Three trotters from the sophomore class of 2010 have come online with their initial crops this year; Muscle Massive is standing at Hanover, Lucky Chucky at Winbak in New York and Holiday Road in Ontario. Pilgrim’s Taj is a fourth, but he only spent one year in Canada, after which he was relocated to Ohio and ultimately exported to Finland. That being the case, we’ll look at the first three. To this point restricted races have provided the only basis for judging them, but the open portion of the season commences this week with elimination rounds for the Peter Haughton and Merrie Annabelle at the Meadowlands as well as several splits of the Arden at The Meadows. Much of the focus has been on Muscle Massive and Lucky Chucky, beneficiaries of generous state bred programs who finished one-two in the Hambletonion. The former was a $450,000 yearling who was lightly raced at two but managed to win the Hambletonion as well as the Dancer at three, while Chucky was a precocious freshman, showing wins in the Valley Victory, Matron, ISS and Bluegrass. He was the 3/2 favorite in the Hambletonion and appeared on his way to victory when 6/1 Muscle Massive, piloted by Ron Pierce, ruined his day. Regardless, Chucky did win the Canadian Trotting Classic and Colonial at three, and he earned more money than Muscle Massive both years. Both sold close to seventy yearlings last year, with Chucky’s brood averaging quite a bit more. Both have seen their stud fees fluctuate before their first crops hit the track. Muscle Massive started at $10,000, only to have his fee cut to $7,500 and $6,000 in successive years. Cantab Hall, Donato Hanover, Andover Hall and Explosive Matter all command higher fees than their younger stablemate at Hanover. Chucky, on the other hand, started at $7,500 in New York, was dropped to $5,000 during a year spent in Pennsylvania, and came back up to $7,500 when he returned to Winbak, where nineteen-year-old Muscles Yankee stands for $2,500 more. Muscle Massive has benefited from the success of his older brother, Muscle Mass, sire of O’Brien winner Riveting Rosie and the successful OSS colt Muscle Matters. Thus far Muscle Massive has given us some outstanding fillies. Gatka Hanover, a big rugged gal out of the Conway Hall mare Girlie Tough, from the Ron Burke barn, has left many wondering where her ceiling is. Gatka rolled through a couple of baby races and has now chalked up three wins in the PA Sire Stakes, one each at The Meadows, Pocono and Harrah’s. Matt Kakaley steered her to an effortless four length win in 1:57 in her latest. She leaves from the five for Matt K in Friday’s first Merrie Annabelle elimination. Gatka takes on Lucky Chucky’s daughter, Lock Down Lindy, who drew plenty of attention with a very strong first over win in a Merrie Annabelle Prep at the Meadowlands Friday for Scott Zeron and Tony Alagna. Another Muscle Massive star in the making is Jimmy Takter’s Speak To Me, an $80,000 Harness Breeders purchase by Myron Bell. She is also three-for three in the PA Sire Stakes and has trotted in 1:55. Last time out, in a $57,000 sire stakes division at Harrah’s, Speak To Me gapped the field by ten on her way to an easy win at a stingy 1/5 price. Unfortunately this filly was not staked to the Merrie Annabelle and will be missing from the fray on Friday night. Blessings Counted is another talented filly by Muscle Massive. She was second to Speak To Me in a PASS race at The Meadows a couple of weeks ago and won a $57,000 race at Harrah’s in her latest start. She is not eligible to the Merrie Annabelle but is entered in a split of the Arden at The Meadows on Friday. Missive and Youth Gone Wild, both winners in the Stallion Series, will also race in the Arden. Jersey Strong, a talented filly with a win in the PA All Stars and a second in the PASS, isn’t entered at The Meadowlands or The Meadows on Friday. The top colt by Muscle Massive is Ake Svanstedt’s Lima Pride, who beat Jimmy Takter’s 1/9 favorite The Bank in a split of the Hickory Pride when The Bank went on a run at the three-quarters. Lima Pride, a $25,000 yearling purchase, was not nominated to the Peter Haughton. The priciest freshman trotter by any first crop stallion is Mr Lucky Luke, a $450,000 Lucky Chucky half- brother to Muscle Massive, Muscle Mass and 2010 Merrie Annabelle winner, Thatsnotmyname. The Cancelliere brothers, of Detour Hanover fame, purchased him at Lexington in the fall. He has yet to make a pari-mutuel start; let’s hope he generates a better ROI than Detour has. As for the Lucky Chucky colts and fillies that have raced, there is no eye popping Gatka Hanover out there, but there are plenty of good ones. I already mentioned Merrie Annabelle candidate Lock Down Lindy, who possesses the same rugged demeanor as Gatka. She is a half-sister to 2006 HOY in Canada, Majestic Son. He has sired Harper Blue Chip, Murmur Hanover and Charmed Life. Ray Schnittker has Gabe The Bear Dean, a $105,000 Harness Breeders buy, who has an impressive wire-to wire five length win in the NYSS at Buffalo. Jonas Czernyson has a few Lucky Chucky youngsters in his barn and he’s high on all of them. At the end of June Hot Start, a half-sister to Religulous, won a $27,000 NYSS split at Vernon Downs for Corey Callahan. Next time out, at Tioga, she cut most of the mile from the outside post only to lose to paternal sister My Twisted Sister, from the Paul Kelley barn. Hot Start is entered in the second Merrie Annabelle elimination on Friday. Nunkeri is another very promising Lucky Chucky filly from the Czernyson barn. She finished second to the Muscle Hill filly Josie’s Joy at the Meadowlands the other night, race timed in 1:57.2 as the second choice. Nunkeri won her start previous to that one, a $28,000 NYSS division at Tioga. George Ducharme’s sharp looking Conway Hall filly, Concentration, pressured her all the way home in a 1:59.3 mile. On the male side Mal and Janet Burroughs’ Mambo Blue Chip, a $40,000 Harness Breeders buy, won a $28,000 split of the NYSS in 1:57.2 at Tioga last time out. Holiday Road, a $115,000 yearling who is a full brother to Ken Warkentin, was lightly raced, making only ten lifetime stars. While staying on the track was an issue, speed wasn’t; he won the Peter Haughton at two and a split of the Dancer at three. He opened his stallion career for $4,500 at Seelster Farms and now stands for $3,500. This week the Holiday Roads started to turn heads and earn respect at Mohawk as they performed admirably on the various OSS platforms. John Bax’s Hemi Seelster was long and tough winning a Grassroots division in 1:58.4 at 2/1. It was noteworthy that the gelding engaged in a head to head battle the length of the stretch with Pilgrim’s Joy, a son of first crop stallion Pilgrim’s Taj. Tony Alagna’s filly Gee O’Keeffe logged a very strong second in a $53,000 OSS Gold leg at Mohawk for Jody Jamieson, losing a length to the highly regarded Kadabra filly Juanita’s Fury. And Keith Jones’ gelding, It’s Huw You Know, was an upset Grassroots winner in 2:00.3 on Monday at 75/1, paying $159.60. And Ontheroad De Vie made a very impressive brush on the back as he came from the 10 post to finish second for Rick Zeron in a Grassroots leg. The Holiday Roads are looking good. Rock N Roll Heaven and Sportswriter are lighting it up in the freshman pacing division, but it’s expected that the trotters will take a little longer to get their bearings and hit their stride. Muscle Massive, Lucky Chucky and Holiday Road will all be prospering when they do. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/
