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This time last year Bee A Magician was number one in the harness racing Top Ten Poll and about to draw off from Captaintreacherous. Unless she lost—an unlikely occurrence—the Horse Of The Year (HOTY) race was over. This year things are more unsettled; Sebastian K is still on top, but after consecutive losses, second place Father Patrick is threatening. And if those two implode coming down the stretch there is always the undefeated freshman filly, JK She’salady. That would be an interesting development in that no two-year-old filly has ever been voted HOTY. There have been many great freshman fillies from the trotting and pacing ranks, but circumstances, perhaps a dominant player from the sophomore or FFA ranks or simple prejudice against the fledgling set, have always prevented them from scoring the ultimate prize. For instance, in 1973 the Hickory Smoke filly Starlark Hanover won 21 of 22 starts for David Wade. She won 15 major stakes races, earned $145,000, and set nine track records along the way. She beat the boys—11 of them-- in the Harriman at Yonkers Raceway from the second tier. Starlark received only three HOTY votes. And her contemporary, two-year-old Delmonica Hanover, who was voted HOTY in 1974, received two votes that year. Handle With Care was also a freshman in 1973, winning all 17 starts for Bill Haughton, including the Matron, Belle Acton, Hanover and La Paloma. HWC was voted HOTY in Canada, but received only one vote in the US. The overwhelming choice that year, garnering 187 of 216 votes, was the trotting bred FFA pacer Sir Dalrae. He won 20 of 27 starts and earned more than $300,000 for Jim Dennis. The son of Porterhouse, who had no success as a trotter, swept the inaugural US Pacing Championship Series at Sportsman’s Park, Roosevelt Raceway and Hollywood Park, matching the Roosevelt track record of 1:57.4 in the process. That being said, it’s hard to justify Starlark, Delmonica and Handle With Care getting only six votes. In 1964 freshman filly Armbro Flight won 20 of 26 starts, earning more money than any two-year-old filly ever had--$107,452. The sourpuss daughter of Star’s Pride was voted HOTY in Canada. Her problem in the US was Bret Hanover, who became the first two-year-old to win HOTY honors. He won all 24 starts, set nine track records for his class, and earned more money than any two-year-old ever had. Bret got 174 of 182 votes, so there weren’t many left for Armbro Flight. Flamboyant, the great Florican filly trained by Bill Haughton and driven by Haughton and John Chapman, was an outstanding freshman, but ran into a similar Bret Hanover problem, as the great pacer captured his third HOTY title in 1966. George Segal’s Albatross filly, Three Diamonds, won nine of her ten starts and more than $233,000 for Gene Riegle in 1981, but Fan Hanover captured 133 votes thanks to her precedent setting win in the Little Brown Jug. There were only nine votes available to Three Diamonds. Three years later freshman Davidia Hanover won 12 of 13, set a world record at The Meadows, and earned more than $500,000, but Fancy Crown won the division handily, with On The Road Again and two-year-old Nihilator also receiving quite a few votes. There were just two left for Davidia. Follow My Star won 13 of 14 in 1985, but Nihilator and OTRA took all the votes. Four years later Peace Corps won a unanimous decision in her division off of 15 wins, including the Merrie Annabelle and the Breeders Crown, but four-year-old Mack Lobell cashed his 17 wins in for the title.  In 1991 Miss Easy, who, like Armbro Flight and Peace Corps,  was anything but easy to deal with, won 15 of 17, including the BC, Three Diamonds, Countess Adios and Sweetheart, but Beach Towel trumped that by winning the NA Cup, Meadowlands Pace and Tattersalls Pace. The No Nukes filly Immortality swept her division at two in 1992, with the BC, Three Diamonds and Sweetheart being among her 13 wins, earning her over a million dollars, but she received only 14 HOY votes, compared to 244 for Mr. Perfect, Artsplace. In 1995 NA Cup and Maeadowlands Pace winner Cam’s Card Shark beat BC and Nat Ray winner Pine Chip 206 to 180, leaving CR Kay Suzie in the dust with 12 measly votes. She got her title the following year when she took the Yonkers Trot and the WTD. Continentalvictory was her victim. Eternal Camnation took 12 of her 13 starts in 1999, but six-year-old Moni Maker was voted HOTY. At two the great Snow White won 11 of 13 and swept her division. She set a world record on a half and earned more than $1.2 million, however, Hambletonian, Kentucky Futurity and CTC winner Donato Hanover received 189 votes to 11 for her. Honorable Daughter was an outstanding freshman, but SBSW got in her way. Check Me Out won 14 of 16 and set a world record, but her eight HOTY votes were no match for the 93 San Pail received. JK She’salady has a better shot at getting over the HOTY hurdle than many of the fillies listed above: Sebastian and Patrick both have blemishes on their records that an undefeated filly can exploit. If her two elders stumble over the course of the next month, while she remains upright, there’s no reason she can’t be the first freshman filly to be voted Horse of the Year. by Joe FitzGerald for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com

