second place every step of the way until surging ahead to take the lead right at the wire.   Always B Miki won in fractions of 27.1, 55.1, 1:22.1, and a finishing time of 1:49. Wiggle It Jiggleit and Always B Miki have met seven times this year with Always B Miki now leading the head-to-head matchup at 4-3. “I couldn’t be happier with him, he’s a tough horse,” said Miller. “He shows up and he was determined to get his head in front there.”    Since returning to action last fall, Always B Miki has won 15 of 21 races, totaling 29 for his career and became the first horse to win the Open Pace in consecutive years since Bettor Sweet in 2011-12. Always B Miki’s other wins this year include the Ben Franklin Pace, William Haughton Memorial, Jim Ewart Memorial, and Hoosier Pacing Derby.   Nineteen days ago, Always B Miki paced the fastest mile in harness racing history at Lexington’s Red Mile, winning the Allerage Farms Open Pace in 1:46, eclipsing Cambest’s mark of 1:46.1, which was set in a time trial at Springfield, Ill., in 1993. No horse had ever paced faster than 1:46.4 in a race.     by Lou Monaco, Hambletonian Society

Veteran trainer Herb Holland is happy to be a member of harness racing's dream team. The 59-year-old, whose career in the business goes back to the early years of the Meadowlands, is part owner of a horse, Sir John F., that is owned by brothers John and Jim Fielding and Christina Takter, whose husband, Jimmy, trains the two-year-old Donato Hanover colt. Sir John F is entered in this year's Breeders Crown in the Two-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, only the third time Holland has had a horse in harness racing's championship event. Holland trained Light Beam, which raced in the 1988 Breeders Crown in the Two-Year-Old Filly Pace and did not hit the board. He also was affiliated with onetime world-record holder Sweet Michelle, who raced in the 1994 Breeders Crown Open Mare Pace and finished third. Holland purchased Sir John F for $45,000 at the Lexington Select Sale, and a mere 15 minutes later he was approached by Jim Fielding about buying a share in the colt. Subsequently, Kevin McKinlay, who has had horses with the Fieldings, bought a share. The horse was subsequently sent to Takter, who liked the horse so much when he began training the colt that he wanted to buy a share. "As soon as he qualified him, he said 'tell your partners I want in,'" Holland said. So Holland has gone from owning 100% of the horse to now owning 22.5%, but the upside is that he is now associated with Takter, one of the top trainers of the modern era, and the Fieldings, among the top owners in the business. Takter and the Fieldings have outstanding success in the Breeders Crown. Takter leads all trainers with 21 wins. John Fielding is second to Brittany Farms in wins and earnings among owners. Jim Fielding has also had success, winning four of 21 races in which he is named as an owner. Holland said selling off interests in the horse was the right thing to do. "Would he have still raced in the Breeders Crown? I think so," Holland said. "The ownership group is good. I've got a good relationship with Jimmy Takter. I'm happy to have John and Jim and Kevin McKinlay and Jimmy involved with him. It's old hat to Jimmy racing in the Breeders Crown, and for John it's nothing new. It's nice when you're part of a big race and you have a chance to get some money. "Jimmy is pretty down to earth. If he doesn't like the horse, he doesn't mince his words. He tells you straight up. He liked the colt early on. We did have some bad luck with him. He was getting a little warm behind the gate with us. Jimmy raced him one time and realized what the issues were and he attacked it and everything has gone forward since then. We're hoping for better things ahead." As an aside, Holland was training in the United States when Jimmy Takter came over from Sweden back in 1982. "He's the trainer (of the horse), so it's not quite the same as when you're actually the trainer, but as an owner it's always exciting to be in those big races," Holland said. "When he's in Takter's barn, the benefits you get are he's probably the foremost trotting trainer in North America. If I take a colt to race it myself I may not get the driver I wish. He usually gets the top drivers, and you get his experience in the Breeders Crown and the big races. With one horse it's not financially feasible to race them all over the U.S. "When they approached me I thought it might be a good business opportunity to get involved with them. I didn't really want to give up any part of my ownership, but if you're going to be on board, you're on board so I was willing to let a bit of mine go and everyone followed suit. I was happy with the partnership. It worked out well for everybody. "When Takter bids on