Elora, ON --- A total of seven $16,740 Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series divisions for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers were featured on Monday night (July 21) at Grand River Raceway and they saved the fastest split for last as Single White Sock toured the half-mile oval in 1:56. With Scott Coulter at the lines, Single White Sock was in front through fractions of :27.4, :58, and 1:27.3. Single White Sock turned away a big three-wide bid by Twin B Scandal (Joe Hudon) past three-quarters, and he then kicked clear in the lane to prevail by 2-1/4 lengths. Twin B Scandal wound up second with Pan Street USA (Bob McClure) back in third. It was the second win in three starts for Single White Sock, a Badlands Hanovercolt trained by Barry Treen for owner Len Gamble. Tanya Prescott bred Single White Sock, who was purchased for $24,000 at the 2013 Canadian Yearling Sale. Single White Sock, an earner of $17,281, is the fifth foal out of the Apaches Fame mare Love You Dear, making him a half-brother to millionaire and former Ontario Sires Stakes winner Ramegade Bruiser. Camluck, the long-time stalwart sire of the Ontario Sires Stakes program, had a pair of winners with Big Moment winning the second division in 1:56.1 with Alfie Carroll handling the driving assignment and Mike's Powerhouse picking up a 1:56.4 victory in the third section for driver Trevor Henry. Big Moment broke his maiden in his second attempt for trainer Bob McIntosh, who also bred the colt with CSX Stables. McIntosh and partner Max Newham own Big Moment, the fourth foal out of the No Pan Intended mare Breathtacular. Breathtacular is related to two six-figure earners in Breathdefying and Lucky Encounter. Mike's Powerhouse, who is out of the Artsplace mare Michelle's Jackpot, making him a full brother to the likes of 2012 Little Brown Jug champion and millionaire Michael's Power and millionaire Michelle's Power, is trained by Casie Coleman for owner-breeder Jeff Snyder. Mike's Powerhouse was victorious at first asking after finishing fourth and first in two qualifiers at Mohawk Racetrack. Coleman was right back in the winner’s circle in the next race after Mike's Powerhouse’s victory as her Sportskeeper (Jody Jamieson) romped to a an 8-1/4 length decision in 1:56.3. Coleman also bred and co-owns Sportskeeper, a Sportswriter colt, with partner Merlin Howse. Sportskeeper, who was also making the initial start of his racing career, is the third foal out of the Nuclear Flash mare Keeper Flying, which means Sportskeeper is a half-brother to former Ontario Sires Stakes competitor Keepers Destiny (Intrepid Seelster, $702,855). Sportswriter had another siring credit with Half A Billion, who was a 1:57.3 victor in the sixth Grassroots flight. Mike Saftic drove the colt for trainer Marcel Barrieau. Half A Billion is a homebred for the Hudson Standardbred Stable and he is a perfect two-for-two in his career and in Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series competition. Half A Billion, the fifth foal out of the Western Hanover mare Racey Miss, is a half-brother to multiple OSS winner Racey Miss ($214,571) and Petite Courageuse ($195,733). Also picking up victories were: Bridge Of Stone, a Stonebridge Regal-Dreamlands Sachi (Western Hanover) gelding, who halted the clock in 1:57.3 for driver Scott Coulter, trainer Carmen Auciello, and owners Denarben Stables and Rocco Auciello. He has won both of his Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series tries The Fire Within, a gelding by Whosurboy and out of the Big Towner mare Mollie Hanover. The half-brother to Illusionist ($893,246) picked up his second win from three attempts for driver Jody Jamieson and breeder/owner/trainer Fred Drouillard. The next time the 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers of the Ontario Sires Stakes Grassroots Series will be in action is August 15 at Mohawk Racetrack. For full results of Monday’s night’s events, click here. From the Ontario Sire Stakes
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 19 - A quartet of Canadian Breeders Championships for the nation's finest three-year-old pacers and trotters highlighted the undercard for Maple Leaf Trot night at Mohawk. Harper Blue Chip, with Sylvain Filion at the controls, turned in another top notch performance to win the $121,958 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old colts and geldings trotters. After getting away in third, the son of Majestic Son - Winning Jonlin was sent to the lead approaching the half and never looked back winning by 3 Â¾ lengths in 1:55.2. Muscle Matters, the early leader, finished second, while Jitterbug finished third by a nose over Entranced. Harper Blue Chip is trained by Mark Steacy for owners Landmark 6 Racing Stable, David McDonald, David Reid and George Judson. Following the race, Howard Pearce, a member of the Landmark 6 Racing Sable, said it was a sweet victory. "It's a tough year to have a really nice horse like 'Harper' because of those three nice horses down south," said Pearce. "But he's proven that he is one of the best in Canada, so that's wonderful." Pearce also mentioned that it appears Harper Blue Chip will now head south to the Meadowlands to compete in the Hambletonian. The Breeders Championship victory was the second win in five starts this season for Harper Blue Chip and the fifth win of his career. His career earnings now jump more than $350,000. He paid $2.70 to win. White Becomes Her extended her win streak to four in winning the $118,090 Canadian Breeders Championship for the three-year-old filly trotters. Mario Baillargeon moved the daughter of Angus Hall - Pursuing Keagan from the two-hole to the lead in the second quarter. After posting a three-quarter time of 1:28.1, White Becomes Her trotted away from her rivals with a :28.3 last quarter to win by 2 ¾ lengths in 1:56.4. Margie finished in the place spot, while Mayberry trotted into third. White Becomes Her is trained by Ben Baillargeon for owner Vince Mastrangelon. The Breeders Championship was the fifth win in eight starts this season for White Becomes Her. Following the race, Mario Baillargeon said we haven't seen the best of her yet. "I don't think so, I can't wait to race her with the American fillies and get a trip," said Baillargeon. "She loves to follow a lot more than racing on the front, so I would like to get her on a helmet behind Shake It Cerry and see what happens in the lane." White Becomes Her now has six wins and earnings of over $210,000 in her career. She returned $3.30. Silverhill Shadow repelled all comers with a smart front-end pace to win the $122,028 Canadian Breeders Championship for three-year-old pacing colts and geldings. Chris Christoforou blasted off the gate to demand the lead from pocket-sitting Shadowbriand marking a quarter in :27 and a half in :56.2 through a persistent drizzle over a sloppy track. Sylain Filion made a menacing move first over into the turn with Victor Bayama, but Silverhill Shadow had another gear and stepped away to a dominant win in 1:51.2. A ground saving Shadowbriand, efficiently steered by Paul MacDonnell, stayed on determinedly to earn the place photo over Victory Bayama. Trained by Dr. Ian Moore, the Shadow Play colt earned his fourth win of the campaign from six starts. The conditioner noted a very important similarity to his champion sire. "Heart and desire for sure," said Moore. "He's a big strong colt and he gives you all he's got every time out." A front-end trip was always in the cards for the quick Silverhill Shadow. "Chris was asking him to get the front going the first quarter, and I thought I had him warmed up pretty good, but he was great the last half-mile and that's where it counted," said Moore. He paid $5.80 to win. Brescia Seelster pulled off a 60-1 upset in the $122,343 Canadian Breeders Championship final for three-year-old pacing fillies. Sudoku brushed to the lead under urging from Jody Jamieson down the backstretch in :56.1, but it was an amped up My Secret Belle, piloted by Joe Hudon, who took over into the turn. My Secret Belle and Sudoku battled to mid-stretch before a closing cavalry of filly pacers converged with the outside rally of Brescia Seelster the winning move for Mario Baillargeon. Performing Art, a 40-1 long shot, stormed up the rail to earn place money keying boxcar payoffs. It was the fourth win in eight starts this season for Brescia Seelster, improving on a 1-4-1 record from 10 starts a year ago. "She was a little slow in maturing and Mario has been telling us all along as this horse gets older it'll be better," said co-owner Norman Keyes. Co-owned and trained by David Keyes, Brescia Seelster paid $138.70 to win. by Mark McKelvie and Keith McCalmont, for WEG
