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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ariana G gave notice Friday night at the Meadowlands that the road to the Hambletonian Oaks goes through her as she crushed seven overmatched foes in a division of the first leg of the New Jersey Sire Stakes for harness racing 3-year-old trotting fillies by 7¾ lengths in 1:52.2. The Jimmy Takter trainee was more than prepared for her seasonal debut as driver Yannick Gingras put the daughter of Muscle Hill on the lead just after the quarter. Racing unpressured, the winner of 10-of-12 lifetime starts opened up an insurmountable edge after pocket-sitting Ice Attraction broke at the head of the stretch. She then sprinted home in :27.2, paying $2.10 as the 1-9 favorite for owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Dream Baby Dream was second with Southwind Prius third. "She was really good," said Gingras. "I couldn't be any happier with her. She was as good as I expected her to be. I'm crossing my fingers she stays healthy and let her talent do the rest." Ariana G Glitzey Gal ($7.40 to win, 1:52.3 for the mile, David Miller driving, trainer Nifty Norman) and Colorful Jasmine ($2.40, 1:54.1, Corey Callahan, Thomas Cancelliere) were victorious in the other two NJSS filly divisions. Ron Burke trainee What The Hill lowered his lifetime best by two-and-two-fifth seconds, impressively taking one of three NJSS divisions for 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters. Driven by David Miller, the son of Muscle Hill stopped the clock in 1:52.2 to stay perfect in two seasonal starts. He returned $2.40 as the 1-5 public choice. Every Way Out ($2.10, Dylan Davis) and Long Tom ($3.80, Marcus Melander) won the other sophomore colt and gelding divisions in identical clockings of 1:52.1. Both were driven by Tim Tetrick. JL Cruze CHALK TALK: Seven favorites scored on the card, bringing the total over the last three programs to 18 winning chalks from 32 races (56%). ... David Miller piloted four winners on the card. ... All-source wagering totaled $2,475,077. ... Racing resumes Saturday at 7:15 p.m. with the Graduate for 4-year-old trotters, featuring Dayson and Broadway Donna. By Dave Little, for the Meadowlands  

TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec - The record number of nominees for the $200,000 2017 Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R continues as just one of the 33 horses originally nominated have dropped out. The prior record for nominees to the Prix D'Ete was 28. Off the 32 four-year-old pacers still eligible (and there is one more nomination fee due May 15), the Ron Bruke Stable hopes to have a three-peat in the Prix D'Ete with Check Six. The Burke Stable won the race last year with Rockin Ron and the year before with All Bets Off. Check Six, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, scored 11 wins in 24 starts last year with a record of 1:50 and victories in the $561,000 Pennsylvania Classic, the $252,000 PASS Final, $200,000 Monument Circle, a division of the Bluegrass Stake and was second in the Adios Pace and third in the Meadowlands Pace and the Breeders Crown. Other contenders include Western Fame, a $449,774 winner by Western Ideal for trainer Jimmy Takter, who won the 2014 Prix D'Ete with Sunfire Bluechip. Western Fame was a divisional winner of the Bluegrass Stake last season and was second in the Little Brown Jug final. Easy Lover Hanover ($359,772), was a 15-time winner last year for trainer Ben Wallace with his biggest win in the $314,000 Progress Pace, Lyons Snyder ($330,396) was a 1:49 victor in 2016 and Roll Away Joe (321,681), won the $250,000 NYSS Final and four NYSS events last year, are all major contenders for the race. Quebec owned nominees include Quebec-bred champions HP Patriote and Sports Authority, Endeavor and Stonebridge Beach. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Brett Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matt's Scooter and a host of other top pacers won the Prix D'Ete. In 2014, the Quebec Jockey Club revived the Prix D'Ete, making it the tracks premier race in all of Quebec and one of the richest races in North America only for four-year-old pacers. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club 2017 Prix D'Ete Nominees (after April 15, 2017 payment) AMERICAN PASSPORT ANOTHER DAILY COPY ARSENIC ARTMAGIC AWESOMENESS BIG TOP HANOVER CHECK SIX DAY TRADE HANOVER DR J HANOVER EASY LOVER HANOVER ENDEAVOR GERRIES SPORT HP PATRIOTE LYONS SYNDER MAGNUM J MISSILE J MR WIGGLE PANTS NOCTURNAL BLUECHIP PRETTY BOY HILL ROLL AWAY JOE ROLLAROUNDTHEWORLD SECRECY SEELEY MAN SINTRA SPIDER MAN HANOVER SPORTS AUTHORITY STOLEN GLIMPSE STONEBRIDGE BEACH TALK SHOW VORACITY WESTERN FAME    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - A record number of 32 four-year-old pacers have been nominated to the $200,000 4th renewal of the Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R. The race will be held on Sunday, August 20. Headlining the list is Check Six, who last year won an impressive $1,070,789 for the Ron Burke Stable. Burke and company will be seeking their third straight Prix D'Ete victory in 2017. The Prix D'Ete was the most prestigious race in all of Canada from 1966 through 1992. World champions Brett Hanover, Albatross, Niatross, Hot Hitter, Cam Fella, On The Road Again, Ralph Hanover, Matt's Scooter and a host of other top pacers have won the Prix D'Ete. In the past three editions of the Prix D'Ete at 3R, the all-age track record was set and then tied as both Sunfire Blue Chip (2014) and All Bets Off (2015) both won in 1:50.3. Then last year, Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, came to 3R for the Prix D'Ete and after a dramatic neck and neck battle the final half mile of the race, was second in an upset by Rockin Ron (1:52) over a sloppy track. "We are very pleased with the quality of the horses that have nominated to this year's Prix D'Ete." Said Claude Levesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club. "The revival of this Grand Circuit event has developed into the great race it was before." The Ron Bruke Stable hopes to have a three-peat with Check Six in the Prix D'Ete, having won the race last year with Rockin Ron and the year before with All Bets Off. Check Six, a son of Somebeachsomewhere, scored 11 wins in 24 starts last year with a record of 1:50 and victories in the $561,000 Pennsylvania Classic, the $252,000 PASS Final, $200,000 Monument Circle, a division of the Bluegrass Stake and was second in the Adios Pace and third in the Meadowlands Pace and the Breeders Crown. Other contenders include Western Fame, a $449,774 winner by Western Ideal for trainer Jimmy Takter, who won the 2014 Prix D'Ete with Sunfire Bluechip. Western Fame was a divisional winner of the Bluegrass Stake last season and was second in the Little Brown Jug final. Easy Lover Hanover ($359,772), was a 15-time winner last year for trainer Ben Wallace with his biggest win in the $314,000 Progress Pace, Lyons Snyder ($330,396) was a 1:49 victor in 2016 and Roll Away Joe (321,681), won the $250,000 NYSS Final and four NYSS events last year, are all major contenders for the race. Quebec owned nominees include Quebec-bred champions HP Patriote and Sports Authority, Endeavor and Stonebridge Beach. "I want to invite everyone to come to Trois-Rivieres the week of August 16 and August 20," Levesque added, "as we are hosting a division of the World Driving Championship and then our Prix D'Ete. We want everyone to come out and enjoy our great racing and Quebecoise hospitality." Last year just 24 nominated to the Prix D'Ete. The prior record was 28 nominees in both 2014 and 2015. The Hippodrome 3R is also gearing up for their 2017 opening day on Sunday, April 23. For more information visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club .2017 Prix D'Ete Nominees (after March 15, 2017 payment) AMERICAN PASSPORT ANOTHER DAILY COPY ARSENIC ARTMAGIC AWESOMENESS BIG TOP HANOVER CHECK SIX DAY TRADE HANOVER DR J HANOVER EASY LOVER HANOVER ENDEAVOR GERRIES SPORT HP PATRIOTE LYONS SYNDER MAGNUM J MISSILE J MR WIGGLE PANTS NOCTURNAL BLUECHIP PRETTY BOY HILL ROLL AWAY JOE ROLLAROUNDTHEWORLD SECRECY SEELEY MAN SINTRA SPIDER MAN HANOVER SPORTS AUTHORITY STOLEN GLIMPSE STONEBRIDGE BEACH TALK SHOW TODDLER TANTRUM VORACITY WESTERN FAME    

Trois-Rivieres, QC - For anyone with a promising four-year-old pacer, nominations for the 2017 $200,000 Prix D'Ete at the Hippodrome 3R, must be made by March 15. One of only a handful of opportunities restricted to just four-year-old pacers, the Prix D'Ete is the showcase stakes event of the season at the Hippodrome 3R and will take place on Sunday, August 20. New this year is that horses that finish 6th through 8th, will each get $1,000. To make nomination payments, owner/trainers can go to www.standardbredcanada.ca or to www.quebecjockeyclub.com and get the necessary nomination forms. Please note there are no supplemental payments allowed for the Prix D'Ete. This first nomination payment must be made to be eligible. The Prix D'Ete, once the richest and most prestigious race in Canada, was revived by the Quebec Jockey Club back in 2013. The inaugural revival saw Jimmy Takter's Sunfire Blue Chip set the all-age Canadian and track record at 3R in 1:50.3. That record was tied the following year with All Bet's Off scoring for the Ron Burke Stable. Then last year, Harness Horse of the Year, Wiggle It Jiggleit, came to 3R for Team Teague only to come up second best to the Burke's Stable's Rockin Ron in a classic battle over a sloppy track in 1:52. The 2017 race season gets underway at the Hippodrome 3R on Sunday, April 23 with a new post time of 12:50 pm. From the Quebec Jockey Club