them, you don't get them," he added. "I don't know who was the underbidder, but (Takter and the Fieldings) weren't involved on it." Holland changed the name of the colt from Estok Hanover, which he didn't particularly like, to Sir John F. "When I got to train him down, I thought he was a pretty nice colt, so I changed his name and told John," he said. "I told him a good horse deserves a good name." John Fielding had some concerns that naming a horse after him could backfire because that type of thing can sometimes be a curse. "I'm not a believer in black magic, folklore," Holland said. "I believe it is what it is. If it's a good horse it will be a good horse. I don't think naming one after anyone jinxes it. I was praying he would turn out as well as I was hoping he would and win some big races for John and us. But you never know for sure. I thought he was a nice colt and that's why I did it. John is an icon in the industry, and if you're going to knight someone in our industry as an owner, you'd certainly knight John. "I've raced lots of horses, and even though I haven't been to that many Breeders Crowns it's exciting to be involved with a horse like this. When it's part of an ownership and I'm not in the paddock warming him up and doing the day-to-day things with him, it's a little bit different. But it's still good." The horse has raced nine times so far and has a win and two seconds and earnings of $28,090. He raced fifth in his elimination race. Sir John F starts from post six in the $600,000 Breeders Crown Two-Year-Old Colt Trot and drew a morning line of 20-1 against the superstar colt Walner. He does pick up the services of Yannick Gingras, who ranks seventh in the all-time Crown driver standings. The two-year-old colt trot race is carded as the sixth race with a slated post time of 8:40 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Who knows, Sir John F might turn into Mr. Holland's opus. by Perry Lefko for Breeders Crown

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Always B Miki, fastest harness racing horse of all time, easily won the $25,000 Open Pace at The Meadowlands on Oct. 21, a prep for the older division of male pacers' final next week.   David Miller drove the champion again, winning in 1:48 for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christine Takter.   Leaving from the 10 post (the 9 spot with the scratch of Art History), Miller took Always B Miki three wide around the first turn as Bushwacker, Luck Be Withyou, Bettors Edge and Americanprimetime fired hard to a :26.1 first quarter. As the shuffling continued among the four leavers, Always B Miki found a smooth path behind them as the half went in :53.4.   By three-quarters in 1:21.1, Always B Miki was coasting down the stretch and easily won. Dealt A Winner was second and Artistic Major was third. By Frank Cotolo

LEXINGTON, KY-- Darlinonthebeach kicked off her cover at the top of the stretch and sprinted to a 1:48.1 harness racing victory to win one of two divisions of the $213,500 Glen Garnsey Memorial on Sunday, Oct. 9 at The Red Mile. Getting away fifth as Penpal cleared command in :26.2, Darlinonthebeach flushed Rock Me Baby first over at the half, timed in :55. Blue Moon Stride, having brushed to the top after yielding to Penpal at the quarter, was challenged by Rock Me Baby at three-quarters in 1:22.1. Darlinonthebeach tipped off her cover at the head of the stretch and drew away from the field in the stretch. Kiss Me Onthebeach closed down the center of the track to take second, while Penpal slid up the pylons for third. A three-year-old filly by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Bettor's Delight mare Darlin's Delight, Darlinonthebeach won her 12th race in 28 starts, amassing $830,823 for owner White Birch Farms. Trained by Nancy Johansson and driven by David Miller, she paid $3.00. "It worked out just the way I wanted it to there," David Miller said. "We had a bit of a pace on the lead and she felt comfortable the whole way; felt like I had a lot of horse. She's an all-round professional; she's pretty handy and will do whatever you want to do. "She was a bit of a bully earlier in the year and we've worked with her. She has learned how to race and she's a big strong horse who can carry her speed really good. I couldn't be happier for Marcus and Nancy and all the connections with her. I've always been a big fan of her; I've been high on her all season. It started out a little rough, but I kept telling them it was going to get better." Darlinonthebeach Sent the 1-2 favorite, Pure Country stalled in her first over bid around the far turn before hitting her best stride and storming by pacesetter Call Me Queen Be to win the other division of the Glen Garnsey in 1:48.2. Leading through splits of :27.1, :55, and 1:21.4, Call