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 18 - On the eve of the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot, one door has been shut for a 'Trot' hopeful, while a door has opened for a new challenger. Undercover Strike, trained by Tony O'Sullivan, was to start from post position eight in tomorrow night's Maple Leaf Trot, but has been scratched. The scratch to Undercover Strike has given a second opportunity to the Luc Blais trainee Wheeling N Dealin, who did not qualify for the final, but was the also eligible. Wheeling N Dealin will now start from post position eight in tomorrow night's final, but will wear saddle pad number eleven. A driver has not yet been named for Wheeling N Dealin as Jody Jamieson, who drove the horse in the elimination and is listed in the program, will be driving Archangel from post position four. Wheeling N Dealin has won eleven times in 27 career starts and has earnings of over $865,000. This season, the four-year-old son of Cantab Hall - Quick Credit has won twice in eight starts. Pop Writer and Sports Chic, who were winners in the first round of Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series competition for two-year-old pacing fillies on July 11 at Mohawk Racetrack, backed up those efforts by winning again at the same level on Friday (July 18) night at Grand River Raceway. Four $70,000 Gold Series tilts went postward in all, with Northern Starlet and Code One Hanover taking the other two splits. That meant another sweep in the Gold Series for first crop sire Sportswriter as his incredible run with his rookies continued. Pop Writer (Doug McNair) was placed the winner in the opener after the judges determined that original first-place finisher Palette Tina (Trevor Henry) had committed interference to Fiftyshadesofbay (Rick Zeron) before the field reached three-quarters. Win The Gold (Jody Jamieson) was moved up from third to second in the official order and Fiftyshadesofbay got elevated from fourth to third. Posted by Pop Writer, the fractions were :28.4, :58.2 and 1:28.3 with the final time of the mile clocked in 1:57.1. Tony Alagna trains Pop Writer for owners Alagna Racing of Steger, Illinois, and John Carver of Bettendorf, Iowa. Pop Writer is now a perfect two-for-two in her career and in OSS competition with earnings of $70,000. Diamond Creek Farm-bred Pop Writer, who is out of the Cambest mare Pop Or Tonic. The biggest upset of the night was posted by Northern Starlet (Yves Filion), who rallied by the leaders in the stretch following a second-over trip to prevail by two and a quarter lengths in 1:56. Missy Tap Tina (Trevor Henry) finished in second and public choice Lady Hill (McNair), who was in front through fractions of :27.2, :56.1, and 1:25.4, had to settle for third. Northern Starlet is trained by Stephane Larocque for owner Bayama Farms Inc. of Saint-Andre-D'Argenteuil, Que. She broke her maiden in her second attempt and she has now earned $38,500. Northern Starlet, who was bred by Dr. John McKnight, was plucked out of the 2013 Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for $45,000. She is the first foal out of the Western Ideal mare Casino Nights, an earner of over $278,000 in her career and a half-sister to five other six-figure earners including Allamerican Captor ($986,982). Code One Hanover (Paul MacDonell) went right down the road in the third Gold Series tilt, hitting the opening quarter in :29.1, the half in :59.4, and the three-quarters in 1:28.3. In the stretch there was a battle between Code One Hanover and first-over challenger Southwind Mischief (Chris Christoforou), with the former able to beat the latter by a quarter of a length in a final clocking of 1:56.4. Shes A Pansation (McNair) collected third. Jack Darling of Cambridge, Ont owns and trains Code One Hanover, who won for the first time after a pair of runner-up efforts to start her career. Code One Hanover, an earner of $55,500, was bred by Hanover Shoe Farms Inc. and was purchased for $75,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Code One Hanover is the third foal out of the Western Ideal mare Current Hanover ($380,248) and a half-sister to the likes of Muscle Beachboy ($116,198). Sports Chic turned in the fastest clocking in the four divisions after she won the nightcap in 1:55.3 for driver Jody Jamieson. Her win was accomplished in similar fashion to Code One Hanover as she was on top through stations of :27.1, :56, and 1:25.4 before she kicked out a :29.4 final panel to seal the deal. Delightful Hill (Billy Davis Jr.) was up for second, beaten half a length by the winner, with Solar Sister (McNair) back in third. Trainer Blake MacIntosh of Cambridge, Ont. also co-owns Sports Chic with partner Hutt Racing Stable of Paoli, Pennsylvania. Sports Chic has a pair of wins from three trips behind the gate and she has now earned $73,000. Sports Chic, a Winbak Farm-bred filly, is the 15th foal out of the On The Road Again mare Vesta Blue Chip, which means Sports Chic is a half-sister to the great Rainbow Blue ($1,600,012), the 2004 Canadian Horse of the Year. In addition to the on track action, Grand River Raceway also hosted a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes on Friday night. Fans at the track were able to participate in merchandise giveaways, trivia contests, and also got cupcakes. For the full list of upcoming celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the Ontario Sires Stakes at other Ontario tracks, click here. The next Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series event for the freshman pacing fillies takes place at Georgian Downs on August 10. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Elora, ON --- It was a banner night for trainer Casie Coleman and driver Chris Christoforou as they teamed up to sweep the trio of C$70,000 Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events for 2-year-old colt and gelding pacers on Wednesday (July 16) at Grand River Raceway. All three winning colts – Bob Ben And John, Southwind Indy, and Rollwiththepunches – are from the first crop of Sportswriter, who Coleman also trained throughout his career, including his victory in the 2010 North America Cup. In the first Gold Series test Bob Ben And John and Christoforou moved from third to first before the :56.3 half-mile marker. From there, he would go on to reach three-quarters in 1:26.2 before he closed with a :28.2 final kicker to win by a length and three-quarters in 1:54.4, which was the fastest of the three divisions. Go Daddy Go (Randy Waples) challenged Bob Ben And John first-over in the final half but had to settle for second and early leader Moonwards Hanover (Paul MacDonell) checked in third. West Wins Stable of Cambridge and Adriano Sorella of Milton, Ontario, own Bob Ben And John, who is a perfect two-for-two in his career, with both victories coming in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series events. Bob Ben And John, who was bred by Frank Coleman and sold for $17,000 at last year’s Lexington Selected Yearling Sale, is the fifth foal out of the Cambest mare My Best Girl, making him a half-brother to the likes of Ohmybelle ($223,097). Odds-on favorite Sporting The Look (Jody Jamieson) was in control through stations of :28, :58.1, and 1:27.1 in the second section, but he would make a break in stride and leave the course just past three-quarters. With Sporting The Look out of contention, Southwind Indy and Christoforou inherited the lead from the pocket, and Southwind Indy would go on to win by a length and a quarter in 1:56.3. Sports Bettor (Randy Waples) was the runner-up and Windsong Lightning (Eddie Green) grabbed third. It was the first win in two tries for Southwind Indy, who is owned by West Wins Stable, Steve Calhoun of Chatham, Ontario, and Southwind Farms LLC. of Pennington, New Jersey. Southwind Farms also bred Southwind Indy, who was purchased for $45,000 out of the 2013 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale. Southwind Indy is the first foal out of the Rocknroll Hanover mare Its Only Rocknroll. Its Only Rocknroll’s dam is Armbro Wallflower (Village Jasper), a multiple-time OSS winner at two and three, including the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final for 3-year-olds in 2002. Deetzy (Randy Waples) showed the way through fractions of :29, :58, and 1:26.4 in the OSS Gold Series nightcap, but Christoforou fanned Rollwiththepunches wide for the drive following an off-the-pace trip, and Rollwiththepunches would take the lead at the top of the stretch. Once he was in control, Rollwiththepunches drew away to score by 2-1/2 lengths in 1:56.2. Win One Soon (Phil Hudon) finished second, followed by Lyons Jimmydean (James MacDonald). Like Bob Ben And John, Rollwiththepunches improved his record to two-for-two in his career and in OSS competition for owner West Wins Stable. Bred by Concord Stud Farm LLC., Paul Stromick, and Birnam Wood Farms, Rollwiththepunches was taken out of last year’s Standardbred Horse Sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for $17,000. Rollwiththepunches is the first foal out of the Western Terror mare Terroronthebeach, a half-sister to Guestimate ($656,546) and Dinner Guest ($554,867). Ontario Sires Stakes Gold Series action for the rookie colt and gelding pacers will resume on August 10 at Georgian Downs. For full results and charts from Wednesday night’s events, please click - http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/racing/results/data/r0716grvrn.dat From the Ontario Sire Stakes