Summerside, PE - Elm Grove Inarush marked a new chapter in the history books when the three-year-old filly established a new track record of 1:55.1 Sunday at Red Shores Summerside. Competing in a division of the Lady Slipper gold, driver Mark Bradley wasted no time putting the stakes super-star on the point setting fractions of 29, 58.2, 1:26.4 before blasting home to secure the record setting performance in 28.2 seconds for a four and half length score. Pictonian Sareta was second with I C Anastro third. Elm Grove Inarush, dubbed the queen of Kensington, posted her third win in a row for 11victories from 16 starts this season. Trainer Eddy Doucette co-owns the track record holder with Blaine Thibeau, Gordon MacLeod and Grant Mann. Fleurje pushed her winning streak to five in a row claiming the second Lady Slipper gold in a flashy 1:58 flat. Jason Hughes did the driving for trainer Nicholas Oakes and Buntainwood Farm, Brackley Beach. The breeder is William Roloson, Belfast. Driver Gilles Barrieau enjoyed a big day on the Island taking both Joe O'Brien gold divisions with Tobins Fusion for Boyd MacDonald Produce Ltd, Crapaud, Daniel Ross, Belfast and Charles Seymour, Fredericton, NB while his other stable star Settlement Request mapped a fourth length victory for Alfred Barrieau, Dieppe and Michael Clinton, Saint John, NB. The Lady Slipper grassroots divisional winners went to Landed Alien for Barrieau, trainer Jackie Matheson and owner Darlene Compton, Bell River. Willow Warrior gave Bradley another stakes honor for owner Alby Curran, Vernon Bridge and trainer Brendon Curran while Howmac Missy was presented with the winning cooler for Howmac Farms Ltd, North Wilthire and Wade Peconi, Stanchel. The filly was trained by Earl Watts and driven by Marc Campbell. The Joe O'Brien grassroots winners were JK Hall with Walter Cheverie driving for owner-trainer Joe Smallwood, Stratford and Dusty Lane Diego with owner-trainer-driver Gary Chappell. The legendary Prince County Oval also played host to the Atlantic Aged Pacing Mares final presented by Standardbred Canada. Ramblinglily wired the field to in the $16,520 championship for trainer Allan Jones, Riverview, NB and his co-owner Norman Leger, Shediac, NB. Campbell was in the bike for mole of 1:56.3 which included on the fastest closing quarters of year clocked at 27 seconds flat. Standardbred Canada chairman Kent Oakes was trackside for the presentation. The Garth Schurman memorial was won by Smart Barney and Kenny Arsenault in 2:00.2. Devon Wallace of Alberton owns and trains the pacer. Barrieau and Campbell had driving triples on the afternoon while Kenny Arsenault, Mark Bradley and Walter Cheverie each made two trips to the winner's circle. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca by Lee Drake, for Red Shores

Charlottetown, PE - The two-year colt and filly pacers in the Lady Slipper and Joe O'Brien stakes headlined a 13 dash race program Saturday at Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park. Three Pink Bows pulled off an upset in a division of the Lady Slipper gold knocking off favorite Dusty Lane Bria (Kenny Arsenault) in deep stretch to win in 1:59.4 which was a new race record for the filly. Danny Romo did the driving for trainer-breeder Doug Rankin and owners Tanya Tremblett, Sydney Mines, NS and Stevi Jardine, George's River, NS. Woodmere Dancenart was third. Jann Down notched her 7th win of the season and third in a row in the second Lady Slipper gold split for driver Gilles Barrieau and the Downey Stables of Quispamsis, N.B. Other winners in the Lady Slipper grassroots went to Sweetwater Rayane for Jack Panting and owner-breeder Linda Austin, Mount Stewart and Navajo Moe with driver Mark Bradley for owners Calvin Baglole, Bedeque, Shawn Baglole, Victoria West and breeder James Pound, Hunter River. All Hail, under the command of Walter Cheverie, found racing room in the stretch to capture a division of Joe O'Brien gold for two-year-old colts. Cheverie did the driving for owners Riley Farms, Kensington and Lloyd Hannah, Summerside. The breeder