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ANDERSON, Ind. - Eight horses fanned across the track in a battle down the stretch with Pure Country surging in the closing strides to capture Friday night's $250,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace by 1¼ lengths over Bedroomconfessions in 1:52.1 over a sloppy harness racing track at Hoosier Park. Lady Shadow was third. Pure Country, trained by Jimmy Takter for Adam Bowden's Diamond Creek Racing, was a Breeders Crown champion at age 2. Diamond Creek Farm bred the filly, who snapped a four-race skid with her Breeders Crown win at odds of 14-1. "We have been dealing with a lot of struggling with her all year," said Takter. "She got sick early and then she raced good. She is a pure champion. She has made over $2 million and that is hard to do in this game. She is just a fantastic horse and I am so happy for Adam. He raised this filly and she is just so wonderful." Lady Shadow took the lead after a tussle with 6-5 favorite Nike Franco N and Darlinonthebeach, bringing the field to the opening quarter in :26.2. She set the pace from there, with the half in :54.4 and three-quarters in 1:23.2, before facing pressure from everywhere as the field made its way down the stretch. Pure Country was sixth at the top of the lane, but rallied on the outside to win. "I thought she had a shot, I really did," said winning driver Mark MacDonald. "I thought the way the race was going to go it would work out. I figured Lady Shadow would blast out of there from the outside and I had a couple of good ones inside of me to follow. I kind of almost automatically was going to get a good trip and it turned out and she did." Takter finished Friday's Breeders Crown card with three wins in the series, pushing his record total to 33. Diamond Creek Racing and MacDonald have each won three Breeders Crown trophies. "I've always been lucky in the Breeders Crown," said Takter. "It's like a magic night for me. I won six in one year and three almost every year. Things just work out for me on that night. I don't know why, but we have a great crew and my trainer has done a fantastic job. Without those guys, I can't do it." Pure Country, a Dan Patch Award winner at ages 2 and 3, has won four of 14 races this year and earned $376,293. For her career, she has won 24 of 45 starts and earned $2.14 million. She paid $31.00 to win. Pure Country By Ken Weingartner, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. - As co-owner Marvin Katz made his way to the winner's circle for another harness racing celebration with Ariana G, the word he used to best describe the 3-year-old female trotter was "fantastic." He could have chosen others, including dominant. Ariana G won Friday night's $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters by 5¼ lengths over Ice Attraction in 1:54.3 over a sloppy track at Hoosier Park. Dream Together finished third. Ariana G joined Shake It Cerry as the only trotting fillies since 2002 to win the Breeders Crown at ages 2 and 3. Shake It Cerry was trained by Jimmy Takter, as is Ariana G. Takter extended his record for Breeders Crown training wins to 32 with Ariana G's victory. Ariana G, driven by Yannick Gingras, has won 12 of 15 races this year and earned $1.12 million. For her career, she has won 21 of 26 races and earned $1.86 million. Overdraft Volo led the field to the opening quarter in :27.1, but was still parked outside Checkmate Time when they hit the marker. Gingras moved three wide around the duo to take the lead in a :55.3 half and never slowed from there. "They tried to beat her, they just can't," said Katz, who bred Ariana G with Al Libfeld and still owns the filly with Libfeld. "I know she's great. I know she's a fantastic, exceptional, one-of-a-kind type filly. I just wanted her to perform well. She's great. She's fantastic. "(This year) is different. She was a 2-year-old last year, her career was ahead of her. Right now, she's at the pinnacle of the sport. She gotten so many accolades that she richly deserves. She's been a star for the whole industry for the whole year. She's really an exceptional, rare filly. She's one of these fillies that comes along every five or 10 years. "Jimmy Takter, Yannick Gingras, they deserve all the credit. They've managed her fabulously." Katz has 10 Breeders Crown wins and Libfeld nine. Gingras, who earlier on the card drove the Takter-trained Manchego to victory, has 18 trophies. "I thought she was by far the best trotting filly in the country and she proved it tonight," said Gingras. "Donald (Dupont with Checkmate Time) definitely took it to Andy (Miller with Overdraft Volo) and I didn't get in the hole because it looked like he was going to let him go very easy, but then he took him all the way to the half. That's the way it goes, when you go for $500,000, they are racing." Ariana G paid $2.40 as the 1-5 favorite. Ariana G By Ken Weingartner, for Breeders Crown

ANDERSON, Ind. - Manchego became the first undefeated 2-year-old female trotter to win a Breeders Crown, capturing Friday night's $600,000 harness racing final by 4¼ lengths over Seviyorum in 1:54.4 over a sloppy track at Hoosier Park. Phaetosive finished third. Manchego improved to 12-for-12 with the victory for trainer Jimmy Takter, who increased his record for Breeders Crown wins to 31. Takter has won this race five of the last six years. Yannick Gingras, Manchego's driver, has won 17 Breeders Crown finals. S M S Princess, Manchego and Phaetosive battled three wide through the first turn, with S M S Princess holding the early lead before yielding to Manchego as they reached the first quarter in :27.2. Manchengo kept Phaetosive to her outside up the backstretch before Phaetosive took the lead in a :55.4 half. On the final turn, Manchego made her move to claim the lead for good and powered past Phaetosive near the top of the stretch on her way to her historic win. Manchego is owned by Barry Guariglia's Black Horse Racing, John Fielding and Herb Liverman. Fielding has won 13 Breeders Crown trophies while Liverman has won six and Guariglia two. A daughter of Muscle Hill out of the mare Secret Magic, Manchego has earned $873,948 this year. She was bred by Brittany Farms. Manchego paid $3.00 to win as the 1-2 favorite. Manchego By Ken Weingartner, for Breeders Crown