Night Pro won the first race of his career at Northfield Park, but the stakes will be a little higher when the pacer returns to the Cleveland-area oval for the first time since his March 2013 debut. The purse for Night Pro's first victory was $2,000. On Saturday night, the 4-year-old competes in the $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield Park against some of the best older pacers in harness racing. The field also includes Foiled Again, who is a two-time winner of the race and the richest pacer in North American history, plus stakes-winners Apprentice Hanover, Beach Memories, Bolt The Duer, Clear Vision, Fool Me Once, and Twilight Bonfire. Night Pro, an Indiana Sire Stakes champion and winner of six consecutive starts heading into the Battle of Lake Erie, will start from post one with driver Peter Wrenn and is 4-1 on the morning line. Foiled Again, who will leave from post seven with Yannick Gingras at the lines for trainer Ron Burke, is the 3-1 favorite. "I'm excited, to say the least," said Dale Decker, a Michigan resident who owns and trains Night Pro. "It's nice to let the rest of the country see him. I know people will be watching because of Foiled Again and the rest of them. "I think he can go with them. I just have to make sure he's healthy going in. That's the important part." Night Pro has won 21 of 28 lifetime races and $308,929. Decker, who attended the U.S. Trotting Association's Driving School in 2000 and has won 171 races as a driver and 180 as a trainer, purchased the son of Pro Bono Best-Midnight Jewel for $14,000 as a yearling at the Hoosier Sale, although he had no intention of buying the horse when he attended the sale. Decker, who runs a homebuilding company in addition to training horses, raised Night Pro for breeder Linda Marckel and expected the horse to sell for much more. "I was in a state of shock, so I started bidding," Decker said. "I didn't even have a truck or trailer there. But I had high expectations for the colt and thought he would bring more than that, so I ended up buying him." For a while, it appeared Decker's expectations would be unfulfilled. Night Pro was unraced at age 2 because he had a bone chip removed from his left-hind ankle and did little to encourage Decker until the end of February 2013. "He started back at [age] 3 and I didn't think he would make it to the races because he just couldn't seem to get over that ailment," Decker said. "He was just going through the motions. Then it was like the light switch turned on. It was like overnight he turned into a racehorse. Then, I thought I might have something." Night Pro won his first eight starts and 10 of his first 12 without ever finishing worse than second. His last victory during that span came in the July $200,000 Indiana Gold Sire Stakes final for 3-year-old male pacers at Hoosier Park. When the fall championship arrived in September, Night Pro was battling illness and finished sixth. "He was a little sluggish in the last leg [of the sire stakes] and he was just no good in the final," Decker said. "It just took too much out of him. That was his last race of the year and he's come back strong this year." Now Decker will get to see if Night Pro is strong enough to handle the likes of Foiled Again, who has earned $6.31 million in his career, world champion Bolt The Duer, and 2013 Cleveland Classic winner Apprentice Hanover. Night Pro enters the Battle of Lake Erie off four straight wins in the invitational handicap at Hoosier Park, with the last three coming over 2012 American-National Stakes winner Our Lucky Chip. "I've been interested in getting outside of Indiana and seeing if he could compete with the rest of them," Decker said. "This means a lot to me." Following is the field in post order with drivers, trainers, and morning line: 1. Night Pro, Peter Wrenn, Dale Decker, 4-1; 2. Beach Memories, Josh Sutton, Brian Brown, 15-1; 3. Bolt The Duer, Mark MacDonald, Peter Foley, 7-2; 4. Clear Vision, Brett Miller, Ron Burke, 9-2; 5. Fool Me Once, Aaron Merriman, Mark Austin, 6-1; 6. Twilight Bonfire, Tony Hall, Rich Gillock, 12-1; 7. Foiled Again, Yannick Gingras, Ron Burke, 3-1; 8. Apprentice Hanover, Jody Jamieson, Ben Wallace, 10-1. By Ken Weingartner for, Harness Racing Communications
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 15 - A stellar 13-race card featuring the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot has been assembled for Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk Racetrack. Sebastian K, the world's fastest trotter (1:49), highlights the field of ten for the 63rd edition of Canada's most storied trotting event, the Maple Leaf Trot (Race 9). The eight-year-old "Scandinavian Powerhouse" won his elimination last Friday (July 11) for trainer-driver Ake Svandstedt in 1:52.2. Upon earning the right to select his post position for the final, Svandstedt selected the rail as the starting spot for his prized trotter. Svandstedt, a top horseman in his native Sweden for many years, relocated his stable to North America this season and is in the midst of a successful campaign, thanks in large part to Sebastian K who is a perfect five for five on North American soil. The high point of the season thus far for Sebastian K was a seven-length victory in the Sun Invitational at Pocono Downs on June 28, in which he became the fastest trotter in the history of harness racing with a jaw-dropping mile time of 1:49. Before coming to North America, Sebastian K had victories in top events such as the 2013 Oslo Grand Prix, a heat of the 2013 Elitlopp and the 2012 UET Trotting Masters. The nine rivals who will look to knock Sebastian K off the top of the mountain, include the last two Maple Leaf Trot winners, Mister Herbie ('12) and Market Share ('13). Market Share won the second elimination last week in 1:53 with a last quarter of :26.4 for driver Tim Tetrick and trainer Linda Toscano. His connections selected post position two for the final. The five-year-son of Revenue - Classical Flirt is the richest horse in the field with over $3.2 million in career earnings. Market Share followed up his Maple Leaf Trot victory last year with a triumph in the Breeders Crown. His career highlights also include two million-dollar race victories in 2012 in the Hambletonian at the Meadowlands and the Canadian Trotting Classic at Mohawk. Leading the charge for the local horses will be Mister Herbie, who finished runner-up to Market Share in not only his elimination last week, but also in last year's final. The Jeff Gillis trainee won the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot in a stakes and track record clocking of 1:50.4 and was last year's O'Brien Award winner as top older trotter in Canada. Mister Herbie will start from post six and will be driven by Hall of Fame driver Steve Condren who won his first and only Maple Leaf Trot in 1988 with Natural Image. The seven other challengers in the field are a group of well accomplished standardbreds. Intimidate, a past Breeders Crown and O'Brien Award winner, will start from post three for driver Sylvain Filion and trainer Luc Blais. Ron Burke, North America's leading trainer, will send out two starters. Archangel, post four, was the 2012 Yonkers Trot champion, while Wishing Stone, post five, has had success in both North America and Europe with victories in the 2012 Copenhagen Cup in Denmark and the 2013 Maxie Lee Memorial at Harrah's Philadelphia. Creatine, last year's Kentucky Futurity winner, will start from post seven for the duo of Hall of Fame driver Mike Lachance and trotting conditioner Bob Stewart. Undercover Strike will leave from post eight and is a Preferred winner at both Mohawk and the Meadows. He is sent out by trainer Tony O'Sullivan and will be driven by Doug