Me Queen Be held an uncontested lead. Pure Country was first over but about two lengths off the lead at the top of the stretch, chasing Call Me Queen Be along with pocket-sitter Lakeisha Hall and Lindwood Beachgirl behind her. Pure Country drifted towards the center of the track as she edged past Call Me Queen Be to win. Winning her 18th race in 28 starts, Pure Country, a three-year-old filly by Somebeachsomewhere out of the Western Hanover mare Western Montana, has earned $1,649,968 for owner Diamond Creek Racing. She's trained by Jimmy Takter, was driven by Brett Miller, and paid $3.00 to win. "She's a pure champion," Jimmy Takter said. "It's not easy to stay at the highest [tier] throughout the year. She hasn't been undefeated, but at the same token, this has been a great, great group of three-year-old fillies this year." "She has been really good to us and we take it one race at a time," Adam Bowden of Diamond Creek Racing said. "We'll make a decision [on her career] when the season's over." Pure Country By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Tim Tetrick was the top driver at the first week of the Grand Circuit meet at The Red Mile; he won seven splits of the Bluegrass and five late closers. Last year, including both weekends at Lexington, Tetrick won six stakes and eleven late closers. His 1:52.3 win on Sunday over John Campbell and Per Henriksen’s tough 8/1 shot Blenheim, a Yankee Glide colt coming off a win in the Bucket, was one of the best races of the opening stretch. We should see both of them in Sunday’s Kentucky Futurity. Tetrick also had a good win with Huntsville on the rainy Saturday night card. The freshman Somebeachsomewhere colt, an already more fully realized version of his brothers Stevensville and Cowboy Terrier, was a handy 1:53 winner at 4/5 for owner-trainer Ray Schnittker. SBSW was the star pacing stallion with eight Bluegrass wins—six of them on Saturday night. Jimmy Takter’s colt Blood Line bottomed the field in 1:52.1 over the off track for David Miller as the 6/5 favorite. In similar fashion to Huntsville, he’s full to Blood Brother, who hasn’t fulfilled his early promise. Andy Miller had four Bluegrass wins, while Corey Callahan and David Miller had three each. The latter also had a pair of late closer wins. Last year David Miller’s performance at Lexington propelled him to his driver of the year award. He had a strong second week with wins in the Allerage Mare stakes with Color’s A Virgin and D’One as well as both splits of the Tattersalls Filly with Rock Me Gently and Divine Caroline. He won seven stakes and four late closers overall. Jimmy Takter is making no secret of the fact that he is sending Miller out to break the world record with Always B Miki in the Allerage Open. Whether that’s simply the 1:46.4 race record or Cambest’s twenty-three-year old 1:46.1 mark, we don’t know. Cracking either barrier would give Miller, who is having an excellent year, momentum in his quest for another Driver of the Year title.  Brett Miller was the top driver in Lexington last year, with eight stakes wins and one late closer. After week one he has a single Bluegrass win, with the Art Major filly, Roaring To Go, who upset 1/9 Idyllic Beach in a $73,000 division, although he has captured four late closers. Two years ago money leader Yannick Gingras won sixteen stakes and four late closers at The Red Mile. That dropped to a more modest five and one, respectively, last year. In week one he won Bluegrass divisions with Jimmy Takter’s freshman trotting filly, Princess Aurora, and Ron Burke’s money machine Check Six. Yannick will be highly motivated in week two. Andy Miller won four stakes, three of them in conjunction with his wife Julie. He treated those who bet on him well as the freshman Yankee Glide filly Overland Hanover paid $49.20 on Friday and Ross Croghan’s Rock N Roll Heaven colt Rock The Boat paid $38.20 on Saturday night. Andy capped off his weekend with an eye opening win with the Donato Hanover colt Sutton on Sunday. The winner of the Zweig crushed his competition by four lengths in 1:52 at odds of 1/5. Sutton may add some excitement to Sunday’s Futurity. Newly minted Hall-of-Famer Brian Sears was saddled with dead stock and managed only one late closer win. Jimmy Takter, who led the trainers with four stakes wins, won 13 over the two weeks two years ago and seven last year. Two of his Bluegrass winners, Bar Hopping and Western Fame, should be players in the Futurity and Tattersalls, and you can bet he’ll have plenty entered in the ISS. Julie Miller had three stakes winners, which have already been mentioned, while Ake, Trond, Charlie Norris and Ron Burke had two each. The latter only had four last year, although he also had eight second place stakes finishes. He won nine in 2014. Muscle Hill led