Manchego will put her perfect record on the line in Friday's $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female trotters at Hoosier Park and a harness racing victory there would be historic. None of the previous 33 winners of the event for 2-year-old female trotters has been undefeated. The Jimmy Takter-trained Manchego has won all 11 of her races this season, including a 2-1/2 length victory over Lily Stride in 1:54.1 in her elimination last week. She has earned $573,948 and is the No. 2-ranked horse in North America behind only 3-year-old stablemate Ariana G. "It will take a heck of a horse to go by this filly," Takter said in the winner's circle after the race. "She is a fantastic horse. She is a little bit of a repeat from Ariana from last year. She is the same type of horse. She knows what she's supposed to do. She's very professional." Ariana G won last year's Breeders Crown for 2-year-old filly trotters for Takter. The Hall of Fame trainer, who owns a record 30 Breeders Crown trophies, has won this race four of the last five years. Manchego, with driver Yannick Gingras, is the 6-5 morning-line favorite in this year's event, but 9-5 second choice Phaetosive also has attracted attention. Phaetosive, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, has won four of six races and finished second twice to Manchego. She won her Breeders Crown elimination by three lengths over Seviyorum in a track-record 1:53.3. "When you come across a top talent like this," Smedshammer said, "you just got to watch after them and take care of them." Ariana G is the 3-5 morning-line favorite in the $500,000 Breeders Crown for 3-year-old female trotters despite starting from post eight in the 10-horse field. Post eight has an 8.6 win percentage, which is better than only posts nine and 10 at Hoosier. The connections of Ariana G, who has won 11 of 14 races this year, accepted a bye to the Breeders Crown final. Only one of Ariana G's losses this season has come against female competition; a neck setback to Ice Attraction in the Kentucky Filly Futurity on Oct. 8 at The Red Mile. Last week's sole Breeders Crown elimination was won by Overdraft Volo and driver Andy Miller by a head over fast-closing Ice Attraction. Overdraft Volo is 4-1 on the morning line and will start from post five. Ice Attraction, who will start from post 10, is 5-1. "It was really awesome," Overdraft Volo's trainer Julie Miller said. "It was a picture-perfect drive by Andy. He got a two-hole trip and even though he might have had to go a little sooner than he liked, when he asked her to go, he pointed her forward and she went. And to hold off Ice Attraction, who also got a good trip, I was pleased with that too. "I think we're fresh coming in. I think we made a good decision to bypass the Kentucky Futurity for the girls. I think she's been a model of consistency this season. I'm really proud of her." In the $600,000 Breeders Crown for 2-year-old female pacers, Youaremycandygirl brings a four-race win streak to the event. Youaremycandygirl, driven by Gingras for trainer Ron Burke, has won six of eight races and is 9-5 on the morning line. She is the second choice, though, to Joe Holloway’s 8-5 Rainbow Room, who has won seven of 10 and never been worse than second. Each filly won her elimination last week, Rainbow Room by 2-1/2 lengths over Firestorm in 1:52.3 and Youaremycandygirl by one length over Reign On Me in a track-record 1:51. “She was just great,” Burke said. “She’s my best shot (to get a win) for the whole weekend. She was a little bit hot (in her elimination) but I think it’s just new surroundings and everything. She seems to be a very smart filly and adapts well so I think she will come back next week and be a lot better. “She’s just a very good horse. She had one bad start at Yonkers, where she got caught in a bad spot and put in a couple steps and I think lost her confidence, but other than that she’s been pretty damn good. After she qualified this year (in June), me and Yannick both said she was our best filly.” All of the Breeders Crown championships for female pacers and trotters are Friday. Racing begins at 6 p.m. (EDT) at Hoosier Park and the Breeders Crown events are races seven through 12. Click here for Friday's complete card. Ken Weingartner Harness Racing Communications

LEXINGTON, KY-- Undefeated now in ten starts, Jimmy Takter-trainee Manchego strolled around the track to take the second of five harness racing divisions of the $289,000 Muscle Hill International Stallion Stakes (ISS) Two-Year-Old Filly Trot, presented by Southwind Farms, on Friday, October 6 at The Red Mile. Positioned fourth heading to the quarter, Manchego made her move to the front following a :28.2 quarter established by S M S Princess. She circled to the top past the three-eighths pole, from there trotting the half in :56.4 and three-quarters in 1:24.3 before kicking clear of D'bomb, advancing uncovered to take second, and S M S Princess relegated to third. Manchego went the mile in 1:52.4, romping by nine open lengths. By Muscle Hill out of the Cantab Hall mare Secret Magic, Manchego has amassed $563,948 in earnings for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. The $2.10 winner was driven by Yannick Gingras. Hey Blondie stormed through the center of the course to take the opening ISS split in 1:53.1. Venus Duharas grabbed the top, going a quarter in :28.3 before letting Lily Stride, sitting second, take the front into the backstretch. Hey Blondie, positioned fifth, edged first over at the half in :56.4, picking up cover from Prianha Fury moving into the far turn. Past three-quarters in 1:25.2, Hey Blondie fanned off cover, overtaking Lily Stride into the eighth pole, advancing to the line in front of Piranha Fury, who lost stride up and through the wire, giving Lily Stride second via disqualification, placing Piranha Fury third. Owned by Steve Jones, Mary Kinsey Arnold, Paul Bordogna, and David Mc Duffee, Hey Blondie, by Cantab Hall out of the Muscles Yankee mare Winbak Blondie, won her fourth race in nine starts, earning $168,348. Trained by Chuck Sylvester and driven by Andrew McCarthy, she paid $4.20 to win. Winning her fourth-consecutive start, Basquiat took the third ISS division in 1:52.4. Foxy Fantasy set the tempo, going a quarter in :28.2 and a half in :56.3 before bearing first-over pressure from Seviyorum entering the turn. Clearing the top, Seviyorum led at three-quarters, with Basquiat, riding her cover into the turn, drawing alongside in 1:24.4 before powering by in the stretch. The two were clear of Southwind Angelica, who took third. Owned by the Order By Stable, Basquiat, by Cantab Hall from the Windsong's Legacy mare Thatsnotmyname, won her sixth race in eight starts, earning $194,151. Trained by Jimmy Takter and driven by Yannick Gingras, she paid $5.80 to win. Looking For Zelda took the fourth division of the ISS going wire to wire in 1:54. After 3-2 favorite Strawberry Hanover broke at the start, Looking For Zelda set the first quarter in :28.4, Looking For Zelda soon underwent pressure from Deschanel, first over from fourth, at the half in :57.2. Maintaining control through a 1:25.2 third-quarter, Looking For Zelda held off a late bid from Live Laugh Love and Swing It Cathy to win. A winner of seven races in nine starts, Looking For Zelda, by Break The Bank K out of the Conway Hall mare My Winning Way K, returned $4.40 to win. She has earned $221,675 this season for owner Robert Key. She's trained by Norm Parker and was driven by Matt Kakaley. Grinding first over, Nixie Volo bested 6-5 favorite Top Expectations, winning the final division of the ISS in 1:53.4. Sitting fourth as Top Expectations went a quarter in :29.1, Nixie Volo rushed first over in the backstretch, drawing alongside the pacesetter through a :58 half and continued to match strides through a 1:25.2 third-quarter. Nixie Volo took a slight advantage over Top Expectation in the stretch, maintaining that lead through the wire while Perfect Summer K, off a rail trip, weaved into contention to take third. Trained by John Butenschoen, Nixie Volo, by Yankee Glide out of the Windsong's Legacy mare No I'm Not, won her third race in eight starts, earning $71,300 for owners Kentuckiana Racing Stable, VIP Internet Stables, 83 Racing, and Eddie Gran. Driven by Corey Callahan, she paid $14.60 to win. Grand Circuit racing resumes at The Red Mile on Saturday, October 7 with four divisions of the $232,000 Captaintreacherous ISS Two-Year-Old Colt and Gelding Pace, presented by the Captaintreacherous Syndicate and Hanover Shoe Farms, three divisions of the $197,900 ISS Two-Year-Old Filly Pace, presented by Woodbine Entertainment Group, the $136,000 My MVP Allerage Farms Trot, sponsored by Jeff and Paula Gural, and the $119,000 Mister Big Allerage Farms Open Pace, sponsored by Muscara Standardbreds. First-race post for the Saturday program is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EDT.   By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