McNair. Flanagan Memory, who won last year's Goodtimes, Ontario Sires Stakes Super Final and an O'Brien Award, starts from post nine for trainer Rene Dion and Woodbine/Mohawk's leading driver Chris Christoforou. Modern Family, a multiple stakes winner, will start from post ten for trainer Daryl Bier and will have Ron Pierce, a two-time Maple Leaf Trot winner, in the sulky. The field of ten for the Maple Leaf Trot has combined for 188 career victories and career earnings of $13,837,506. The Maple Leaf Trot undercard will feature four Canadian Breeders Championships (Races 2,3,7,10) for three-year-olds. Trevor Ritchie, a three-time Maple Leaf Trot winning driver ('03 Rotation, '06 Peaceful Way, '07 Equinox Bi), recently announced his retirement from driving. Ritchie will be on hand Saturday night to present the trophy to this year's winner and will be a special guest on Mohawk Racing Live's pre-game show beginning at 6:45 p.m. Post time for Saturday's Maple Leaf Trot card is 7:25 p.m, with the Maple Leaf Trot expected to go behind the gate at 10:05 p.m. Here is the field for the $603,000 Maple Leaf Trot. Race 9 - Maple Leaf Trot - Purse: $603,000 PP/Horse/Driver/Trainer/Morning Line 1. Sebastian K - Ake Svandstedt - Ake Svandstedt - 2/5 2. Market Share - Tim Tetrick - Linda Toscano - 6-1 3. Intimidate - Sylvain Filion - Luc Blais - 12-1 4. Archangel - Jody Jamieson - Ron Burke - 10-1 5. Wishing Stone - Randall Waples - Ron Burke - 20-1 6. Mister Herbie - Steve Condren - Jeff Gillis - 15-1 7. Creatine - Mike Lachance - Bob Stewart - 15-1 8. Undercover Strike - Doug McNair - Tony O'Sullivan - 25-1 9. Flanagan Memory - Chris Christoforou - Rene Dion - 25-1 10. Modern Family - Ron Pierce - Daryl Bier - 20-1 AE: Wheeling N Dealin - Jody Jamieson - Luc Blais - N/A by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
Foiled Again has drawn post 7 in Saturday's (July 19) $150,000 Battle of Lake Erie and has been named the 3-1 slight morning-line favorite by Northfield Park Executive Vice President of Racing and Simulcasting, Dave Bianconi. Foiled Again will appear in the Battle an unprecedented six times, and Saturday will reveal if he is successful in becoming the first horse in Northfield Park history to win this event three times. The 10 year-old son of Dragon Again (2000 Battle Champion) won in 2009 and 2011, joining Jaguar Spur (winner in 1988-89), Peruvian Hanover (winner in 2002-03) and Maltese Artist (winner in 2005 and 2007) as the only four horses to win the Battle of Lake Erie twice. Age does not seem to be slowing Foiled Again. He has paced his last four races in under 1:50. Foiled Again is trained by Ronald Burke and has garnered 80 career victories and sports earnings of $6,313,068. Those career earnings rank him as the richest pacer in the history of harness racing. The 2014 Battle of Lake Erie field: Horse Driver Trainer M/L 1-Night Pro Peter Wrenn Dale Decker 4-1 2-Beach Memories Josh Sutton Brian Brown 15-1 3-Bolt The Duer Mark MacDonald Peter Foley 7-2 4-Clear Vision Brett Miller Ron Burke 9-2 5-Fool Me Once Aaron Merriman Mark Austin 6-1 6-Twilight Bonfire Tony Hall Rich Gillock 12-1 7-Foiled Again Yannick Gingras Ron Burke 3-1 8-Apprentice Hanover Jody Jamieson Benjamin Wallace 10-1 Since its inception in 1986, the Battle of Lake Erie has drawn the best veteran pacers the sport has to offer. Past Battle Champions include racing greats Falcon Seelster, Quite A Sensation, Jaguar Spur, Dorunrun Bluegrass, Cambest, Riyadh, Gallo Blue Chip and Maltese Artist. Powerful Undercard This year's Battle of Lake Erie program carries total purses of $554,500. The 15-race program boasts an impressive undercard featuring nine $40,000 divisions of Ohio Sires Stakes for two and three year-old colt pacers and trotters. Superfecta wagering has been added to Saturday's twelfth race, the Battle feature. First race post time is 6:00 p.m. In addition to superior racing action, Battle night will also offer guests a sumptuous buffet in Lady Luck's clubhouse dining room. The special priced buffet is just $15.95. Reservations are preferred and can be made by calling 330-467-4101. Guests who want to be down close to all of the racing action can stop by the grandstand apron to sample several of northeast Ohio's most popular food trucks. Live music by Unknown Reason will be part of the apron scene from 5-10 p.m. by Ayers Ratliff, for Northfield Park
CAMPBELLVILLE, July 12 - A quintet of Canadian Breeders Championship eliminations for the three-year-old pacers were contested Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. Lady Shadow turned in the performance of the evening with a sizzling 1:49.2 victory in the third and final $17,477 elimination for the pacing fillies. The Gregg McNair trainee was sent hard to the front by driver Rick Zeron and never looked back. Off a three-quarter time of 1:22.1, Lady Shadow paced home in :27.1 for a 8 ¾ length victory. The 1:49.2 clocking was a new lifetime best for the daughter of Shadow Play - Lady Camella and her third win in six starts this season. Nefertiti Bluechip finished in the place spot, while Justabit Mean was third. The elimination victory boosts Lady Shadow's career earnings to over $320,000 for owners Lindsey and Connie Rankin. She paid $4.40 to win. My Secret Belle and owner/trainer/driver Joe Hudon converted off a pocket trip in the first elimination. The daughter of Mach Three - Kindly Jenna grabbed the lead early and was able to take a seat in the two-hole when Brookedale Shadow cleared to the front as the field hit the backstretch. At the top of the lane, Hudon pulled the pocket and My Secret Belle paced by Brookedale Shadow for a 2 ¾ length victory in 1:51.1. Brookedale Shadow held on for second over Artful Impulse. The win was the fifth in 17 starts this year for My Secret Belle and it pushes her career earnings to more than $110,000. She paid $3.80 to win. In the second split, Sudoku and driver Jody Jamieson turned in a 2 ½ length victory in 1:51.1. The daughter of Badlands Hanover - Mind Boggling was situated third over on the final turn and unleashed a :26.4 last quarter. Performing Art, who was second over in front of Sudoku, finished second, while Badlyinclined rallied for third. The 1:51.1 clocking was a new lifetime best for Sudoku, who is now undefeated in two starts this season for trainer Tony O'Sullivan.The victory boosts her career earnings to over $225,000 for the ownership group of Let It Ride Stable Inc, Mentally Stable Inc, Dana Parham and Howard Taylor. Sudoku returned $3.70 to win. The first $26,149 elimination for the colts and geldings went to 2013 Metro Pace winner Boomboom Ballykeel and driver Jonathan Drury in 1:50.3. The son of Mach Three - Teig N Riley took the lead approaching the half and dug in through the stretch to hold off a late charging Hunch Man by half a length. Victor Bayama finished third. The victory was the third in five starts this season for Boomboom Ballykeel and it equaled his career mark. He is trained by Richard Moreau for owners Ballykeel Racing Inc. Shadowbriand and Roger Mach Em finished fourth and fifth to secure the last two spots for next week's final. Boomboom Ballykeel now has careers earning exceeding $478,000 and he paid $7.80 to win. The second and final elimination went to the Dr. Ian Moore trained Silverhill Shadow and driver Chris Christoforou. The son of Shadow Play - Ruthie Jane made a brush to the lead down the backstretch and paced away from the field in the stretch to Prince Clyde finished second, while Speckled Door was third. The elimination victory was the second win in ten starts this season for Silverhill Shadow and increased his career earnings to over $85,000 for owner Silverhill. Lucky King and Titus Seelster clinched the last two spots in the final with fourth and fifth place finishes. Silverhill Shadow returned $4.30 to win. The finals for both divisions will be held next Saturday night (July 19) at Mohawk as part of the Maple Leaf Trot card. Following the eliminations, the post positions for both finals were drawn in the paddock. Elimination winners were able to select their own post position. Here is how they will lineup for next week's finals. Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Filles - Purse: $122,343 1. Performing Art - Billy Davis Jr. 2. Sudoku - Jody Jamieson 3. My Secret Belle - Joe Hudon Jr. 4. Lady Shadow - Rick Zeron 5. Badlyinclined - Jack Moiseyev 6. Justabit Mean - Jonathan Drury 7. Brookedale Shadow - Chris Christoforou 8. Brescia Seelster - Sylvain Filion 9. Nefertiti Bluechip - Jody Jamieson 10. Artful Impulse - Steve Condren AE: Mea Lilley Mark - Mike Saftic Canadian Breeders Championship - 3 Year Old Pacing Colts and Geldings - Purse: $122,028 1. Shadowbriand - Paul Macdonell 2. Speckled Door - Phil Hudon 3. Silverhill Shadow - Chris Christoforou 4. Boomboom Ballykeel - Jonathan Drury 5. Roger Mach Em - Jack Moiseyev 6. Lucky King - Billy Davis Jr. 7. Prince Clyde - James MacDonald 8. Hunch Man - Mike Saftic 9. Titus Seelster - Sylvain Filion 10. Victor Bayama - Sylvain Filion AE: High Flier - Billy Davis Jr. by Mark McKelvie, for WEG