HARRISBURG PA - One is a native of the heartland of U.S. harness racing, the Buckeye State of Ohio. One is a Swedish emigrant who is fiercely appreciative of the opportunities his adopted United States has given him. (Both do fine when they cross the border north to Canada, too.) Both are in their mid-50s. Both are members of the Harness Racing Hall of Fame. David Miller and Jimmy Takter were the Driver and Trainer of the Year in 2015, respectively, their outstanding seasons cemented by quantity - six Breeders Crown wins for Takter, with Miller gaining five Crown sulky triumphs, including two for Takter. And in 2016, Takter and Miller are repeat winners in their respective categories as voted by the U.S. Harness Writers Association (USHWA), both again having quality seasons up and down the board, but their highlight this time focused on quality - 2016 Harness Horse of the Year Always B Miki, author of the sport's fastest-ever mile, a 1:46 clocking at Lexington's famed Red Mile on October 9. "Miki" also had four victories in head-to-head matchups against 2015 Harness Horse of the Year Wiggle It Jiggleit, who had three in a months-long series of contests that had fans - and even "seen-it-all" horsemen - buzzing throughout North America. Of course, to earn top yearly accolades over their talented peers, both men accomplished much more than their successful collaboration with Always B Miki. Takter collected year-end honors not only with Always B Miki (also the Pacer of the Year) but with a repeat champion, the 3-year-old pacing filly Pure Country, and two 2-year-old fillies, pacer Idyllic Beach and trotter Ariana G (Takter also guided Ariana G's successful sophomore sister All The Time, and the two fillies' combined exploits earned breeders/owners Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz honors as the season's Breeders of the Year). That's four divisional winners in all -- no other trainer had more than one. Add in Breeders Crown-winning Bar Hopping, often right in the mix with Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder, among others and you see a powerhouse of a stable that earned Takter Trainer of the Year plaudits for the third year in a row, and sixth overall (1996, 2000, 2010, 2014, 2015, and 2016). While Takter is forthright and outfront with his opinions, David Miller, while no less insightful, by temperament would rather just go about his job quietly yet effectively - both factors showing up when he became only the third driver, behind John Campbell and Ron Pierce, to go over $200 million in career sulky earnings, as the feat came in May at Harrah's Philly with an undistinguished pacer named Hickory Chumley, who paid $82.80 to win. In this, his best season ever for earnings with more than $12.6 million bankrolled, Miller also had a large hand in the racetrack guidance of two other divisional award-winners: 3-year-old trotting filly Broadway Donna, a repeat champion, and the multi-major stake-winning 3-year-old pacing colt Betting Line. This is Miller's third Driver of the Year title: he won the inaugural award in 2003, and of course now has two straight in the category. Jimmy Takter and David Miller (and the many horses for whom they were an integral part of the road to success in 2016) will be honored at the "Night Of Champions," the Dan Patch Awards Banquet Presented by Hoosier Park, which will take place on Sunday, February 26 at the Planet Hollywood hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Information about the banquet and the entire weekend, which will also contain the annual meetings of USHWA, can be found on the communicators' website, www.ushwa.org - including links for making hotel reservations at special rates at Planet Hollywood; banquet tickets; and congratulatory or acknowledgment ads in the keepsake Souvenir Banquet Journal, annually one of the best chronicles of a year in North American harness racing. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