is William and Brian Andrew. The second O'Brien gold went to Dixieland Band for Marc Campbell. The colt, bred by William Andrew, Calgary, Alberta, recorded his fourth consecutive victory for owners Reg MacPherson, David and Aaron MacKenzie. Kevin MacLean is the trainer. The Joe O'Brien grassroots divisional winners were R ES Reese for driver Mike Stevenson, owners Daniel Crouse, Ontario and Amy Crouse, Lower Kingsclear, NB and breeder Robert Connelly. Elm Grove Jepson also took top honors for Campbell and the ownership group of Andrea Rennison, Ryder Mathew Renneson and Cathy Benedict, NS. The breeder is Robert Gordon, Elmsdale. In other action, DBS Rosco and Mike Stevenson captured the evening's feature in a dazzling 1:57 flat. The four-year-old son of Santanna Blue Chip laid down fractions of 27.3, 57.3 and 1:27.3 to score his sixth victory of the season. The winner is co-owned by trainer Wendell Shaw, Robbie Shaw and Derek Folland, Summerside. Every Day, with Brian Andrew driving, won the Martin MacDougall memorial. Campbell posted a hat-trick on the card. Stevenson had a driving double. For complete results go to www.redshores.ca by Lee Drake, for Red Shores

Charlottetown PE - The forecast calls for clear skies in Charlottetown on Saturday night, but at Red Shores Charlottetown, Touch Of Lightning will look to strike lightning against his seven rivals in the featured 13th race. The 14-dash card gets under way at 6 p.m.   The former Maritime stakes champion has drawn post 6 for trainer - driver Earl Smith. A winner of $ 130, 387 of Maritime money, the five-year-old son of Articulator is owned by Peter and Don Smith, Gerald Morrissey and Larry Chappell.   From 11 starts this season he has five top-three finishes including a victory in 1:55.4. He comes into the event fresh off of a 1:58.4 qualifying victory and is listed as the morning-line favourite. Post 3 starter Shock The Rock is fresh off of a lifetime best score 1:56.2,   Corey MacPherson will drive the Blair Macleod trainee for owner Bethany Macleod. McMaverick ( Kenny Arsenault ), Eagle Jolt (Marc Campbell ), First Art Down (Kenny Murphy), Tempo Seelster ( Vince Poulton ), Machinthesand ( Walter Cheverie) and Narragansett (Jason Hughes ) round out the power packed feature.   Race 3 features the trotting side of things, with the ageless wonder Abundaspin as the morning line choice.   A winner of over $478, 000 in career earnings and 77 victories lifetime, the 14 - year-old is rapidly approaching the mandatory retirement at the end of the year. Harold Shepherd handles the driving and training for owner Mikaela Lustic.   He isn't the only horse in the race with over $400,000 to his credit. The rail entry Rate Exchange has $418, 120 lifetime at the age of 11. He will make his third start in Charlottetown for owner Kathryn Gilfoy and trainer Jonah Moase. He will pick up the services of Ron Matheson.   Well a pair of veterans square off in the open trot, another veteran in his own right, Gary Chappell will look to obtain his 2, 500 driving victory. He sits four wins away after doubling up on the Wednesday card at Red Shores Summerside. Chappell has eight drives on the program.   Hughes trainees headline Labor Day card   A pair of Jason Hughes trainees will look to deliver defeat to their five rivals on the special Labor Day card, Monday at Red Shores' Summerside. The 13-dash card gets under way at 1 p.m.   Post 4 starter Capitalism will look to price the field when he lines up behind the gate for a claiming tag of $8, 000. A winner on National Driving Championship night in Charlottetown in 1:56.2, the five-year-old son of Tell All ha been no worst than second in his five, including two victories for owner Jason Collings. Hughes will handle the driving duties. His stablemate Cambest Kisser leaves from Post 6 for Donald and Steven MacRae. A winner of 24 races lifetime, 'Kisser' will make his second start off of the self. Brian MacPhee will drive. Rymar Sporty, Keystone Nobility, Van Zant, Carrera Angel and Blissful Bro complete the field.   The Harold "June" Culleton Memorial goes in Race 2 with Mayhem Man listed as the morning line favourite for pilot Norris Rogers. The two-year-old son of Coasttocoast Yankee is owned by Mary Jean and Jay Noye. He was a third place finisher in his Joe O'Brien grassroots division on August 20. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