MARKET SHARE WINS HIS ELIM IN 1:53
Every year some of North America's best three-year-old harness racing pacers come together and compete for one race; The Pepsi North America Cup! For on this night; records are broken, victories are celebrated and the price of glory is high! And where the list of champions grows and grows... This night is one of harness racing’s most anticipated events. It’s the event of the year that top trainers, owners, drivers, and fans alike come together to watch history being made! You can feel the atmosphere of the grandstand change as the crowds begin to file in with spectators young and old; first time enthusiasts and experienced pros, as they all wait to catch a glimpse of the harness racing’s superstars. The races are always more intense on this night, and you can feel it as the trumpets blare and the race is called to post. The horses don’t know that it’s a bigger night; all that they know is that they are here to win! And the driver’s feel the pressure; because they know what glory lies beyond the finish line. The horse’s line up behind the gate, all of them ready to take one of the many champion titles to on the card. The gate lets the horses (and drivers) go, my heart begins to pound in time with the horse’s hooves hitting the dusty track. I undo my seatbelt, getting ready to stand up when they turn for home! I don’t want to miss a second of the action. But for now I’m on the edge of my seat. I watch the horses race past me, I’m in awe. I tune everything else out. At the same time, I’m also watching the fractions go up on the toteboard. As they come off the turn I know the time has come! I grip the rail, the blood rushing through my body. I look to my mom, and she knows that means I’m going to be standing up. I stand up as my eyes are locked on the stretch. I fight the urge to sit; my legs begin to shake, but I tell myself I’m not going to sit until they cross the wire. I grip the rail tighter. I begin to scream louder than I have all of the race as they draw near. My lungs begin to feel dry because I’m screaming so loud. The horses make a final graceful dash for the wire; all of them wanting to be number one; with one trying to outstretch the other. My concentration only breaks when I hear the announcer say with great excitement “...and that’s a new track record! After the winner returns to the Winner’s Circle. I watch attentively as the blanket is draped over him like the cape of a king. I watch as the winning connections hold the trophy high with pride and joy, as the cameras click and flash away! No matter how many North America Cups I attend, the same magic, wonder, and awe still exists; it never gets old and never will! Each year the horses get faster and faster, but the fierce competition remands the same. I have actually had the honor of being in the 2011 North America Cup Winner’s Circle. It was such an amazing experience, and one of which I will never forget. It all started a week before at the eliminations. I was along the rail when a gentleman came up to me and said “Sydney, if my horse wins next week, you can come out and have your picture taken.” I was so honored and excited. Then a few minutes later another gentlemen came up to me and said “No, no Sydney; if my horse wins next week, you make sure come out and get your picture taken with my horse!” Now I was even more excited! Now I wanted to know who was going to win the final! Was I going to have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? All of these questions would be answered next week. But next week seemed so far away. As I sat along the rail dreaming of next week, another gentleman named Carl Jamieson came up to me and said “ Sydney, don’t listen to those two” (referring to the gentlemen I had just been speaking to.) “When my horse wins next week make sure you come out for your picture!” So now I had three invites to the Winner’s Circle! Now I was really looking forward to the final! I could hardly wait to see who would be crowned the 2011 champion! A week later the final of the 2011 North America Cup was here! It was a beautiful summer evening and there was a warm breeze blowing through; and the air was buzzing with excitement. As everyone pondered the same thought, who will win the 2011 North America Cup? The entire night I was looking forward to that one race- The North America Cup! Would I have the honor of being in the Winner’s Circle? If so who would it be with? These were all the questions floating through my mind. But before I could find out any of the answers, someone had to win the North America Cup! The race was making my heart pound faster than it ever had before! The anticipation and excitement was growing with every turn they passed. I was also cheering for three horses at the same time; which as I learned that day is easier said than done. I had my seat belt undone, ready to stand when the horses rounded the final turn. As they turned for home I was practically jumping up and down. One of the horses I could go to the Winner’s Circle with was going to win! Up The Credit would be crowned the 2011 winner of the North America Cup! I quickly sat back down in my chair, buckled my seat belt the fastest I ever have, and my dad and I ran to the gate of Winner’s Circle waiting for Jody Jamieson to turn Up The Credit into the Winner’s Circle! Once there I met Carl Jamieson, I wished him a big congratulations on his win and gave him a hug! And then we all packed into the Winner’s Circle; all overjoyed with the evenings events! After the majority of pictures had been taken, Carl Jamieson came over to me and said “Sydney! Here hold it, and we’ll take a picture!” I replied “No, but thank you!” I was so nervous and I did not want to drop the North America Cup! So Carl (Jamieson) held it on my lap, and we had our picture taken holding the North America Cup! It was a pretty amazing feeling. And to this day that picture hangs on the wall in my living room... After I was back at my spot on the rail, Jody ( Jamieson) was walking back to the paddock signing autographs, as he walked by me I stuck my hand through the bars in the rail and said “ congratulations Mr. Jamieson!” He stopped, shook my hand, and said to the gentleman standing beside my mom and me, “Can I borrow your marker?” The gentleman agreed. My mom turned to grab our program for him to sign. Jody (Jamieson) said “that’s okay! I can do better then that!” He took off his North America Cup baseball cap, signed it, and placed it on my head; and he continued to walk back to the paddock. I was in shock; I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I lowered my head and the tears began to fall, not because I was upset, but because I was so genuinely touched but what Jody Jamieson had done! For the rest of the night I wore that hat with such pride! I will forever treasure that hat. In fact that night I slept with it like a teddy bear! And I kept waking up because I didn’t want to lose it! Today, that baseball cap hangs on a rack above my bed. And every night before I fall asleep, I look up at that very special baseball cap. And it brings me to that very special night and all the lasting memories that were created... This story is a collection of only a few of the memories I have from the North America Cup! Each year new memories are created; all of which I will always hold near and dear to my heart! Sydney Weaver is 14 years old and resides in Acton, Ontario, Canada. She has been involved with harness racing for years, grooms horses, jogs them on the track, co-owns a racehorse and has already won major youth writing awards. Sydney also has Cerebral Palsy, but has never let her disability hold her back from achieving her goals.
