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YONKERS, N.Y. - The New York Sire Stakes (NYSS) and Excelsior Series begin the harness racing season Tuesday, May 7, at Yonkers Raceway featuring the 3-Year-Old Filly Trotters. Post Time is 6:50 p.m., with an early non-betting race at 5:30 p.m. Entries are posted at Yonkers Raceway's website. The return of 2018 NYSS champion Winndevie headlines the seventh race, the last of three Sire Stakes divisions. The Credit Winner filly won six of her seven races last season and boasted yearly earnings of $227,878. Her only defeat last year came in a second-place finish to Dan Patch Award winner Woodside Charm, in a world record-setting performance at Saratoga in September. Winndevie is trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer and owned by Purple Haze Stables. Stella Jane, trained by John Butenschoen for Crawford Farms Racing, heads up the second race division and is another filly to keep an eye on. She earned $180,841 last year, in part by closing out her sophomore campaign with a second-place finish in her Breeder Crown elimination and an upset victory in the Kindergarten Classic Final last fall. She is now seeking to post her first career Sire Stakes tally despite being a strong competitor in the series at two. Now as a sophomore, the Crazed filly's connections say she's bigger, stronger and more certain of herself on the track, especially half-mile ovals. "I think she's grown up a decent amount and filled out a bit more," said owner Al Crawford. "John has been working with her on the half-mile and he feels she'll navigate them with no problem. "She's been a real surprise to us and being that she's a homebred, it makes it that much better. We're looking toward the national stakes this season, including the Hambletonian Oaks, and plan to keep her in New York otherwise," said Crawford. Stella Jane will see stiff competition in her division from Hanna Dreamgirl, another trotter whose connections say she filled out over the winter. "She was a big horse at two and has grown into her body as a three-year-old," said owner Ken Jacobs. "She has a very good gait and just had a great winter training in Florida, but the Sire Stakes will be very competitive so she's going to have to show what she can do on the track." Hanna Dreamgirl, named for the fiance of Jacobs' grandson, raced last year for 2018 leading New York Sire Stakes trainer Linda Toscano. She is now under the tutelage of top Sire Stakes trainer George Ducharme, who stables at Vernon Downs, less than an hour away from Jacobs' hometown. The owner explained he made the shift so that the horse could be closer to his family. This season follows a banner year for New York-bred horses, which swept the Dan Patch Awards for 2- and 3-Year-Old trotters. Earlier in the year, state-bred Atlanta became just the 14th filly to win the Hambletonian and New York trotters scored in all three Trotting Triple Crown races. "The New York Sire Stakes featured more than its share of extraordinary talent in 2018 as we saw historic performances and new records set," said M. Kelly Young, executive director, Agriculture & NYS Horse Breeding Development Fund. "We can't wait to see what this year holds. It promises to be another exciting season as champions return and our breeders get to see the fruit of their labors as the offspring of past champions hit the track for the first time." Race replays, point totals, and news updates will be available throughout the season at www.nysirestakes.com and the official NYSS Facebook and Twitter accounts. About the Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund: The Agriculture and New York State Horse Breeding Development Fund is a public benefit corporation established in 1965 by the Laverne Law (Laws of New York, Chapter 567 of the Laws of 1965). The mission of the fund is to promote agriculture through the breeding of Standardbred horses and the conduct of equine research within the state. To carry out its legislative mission, the Fund administers the New York Sire Stakes Program. Additionally, the Fund provides assistance to county agriculture societies and contributes to the statewide 4-H program and to the Harry M. Zweig Fund for Equine Research.   Jason Politi Baker Public Relations

CHESTER, PA - Bill's Man, who equaled a divisional track record the last time he raced at Harrah's Philadelphia - though the record only lasted three days - came back to the southeast Pennsylvania oval Thursday and won the $18,000 trotting feature in 1:53.1. The victorious four-year-old Credit Winner entire had to go uncovered from entering the second turn against tough foe Moonshiner Hanover, who put up early fractions of 27.1 and 56.2. Bill's Man had joined him before the 1:24.3 ¾ and the two were in a virtual "match race" most of the last quarter, with Bill's Man edging clear by a length for driver Corey Callahan, trainer John Butenschoen, and the ownership of Crawford Farms Racing, M And L Of Delaware LLC, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. The last time Bill's Man raced here, he won in 1:52.1, equaling the Philly standard previously set by two pretty good trotters named Chapter Seven and Father Patrick. That was on a Thursday; that Sunday Guardian Angel AS further reduced the mark to 1:52 (and himself has since come back to reduce his own Phl standard to 1:50.4). But they don't pay anything extra for records, and Bill's Man has won $662,074 for his owning triumvirate. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