Charlottetown, PE - The four-year-old chestnut gelding, Red Magician will look to pick up his third victory on red soil when he takes on seven other foes in the Saturday night feature at Red Shores' Charlottetown. Post time is 6 p.m. for the 12-dash card. Owned by Dale and Ronnie Rennie of Elmsdale, Red Magician has only missed one top two finish since arriving to P.E.I. in July. Dale Rennie handles the training duties on the winner of over $ 30,000 this season. Mark Bradley picks up the catch driving call from Post 2. Say It Again Sam will look to get back to his winning ways after he seen his 10-race win streak snapped on Gold Cup and Saucer night. It was the three-year-old Well Said gelding's first defeat since relocating to P.E.I. under the ownership of Foxyhall Racing. The Jason Hughes trainee has drawn Post 7. The 'Blue Knight' Hughes will also do the driving. McMaverick, Blu Meadow Willie, Eagle Jolt, Cheyenne Ford, Tempo Seelster and Carrera Angel round out the Preferred 2 pacers in Race 11. Hurrah 4 Island Charities is back in full-force Saturday night, fresh off a victory in the Joe O'Brien 'Grassroot' division, Hurrah has drawn into Post 2 for trainer Mark Bradley and catch-driver Brian Andrew. Special Olympics P.E.I. was at Red Shores' last Saturday afternoon as Hurrah returned back to the winner circle. Hurrah's August earnings are being donated to Special Olympics P.E.I., he already has over $2,000 this month. Hurrah will go up against his stablemate My Kinda Crazy as he looks to win his third race in-a-row. The three-year-old son of Ameripan Gigolo was also a winner in his 'Grassroot' division during Old Home Week. Bradley will drive from Post 6 for the Kickin Horse Stable. The Open Trot goes in Race 6, the wily veteran Abundaspin has been listed as the morning line favourite. The 14-year-old winner of 77 races lifetime has drawn into Post 5 for owner Mikaela Lustic. Harold Shepherd does the driving and training. Abundaspin finished third in the PEIHRIA trot final in his last start. Zip The Lip has drawn the rail for owners Orville Willis and co-owner, trainer Donald Sweet. Brian MacPhee will do the driving after finishing second in the PEIHRIA trot final for $ 10, 700. Howmacs Pride has back-t0-back victories and has finished in the top three in her last four. She is owned by Wade Peconi and the Howmac Farms LTD. Charlottetown's top driver, Marc Campbell does the training and driving as he prepares for the National Driving Championship on Tuesday night at Red Shores' Charlottetown. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

Summerside, PE - It was the Gilles Barrieau show Wednesday night at Red Shores' Summerside. 'The Maritime Magic Man' stole the show in Summerside hitting a grand slam on the 14-dash card. His biggest win of the night came in Race 8. Jann Down extended her win streak to four races, winning her $ 11,700 'Gold' division of the Lady Slipper stake for two-year-old filly pacers. The daughter of Articulator cut out all the numbera laying down fractions of :30.3, 1:03 and 1:33.2 closing it out with a :28.1 kicker stopping the clock in 2:01.3. She is owned by the Downey Stables and Stephen Mason does the training. Barrieau also picked up a Grassroot victory for the same connections with Ubettowin. He won a Joe O'Brien grassroots with a catch drive on Ross Melvino and an overnight race with Bringhome Theblue. The second 'Gold' division seen a four race win streak snapped as, as Dusty Lane Bria moved back to her winning ways snapping the streak of Woodmere Dancenart winning in 1:59 ,closing it out in :28.3. The daughter of Ameripan Gigolo is owned by Kenny Wilkie and Larry Chappell, Wilkie does the training and Kenny Arsenault did the driving. Arsenault picked up his secomd win with Camco Titan in the $10,800 'Gold' division of the Joe O'Brien in 158.2. The son of Ameripan Gigolo is owned by Windemere Farms, Harris Johnston, John Howatt and Roger Burns. Earl Watts picked up a training double with the victory, he also won a Lady Slipper 'Grassroots' with Windemere Belle. Arsenault had a driving triple on the card winnig with DBS Rosco in 1:57.4. The second 'Gold' division was won by the two-year-old No Pan Intended colt Jack Reacher in 1:58.1. He is owned by the Lenny and Squiggy stable, Cliff Murphy does the training and son Kenny handled the driving duties. The colt now has two lifetime victories from two starts. Miss Oromocto also extended her lifetime win streak to two races in a division of the Lady Slipper 'Grassroots'. Brian Macphee did the driving for co-owner and training Mel Land along with co-owner Sharon Burchill. Silverhill Blaze inline to trainer, driver Jason Hughes picked up the victory in the last Joe O'Brien 'Grassroots' division for owner Donald MacRae. Flaming Prince posted the fastest mile of the night with a 1:56 score for driver Terry Gallant. It was Gallant's second winner on the program after guiding OK Chivas to victory in race four. Racing returns to Red Shores at the Charlottetown Driving Park Thursday at 7pm and Saturday at 6pm. The National Driving Championship, featuring the Founder's Cup Invitational, is Tuesday with a 7pm post time. The action returns to Red Shores' Summerside next Wednesday night featuring the two and three-year-old trotters. by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