the trotters in stakes wins, with three on Thursday from freshmen Long Tom, Fly On and New Jersey Viking, and one on Sunday from Bar Hopping. Muscle Massive had three, a two-year-old colt and two fillies. Andover Hall, Cantab Hall and Donato Hanover had two each. On Thursday Dover Dan, a two-year-old Andover Hall colt out of the great CR Kay Suzie won a Bluegrass split in 1:55 for Corey Callahan and John Butenschoen. Suzie, who hasn’t matched her success on the track as a broodmare, is currently 24-years-old. The next day That’s All Moni, a freshman three-quarter sister to Snow White, won a stake in 1:54.4 at 4/5 for Tim Tetrick and Jimmy Takter. Celebrity Eventsy and Broadway Donna both disappointed on Sunday, and Ginny Weasley (Andover Hall) and Fad Finance (Credit Winner) picked up the pieces. On the pacing side, the SBSW filly Darlinonthebeach, who won the Shady Daisy and Valley Forge, put in a strong 1:50.2 mile on the front end for David Miller and Nancy Johansson. The Rocknroll Hanover filly Blue Moon Stride also won in wire to wire fashion for Andrew McCarthy and Mark Harder. Owner Emilio Rosati was ecstatic in the winner’s circle. And Mark MacDonald sent the lightly raced Western Ideal colt Western Fame, who recently won a Jug elimination, down the road and never looked back. He won a neck in 1:50.3 for Jimmy Takter. I can’t wait for round two. 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.

ANDERSON, Ind.-September 25, 2016 - The majority of the members of the Hoosier Park audience were in attendance to witness a show of superb speed and unrivalled power. They certainly received what they traveled to the Anderson harness racing oval to witness, as Always B Miki paced yet another tour-de-force in a facile triumph in the $170,000 Hoosier Park Pacing Derby. "I think he and Wiggle It Jiggleit are horses before their time," said David Miller, who steered the 5-year-old stallion through his mile. "They are just not like any other horses we have seen before. We will see other horses that come along like them as time goes on with their speed and how far they can carry it, but right now they stand alone." The overwhelming public selection at 1-9, Always B Miki and Miller left from the rail and went straight to the front. Freaky Feet Pete and Trace Tetrick were right on their heels from post position three as those two horses clicked off a first-quarter mile of :26.2. Miller and Always B Miki pulled comfortably away from Freaky Feet Pete to lead by a length at the half-mile pole in :55. At that juncture, Dealt A Winner with Aaron Merriman at the controls and Always At My Place in rein to Ricky Macomber Jr., made their bids for the front, with Dealt A Winner passing Freaky Feet Pete to take second and locking the 4-year-old stallion in the pocket. After three-quarters in 1:22.3, the six horse field entered in the stretch with Always B Miki and Miller still reigning supreme. As they were set down for the final push to the wire, Freaky Feet Pete's only option for victory was the passing lane, while it appeared Dealt A Winner and Always At My Place, had far too much real estate to cover to even draw even with the leader. Tetrick and Freaky Pete punched through the inside to give chase and despite a :25.4 final quarter panel on their part, it was simply not enough to relegate Always B Miki to their rearview mirror prior to the finish line. Miller and Always B Miki crossed the finish line in 1:48.2. Like Freaky Feet Pete, Always B Miki came home in :25.4, yet it appeared the stallion could have went much more swiftly if Miller had truly asked for what remained in reserve. After a valiant effort, Freaky Feet Pete was second with Always Bets Off rushing from sixth to claim the show position over the fading Dealt A Winner. Owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, world and Indiana champion Always B Miki, is conditioned by Christina's husband Jimmy. The son of Always A Virgin-Artstopper, paid a paltry $2.10 for a trip around the Anderson oval that truly demonstrated his hooves step in rarefied air, with the exacta paying $4.20 and the trifecta $18.00. After the winner's circle festivities were complete, Miller solemnly stated what over recent months is beginning to become very obvious. "I have driven a lot of very good horses over the years," he said. "I've been doing this for a long time, but this horse has to rank up there with the best of them and he may be the best." **By: Kim French, for Hoosier Park**