WILKES-BARRE, PA – On Monday, two-year-old trotting colts have a chance to shine in the stakes spotlight in their PA All-Stars event at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono; on Tuesday it is their filly counterparts’ turn to assert their abilities, going in five $30,000 divisions of All-Stars action. As is the case in the colt event, top stakes barns have multiple entries ready: four fillies will go postward from the stables of Ron Burke, John Butenschoen, and Marcus Melander, giving those three the most two-year-olds in the two events combined – Melander with eight, Burke with seven, and Butenschoen with six. Two of the fillies are already winners in Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action, having triumphed on July 3 at The Meadows. The first is in the first All-Stars division, race two, Sonnet Grace, who begins in the middle of a seven-horse collection for trainer-driver Rod Allen. Sonnet Grace drew away in the stretch to take the Sire Stakes contest in 1:58.1, following up on a 2:00.1 win in her debut, also at The Meadows. The other Sire Stakes winner begins from the middle of the race four seven-horse field: Fate Smiled, going for trainer Ron Burke and driver Matt Kakaley. Fate Smiled was a 1:58 wire-to-winner in the Sires contest, stepping home in 57.4-28.4. Fate Smiled faces an opponent, Fraulein Bucher (post seven, trainer Nancy Johansson, driver Scott Zeron), whose mother, Frau Blucher, is one of only two horses to win $500,000 during her Sire Stakes campaigns at two and three (Wild Honey is the other). The filly with the fastest clocking among all the divisions, Beautiful Sin, will begin from the rail in race five for trainer Jimmy Takter and driver Yannick Gingras. She has three winning Meadowlands lines as her career product to date, dropping time each start: 1:57.2, 1:56.4, and then 1:56.2. Mention can be made of Fast Reaction, starting from post seven in an eight-horse race seven. Off a 24-day gap from the races, trainer-driver Rick Beinhauer won a Pennsylvania Stallion Series event at The Meadows in 1:58.1, with her last half in 57.1. Fifteen misses already show crossing the line first in 2:00 or better among the five divisions of fillies, which will be staged as races two through five and seven. Tuesday’s Pocono racing card begins at 7 p.m. From the PHHA/Pocono Downs

John Butenschoen expects a good effort from Bill's Man in Saturday's $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old trotters at the Meadowlands Racetrack. The only question is how good. "Some days he's a real good horse, some days he's an excellent horse," Butenschoen said. "If the real good horse shows up, we should be able to get a check. If the excellent horse shows up, we are good enough I think to win. There are times when he is absolutely fantastic and there are times that he's just a really, really good horse. It's going to depend what horse shows up. We'll see." Bill's Man was more than good in his most recent start, winning with a then track-record-equaling 1:52.1 mile at Harrah's Philadelphia on June 21. For his career, Bill's Man has won eight of 39 races, cashed a check a total of 32 times, and earned $557,229. He closed last season with a victory in the Matron Stakes. He finished second in a division of the Graduate Series on June 10 at Tioga Downs and was fourth in two prior rounds of the event. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner out of Silver Springs, will start from post seven with Corey Callahan driving for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M And L of Delaware, and VIP Internet Stable. He is 8-1 on the morning line. Butenschoen also sends out Don Dream in the Graduate final. He will start from post six with driver Brett Miller and is 15-1. Don Dream, a son of Donato Hanover out of Gabbys Dream, has won seven of 21 career races and earned $128,803. The gelding is owned by Crawford Farms Racing. "It's nice to be able to start the year off racing against 4-year-olds," Butenschoen said. "I think they're both coming into the race in good shape. "We've got a chance here now for two weeks to race for some really serious money before we've got to jump and tackle the open boys down the line," he added, referring to the July 14 Hambletonian Maturity for 4-year-old trotters at the Big M. "I think it's a good way to get their feet wet. Bill's Man started early last year and raced all the way through the Matron, so he didn't get a whole lot of time off. So it's nice when they come back they don't have to race against horses that are a little more seasoned. It's a good springboard." Ariana G, the lone female in the Graduate trot field, is the 3-1 favorite. Yannick Gingras will drive the mare from post eight for trainer Jimmy Takter and owners Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld. Saturday's card also includes the $250,000 Graduate Series championship for 4-year-old pacers and two eliminations for the Crawford Farms Meadowlands Pace for 3-year-old pacers. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the July 14 Meadowlands Pace final. Elimination winners draw for posts one through six. Racing begins at 6:35 p.m. (EDT). The Graduate Series finals are races five and 10. The Meadowlands Pace eliminations are races six and eight. Butenschoen will be busy in the Graduate for pacers, too, with Funknwaffles starting from post six. Funkwaffles, a two-time New York Sire Stakes champ, will have Callahan driving for Crawford Farms Racing and is 10-1. For his career, Funknwaffles has won 13 of 34 races and earned $874,223. He is winless in six starts this season, but has a second-place finish behind Filibuster Hanover in a preliminary round of the Graduate. In his most recent start he was seventh in an elimination of the Ben Franklin Pace on June 23 and bypassed the Franklin consolation last week to refresh for the Graduate final. "He's been victimized in most of his starts by post positions," Butenschoen said. "He's raced extremely well but he doesn't have a lot to show for it. The one time he did get a chance to strut his stuff he was a close second to Filibuster at Tioga. He's not a very big horse, but a very game horse. We figured let them go at it hard (last week) and hopefully we're a little bit fresher. If we can work something out I think we're OK." Highalator, who has won three of his past four races, including two preferred handicaps at The Meadowlands, is the 3-1 Graduate pace favorite from post 10. David Miller will drive for co-owner/trainer Jenny Bier and fellow owners Joann Dombeck and Midsize Construction. Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old trotters. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Lord Cromwell-Jim Marohn Jr.-Ed Hart-10/1 2-Dunbar Hall-Jody Jamieson-Stephanie Jamieson-7/2 3-Moonshiner Hanover-David Miller-Chris Beaver-9/2 4-International Moni-Scott Zeron-Domenico Cecere-6/1 5-Sortie-Trond Smedshammer-Trond Smedshammer-15/1 6-Don Dream-Brett Miller-John Butenschoen-15/1 7-Bill's Man-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-8/1 8-Ariana G-Yannick Gingras-Jimmy Takter-3/1 9-Top Flight Angel-Andy Miller-Julie Miller-15/1 10-Yes Mickey-Ake Svanstedt-Ake Svanstedt-8/1 Following is the Graduate Series championship field for 4-year-old pacers. PP-Horse-Driver-Trainer-Morning Line 1-Miso Fast-Louis Roy-Virgil Morgan Jr.-7/2 2-Donttellmeagain-Tim Tetrick-Jim King Jr.-5/1 3-Western Joe-Scott Zeron-Chris Choate-9/2 4-Mac's Jackpot-Brett Miller-Jeff Smith-15/1 5-Blood Line-Andy McCarthy-Jimmy Takter-10/1 6-Funknwaffles-Corey Callahan-John Butenschoen-10/1 7-Maroma Beach-Matt Kakaley-Ron Burke-15/1 8-Filibuster Hanover-Yannick Gingras-Ron Burke-8/1 9-Lawrencetown Beach-Doug McNair-Ron Burke-15/1 10-Highalator-David Miller-Jenny Bier-3/1 by Ken Weingartner, for the USTA

CHESTER PA - Bill's Man joined the illustrious company of harness racing greats Chapter Seven and Father Patrick by tying their track record time for four-year-old trotting horses, 1:52.1, in winning the $17,000 feature on Thursday afternoon at Harrah's Philadelphia. A record was in the works from the 1/8 pole when EI EI O refused to let Arch Credit go by for the lead, forcing the latter to tuck before the 26.1 quarter. EI EI O went on to a 54.3 half, then was pressured by first-over Top Flight Angel to the 1:23.3 3/4s, with Bill's Man in pluperfect position second-over. Top Flight Angel wrested the lead by the top of the stretch, but Corey Callahan then asked the son of Credit Winner to trot on and he did so with power, equaling the track record as well as the season's record for the division (4-up) shared by Marion Marauder and Fraser Ridge. Trainer John Butenschoen saw Bill's Man raise his earnings to $556,229 for owners Crawford Farms Racing, M&L of Delaware LLC, and VIP Internet Stable LLC. Skates N Plates, a career winner of $437,944, extended his recent regaining of form to three straight victories in taking the $14,500 top trot for the older set. George Napolitano Jr. gunned the son of Revenue S away from the outside post eight and didn't have much trouble from there, stopping the timer in 1:54.4 while two lengths clear for trainer Andrew Harris and owner Robert Key. Freshman trotting colts made their pari-mutuel debut at Philly in 2018, with the Explosive Matter - Up Front Annika colt Ginger Tree Skyr trotting away in the stretch to a 4¼ length victory in 1:58.4. The winner came his own back half in 57.4 for driver David Miller, trainer Steven Cook, and the ownership of Ginger Tree Ventures LLC and Don Marean. From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia  