After 17 nights of darkness, Red Shores' Summerside is ready to turn the lights back on Wednesday for live harness racing action. A 14-dash card filled with the Joe O'Brien for two-year-old pacing colts and the Lady Slipper for two-year-old pacing fillies will get underway with a special 6:30 p.m. post time.   A story line from Old Home Week will be carried over into the sixth race on Wednesday night. The battle of a pair of Woodmere fillies will not only commence again but this time there will be another Woodmere added to the mix in Race 6.   Last Thursday, Woodmere Dancenart and Woodmere Articblue went head-to-head in Atlantic Sire Stakes action with Woodmere Dancenart getting the first call at the wire and Woodmere Articblue finishing second, Wednesday you can add Woodmere Costalot into that mix when the three daughters of Articulator will line up against three daughters of Ameripian Gigolo for a purse of $ 11,700 in the first 'Gold' division of the Lady Slipper stake.   'Dancenart' has been enrolled as the morning line choice from Post 4 as she looks to extend her win streak to four races. The Daughter of Articulator - Shadow Dancer took her lifetime best last Thursday winning in 1:58.3 for owners Morah Kerr and Phonsie Maceachern. Clare MacDonald handles the training and driving duties.   A bridesmaid to her former field mate in her last two, 'Articblue' will look to get the monkey off of her back from the outside Post 6. The daughter of Articulator - Blue Violet has finished no-worst-than second in five starts this season, banking $ 14, 749 for owners Tayna Tremblett and Stevi Jardine. Ken Collins does the training and Marc Campbell will be back in the bike this week.   The third Woodmere bred filly is a daughter of Articulator - Costly Ball, owned by Peter and Greg Francis along with Malcom and Daphne Isnor all of Nova Scotia, 'Costalot' has yet to win this season but will look to change things Wednesday for trainer - driver Bernard McCallum.   The three daughter of Articulator will look to make their dad proud when they face off against three daughters of Ameripan Gigolo. Dusty Lane Bria has drawn the rail for owners Kenny Wilkie and Larry Chappell. She will look to get back to her winning ways after seeing her three race unbeaten streak snapped after a costly break at the start last week. Lyndale Jenn and Party Rockin are the other two fillies who will contest for the lions share of the $11, 700 purse.   The second 'Gold' division goes in Race 8 with Jann Down looking to extend her win streak to four. She hasn't missed a top two finish in her five lifetime starts. Owned by the Downey Stables and trained by Stephen Mason, she took a new lifetime best in her last start stopping the clock in 1:59.1 for Gilles Barrieau. He'll be back in the bike from Post 4 Wednesday. The daughter of Articulator will have to do battle against another Ameripan Gigolo filly, Three Pink Bows. Owned by Tanya Tremblett and Stevi Jardine of Nova Scotia, she has yet to miss a top three finish from six starts this season. Clare MacDonald handles the training and driving. Elm Grove Joanette, Rocks Confession, Pictonian Stardust and Casa Miasa round out the field.   Bngs Express will hook up and do battle with Camco Titan in Race 10, the first 'Gold' division of the Joe O'Brien stake. A second place finisher in his last three starts, owners Thomas Hawco JR and George Della Valle hope their colt can shake the streak and have his named called first at the wire on Wednesday. Danny Romo does the training and driving on the son of 'Gigolo' from Post 4.   Camco Titan comes fresh off of a 1:59.2 score in his Atlantic Sire Stakes 'A' division appearance last week. Owned by Windemere Farms, Harris Johnston, John Howatt and Roger Burns, he has two victories from four starts this year for trainer Earl Watts. Veteran reinsman Kenny Arsenault will handle the lines from Post 1. Lorne Valley Ricki, Proven Desire, R Es Aiden, George and Old Stu Da Baker complete the field.   The second O'Brien 'Gold' division goes to post in Race 12 and is sure to display an impeccable amount of talent from post 5 starter Jack Reacher. The son of No Pan Intended made quick work of his foes in his first lifetime start winning by eight lengths in 1:58.4, owned by the Lenny and Squiggy Stable, he is trained by Clifford Murphy and Kenny Murphy does the driving. He will face off against six other rivals. Dixieland Band, I Am Able, Gotta Move, J J Romeo, Goodmorningmister and All Hail.   