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 17 - Bar Hopping charged home to win the harness racing $687,000 Canadian Trotting Classic by three and half a lengths Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. The Jimmy Takter trained colt was able to convert off a perfect second-over steer from driver Tim Tetrick to win Canada's biggest race for three-year-old trotters. A trio of longshots fired out for the front, while Marion Marauder, the 3/5 favourite, was unhurried and got away fourth ahead of main rivals Southwind Frank and Bar Hopping. Scott Zeron sent Marion Marauder to the front in the second-quarter and took the lead at the half in :55.4. Southwind Frank was pushed first up, which allowed Tetrick to put Bar Hopping in a perfect second over position. Marion Marauder led the field by the three-quarter pole in 1:24.2. In the stretch, Marion Marauder created a little separation on his rivals, but that was quickly erased by Bar Hopping. The Takter trainee fired off cover and powered by in the final-eighth for a 1:53.1 victory. "There was enough speed in there and I was trying to find a good horse to follow," said Tetrick following his second Trotting Classic victory. "I seen Yannick not getting away as good as I think he wanted and I got a good trip following him all the way to the promise land." "Scotty's (Zeron) horse was putting up decent enough fractions and my horse got to track him all the way to the top of the lane and he did the rest from there." Marion Marauder held on for second, while Bee In Charge finished third ahead of Winter Harbor. A son of Muscle Hill, Bar Hopping captured his elimination last week in 1:52.4 and was sent off at odds of 4-1 in Saturday's rich final. The sophomore trotting colt has had a strong season, but has been slightly overshadowed by rivals Marion Marauder and Southwind Frank, who had captured the classic three-year-old events before the Canadian Trotting Classic. "Well he's been really close, but he just hasn't got it done," Tetrick said. "It's not lack of trying. He put it all together tonight and there is still a lot of money to go for the rest of the year." Owned by Christina Takter, Hatfeld Stables, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Bar Hopping is now a five-time from 13 starts this season for nearly $800,000 in earnings. His career totals are now improved to six victories and $901,048 earned. The Muscle Hill colt's triumph Saturday gives trainer Jimmy Takter three consecutive victories in the Canadian Trotting Classic and five overall. "We've got a lot of partners and great partners, so I'm so happy for this win," said Takter in the winner's circle. "I was due to win a big race with this horse because he is a very nice horse." Takter noted that Bar Hopping will now head to The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky for Grand Circuit action. Bar Hopping paid $10.10, $3.70 and $3.00. Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, ON- Securing the lead after the half, Ariana G advanced towards a 1:54 harness racing victory in the $363,000 Peaceful Way Final on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Ariana G sat off a :27.3 opening quarter while Pure Kemp took the lead, parking Dream Together. Thats All Moni began her brush to the lead, getting away third behind Stuck In My Spanks. Clearing into the backstretch, Thats All Moni was challenged by Ariana G, who edged to control after a :56.1 half. Gaining the lead around the far turn, Ariana G started to kick away from Thats All Moni sitting second. Stuck In My Spanks, Dream Together, and Southwind Avanti all lost stride, leaving Pure Kemp trotting in third and Winter Sweet Frost inheriting fourth. Leading by two lengths, Ariana G trotted to three-quarters in 1:25.1 before pulling away for a 3¼ lengths victory over Thats All Moni and Magic Presto, who trotted down the center of the track to take third. A two-year-old filly trotter by Muscle Hill out of the Cantab Hall mare Cantab It All, Ariana G is a homebred for Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Undefeated in seven starts, she has earned $467,370. She is trained by Jimmy Takter and was driven by Yannick Gingras. "She's just incredible," Gingras said. "From the first time I trained her, she's just a pure professional. She feels like a three-year-old filly and you can do whatever you want with her. Seemed like the move to make today was to the front, and it cost us a little bit but I felt I was the one to beat and I would take my chances from there." Asked if Ariana G is the best two-year-old filly he has driven, Gingras said "She's pretty close to it, there's no doubt about that. She's very natural and can be driven with two fingers. There's nothing wrong with her; she has the whole package." "We'll see how she comes out of this," Marvin Katz said about Ariana G's next race. "We'd go to Lexington, all things being equal." Takter now holds the record for most Peaceful Way victories by a trainer with his fourth title courtesy of Ariana G. The daughter of Muscle Hill paid $2.10 to win. Ray Cotolo for WEG Communications