WASHINGTON, PA, May 10, 2018 -- Top harness racing trainer John Butenschoen has an unconventional approach to rigging his 3-year-olds. Once he begins preparing them for their sophomore campaigns, he looks at the equipment cards he used for them at 2, puts the cards aside and pays no attention to them. "We start them back like yearlings that haven't been broken," he says. "Then if they start showing there's something they need here or there, we add that." Thus, when his fillies, Bill's Lady and Nixie Volo, go postward in Saturday's $168,237 PA Sires Stake for 3-year-old filly trotters at The Meadows, they'll be sporting new looks. Bill's Lady leaves from post 7 with Corey Callahan in the first race while Callahan will guide Nixie Volo from post 4 in race 4. Saturday's card also features a pair of total-pool guarantees -- $7,500 for the Pick 4 (races 4-7), $5,000 for the Pick 5 (races 8-12). First post is 1:05 PM. Bill's Lady, a daughter of Donato Hanover-Homefortheholidays campaigned by William Wiswell and M&L Of Delaware, was good enough to earn $90,982 at 2 and equal the track record of 1:55.1 in the Reynolds at Tioga Downs. She opened her 3-year-old campaign with a rallying show finish in a Harrah's Philadelphia overnight. "She was physically and mentally immature last year," Butenschoen says of the $22,000 yearling acquisition. "She was a little tricky to get along with. You kind of had to watch what you did with her. She's still a little immature, so we try to keep her as happy and as quiet as we can. "She's rigged pretty simply. She got a little grabby when Corey tried to put her in a hole last week, so put the hopples back. That was a huge trip for her. There's no question the talent's there." Nixie Volo reached the championship leg of the Kentucky Sires Stakes -- she's both Kentucky and Pennsylvania eligible -- but took herself out of that $250,000 race with costly breaks. "She had a filly moment in that one," Butenschoen says. "But she's trained back real well. She trained like she was shot out of a cannon." As with her stablemate, Butenschoen started from scratch with her rigging for her season's debut in an overnight at Pocono -- she, too, was a rallying third -- ditching her hopples and adding more grab to her shoes. On Saturday, however, the daughter of Yankee Glide-No I'm Not will don hopples once more and return to her original shoeing. The partnership of Kentuckiana Racing Stable, VIP Internet Stable, 83 Racing and Eddie Gran owns Nixie Volo, also a $22,000 yearling purchase Butenschoen acknowledges that his rigging schemes for his 3-year-olds can be works in progress, but he's confident in his approach. "We're responding to what they need this year, not last year," he says. "Mother Nature may have taken care of what was bothering them last year." The Meadows Racetrack & Casino  

 WILKES-BARRE PA - George Napolitano Jr., driving the favorite, went wire-to-wire in both $18,000 featured races Sunday night at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, in both cases holding off a late charge by a harness racing longshot driven by his brother Anthony in what would be an outstanding day for the Napolitano boys. The Credit Winner trotting mare Earn Your Wings finally broke through with a victory after being a beaten favorite in her last three starts, going wire-to-wire in 1:55.1 for "George Nap." 36-1 proposition Ridgeway Springs and "Anthony Nap" used the rail well to get a pocket trip behind a chalk, but their late charge came up a length shy of Earn Your Wings, who has earnings of $295,580 for trainer Anette Lorentzon and the SRF Stable. In the companion featured pace, the Somebeachsomewhere colt Photobombr Hanover followed up on a win in the Keystone Classic in his last start by making every pole a winning one against his Sunday opposition, triumphing in 1:51.4. Photobombr Hanover and "GNap" got a 56.3 stroll to the half, then tacked on successive 27.3 quarters for driver George Napolitano Jr. to defeat 20-1 Braley Hanover and "ANap" by 1¼ lengths while running his earnings to $154,397 for trainer Tom Fanning and the ownership combine of Fanning Racing LLC (this is half of that stable), Howard Taylor (who has a few more horses than that), and Susan Kajfasz. The two feature wins, added to another Pocono victory, blended nicely with the five wins George Napolitano Jr. had put up during the afternoon card at Harrah's Philadelphia, and the former national dash champion is now just one wins behind second-place Jason Bartlett, trailing the indefatigable 1000-win candidate Aaron Merriman. Despite coming up shy in these marquee events, Anthony Napolitano visited Pocono's Victory Lane six times himself on Sunday - 14 wins on the day for the brothers. FINISHING LINES - There are no official records on this sort of occurrence, but Pocono-based trainer John Butenschoen must have set some kind of new standard this (Sunday) afternoon when he sent out three stakes winners - within 21 minutes! The Butenschoen Trifecta started at Harrah's Philly when Paprike Blue Chip won a division of the Simpson freshman colt pace at 3:49 p.m. 14 minutes (and 623 miles west-southwest) afterwards, Dover Dan beat some of the sport's best three-year-old male trotters in a division of the Bluegrass Stake at Kentucky's famous Red Mile. And seven minutes after that big win, freshman colt trotter Scirocco Rob took a division of his Simpson stake at Harrah's. Total haul for 21 minutes of work for Team Butenschoen -- $71,550, out of the $112,558 the stable won between stakes at the two tracks (11 starters, 3 wins, 2 seconds, a third, and 10 checkgetters). ... And all three horses in this "Trifecta" had won earlier in the year at Pocono. PHHA / Pocono  