Harness racing driver Yannick Gingras is no stranger to driving successful filly trotters. In the past six years alone, the list of such horses includes Maven, Mission Brief, Lifetime Pursuit, All The Time and Ariana G. And now there is Manchego. Manchego is a perfect 8-for-8 this year for Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter. Her next start is Friday in the fifth of five $66,000 Bluegrass Stakes divisions for 2-year-old female trotters at Lexington's Red Mile and she is 3-5 on the morning line. Her wins this season include the Jim Doherty Memorial, Peaceful Way, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. She has earned $501,948 for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. She was purchased under the name Whispering Hills for $120,000 at last fall's Lexington Selected Sale. "She's a very special filly," Gingras said. "She's not the biggest thing, but she's got a long, long gait to her. She doesn't trot like a little filly. She's very efficient in her gait." Manchego's best win time is 1:52.4, which is tied for seventh fastest by a 2-year-old filly trotter in history. Among the horses ahead of her: Mission Brief -- whose record of 1:50.3 is one full second faster than the next best time by a 2-year-old -- Ariana G and Lifetime Pursuit. "All of them had one thing in common - speed," Gingras said about the aforementioned filly trotters he has driven. "They all have really high speed and all of them could carry it a long way. "After that, they're different. Mission Brief had the most pure speed of the six of them, but she was hard on herself. The rest of them were all pretty handy, you could do whatever you wanted with them. They had more speed than anyone else they competed against, but you could race them any way you wanted, which made it easier on them and made them the fillies that they are." Gingras worked with Manchego in May and was impressed with the filly from the beginning. "I trained her in May and I really liked her then," Gingras said, adding with a laugh, "Jimmy qualified her the first time, and I was hoping he didn't decide to drive her himself. But I got her the following (qualifier). "Right from the beginning she showed that she had this kind of talent. Obviously, they have to keep improving, and some of them do and some of them don't. But she's got the pedigree and the attitude. You could tell from the beginning that she had that desire, that extra little push that great horses have." Manchego is a daughter of stallion Muscle Hill, the 2009 Horse of the Year, out of the stakes-winning mare Secret Magic. Her family includes multiple-stakes-winner and world champion Possess The Magic. Gingras has worked to teach Manchego not to get too revved up in races, and with the exception of her elimination of the Peaceful Way, the filly has been a good student. In her Peaceful Way elim, Manchego trotted away from the field to lead by as many as 10 lengths, but a bridle change had her back to herself for the final. "She was perfect," Gingras said. "She had never been like (she was in the elimination) before. Credit goes to Jimmy, he does a great job. "She's getting better and better, no doubt." In the first division of the Bluegrass, Ron Burke-trained Front Circle, a two-time winner on the Pennsylvania circuit, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Mooshka Stride, from the stable of trainer Mark Harder, is the 2-1 choice in the second division. She has a win and a second from three starts in the Kindergarten Series. The favorite in the third division, at 2-1, is Harder's Lily Stride, who has won four of seven races and never finished off the board. She finished second by a neck to Top Expectations in the Kentucky Sire Stakes championship. Top Expectations, trained by Erv Miller, is 3-1 in the same division. Julie Miller-trained Seviyorum, a two-time Pennsylvania Sire Stakes winner, is the 8-5 favorite in the fourth division. Click here for Friday's complete Red Mile card. Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager

LEXINGTON, KY-- Jimmy Takter-trainee Manchego goes for her ninth-consecutive win in the fifth of five harness racing divisions of the $330,000 Bluegrass Two-Year-Old Filly Trot on Friday, September 29 at The Red Mile. Starting from post three, the Muscle Hill filly out of the Cantab Hall mare Secret Magic has amassed $501,948 in earnings this season, including from wins in the $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial, $252,000 Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS) Championship, and $307,500 Peaceful Way Stakes. Purchased for $120,000 from Lexington Select, Yannick Gingras will drive for owners Black Horse Racing, John Fielding, and Herb Liverman. Megadolce, winless in eight starts, tries for a maiden-breaking performance in the opening division of the Bluegrass. By Cantab Hall out of the Kadabra mare Bella Dolce, the Richard "Nifty" Norman trainee has earned $43,971 with seven on-the-board finishes this season. Andrew McCarthy drives for owner David Mc Duffee. Front Circle, a Muscle Hill filly from Conway Hall mare Sheena Hall, is the 2-1 morning line favorite in the first division. A winner of two races in nine starts this season, the rough-gaited Ron Burke trainee has collected $72,232 in earnings for owners Burke Racing Stable, Silva, Purnell, and Libby, Michelle Yanek, and Weaver Bruscemi. Yannick Gingras drives the $110,000 Lexington-Select purchase from post two. Charlie Norris-trained and driven Sherrys Lady moves from the Kentucky Sires Stakes (KYSS) into Grand Circuit competition, starting from post six in the second Bluegrass split. A Muscle Hill filly from the Andover Hall mare Fraction, Sherrys Lady has won twice in four starts this season, including a third-place finish in a preliminary of the KYSS prior to a 1:56.3 lifetime-best performance at The Red Mile. An $80,000 Lexington Select Purchase, Sherrys Lady races for interest Coyote Wind Farms. Nixie Volo, another KYSS starter, looks to redeem a break in the $250,000 KYSS Final, matching up against Sherrys Lady, from post four. Winning two races in six starts this season, the John Butenschoen daughter of Yankee Glide from the Windsong's Legacy mare No I'm Not has earned $39,000 this season for owners Kentuckiana Racing Stables, VIP Internet Stable, 83 Racing, and Eddie Gran. Corey Callahan drives the $22,000 Lexington-Select purchase. The two KYSS starters will face 2-1 morning-line favorite Mooshka Stride, a Credit Winner filly from the Donato Hanover mare Check Me Out. A $260,000 Lexington-Select purchase by Emilio and Maria Rosati, Mark Harder trains the winner of one race in three starts, with her maiden-breaking score coming in a 1:55 mile in the Kindergarten Series at the Meadowlands. Andy Miller drives the earner of $8,000 this season from post two. KYSS winner Top Expectations and runner-up Lily Stride battle in the third Bluegrass division. Top Expectations, by Cantab Hall from the Kadabra mare Exceed Expectations, has won twice in eight starts, most recently upsetting at 10-1 in the $250,000 KYSS final in a career-best performance of 1:54.1. Owned by Daniel Plouffe, the Erv Miller trainee has banked $168,378 this season, and will start from post six with Marcus Miller in the bike. Lily Stride, sent off the 1-5 favorite in the KYSS final, was a neck shy of sweeping the series for owners Emilio and Maria Rosati and trainer Mark Harder. The Muscle Hill filly from the Donato Hanover mare Sterling Volo has won four races in seven starts this season, earning $167,152, and was also third to Manchego in the Jim Doherty Memorial. Purchased for $220,000 from Lexington Select, Andy Miller picks up the drive. Full sister to Shake It Cerry, Swing It Cathy, attempts for her first win of the season in the fourth Bluegrass division, facing PASS competitor Seviyorum. By Donato Hanover out of the Yankee Glide mare Solveig, Swing It Cathy has earned $19,456 this season for owners Christina Takter and Solveig's Racing Partners. The Jimmy Takter trainee will start from post six following a sixth-place finish in the $240,000 Kentuckiana and will be driven by Yannick Gingras. Seviyorum, a winner of two races in six starts, starts from post one for owners Stroy Inc. and Andy Miller Stable Inc. Earning $68,509 this season, the Julie Miller-trained daughter of Donato Hanover from Self Possessed mare Armbro Domino enters off a second-place finish in a Kindergarten prelim at the Meadowlands. The hombred from Stroy Inc. will be driven by Andy Miller. Post time for the second evening of the Grand Circuit fortnight is slated for 7 p.m. EDT. By Ray Cotolo, for The Red Mile

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 16... Ariana G lowered the harness racing stakes, track and Canadian record with a flashy 1:51.4 score in the $385,000 Elegantimage Final for three-year-old trotting fillies on Saturday evening at Mohawk, part of the Canadian Trotting Classic and Maple Leaf Trot undercard. The 1-9 heavy favourite and driver Yannick Gingras got away third as Sweet of My Heart and Dream Together took turns leading the field into the backstretch. Sweet of My Heart was the earlier leader past the :26.4 opening panel. Dream Together was then pulled from the pocket and marched to the front. Before the mid-way point, Ariana G was on the move from third then past the :55.3 half she brushed to the lead and that is where she remained. The homebred filly breezed by the three-quarter pole in 1:23.3 as Dream Together was pulled from the pocket. The 8-1 second choice couldn't catch Ariana G as she opened up by four and one-quarter lengths before crossing the wire. Dream Together stayed for second and Magic Presto was third. When it comes time for Ariana G to retire and become a broodmare, Gingras notes that he will always remember the Jimmy Takter trained trotting miss for her versatility. "She can do anything you want her to do and she is so smart," said he reinsman. "It also makes my job real easy. She has high speed like the top fillies I have driven. She is so easy to drive. Every time I get on the race track I know I'll see how the race plays out." Ariana G, who has finished top three in all but one of her 22 lifetime starts, notched her ninth victory of the season and 18th lifetime. With the win, the daughter Muscle Hill and Cantab It All lifts her career earnings to $1,641,772 for owners/breeders Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, who following the race were presented with a Breeder of the Year Award from Equestrian Canada. Ariana G paid $2.10 and 2.10, combining with Dream Together ($3.40) for a $4.40 (4-3) exacta. A 4-3-7 (Magic Presto) trifecta was worth $7.60, while a $1 superfecta [4-3-7-9 (Dream Baby Dream)] returned $18.70. There was no show wagering. Mark McKelvie