Up The Credit toyed with the six foes he tackled in Wednesday $11,000 Preferred 2 at Grand River Raceway, and his clocking of 1:53 was the quickest mile of the season at the Elora half-miler. Up The Credit shot to the top from Post 2 and successfully chopped out splits of :27.1, :55.3 and 1:24 before using a :29-second closing quarter to win by a pair of lengths over Mach Of Ballykeel. My Friend Diaz rallied late and took home the show dough. Jody Jamieson engineered the winning trip for the six-year-old son of Western Terror-Cantbuymehappiness. Trainer Carl Jamieson co-owns the classy campaigner with Tom Kyron, Brian Paquet and Joanne Morrison. It was the second win of the season for the 14-time winner who boosted his bankroll to $1,316,998 with the victory. To view the rest of the story click here.
The world's fastest trotter is set to make his Canadian debut this Friday as Sebastian K is one of 12 horses entered in the 2014 Maple Leaf Trot. Sebastian K drew Post 6 in the first six-horse elim, Race 3 on Mohawk Racetrack's Friday night card. The European-bred superstar, owned by Knutsson Trotting of Vero Beach, Fl., has been unbeatable in his four North American starts, two of which have been in world record speed. Trained and driven by Sweden's Ake Svanstedt, Sebastian K's most recent effort was a scintillating 1:49 effort at Mohegan Sun Pocono -- the fastest trotting mile in harness racing history. Svanstedt's hope that Sebastian K could get another week's rest with no elimination divisions needed was not to be had with 12 entered in the rich stake. A number of O'Brien and Dan Patch Award winning trotters will look to knock off the top-rated horse in North America, including two in his elimination race. Wheeling N Dealin (PP1, Jody Jamieson), 2012's top two-year-old trotter looks to be returning to form and 2013 three-year-old O'Brien winner Flanagan Memory (PP5, Chris Christoforou) has solid recent form. Both, however, will have to up their game to knock off the Swedish superstar. In the second elim, back-to-back O'Brien Award winning Older Trotting Horse Mister Herbie (PP5, Steve Condren) is the fastest trotter ever on Canadian soil by virtue of his 1:50.4 effort in the 2012 edition of the Maple Leaf Trot. Another O'Brien Award winner, Intimidate (PP1, Sylvain Filion) is no stranger to big stage heroics. His 2012 Breeders Crown win (over Market Share, also entered in this race) helped propel him to divisional honours two seasons ago at age three. Race 3 -- 1st Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Wheeling N Dealin - J. Jamieson - L. Blais 2. Creatine - M. Lachance - R. Stewart 3. Wishing Stone - To Be Announced - R. Burke 4. Archangel - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Flanagan Memory - C. Christoforou - R. Dion 6. Sebastian K - A. Svanstedt - A. Svanstedt Race 8 -- 2nd Maple Leaf Trot Elim - Purse: $40,000 1. Intimidate - S. Filion - L. Blais 2. Market Share - Ti. Tetrick - L. Toscano 3. Modern Family - D. Palone - D. Bier 4. Dws Ny Yank - To Be Announced - R. Burke 5. Mister Herbie - S. Condren - J. Gillis 6. Undercover Strike - D. Miller - T. O'Sullivan Friday's card also features Canadian Breeders Championship elimination races for three-year-old trotters as well as an Ontario Sires Stakes Gold leg for two-year-old pacing fillies. (With files from Mohawk Raceway and Standardbred Canada)
Bee A Magician will try to return to her winning ways when she faces 13 male rivals - including last year's Hambletonian Stakes winner Royalty For Life - in Saturday's $484,850 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at Meadowlands Racetrack. Last year, Bee A Magician won all 17 of her starts and was named Horse of the Year in the U.S. and Canada. This season, the mare is winless in three races and coming off a ninth-place finish in the Armbro Flight Stakes on June 14 at Mohawk Racetrack. It was her first off-the-board finish since going off stride in her second lifetime start in July 2012. Trainer Richard "Nifty" Norman said Bee A Magician scoped sick following the Armbro Flight. Bee A Magician, who has won 27 of 33 career starts and $2.33 million, prepped for the Hambletonian Maturity with a 1:53.1 qualifier win on June 27, trotting her final quarter-mile in :26.3. She will start the Hambletonian Maturity, to be contested at 1-1/8 mile, from post No. 13 with regular driver Brian Sears. "She qualified really good and she's acting fine, so it looks good now," said Norman, who trains Bee A Magician for owners Mel Hartman, Herb Liverman and David McDuffee. "I was really happy with her qualifier and Brian thought she was back to her old self, so hopefully we're good. "It was a bit of a shock," he added about Bee A Magician's finish in the Armbro Flight. "I've never seen her stop before. But these things happen. She's never really had any setbacks before, so we weren't used to it. But she got over it, so we're OK. At least we knew there was something wrong." Joining Bee A Magician in the Hambletonian Maturity field are Your So Vain, Sweet Justice, Bambino Glide, Fico, Wheeling N Dealin, Royalty For Life, Flanagan Memory, Spider Blue Chip, High Bridge, Master Of Law, Major Athens, Possessed Fashion, and Creatine. Conditions for the Hambletonian Maturity allowed for up to 16 starters rather than the traditional 10. Royalty For Life, who is making his 2014 debut, won last year's Hambletonian Stakes while Spider Blue Chip was the Breeders Crown champion and Creatine captured the Kentucky Futurity. Wheeling N Dealin was the 2012 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male trotter. "I think it will be OK; I think we'll be alright," Norman said about facing the boys. "We'll see how some of those colts are." Also on Saturday's card at the Meadowlands are two eliminations for the Meadowlands Pace and one elimination for the Mistletoe Shalee. The first elimination for the Meadowlands Pace features North America Cup winner JK Endofanera. The second division includes He's Watching, the 2013 Dan Patch Award winner for best 2-year-old male pacer, and last year's Breeders Crown champion Luck Be Withyou. The top five finishers from each elim advance to the July 12 final. As for Bee A Magician's future schedule, she is being pointed to the Ima Lula Series at the Meadowlands, which is for trotting mares, following the Hambletonian Maturity. "I think I'll try to keep her at home as much as possible, race her close to home," Norman said. "It's a long year and I don't want to over-race her. We'll see how it goes. If we can do some good on Saturday and get some money there, that's a big purse, it would make the rest of the year a lot nicer." Following is the field in post order for the Hambletonian Maturity with listed drivers and trainers: 1. Your So Vain, Ake Svanstedt, Ake Svanstedt; 2. Sweet Justice, Corey Callahan, Bruce Saunders; 3. Bambino Glide, Marcus Miller, Julie Miller; 4. Fico, Tyler Smith, Staffan Lind; 5. Wheeling N Dealin, Jody Jamieson, Luc Blais; 6. Royalty For Life, David Miller, George Ducharme; 7. Flanagan Memory, Ron Pierce, Rene Dion; 8. Spider Blue Chip, Ron Pierce, Chuck Sylvester; 9. High Bridge, Yannick Gingras, Jimmy Takter; 10. Master Of Law, Scott Zeron, Frank Antonacci; 11. Major Athens, John Campbell, Rich Gillock; 12. Possessed Fashion, Tim Tetrick, Tom Fanning; 13. Bee A Magician, Brian Sears, R. Nifty Norman; 14. Creatine, Mike Lachance, Bob Stewart. by Ken Weingarter, for Harness Racing Communications