CAMPBELLVILLE, September 9 - The harness racing team of driver Corey Callahan and trainer John Butenschoen connected to capture both eliminations of the Canadian Trotting Classic on Saturday night at Mohawk Racetrack. A group of 13 three-year-old trotting colts and geldings were split into two $40,000 eliminations to determine the field for next Saturday's (September 16) $684,000 final. The first elimination saw Bills Man charge home in :27.2 to win in 1:53.2 for Callahan and Butenschoen. The son of Credit Winner got away fourth with Callahan and would sit in that position until the final turn. Victor Gio IT showed the way, posting fractions of :27.3, :56.4 and 1:25.2. What The Hill enjoyed a two-hole trip and was angled out of the pocket approaching three-quarters, which provided cover for a moving Bills Man. In the stretch, What The Hill took the lead with an eighth of a mile to go, but couldn't fight off Bills Man on the outside and Dancer Hall on the inside. Bills Man would reach the wire first, defeating Dancer Hall by a neck. "I knew I had (What The Hill) beat and then I saw (Dancer Hall) sneaking up through there, but the horse had plenty of trot," said Callahan about the victory. "The main thing is we just wanted to get through there error free." Lindy The Great got up for fourth, while Victor Gio IT dropped back to finish fifth. Owned by William Wiswell and M And L of Delaware LLC, Bills Man has had a lot of close calls, including a loss by a nose in his Hambletonian elimination. He was winless in his last nine coming into Saturday. "He's had a lot of bad luck," said Callahan. "You know you don't get many chances to win the Hambletonian and he raced his heart out in the elimination and then drew post 10 and I mean that was really a heartbreaker. "He puts forth his best effort and he's going to have his day." Bills Man is now three for 14 with $248,986 earned this season, which boosts his career totals to five wins and $319,427 in lifetime earnings. The Butenschoen trainee paid $7.20 to win. Bills Man The same duo would return to the winner's circle in the second split, but this time it was a front-end mission that got the job done. Dover Dan went coast-to-coast for a 1:52.3 victory. The son of Andover Hall shot out quickly to the lead and proceeded to hang up fractions of :27.4 :56.1 and 1:24.1. Long Tom and International Moni sat second and third, respectively, throughout the early-going, but both were moved to the outside nearing three-quarters. In the stretch, Dover Dan dug in to fight off his outside rivals and score the victory by three-quarters of a length. Long Tom finished second, while International Moni was third. Seven And Seven finished two-lengths behind the winner in fourth, while Southwind Cobra was fifth to make the final. Owned by Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Eugene Schick, Dover Dan came into Saturday's contest with plenty of momentum after winning last Sunday's Pennsylvania Sires Stakes Championship. "He's always been better for me when you leave with him a little bit and kind of get him interested," said Callahan. "I told John (Butenschoen) ahead of the race that Scotty (Zeron - International Moni) usually kind of ducks his horse off, so I was going to push off and hopefully follow Tetrick (Long Tom), but he was content to follow me and I kept the fractions honest and everything worked out good." Dover Dan's victory improves his three-year-old record to four wins in 14 starts and nearly $230,000 earned. The Butenschoen trainee sports career totals of eight wins and $352,047 earned. Dover Dan paid $14.40 to win. Dover Dan Forced to choose which elimination winner he will drive in next week's final, Callahan wasn't shy in sharing which direction he will likely go. "I'll likely stick with Bills Man. I think he's the fastest of the two, even though (Dover Dan) went a bigger heat tonight, I think just pure speed wise, Bills Man is just a little bit quicker." Trainer Butenschoen also had a decision to make, as he got to select which posts his duo will start from in the final. Bills Man will start from post two, while Dover Dan will start from post three. The $684,000 Canadian Trotting Classic final will take place next Saturday (September 16). It joins the Maple Leaf Trot to make up a huge night of racing with purses expected to top $2 million. The three-year-old trotting fillies also had a chance to shine on Saturday evening in a pair of $35,000 eliminations for the Elegantimage. As expected, Ariana