The five-year-old stallion, Always B Miki, on Monday was named harness racing's Pacer of the Year and Horse of the Year by the U.S. Harness Writers Association while 3-year-old colt Marion Marauder was named Trotter of the Year in the closest vote in the 46-year history of the award. Always B Miki, who on Friday was named the Dan Patch Award winner for best older male pacer, defeated 4-year-old gelding Wiggle It Jiggleit in the voting for Pacer of the Year, 109-37, and for Horse of the Year, 102-32. Wiggle It Jiggleit was the 2015 Horse of the Year. Marion Marauder, who this year became the ninth horse in history to win the Trotting Triple Crown, edged 4-year-old mare Hannelore Hanover in the voting for Trotter of the Year, 73-72. The previous closest finish for Trotter of the Year was in 1971 when Speedy Crown defeated Fresh Yankee, 71-68. Hannelore Hanover finished third in Horse of the Year balloting, with 10 votes, while Marion Marauder was tied with 3-year-old male pacer Betting Line with four votes apiece. Video highlights of Horse and Pacer of the Year Always B Miki are available by clicking here. Footage of Trotter of the Year Marion Marauder is available by clicking here. Always B Miki was trained by Jimmy Takter, who joins Stanley Dancer as the only trainers to condition at least three different Horse of the Year winners. Takter's previous Horse of the Year champions were trotters Moni Maker, who captured the award in 1998 and 1999, and Malabar Man in 1997. In addition, Takter is the fifth trainer to have both a pacer and trotter receive Horse of the Year honors. He joins Dancer, Blair Burgess, Billy Haughton, and Clint Hodgins in that group. Always B Miki, who was twice sidelined by injuries that forced him to miss the end of his 3-year-old season and the majority of his 4-year-old campaign, paced the fastest mile in harness racing history on Oct. 9 at Lexington's Red Mile when he won the Allerage Open Pace in 1:46. His time eclipsed Cambest's 1:46.1 mark, which was established in a time trial and stood as the record for 23 years, and lowered the race record, shared by multiple horses, by four-fifths of a second. In addition to becoming the fastest horse in history, Always B Miki shares the world record of 1:47 for the fastest mile by a horse on a five-eighths-mile track. Always B Miki paced 1:47 on a five-eighths oval on three occasions, an unprecedented feat. He also holds the record of 1:47.1 for the fastest mile ever paced in Canada. Always B Miki, driven by David Miller, won 12 of 18 races this year and finished worse than second only once. His victories included the Breeders Crown, Ben Franklin, William Haughton Memorial, and TVG Series championship for male pacers. "I think he's the greatest pacer to ever walk on this earth," Takter said earlier this year. "I really do. If everything would have been his way, could you imagine how much even better he could have been? He's a great, great horse." A son of Always A Virgin out of the mare Artstopper, Always B Miki was bred by Joe Hurley's Roll The Dice Stable, which owns the stallion with Bluewood Stable and Christina Takter. "If someone said I could win Powerball for some ridiculous amount of money or have Miki, it wouldn't even be a question. It would be Miki," Hurley said earlier this year. "This is like Powerball on steroids." Marion Marauder, who was named the sport's best 3-year-old male trotter last Thursday, was the first Trotting Triple Crown winner since 2006, sweeping the Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot, and Kentucky Futurity. In addition, he won the Goodtimes Stakes and a division of the Stanley Dancer Memorial on his way to $1.48 million in purses. His earnings led all trotters in North America. Marion Marauder won 10 of 15 starts and finished second three times this season for the wife-and-husband training team of Paula Wellwood and Mike Keeling. Marion Marauder is owned by the couple's son, Devin Keeling, and Wellwood's mother, Marion Jean Wellwood. Scott Zeron was the colt's regular driver. A son of stallion Muscle Hill out of the mare Spellbound Hanover, Marion Marauder was bred by William Mulligan. Hannelore Hanover, who was named the sport's best older female trotter, won 17 of 20 races and earned $1.11 million in purses, leading all female trotters in earnings. The remaining divisional champion trotters were Walner (2-year-old male), Ariana G (2-year-old female), Broadway Donna (3-year-old female), and Obrigado (older male). Other divisional champion pacers were Huntsville (2-year-old male), Idyllic Beach (2-year-old female), Betting Line (3-year-old male), Pure Country (3-year-old female), and Lady Shadow (older female). All winners will be honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet presented by Hoosier Park on Sunday (Feb. 26) at the Planet Hollywood casino in Las Vegas. Information about the Dan Patch Awards banquet presented by Hoosier Park is available at www.ushwa.org. For complete voting totals for all awards, click here. From the U.S. Harness Writers Association  

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.

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