It did not take long for harness racing trainer Jimmy Takter to fall in love with Pasithea Face. "It was the first time I trained her," Takter said about the 5-year-old Swedish-born mare, who arrived in his stable on June 19 and two months later trotted one of the fastest miles in history by a female trotter. "She came here and she looked fantastic and she adapted very easily to my way of training. "I drove her in her first qualifier and I thought, wow, what a nice filly. She is a fantastic horse." Pasithea Face has won two of four races since arriving in North America, including a 1:50.4 triumph in a division of the Miss Versatility Series on Aug. 20 at Tioga Downs. At the time, it was the sixth-fastest winning mile by a trotting mare in history and only three-fifths of a second off Giant Diablo's world record. On Friday, Pasithea Face will compete in the first of two eliminations of the Maple Leaf Trot at Mohawk Racetrack in Ontario. It will be her first try against male rivals since arriving from Europe, although the 5-2 morning-line favorite in her race is another mare, Hannelore Hanover. She finished second in last year's Maple Leaf Trot. Pasithea Face is the 7-2 third choice and will have Tim Tetrick in the sulky. The favorite in the second elimination is defending champion Resolve, who is 9-5 on the morning line. The top-five finishers from each C$40,000 elimination return Sept. 16 for the C$593,000 final. Pasithea Face, owned by Courant Inc. and trained previously by Lutfi Kolgjini, is a daughter of 2009 Horse of the Year Muscle Hill out of the French mare Jovelinotte. Courant Inc.'s Anders Strom found Pasithea Face as a yearling while looking at several other horses. "I was in the paddock to see some yearling fillies by Muscle Hill that I was interested in on the recommendation of Thomas Moberg, primarily Princess Face and Pandora Face," Strom said via email. "One more horse caught my eyes and that was Pasithea Face, so I basically told Kolgjini I wanted to buy her in the package as well. "It was her fantastic conformation and Muscle Hill on a brilliant French maternal line that attracted me most. I already owned her big brother Opitergium (by Pine Chip) at the time, a really strong horse that did well in Group races. I now also own a half-sister, Lovelinotte (by Toss Out), who is a broodmare with Am Bloodstock (our breeding operation). She has already started to produce nice young horses." Pasithea Face enjoyed a strong career in Europe, winning nine of 31 starts and earning $301,199, but Strom and Kolgjini thought the mare's racing style might be better suited for North America. "Lutfi and I discussed this at length and decided the mile tracks in the U.S. would be ideal for her, and also that she might be a good mare to breed in Kentucky for the future," said Strom, who can be followed on Twitter at @Courant_AB. "A broodmare that could show 1:50 capacity with some French outcross will obviously yield attractive offspring for the U.S. yearling market in the future." Pasithea Face finished second in her U.S. debut, but found the winner's circle on her second try, capturing the Dr. John R. Steele Memorial on Hambletonian Day (Aug. 5) at the Meadowlands in 1:51.2. Next was her 1:50.4 victory at Tioga, where a week later she finished fourth in Emoticon Hanover's 1:50.2 mile in the Joie De Vie Stakes. "She raced well," Takter said. "They went (1):50.2, how are you going to make up ground in that kind of mile? Those (mares) are very good. It was a tough race." Takter expects the ladies to give the gentlemen a battle in the Maple Leaf Trot. "I think both Hannelore and Pasithea are competitive with those horses," Takter said. "We'll see; maybe I'm wrong. I'm not going to say (Pasithea Face) is going to go out and win, but I think she will be good. "She's a sweetheart. Kolgjini did a good job developing her. He always has his horses looking great. A horse like that makes me look good. I don't take much credit. But I'm the babysitter and I make sure she's happy." Pasithea Face's future will be determined by how she handles the remainder of the campaign. "We will race her the rest of the season and then listen to the horse; if she is sound, we might do another year of racing," Strom said. "There is even an option to try the big races in France with her if Jimmy Takter thinks she can do it. He should know having had Moni Maker racing the long-distance races in Paris before." For now, Strom is simply happy to watch Pasithea Face compete in her new environment. "She seems to enjoy racing the way races are run in the U.S.," Strom said. "Besides that, she goes along well with Tim Tetrick. I do as well. I really enjoy seeing Timmy driving my best horses over there. He is a class act." Following are the fields in post order for the two Maple Leaf Trot eliminations, with drivers, trainers and morning line. Elimination One: 1. Homicide Hunter by Mr Cantab -Brett Miller-Chris Oakes-3/1; 2. Il Sogno Dream by Cantab Hall -Trevor Henry-Victor Puddy-10/1; 3. Hannelore Hanover by Swan For All -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/2; 4. Lookslikeachpndale by Muscle Hill -Dan Dube-Luc Blais-9/2; 5. Odds On Amethyst by Muscle Hill -Patrick Hudon-Patrick Hudon-12/1; 6. JL Cruze by Crazed -David Miller-Eric Ell-6/1; 7. Pasithea Face by Muscle Hill -Tim Tetrick-Jimmy Takter-7/2. Elimination Two: 1. Crazy Wow by Crazed -Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-5/1; 2. Marion Marauder by Muscle Hill -Scott Zeron-Mike Keeling-3/1; 3. Gural Hanover by Crazed -David Miller-Ron Burke-8/1; 4. Mambo Lindy by Donato Hanover -Tim Tetrick-Frank Antonacci-10/1; 5. Musical Rhythm by Cantab Hall -Mario Baillargeon-Benoit Baillargeon-10/1; 6. Warrawee Roo by Majestic Son -Sylvain Filion-Luc Blais-12/1; 7. Resolve by Muscle Hill -Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-9/5; 8. Windsun Revenge  by Kadabra -Rick Zeron-Jeff Durham-6/1. Ken Weingartner