Windemere Belle will look to get things started in the first Lady Slipper Grassroots division for the Windemere Farm and Brittany Watts. The post 1 starter is trained by Earl Watts and will have the driving services of Summerside's leading driving Marc Campbell. The $ 5, 800 purse will be contested in Race 3.   Ubettowin is the morning line choice in the second Grassroots division. The Driven To Win filly is owned by the Downey Stables, trained by Stephen Mason and Barrieau will drive from Post 5 in Race 5.   The third and final Lady Slipper Grassroot division goes in Race 9, Miss Oromocto, fresh off a Atlantic Sire Stakes 'B' division victory has drawn into Post 5 for Sharon Burchill and co-owner trainer Melvin Land, Brian MacPhee will drive.   Race 7 and 11 play host to the Grassroots divisions for the Joe O'Brien. Hog Aufray is the Race 7 favourite for owner Claude Poirier, Clare MacDonald will drive for trainer Earl Watts. He will score from Post 5. Silverhill Blaze is the 5-2 favourite in Race 11, the Post 7 starter is owned by Donald MacRae, Jason Hughes does the training and driving.   Heading into the fall meet at Red Shores' Summerside, Campbell leads all drivers in wins with 35, there is a two-way tie for second between the 'Blue Knight' Jason Hughes and 'The Maritime Magicman' Gilles Barrieau, they have 21 a piece. Gary Chappell who is only 8 wins away from 2500 is fourth with 16 and Kenny Arsenault and Terry Gallant are tied with 14 to round out the top five.   On the training side of things, Thane Mann sits a top of the leader board with 15 victories from 54 starters this season, Earl Watts and Jackie Matheson are dead locked for second with 10 victories. Hughes is fourth with 9 and Phillip Desroches rounds out the top five with 8.   by Bo Ford, for Red Shores

Hall of Fame horseman, Douglas J. Ackerman, 86, died today in North Carolina after an illness of almost two years. He was one of the most respected trainers in harness racing and widely admired for his innate horsemanship, ironclad integrity, and memorable sense of humor. His fellow horsemen held him in the highest esteem, and that is the ultimate compliment in his profession. Ackerman was a fixture on the Grand Circuit for decades and trained and drove many top horses, such as Albaquel, Crowning Point, Self Confident, Noble Hustle, Denali, Happy Chatter, Noble Traveler, Amer I Can, Cape Canaveral, Leopard, and the old warrior Bramble Hall. The list could go on and on. In recent years, he turned the driving duties over to his son D.R., and together they raced Chocolatier, a winner of $1.3 million and the champion freshman trotter of 2005. Albaquel was a daughter of Albatross, a stallion Ackerman admired greatly. She earned almost a half-million on the track and was the dam of six pacers to earn more than $250,000, including the Ackerman Stable stars Ever So Rich and Just The Ticket. Albaquel is also the dam of the remarkable broodmare Hattie. Doug Ackerman had a master's touch in selecting yearlings and his advice on conformation was sought by many other trainers. He was one of those rare horsemen who could "look right through a yearling" and size up its potential. Ackerman had a well-honed sense of humor and always had a clever quip to fit just about any occasion. Surely long after his death people who knew him will be saying, "As Doug Ackerman once said......" He grew up in the small rural community of Three Oaks in southwest Michigan, and both his father and grandfather trained and raced horses in the Midwest. Young Doug grew up immersed in the world of harness racing in Michigan and Indiana and recalls seeing Greyhound and Rosalind in their memorable team-to-pole effort at the Indiana State Fair in 1939. His late brother Jack was a noted horseman in his own right while brother Charles stayed on the family farm. Their father Rollin died of a heart attack in a race at the fair in Hillsdale, Michigan when Doug was just 14 years old. His father was only 48. Doug went west to seek his fortune in harness racing in the Golden State of California as a young man and set down roots there for more than a half-century. He trained for decades over the Thoroughbred track at Del Mar, just north of San Diego, which once had a large and thriving Standardbred winter colony. He met Ada Jean Funderbunk, daughter of the prominent horseman Foy Funderbunk, in 1950 and they were married four years later. They recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. While in California, Ackerman developed close friendships with Hall of Famers Joe O'Brien and Jim Dennis. The Ackerman family lived