G took care of business in the first elimination for driver Yannick Gingras and trainer Jimmy Takter. The daughter of Muscle Hill and winner of over $1.4 million got away fifth before moving first-up at the half. She cleared to the lead at three-quarters in 1:25.4, before trotting home effortlessly in :27.3 to win by nearly five-lengths in 1:53.2. Coming in off a strong victory in last week's Casual Breeze, Gingras thought Ariana G was even better on Saturday. "Last week she was very good, but I think tonight she was vicious." Magic Presto finished second, while On A Sunny Day was third. Lady Grey and Sweet Of My Heart rounded out the top-five finishers. Owned by Marvin Katz and Al Libfeld, Ariana G is now eight for 10 this season with $645,027 earned and 17 for 20 overall. Ariana G paid $2.10 to win. Ariana G The second elimination saw Dream Together turn in a :27.1 final-quarter to track down Feed Your Head and win in 1:53.3. Driven by Daniel Dube for trainer Luc Blais, Dream Together got a three-hole ride, as Feed Your Head got her way on the front. The Takter trainee posted fractions of :27.2, :57.2 and 1:25.4 to lead into the lane. Dream Together avoided a three-quarter breaking Thats All Moni and then found her best stride in the lane. The Blais trainee rocketed home and zoomed by Feed Your Head to win by two lengths. "Got away third and moved her late and she responded well," said Dube, who had last drove Dream Together in the Hambletonian Oaks. "The last time at The Meadowlands I left and moved first over and she raced real good and now she finally got a better trip and raced good." Winter Sweet Frost finished third, while Glitzey Gal was fourth. Dream Baby Dream made a break at the start, but recovered to finish fifth after a few others made miscues. A daughter of Muscle Hill, Dream Together picked up just her second win of the season, but has been consistent all year. She's hit the board in seven of eight starts and earned $130,341. Dream Together is now a six-time winner with career earnings of $230,934 for owner Determination of Montreal, Quebec. She paid $8.30 to win. Dream Together The $385,000 Elegantimage Stakes final will also take place next Saturday. The finals for both the Canadian Trotting Classic and Elegantimage were drawn following the eliminations. Here is how they will lineup in each event. $684,000 Canadian Trotting Classic 1. Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill 2. Bills Man by Credit Winner 3. Dover Dan by Andover Hall 4. What The Hill by Muscle Hill 5. International Moni by Love You 6. Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven 7. Long Tom by Muscle Hill 8. Dancer Hall by Deweycheatumnhowe 9. Victor Gio IT by Ready Cash 10. Lindy The Great by Crazed AE: Dunbar Hall by Deweycheatumnhowe   $385,000 Elegantimage 1. Winter Sweet Frost by Kadabra 2. Lady Grey by Muscle Hill 3. Dream Together by Muscle Hill 4. Ariana G by Muscle Hill 5. Sweet Of My Heart by Angus Hall 6. Glitzey Gal by Muscle Hill 7. Magic Presto by Kadabra 8. Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill 9. Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill 10. On A Sunny Day by Muscle Mass AE: Mrstery Bear by Majestic Son Mark McKelvie

Coming off a career year, harness racing trainer John Butenschoen might be on his way to a career day. Butenschoen's stable will start three horses in Saturday's $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack, plus one horse in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks. Prior to this year, Butenschoen made one start in the Hambletonian, which came in 2013 with Punxsutawney, who failed to advance from his elimination to the final. This year, Butenschoen has contenders Bill's Man (5-1 on the morning line) and Giveitgasandgo (8-1) in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations. Dover Dan (8-1) is his stable's hopeful in the second division. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. Soon after the eliminations, which are races eight and nine on the card, Butenschoen will send Fine Tuned Lady into the Hambletonian Oaks. She is 10-1 on the morning line. The 54-year-old Butenschoen was born in Illinois and out of high school went to work for Delvin Miller, who won two Hambletonians as a trainer and one as a driver. He met his wife, Jackie Kiger Butenschoen, while working for Miller. Her father was also a trainer and for a time was the farrier at Miller's Meadow Lands Farm. The Butenschoens work together in their stable, where they are joined by son Tyler. Butenschoen enjoyed his first million-dollar season as a trainer in 2001, when the trotter Plesac (named in honor of then-major league pitcher Dan Plesac) was the star of his barn. Plesac raced from 1999 to 2003, earning $2.5 million in his career. Last year Butenschoen set career highs with 85 wins and $2.34 million in purses. Butenschoen's successes included Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championships with Fine Tuned Lady (2-year-old female trotter division) and Giveitgasandgo (2-year-old male trotter division). He