TROIS RIVIERES, QUEBEC - Trevor Henry is a quick study, and that fact was the primary reason why he and the Western Ideal stallion Western Fame emerged victorious in the $200,000 Prix d'Ete for four-year-old pacers, the signature race at Hippodrome Trois-Rivieres (3R) in Quebec on Sunday. Henry said during the card that he had driven at 3R "only once before, years and years ago," but after the race he noted "I had been watching the starts here today, and the way the car goes it looked like a good spot for me to be leaving, from post five (the stats back his thinking up - 3R is a half-mile track, but posts four and five account for 39% of the winners). So I was thinking about leaving fast from the very start." Western Fame was of the same mind, and he and Henry made the lead before getting into the first turn. Awesomeness defended the pocket, so Roll Away Joe, looped leaving, was stuck outside nearing the 1/4, with Jody Jamieson, behind 1-5 favorite Sintra and starting from the rail (10% winners at 3R), doing his best to extricate himself from a tough situation by giving a tuck to "Joe," then backing out behind the still-parked-from-PP8 Dr J Hanover, just ahead of Lyons Snyder, just past the 27.1 quarter. Since a parked horse was "leading" the outer tier and not belligerently battling for command, Western Fame got a breather on the lead, reaching the half in a very pedestrian 56.3. With Sintra moving three-wide but failing to gain quickly, and Awesomeness in the pocket doing all he could to stay close, Western Fame was required to pace only a pair of 28.2 quarters home to stop the timer in 1:53.2, leaving Awesomeness 1 1/4 lengths behind and Roll Away Joe a further ¾ of a length back in third. Lyons Snyder had to rally four-deep to be along for fifth, ahead of final checkgetter Sintra, who just did not have his "A" game today. Western Fame, who has been there or thereabouts in many of the top races of his division at both three and four, is owned and was bred by the legendary Brittany Farms LLC, and is trained by Jimmy Takter, allowing Takter to combine with Ron Burke for a stranglehold on the Prix d'Ete trophy - Takter won the race that marked the revival of the stake in 2014, and Burke then took it the next two years. (More on this idea at the bottom.) "I wasn't sure how good a spot I was in coming off the third turn, because I knew Sintra would be coming up three-wide to challenge," Henry recounted. "But when we were heading towards the last turn and he was still out three-wide, I started to feel better about my chances." And Trevor Henry and Western Fame felt better and better about those chances the nearer they got to the wire. ****** There were $7500 divisions of Quebec-bred "Coupe de l'Avenir" contests for two-year-old pacers, colts and fillies each going in two sections - the babies' last chance to qualify for September 3's $480,000 day of Q-bred Championships for the eight divisions of two- and three-year-olds. The "Stock market" is certainly bullish at 3R right now, as the Sportsmaker colt Stock again turned in a dominant performance while winning in 1:55.4 as a shower started to pass quickly through. Stock opened his career with an Ontario Roots win, took a division of the opening leg of the Q series, then tried his luck at the Battle Of Waterloo, where he won an elimination before being undone by PP8 in the final. But he certainly bounced back with authority on Sunday, with only G A Speed Sammy able to stay anywhere close to the talented winner, who carried 77% of the win pool and 96% of the place pool. Stock is trained by Dany Fontaine for owner Sotirios Anastaspoulos and Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. and 3R's leading driver, Stephane Brosseau. Driver Louis Philippe Roy can seemingly do no wrong at 3R - even when it looks like he may have, as it did at the half in the other colt section. Roy kept the pocket shut early with El Muchacho behind a speed duel, then was locked in when the outer tier formed nearing the half, with odds-on favorite Power Fog second-over and looking like a possible sweeper. But the horse who had been two-wide in the speed duel, Determinant, bore out going to the third turn and severely cramped the chances of the outer tier while also giving a clear road to El Muchacho and Louis Phillippe. The Goliath Bayama colt, given this second life, moved to the lead before the ¾ and won nicely for trainer Maguire and the owning partnership of the driver and Ecuries Maguire Inc. Their main concern, in relation to the Championship, was framed by the timer, which stopped at 2:01.1 - a new mark for El Muchacho, now a two-time series winner, but five seconds slower than the clocking posted by Stock. Hall of Famer Mike Lachance was the grand marshal for Prix d'Ete Day, so it seemed appropriate that his buddy from the "French Connection" days of success in the mid-Atlantic area in the 70s, Yves Filion, would be a winners circle visitor in a division of the filly competition, as he overcame post eight with Katniss S BG to win handily in 2:03.2. The daughter of Mach Three, out of a full sister to Wakizashi Hanover, certainly looked like a warrior leader on Sunday, limbed out to a 29.4 quarter on a wet track before taking the lead, rating the middle half as she pleased and then striding home much the best. Filion is the trainer/driver of the two-time series winner for owners Sylvain Descheneaux and Gaston Bibeau. (This race lost some luster when DGs Shadowbell, the only baby of either sex going 2 for 2 to start the series, was scratched; she now has two weeks to get back to her best for the Championship.) In the second cut for the misses, first-time Q-Series winner Lit De Rose thrust herself squarely into the main frame of Championship possibles with a victory in 1:59.1, a personal best. The daughter of Leader Bayama paid a very high price for the lead, being parked in 28.1 before getting the top, then had to keep the speed going - middle fractions of 57.1 and 1:27.1 were required to keep favored La Balafre hung out to dry, driver Dan Dube (a four-time winner on the day) determining that he wanted the front end with his filly. His strategy worked as the hot fractions burned everybody else out, and his filly could coast home well ahead of the opposition for trainer Maxime Velaye and breeder/owner Guy Corbeil. A pair of $8000 Invitationals was also scheduled on the big card, with the trot reuniting driver Louis Philippe Roy, trainer Kevin Maguire, and the winners circle via the twelve-year-old Conway Hall gelding Four Starz Speed, who was parked to a 28.2 quarter to get the lead but turned back all challenges from there in his 1:59 victory. The win was the 52nd of Four Starz Speed's career, which has seen him run up winnings of $831,887. Ecuries Maguire Inc. own the spry graybeard, who is indeed the horse who won his New York Sire Stakes final - in 2008, when he was three. On the pacing side, the day's popular theme of "take the punishment you must to the quarter, as long as you then can control the pace" (see d'Ete, Prix) was again played out, as Louis Philippe Roy reported home first for the fourth time on the day after he and Ufdragons Rocket came home all alone in 1:54.1. The favored Dragon Again gelding was out to a 27.3 quarter, then parked major danger Bali through middle splits of 56.3 and 1:25.2; from there, he could pull away for his 11th victory of the campaign. The winner of $336,513 is trained by Yves Tessier for owner Francois Morin. FINISHING LINES - The sire of Roll Away Joe, third in the Prix d'Ete, is Roll With Joe, whose name is on a FFA pace held annually at New York's Tioga Downs. This race was held a few hours before the Prix, and was won by Dealt A Winner - the only reason we mention it here is that the 2-3-4 finishers in the race were Rockin Ron, Sunfire Blue Chip, and All Bets Off, who won the 2016, 2014, and 2015 Prix d'Etes, respectively! ... Also, because Dealt A Winner, the longest shot on the board at Tioga, paid $72.50 - and it took Hippodrome 3R, with 11 favorites successful on its 15-race card, until the very last race to have its win mutuels combined reach that figure! (The biggest contributor? Western Fame at $14.80.) From the Quebec Jockey Club