near the Del Mar Fairgrounds and Doug loved every day he trained horses at the magnificent Del Mar facility. Ackerman's ability and work ethic soon allowed him to attract owners and achieve success on the competitive California circuit. Each summer he would ship his stock east to compete on the Grand Circuit and Midwest tracks from a base in Michigan. Ackerman was particularly close to Pres Jenuine, the major domo of the Western Harness meet at Hollywood Park for many years. When Hollywood Park conducted a seminar for new owners in 1970, Ackerman met Richard Staley, a fellow transplant from the Midwest to California. They formed an owner-trainer partnership and friendship that lasted until Staley's death in the mid-1990s. Staley entrusted Ackerman implicitly to manage the horses he owned and never questioned any of Ackerman's decisions or purchases. He admired Ackerman's honesty and horsemanship and they enjoyed phenomenal success over many years. Staley recognized that Ackerman was a natural horseman, raised in an environment filled with horse talk. "Doug was to the manner born," said the erudite Staley, borrowing a phrase from Shakespeare. When Ackerman was inducted into the Living Hall of Fame in 1994, he gave credit to Staley for his friendship and patronage. "He was the greatest owner ever," said Ackerman. "Ever." Ackerman had a wide circle of friends in the sport but was particularly close to such legends as Bill Brown of Blue Chip Farm, Delvin Miller, and George Sholty. The friendship between Ackerman and trainer-driver Howard Beissinger went back many decades and they talked on the phone regularly after their retirements. The two old-school Hall of Famers shared a love of rodeo, and Ackerman took great pleasure in owning a champion bucking bull in recent years. Among the active horsemen in the sport, Ackerman had close relationships with Ray Remmen, John Campbell, Chris Boring, and many others. In truth, however, anyone who ever met Ackerman quickly came to like him. In 1989, Ackerman, Beissinger, and Delvin Miller represented the United States in a driving challenge in Moscow against Russian and German reinsmen. Ackerman won the first race in the series, thus becoming the first American to win a race at the historic Central Moscow Hippodrome since before the Russian Revolution in 1917. When Del Mar closed its track for training purposes almost a decade ago, Ackerman had to relocate his horses to Pinehurst, North Carolina. When asked the difference between training in southern California and Pinehurst, Ackerman quipped, "About 50 degrees." Ackerman was seldom seen without his beloved wife Ada Jean at his side and she was as popular and widely known in harness racing as her husband. Their daughter Connie Hochstetler is a noted racing official whose husband Homer is a veteran trainer. Their son Jay, a student at the University of Kentucky, is now working at The Horseman & Fair. Son D.R. Ackerman has been training and racing the Ackerman Stable horses during his father's illness. He and wife Angelika have sons D.R. Ackerman, Jr. and Kevin. Doug Ackerman was truly a master horseman and enjoyed the respect of everyone who knew him. by Dean Hoffman    

Over the course of the last half-century there have been several aged trotting mares with North American roots whom were able to dominated their peer group, and in some cases their male counterparts as well, for an extended period. They are Moni Maker, Peace Corps, Delmonica Hanover, Fresh Yankee, Grades Singing, Scenic Regal and Buck I St Pat. Une de Mai and Roquepine were great mares, and both experienced success on this side of the Atlantic, but they were European. Fresh Yankee was the first of these mares to grace our presence, and she also lasted the longest, racing until age nine and winning 89 of 191 starts—an astonishing 47%. The story of Sanders Russell plucking Fresh Yankee from the 1964 Harrisburg yearling sale for $900 is familiar to most, but her journey from obscurity to stardom is less well known. She won four times, earning less than $8,000 at two; stepping up to eleven wins and earnings of almost $47,000 during her sophomore campaign, the highlight of which was a win over the Trotter of the Year and Hambletonian winner, Kerry Way, at the Red Mile. It was in her aged form that the Hickory Pride mare made her mark, but success didn’t come easily as she only beat the Metropolitan New York open trotters once at four, and for the only time in her career, speed was privileged over her ability to win races and money. A 1:57.1 time trial mark at Lexington for Ralph Baldwin established her as a world champion. It was during the next five years, from age five to nine, that the world class