also trained New York Sire Stakes champion pacer Funknwaffles. Fine Tuned Lady was fourth in her Hambletonian Oaks elimination after racing as the first horse in the outer flow while tracking leader Ice Attraction. Ariana G followed Fine Tuned Lady's cover to the top of the stretch and trotted home a winner from there in 1:51.3. Ariana G, last year's divisional Dan Patch Award winner, is the 6-5 favorite in the final. "We didn't really want to be first up," Butenschoen said. "She got a little lost up there and a couple fresher horses went by her, but then she dug right back in and she fought hard to the wire. Hopefully we can get a trip off someone else (in the final) instead of supplying someone else with the right trip. "But she shows up all the time. She's consistent. She's handy." Fine Tuned Lady, a daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess driven by Corey Callahan, has won nine of 20 career races, finished worse than third only twice, and earned $518,029 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. The same connections will send out Bill's Man in the Hambletonian eliminations. Bill's Man, a son of Credit Winner-Silver Springs, has won four of 21 lifetime starts and earned $186,427. He heads to his assignment off a third-place finish in the Reynolds last weekend at the Meadowlands. "We were a little disappointed he finished third, but he was parked the whole mile and seems to have come out of the race fine," Butenschoen said. "He's shown he's good enough to go with them. "He's had a good year. Maybe we've been a little too cautious with him. Last year he made some very untimely miscues and it didn't seem to matter if we had hobbles on him or not. The main thing was trying to teach him to race and have his confidence and have him trotting. He has the ability. I think if we can work out a trip we should be OK." Giveitgasandgo, a son of Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover, competes in the same elimination and enters the race off a 1:52.1 win in a 3-year-old open at the Meadowlands last weekend. He raced with Lasix for the first time in that start, but Lasix is not permitted in the Hambletonian. "I thought he might have had a little more trot finishing Saturday, but it was his first start back in 20 days off of a scratch (because of sickness)," Butenschoen said. "We won't be able to use Lasix, but hopefully we've got everything in shape and under control." Giveitgasandgo has won 11 of 19 career races and earned $352,349 for owners Harmony Oaks Racing (which is Butenschoen and his wife), David J. Miller, Lawrence Means, and VIP Internet Stable. In the second elimination, Dover Dan is a son of Andover Hall out of the mare CR Kay Suzie. His dam was a three-time Dan Patch Award winner, including 1995 Horse of the Year. She took on the boys in the 1995 Hambletonian, but went off stride in her elimination and failed to advance to the final. Dover Dan has finished off the board four times this year, with three of those instances coming when starting from a post No. 9. He started from the nine post in the Reynolds in his most recent race and also had the outside in the final of the Beal Memorial and a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. "I've been disappointed with the draws we've had," Butenschoen said. "He's just been a little bit of a victim of circumstances with post positions. "The other night (driver Brian Sears) said he had a ton of trot. Usually for a horse to trot as hard as he did to get back into the race they're kind of tired. He said he wasn't tired. He trotted his back half in :54.2 or :54.3 and came from way, way, way out of it. I've been pleased with him performance-wise. You can't do anything about the post positions." Dover Dan has won six of 19 lifetime races and earned $181,823 for owners Wiswell, Jean Goehlen and Gene Schick. Goehlen's father, George Alexander, bred 1992 Hambletonian winner Alf Palema. It was the last horse he ever bred. Alexander, whose Chestnut Farm raised and bred only trotters, was a director of the Hambletonian Society. He was elected as an Immortal to the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 1990. CBS Sports Network will air live coverage of the Hambletonian from 4:00-5:30 p.m. (EDT) Saturday. The Sam McKee Memorial (formerly U.S. Pacing Championship) and Hambletonian Oaks also will be featured during the 90-minute broadcast. First race post time on Hambletonian Day is noon. The Hambletonian final is 5:11 p.m. Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1 Ken Weingartner