Lexington KY - The Red Mile hosted the first leg of the Kentucky Sire Stakes for harness racing 2-year-old pacers with two divisions of both colts and fillies racing for a purse of $30,000 and Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Takter came to play.   The first colt division was the evening's fourth race and Grand Teton lived up to his advance billing by steamrolling the field in the stretch for the Takter - Brett Miller combo to win going away in 1:52.4. Away mid-pack, Miller followed up third over with the 1-9 favorite as You Said It took the field into the final bend where Trajectory loomed up to challenge as they passed the three quarters in 1:25.4. When shown racetrack, Grand Teton found a faster gear and was by the field in a blink. Gone Again (Tyler Smith) rallied for second and Whos Better (Don Harmon) was a good third. The winner is a Diamond Creek homebred by first crop sire A Rocknroll Dance from their prolific producer Western Montana.   Fillies came up next in the fifth and Santa Rosa converted a ground saving trip by Brett Miller (his third consecutive win), closing up the inside for the win in 1:52.4. Post time favorite Let's Fall In Love set the fractions with token pressure from the parked out Angelou past a 56 half and 1:25.1 three panels before giving way to the closing wave. Fine Art (Tyler Smith) followed in second and Tipp City Hugh Beatty) rallied for third. Santa Rosa is a Brittany Farms homebred on both sides by Western Ideal from Art's Vintage and was winning for the first time in her fourth try. She is also a product of the Takter barn.   Brett Miller made it four and Takter three consecutive wins with heavy favorite Decoy lasting over the furious late rally of Key Advisor (Joe Bongiorno) in 1:52.4. Miller settled Decoy in fourth early as Key Advisor left to the top from post 7 then brushed the colt up to take over as they passed the half in 55.4. A 29.4 third quarter breather under token pressure was just what Decoy needed as he opened up three quick lengths off the turn and held safe to the wire. Tiffany Marie (Dan Shetler) was third. The winner is a son of top sire Somebeachsomewhere and was a $110,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase by Brixton Medical, RAW Equine and Joe Sbrocco.   Band Stand was a 1:51.4 winner in the final of the evening's stakes for driver Joe Bongiorno who was making his first foray to the Bluegrass. Joe pulled the filly first over against Dance Blue who took over going to the half in an attempt to complete the KYSS sweep for the Takter/Miller duo and Band Stand gradually ground that rival into submission through a testing 1:23.2 three quarters. Moving to a clear lead in the stretch Band Stand held safe right to the wire for the speedy record. Shakewhatmamagaveu (Tharps) was second just holding off the close of Pure Paradise and Tyler Smith. The winner is trained by Tony Alagna for owner Brad Grant who gave $40,000 for the A Rocknroll Dance filly in Lexington last fall.   Band Stand     Live racing resumes at The Red Mile on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. with the Kentucky Sires Stakes for 3-year-olds.   Nick Salvi  

Trois-Rivieres, Quebec - Eight top four-year-old pacers in North America have entered the C$200,000 Prix D'Ete that will take place this Sunday, August 20, at the Hippodrome 3R. The post-position draw for the big race will be done live at H3R tonight (Wednesday)to in the winner's circle after the fourth race on the program. H3R is hosting tonight, the fourth leg of the World Driving Championship in races 5, 6, 7 & 8. Heading the Prix D'Ete horses is Sintra from the Dave Menary Barn. The son of Mach Three has won $222,000 this year and in his last start won at Mohawk Raceway in 1:48.4. The fastest of the horses entered is Dr J Hanover from the barn of Tony Alagna. Earlier this season he became the fastest Canadian winner of all-time with his 1:46.4 triumph at Mohawk Raceway. Michael Vanderkept's Awesomeness comes into the race off a lifetime best 1:50 victory at Mohawk. Also entered off a lifetime best mile is local favorite Sports Authority in 1:52.4 at Rideau Carlton this past weekend. And the Jimmy Takter Stable has two top horses entered, Western Fame and Roll Away Joe. "What a great field we have for our Prix D'Ete race," said Claude Vevesque, president of the Quebec Jockey Club. "Top drivers and top horses will make for a superb race on Sunday." Here are the horses entered in alphabetical order: Awesomeness (TBA) Dr J Hanover (Doug McNair) Lyons Synder (Daniel Dube) Roll Away Joe (Louis-Philippe Roy) Sintra (Jody Jamieson) Sports Authority (Pierre Luc Roy) Stonebridge Beach (Stephane Bouliot) Western Fame (Trevor Henry) The entry box for the remainder of the 15-race card Sunday will be closed Thursday morning at 11:00 am. There will also be the third leg of the C$220,000 Future Star Series for two-year-old pacing colts and fillies. There is a special first race post time Sunday of 2:30 pm and the Prix D'Ete is scheduled to be raced at 7 pm. For more information, visit www.quebecjockeyclub.com. From the Quebec Jockey Club