mare proved her greatness. Joe O’Brien had taken over the training and driving duties and at age five and six she won 23 races, including the Elitlopp, Challenge Match, American Trotting Classic, Pacific and Gotham—she was an Amazon from coast to coast. Fresh Yankee was awarded Canadian  Aged Trotter of the Year status in 1968 and was voted Horse of the Year in the USA in 1970, at age seven, accruing more than twice as many votes as Pacer of the Year, Most Happy Fella. She won 20 of 31 starts and finished second in the other nine. In the spring of that year O’Brien took Duncan MacDonald’s mare to Munich, Germany where she won the Grand Prix of Bavaria over expatriates Dart Hanover and Lindy’s Pride. And before returning to the states the mare took a heat of the Elitlopp. That summer she beat the formidable Euro Tidalium Pelo in the $125,000 Roosevelt International, and rocked his world again the following week in the $30,000 Roquepine Trot. The ten-year-old gelding Earl Laird was third for Jimmy Cruise. In September the mare was sent away as the 4/5 favorite in the $50,000 Gotham Trot at Yonkers but came up a half-length short to Dayan. Une de Mai was third. And in October Fresh Yankee beat the geriatric tandem Grandpa Jim and Earl Laird in the Galophone at Yonkers. It was her seventeenth win of the year and she had not finished back of second in 26 starts. The mare had won races in four different countries and was voted Horse of the Year. In 1971, as an eight-year-old, Fresh Yankee beat Dayan in the Star’s Pride at Yonkers in June, tying the track record in the process. At that point she had finished first or second in 51 consecutive races and trailed only Une de Mai, Roquepine, Cardigan Bay and Bret Hanover in earnings. Still, the brilliant but unpredictable Dayan was to Fresh Yankee what Adios Vic was to Bret Hanover or the Tar Heel brothers, Nansemond and Isle Of Wight, were to Albatross. He was the same sort of pest Songcan was to Super Bowl. The week after the Star’s Pride, Dayan scratched lame out of the Volomite and more than 25,000 watched the mare cruise to victory, paying a miserly $2.40. Dayan broke in the Speedy Rodney Trot at Yonkers a few weeks later and the mare won for the ninth time in thirteen starts, paying a generous $4.20. She was favored to repeat in the International but Une de Mai prevailed by a nose, after being parked the mile out of the eight post.  All was not lost, as runner up Fresh Yankee did pass the million dollar mark in career earnings. In the fall the mare set a world record for a mile and a quarter in Brandywine’s Star’s Pride Trot and went on to win a PASS race before losing to Cathy Lee—three years her junior—in the Trader Horn at Yonkers.  Fresh Yankee, who had won five in a row, was sent off at 2/5 from the eight post and dispatched almost $82,000 of the people’s money down a black hole. And the following week, when Dayan beat her in the Porterhouse, $86,000 was lost, as the eight-year-old was sent away at 2/5 once more. She finished the season by trading wins with Marlu Pride at Hollywood Park. He took the $50,000 Pacific Trot but the mare won the big one—the $100,000 American Trotting Classic. At age nine Fresh Yankee won 12 times. Her owner questioned Joe O’Brien’s driving tactics in the International and decided to drive her himself the following week in the $150,000 Challenge Match against Speedy Crown and Une de Mai. Howard Beissinger sat back and allowed MacDonald to do himself in as he took his mare to the mile much too fast, allowing Speedy Crown to blow by her in the last quarter. Fresh Yankee was retired at the end of October, second only to Une de Mai in earnings. She is a Hall of Fame Immortal and a member of the Canadian Hall of Fame.  Beissinger stated that Speedy Crown’s greatness was couched in the fact that he was unfailingly consistent at a very high level, and never made a break training or racing. One could say the same about Fresh Yankee. Peace Corps won more than forty stakes races and was Horse of the Year twice in Sweden in her aged form; Moni Maker earned well over five million dollars and was Horse of the Year twice in the U.S.; Delmonica Hanover won her division four times, was a two-time winner of the Roosevelt International and the first American owned winner of the Prix d’Amerique; but no US bred and North American based trotting mare of the last half-century has performed to the level of Fresh Yankee through age nine. Her 89 wins, most of them against the best of the boys, on all size tracks, don’t place her above the others but they do set her apart. by Joe FitzGerald, for http://viewfromthegrandstand.blogspot.com/

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