Columbus, OH --- When the horses placed their hooves on the track for the post parade of the $225,000 Jim Ewart Memorial on Saturday (Sept. 10) at Eldorado Scioto Downs, the throng lining the fence let out a roar for defending Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit. The stands were packed to catch a glimpse of an athlete that has captured the hearts and imaginations of legions of harness racing fans during his two-year career. When the horses crossed the finish line, however, all those in attendance had shifted their adulation to honor the effort of his winning rival, Always B Miki, for not only had they been privy to witness greatness, but they were present for a world record equaling performance of 1:47, that will surely become an integral component of the sport’s history. That time equaled the all-age mark for a pacer on a five-eighths-mile oval set by Sweet Lou in 2014 and equaled by Always B Miki in both the Ben Franklin elimination and final earlier this year. Those miles all came at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. “He’s a big horse alright,” said his pilot Brett Miller in the winner’s circle immediately after handing over the lines. “He has so much power. You just can’t let him get too into himself.” When the superb field of nine left the gate, Always B Miki, who commenced pacing from post six, was the 4-5 favorite but Wiggle It Jiggleit at 8-5 was also receiving his share of support at the windows. Shortly after the starter allowed the horses to begin the mile, Eric Goodell sent Luck Be Withyou to the lead from post position five. Wiggle It Jiggleit and his regular reinsman Montrell Teague were not content to allow that competitor to cut the mile and made their move to the front from post position eight. Miller and Always B Miki had their own designs on the lead. The crowd was gasping at the sheer speed displayed by the pacers as Luck Be Withyou had laid down a scorching :25.2 first quarter. Wiggle It Jiggleit brushed to the lead in front of the grandstand before Always B Miki procured the lead on the outside by the half-mile marker. The Jimmy Takter trainee appeared to pay the price for that effort when :53 flashed on the timer. As Wiggle It Jiggleit sat second, Always B Miki still maintained a head advantage after three-quarters in a sizzling 1:19. Wiggle It Jiggleit appeared poised to come through on the inside and overhaul Always B Miki down the lane, but the 5-year-old stallion would not be denied. After a nip and tuck battle between these two champions, Always B Miki prevailed. Several hundred feet from the wire, he repelled the bid of Wiggle It Jiggleit and hit the wire three-quarters of a length in front. Luck Be Withyou raced exceptionally well to be third, while Freaky Feet Pete, who had a very tough trip, finished fourth. Conditioned by Jimmy Takter and owned by Bluewood Stable, Roll The Dice Stable and Christina Takter, the son of Always A Virgin paid $3.80 to win, with Wiggle It Jiggleit paying $3.00 to place and Luck Be Withyou $3.60 to show. The exacta was $8.00 and the trifecta $50.60. Normally not one to show much emotion, Takter posed with a picture with his charge absolutely beaming. When asked to discuss the heroic feat Always B Miki had just produced, he acknowledged how scintillating it was to be associated with a horse with this much ability. He also noted, however, for the stallion to consistently provide the sport with a number of 1:47 miles this season, it does require much more than natural talent. “It is not an easy thing to keep a horse at that kind of level for a long period of time,” he said. “This is a very special horse.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor 

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 8 - Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras and Jimmy Takter swept the eliminations of the Peaceful Way Stakes Thursday night at Mohawk Racetrack with Thats All Moni and Ariana G. A group of 17 two-year-old trotting fillies were split into two $30,000 eliminations for the $363,000 Peaceful Way Stakes. Thats All Moni got a perfect trip to capture the first elimination in 1:54.4. The Takter trained filly got away fifth in the field of nine and sat in that position until near the midway point. Gingras was able to catch cover with Thats All Moni behind Magic Presto, who was sent first up. Grandmas Moni cut out opening fractions of :28.1 and :58.3, but didn't have any trot on the final turn and went off stride just after giving up the lead to Magic Presto. The new leader reached the three-quarter pole in 1:26.3, while Gingras dropped his filly in behind to sit on the leader's back turning for home. In the stretch, Thats All Moni edged to the outside and rocketed by to defeat Magic Presto by 2¼ lengths. Winter Sweet Frost finished third, while