SUMMERSIDE, PE - Carnivore capped off a Marc Campbell harness racing driving triple to propel the Island reinsman to victory in Saturday night's Atlantic Regional Driving Championship at Red Shores at the Summerside Raceway. Campbell scored a 1:55.1 win with Carnivore in the final race of the competition for trainer Marvyn Webster and owner Valleygrove Farm of Kensington, P.E.I. Campbell finished the competition with 71 points to send him to the National Driving Championship on August 26 at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park. "I'm feeling really good," Campbell said after the victory. "I had a good line up and the horses raced good. It's always close these kind of things and that's what makes it really exciting." Pictonian Press finished second to put Nova Scotia driver Ryan Ellis into the other spot for the National's with 65 points, while PC Shockwave finished third to give Darren Crowe 55 points, finishing third in the competition. "It started out good and I just had good horses I guess," Ellis said. "After looking at the card I thought I had a shot and the horses came through." Jason Hughes finished fourth in the competition with 50 points, while Gilles Barrieau was fifth with 49 points followed by Todd Trites (41), Brodie MacPhee (31), Ryan Campbell (31) and Kevin Dillon (27). Hughes opened up the competition in race 2 with a 2:01.1 victory aboard Miracleonthehudson to give him the early lead over Silverhill Princess (Todd Trites) and Diagram Hanover (Ellis). Lyndale Royal captured race 3 in a 10-length 1:56.4 score for Ellis over Ok Chivas (Marc Campbell) and Rivervues Legacy (Crowe), giving Ellis the points lead. Ultimate Labamba captured race 4 in 1:58 giving the top spot to Marc Campbell with second going to Just Coastin Along (Hughes) and Whitesand Artist (Gilles Barrieau) third. Rash B Havior delivered as the post time favorite in race 5 to widen the lead for driver Marc Campbell with Bad Date (Crowe) second and The Warden (Brodie MacPhee) third. Dance Hanover captured race 6 to propel Trites into third place with second in that race going to Blu Meadow Willie (MacPhee) and Joachim (Ryan Campbell) third. Race 7 had Darren Crowe bring himself into contention with a 1:57 victory aboard Barrett Jackson ahead of In Cahoots (Barrieau) and Smackwaterjack (Ellis). Its Handsome Hank captured race 8 in 1:59.1 to put Ellis into second place behind Marc Campbell with Roccos Cavallo (Kevin Dillon) second and River Paradise (Hughes) third. Marc Campbell sat out race 10 to see Barrieau score with Keystone Nobility over Tyber Champ (Darren Crowe) with Onehotvett (Ryan Ellis) third. Marc Campbell and Ellis will join Jody Jamieson, Billy Davis Jr., Brandon Campbell, Jim Marino, Guy Gagnon and Sylvain Lacaille in the National Driving Championship. The Summerside card also featured two divisions of the Atlantic Aged Mares Pacing Series with Bunny Mach capturing the first division in 1:56.2 for trainer-driver Hughes and owners Donald and Steven MacRae of Vernon Bridge. Veronicavermillion (Brian MacPhee) was second with Prynne Hanover (Mike McGuigan) third. The second division went to General Luckypercy and Barrieau in 1:56.1 for trainer Jackie Matheson and owners Jack Brown and Jodilynn Matheson of Charlottetown. Andro Madi (Dale Spence) was second with Dirt Track Momma (Marc Campbell) third. By Nicholas Oakes
On Thursday afternoon, harness racing driver Jody Jamieson issued the following statement concerning his recent positive drug test Monday at Mohawk Raceway that was first published in the media by Harnesslink.com. “In my career as a driver there have been moments and instances that I would love to take back. None more than this very moment in time right here. That said, this needs to be addressed and I appreciate the patience that my industry has had during this disappointing and trying time for myself and my family.I made an uncharacteristic, irrational, and serious error in judgment on a Saturday night after the races, off the premises of my work and it caused serious consequences to occur on a routine drug test on the following Monday. I immediately admitted to having used the substance approximately two days prior to the test. I have always believed that honesty and accepting responsibility is the best course of action. I know that under ORC rules, random testing is done at the racetrack, in safety sensitive areas, and that a ‘driver’ is in the most sensitive area of all. After being notified of the positive test, I first called my parents. The disappointment in their voices was enough to bring me to tears. My father, who holds me above all others in our game, was understandably devastated. My mother, the patron saint she is, is embarrassed and I am sick to my stomach, knowing that I have brought this misery to both of them today. I feel like I have let down an entire industry of friends and acquaintances that have supported everything I have ever tried to do for this sport we love. I am sorry for that. My family will love me unconditionally, and although I have damaged professional bonds, I plan to put the time and effort into regaining the trust of my colleagues, and those who have counted on me. I was asked and given the opportunity to drive the best 3 year old on the continent Saturday night at Mohawk along with some serious contenders on the undercard. I have let those people down. I am sorry. In the meantime, I am visiting a substance abuse professional this afternoon, to continue the investigation into my irrational behavior on the night in question. I am willing and able to take part in any and all random drug test on a goforward basis that the ORC deems necessary, as I have in the past. I presented myself yesterday at ‘Driver Check’ for a urine-based drug test, and I would emphasize that it tested negative for any and all illicit drugs. I totally support the drug and alcohol policies that both horsemen and the ORC have in place. I will work hard to earn back your respect and trust. Again, I want to accept responsibility and apologize for my actions.” Jody Jamieson "Harnesslink.com applaudes Jody Jamieson for coming forward with this statement. We know that he will be back, better than ever and will continue to be a driving force in the harness racing industry. Thousands of people via the Harnesslink Facebook page has voiced their opinons, best wishes and support for Jody and to have so many people in your corner is a true testimonial to his stature in the sport of harness racing."