Vernon , NY - Top filly trotter Ariana G has been entered to race against harness racing colts in the Open Main Event of the $320,000 Dr. Harry M. Zweig Memorial (race 10) on Friday night at Vernon Downs.   Ariana G was considered for the Open division of the Hambletonian but her connections chose instead to race her in an elimination and final format against fillies in the Hambletonian Oaks.   Her competition will indeed be stout in the Zweig Memorial. Among the chief contenders are Devious Man coming in off a valiant second place effort in the Hambletonian final, Bill's Man who wound up fourth in that race, Hambo first heat winner International Moni and Stanley Dancer Memorial (div) winner Long Tom.   Ariana G's win in the Oaks pushed her career earning past the $1 million mark for breeder/owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. The Muscle Hill filly has won fifteen of eighteen career starts and six of seven this season, her only defeat coming in a third place finish against colts in June's Earl Beal Memorial at Pocono. Jimmy Takter trains and Yannick Gingras will drive from post position five.   Devious Man (PP #7) has been a model of consistency throughout his career for owners Stroy, Inc. and Andy Miller Stable. The best in New York last season, he has taken on both state-bred and Grand Circuit assignments with equal success with four wins and four seconds in as many starts this year. He also edged past $1 million in career earnings with his Hambo Day proceeds. Andy Miller will drive the Julie Miller trainee in the Zweig.   With Ariana G out of the mix, everybody in the $135,000 Zweig Filly trot (race 9) moves up one position.   Celebrity Ruth is the top money winner having collected more than $200,000 this season, largely in the NYSS program for owner White Birch Farm. Trond Smedshammer is the trainer and Jason Bartlett will drive starting from post position two.   Competition will come from a pair of Ake Svanstedt fillies who each won a division of the Duenna stake at The Meadowlands. Evelyn (PP #3) will get Andy Miller who drove her to the Duenna success back in the sulky for owners Ake Svanstedt Inc, Little E LLC, Borje Nasstrom and Silva Stable 45 while Ice Attraction leaves from post 7 for the trainer and his partners Doug Sipple Mal & Janet Borroughs and Little E.   There are also consolations for both the colt and filly Zweig and three divisions of New York Sires Stakes (NYSS) for freshman pacing colts along with the accompanying Excel A & B races on an all-stakes card.   The races begin at 6:45 p.m. More information is available at the Vernon Downs website.   Nick Salvi    

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – August 5, 2017 – Arianna G cemented her dominance of the trotting filly division. The 1-5 harness racing favorite Ariana G, with Yannick Gingras driving, cruised to a four and three quarters length victory over Magic Presto to capture the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, the 12th race on Saturday at the Meadowlands. Trained by Jimmy Takter, Ariana G was moved  to the lead at the half-mile mark at 54.4 and then cruised to victory, the fourth time for the team of Takter and Gingras in the Oaks.  The mile was time in 1:51.2. Gingras was holding up four fingers to celebrate the win after crossing the finish line. It was Gingras’ fourth win on the card. “I was really concerned about Magic Presto and obviously you have to respect the competition,” said Gingras.  “When she got away on the first turn and I really didn’t want to be first over that long of the way, so I decided to do whatever I needed to do to get her to the front. It wasn’t the best move I think, but she is just a great horse and a great horse can overcome anything.” Arianna G’s full sister, All The Time, won the Oaks last year with a time of 1:52.1. The 2016 Dan Patch Award winner as Two-Year-Old Filly Trotter of the Year, the Muscle Hill filly has won 15-of-18 lifetime starts and this year has clocked sub 1:52 on four separate occasions. The Gingras/Takter combo has won four straight Hambletonian Oaks and Takter notched his seventh overall, which makes him the winningest trainer in Oaks history. “She did a tremendous mile. It was a tough opening, because she cut all the way to the front due to the high pace,” said Takter. “She is just in a class of her own.” Arianna G paid a modest $2.40, $2.10, and $2.10 . Magic Presto with Brain Sears finished second paying $3.00 and $2.40, and Dream Together with Daniel Dube finished third paying $2.60. Dream Baby Dream finished fourth. by Lou Monaco

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ -August 5, 2017 - The 1-2 favorite Manchego added another win to her harness racing resume, winning by two and a quarter over a closing Phaetosive, to capture the 35th edition of the $330,800 Jim Doherty Memorial Final for two-year-old trotting fillies, the fifth race on Saturday at the Meadowlands. It was trainer Jimmy Takter's third win on the day and Manchego, driven by Yannick Gingras, improved her lifetime record to five straight wins in as many starts. It was Gingras' second straight win on the card and second Doherty win of his career, having won his first with Mission Brief in 2014. Manchego, the daughter of Muscle Hill, took control just prior to the half-mile mark and came home with a lifetime-best time of 1:52.4. She paid $3.00, $2.10, and $2.10 to her backers. Phaetosive, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, paid $2,60 and $2.20 for second. Lily Stride with Tim Tetrick at the lines, was third by six and a half lengths, paying $3.00. Vivacious Allie with David Miller driving finished fourth. "She is a really special girl. We liked her from the get go and she keeps developing and certainly has a very effective way of going and has a tremendous inner-strength that few horses have," said Takter, who recorded his fifth win in the Doherty, formerly named the Merrie Annabelle. Manchego by Lou Monaco

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (August 4, 2017) - Harness racing duo Jimmy Takter and Yannick Gingras will team up to go for their unprecedented fourth straight Hambletonian Oaks on Saturday with morning line favorite Ariana G. The duo tuned up Friday night at The Meadowlands by partnering to win the $50,000 Townsend Ackerman with 7/5 wagering choice Sir John F in a lifetime-best 1:53.4. Gingras, who won four races on the card, steered the Donato Hanover colt to a textbook second-over trip while Snowstorm Hanover cut out the fractions of :27.1, :56.3, and 1:25.3. In deep stretch, Sir John F struck the front while longshots Simply Volo and Thisguyisonfire gave chase. Sir John F hung on with a :28.1 final quarter mile to score his fourth lifetime victory and raised his career bankroll to $108,242 for owners Christina Takter, John & Jim Fielding, R A W Equine, and Kevin McKinlay. Sir John F In the $30,000 Duenna, Evelyn was aggressively moved to the front by Andy Miller. The Muscle Hill filly, who finished sixth in her Oaks elimination last week, held off the pocket-sitting Decadence (Corey Callahan) to win in 1:52.3. It was her first win of 2017 in eight starts and third lifetime. She has earned $124,666 for trainer Ake Svanstedt who shares ownership with Little E LLC, B Nasstrom, and Silva Stable 45. The ladies starred in two divisions of the Hambletonian Amateur Drivers as Sarah Svanstedt and Hannah Miller score wins with Real DJ Hanover and Danish Durango, respectively. Evelyn Total handle on the 12-race card was $2,629,799 Hambletonian Day is Saturday with a 16-race stakes-filled card beginning at 12:00 p.m. Gates open at 10:00 a.m. The Hambletonian, Hambletonian Oaks, and Sam McKee Memorial will be broadcast during a 90-minute live telecast on CBS Sports Network beginning at 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.playmeadowlands.com. Justin Horowitz

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