Southwind Avanti and Cameron Hill grabbed the final two spots to qualify for next week's final. "She felt real strong," said Gingras post-race about Thats All Moni . "I dropped back in behind (Magic Presto) at the end of the last turn because I could, but my filly was really strong all the way through the stretch." The daughter of Cantab Hall is a three-quarter sister to the $1.4 million winning Snow White and was purchased for $230,000 at last year's Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Thats All Moni, who paid $3.30 to win, is owned by Brittany Farms, Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. She now has three wins in six starts and over $121,000 in earnings. Thats All Moni The second elimination featured arguably the top two-year-old in the sport and she didn't disappoint. Ariana G crushed her rivals by 7¾ lengths in a flashy 1:53.2. The daughter of Muscle Hill and driver Gingras got away third before brushing to the lead at the half in :56.3. Ariana G trotted to the three-quarter pole in 1:25.1 and then pulled away without breaking a sweat for a :28.1 last-quarter and another dominating victory. "She's unbelievable" said Gingras following the victory. "I've been really blessed the last three years with trotting fillies. I've got three Hambletonian Oaks in a row, but this filly ranks right up there with them." Ariana G is a full-sister to Breeders Crown and Hambletonian Oaks champion All The Time and the rookie trotting filly is quickly upstaging her big sister. "She had a lot more tonight, that's for sure," Gingras said. "Turning for home she was really latched onto the bit in a good way. She wasn't being too grabby or nothing, but she just had a whole awful lot of trot and all the way through the wire I had a handful and I was really impressed." Dream Together finished second to Ariana G, while Pure Kemp was third. The final two spots in the Peaceful Way final were secured by Stuck In My Spanks and The Erm. Ariana G, who paid $2.10 to win, improves to six for six with her victory Thursday. The Katz and Libfeld homebred will carry earnings of $295,870 into next week's rich final. Ariana G Following the eliminations, the post positions for the $363,000 Peaceful Way final were drawn. Elimination winners earned their connections the right to select their post for the final. The Peaceful Way Stakes final will take place on the Maple Leaf Trot and Canadian Trotting Classic card on Saturday, September 17th. 1. Stuck In My Spanks 2. Thats All Moni 3. Pure Kemp 4. Ariana G 5. Cameron Hill 6. Southwind Avanti 7. Winter Sweet Frost 8. The Erm 9. Dream Together 10. Magic Presto AE: Glitzey Gal Mark McKelvie

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 3... Idyllic Beach proved that the apple didn't fall from the tree when she captured the $427,000 Shes A Great Lady Final for harness racing two-year-old pacing fillies on Saturday night at Mohawk, which is part of the Canadian Pacing Derby undercard. The Jimmy Takter trained Idyllic Beach is the daughter of the great Somebeachsomewhere and Idyllic, who captured the Shes A Great Lady in 2010. Idyllic Beach and driver Yannick Gingras got away third but never settled in along the rail as World Apart led the field past the opening panel in :27. In the first turn, Gingras then marched Idyllic Beach to the front and held command past the half in :55.3 and three-quarters in 1:23.2. Agent Q, who launched a first-up attack from fourth at the half, added pressure to the tempo-setter in the final turn and into the stretch, but Idyllic Beach fought her off to score the lion's share of the purse by half a length in a career best clocking of 1:50.3. Agent Q finished second and Candlelight Dinner stayed for third. "I really didn't know going to the gate what I was going to do," offered Gingras from the winner's circle. "The inside three left pretty hard so that made my job pretty easy. That way they took the outside speed out of the race. At the eighth pole, I knew I would be cutting the mile." The freshman pacing miss scored her fifth victory in six outings, which includes wins in her Shes A Great Lady elimination and Pennsylvania Sires Stakes divisions. With the win, she also lifts her bankroll to $316,262 for her owners. "Jimmy knew she was a good filly all the way down," said Marvin Katz, who shares ownership with Christina Takter, John Fielding, and Brixton Medical Inc. "Every time I would speak to him in the winter time he said she was a top filly. He was confident in her abilities. Just when she started to qualify, he just had to get her settled a little bit and she got a little anxious early on, but he was very confident about her abilities most of the way down." Idyllic Beach returned $2.80 to win. Mark McKelvie

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