East Rutherford, NJ --- After four decades in the harness racing business, Doug Paul and his family will see a dream come true Saturday when Bill’s Man races in the $1.2 million Hambletonian Stakes at the Meadowlands Racetrack. Bill’s Man will be the Pauls’ first starter in the sport’s premier race for 3-year-old trotters, the Hambletonian. If that were not enough, the Pauls also will make their first appearance in the $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks, for 3-year-old female trotters, with Fine Tuned Lady. “We’re excited,” said Paul, whose family operates a real estate management company in Wilmington, Del. “We’re all looking forward to it. It’s everybody’s dream (to be in the Hambletonian). It’s on everyone’s wish list that ever gets into the business.” Paul’s father, Ralph, got the family started in racing and Paul continues the tradition with his mother, Rosalind. Bill’s Man is owned by the Pauls’ M And L of Delaware and Wisconsin’s Bill Wiswell. The Pauls and Wiswell have been partners on horses for several years. Wiswell is the “Bill” in Bill’s Man. The colt’s original name was Credit Volo. He was one of only two horses they bought with trainer John Butenschoen in 2015. The other was Fine Tuned Lady. “For a small stable, that’s not too bad,” Paul said. “Bill normally picks out the colts and we normally pick out the fillies. We got a Hambo contender and one in the Hambo Oaks. I told him we ought to quit after that. We’ll never do that again.” Bill’s Man (Credit Winner-Silver Springs) is 5-1 on the morning line in the first of two $100,000 Hambletonian eliminations Saturday. International Moni is the 5-2 favorite in the first elimination and Devious Man is the 5-2 choice in the second. The top five finishers from each elimination advance to the $1 million final later in the day. “I think with the right type of trip, right type of day, he’s as good as anyone in there,” Paul said about Bill’s Man, who has won two of nine races this year and earned $115,986. “I don’t think going two heats will bother him. He’s a big, strong good looking horse.” Fine Tuned Lady (Cantab Hall-Poster Princess) is 10-1 on the morning line in the Hambletonian Oaks. The filly has won three of eight races this year and earned $79,689. Ariana G is the 6-5 favorite. “Ariana G looks like she’s much the best, but other than that I think we’re competitive with the field,” Paul said. In addition, Dude’s The Man will race for the Pauls in the $224,400 Sam McKee Memorial for older male pacers. The Hambletonian final, Hambletonian Oaks and McKee Memorial will air live on CBS Sports Network during a 90-minute broadcast beginning at 4 p.m. Corey Callahan, who has won eight consecutive driving titles at Dover Downs, will drive Bill’s Man and Fine Tuned Lady. “We’ll be up there on Saturday, cheering them on,” Paul said. “We’ll be nervous, but a good nervous. That’s what you get into the game for, to be able to compete in these types of races.” By Tia Lanette, a senior at Rutgers University, is writing as part of the Clyde Hirt Workshop.   Following are the Hambletonian elimination fields. Hambletonian Elimination (race eight) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Woody by Muscle Hill from a Pine Chip mare - Matt Kakaley - Ron Burke - 12/1 2 - Bill’s Man by Credit Winner from a Yankee Glide mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 5/1 3 - Guardian Angel AS by Archangel from an Allstar Hall mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 4 - Giveitgasandgo by Yankee Glide from an Andover Hall mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 8/1 5 - International Moni by Love You from a Speedy Crown mare - Scott Zeron - Frank Antonacci - 5/2 6 -Stealth Hanover by Andover Hall from a Credit Winner mare - Francisco Del Cid - Francisco Del Cid - 30/1 7 - Victor Gio It by Ready Cash from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Long Tom by Muscle Hill from a Windsong’s Legacy mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 3/1 9 - Jake by Muscle Hill from an Andover Hall mare - Dan Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1   Hambletonian Elimination (race nine) PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - What The Hill by Muscle Hill from an Angus Hall mare - David Miller - Ron Burke - 3/1 2 - Seven And Seven by Chapter Seven from a Kadabra mare - David Miller - Tom Durand - 8/1 3 - Sortie by Explosive Matter from a Tagliabue mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 10/1 4 -Shake it Off Lindy by Crazed from a Love You mare - Brett Miller - Frank Antonacci - 20/1 5 - Dover Dan by Andover Hall from a Royal Troubador mare - Brian Sears - John Butenschoen - 8/1 6 - Enterprise by Chapter Seven from a SJ’s Caviar mare - Tim Tetrick - Marcus Melander - 9/2 7 - Southwind Cobra by Muscle Hill from a Broadway Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Ron Burke - 15/1 8 - Achille Duharas by Andover Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 20/1 9 - Devious Man by Credit Winner from a Garland Lobell mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller-5/2 10 - Perfect Spirit by Andover Hall from a Kadabra mare - Ake Svanstedt - Ake Svanstedt - 12/1   $500,000 Hambletonian Oaks PP-Horse-Sire-Dam Sire-Driver-Trainer-Line 1 - Southwind Avanti by Muscle Hill from a Windsong's Legacy mare - Jason Bartlett - Anette Lorentzon - 10/1 2 - Dream Together by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Daniel Dube - Luc Blais - 8/1 3 - Caviart Wonder by Muscle Massive from a Conway Hall mare - Andy McCarthy - Noel Daley - 20/1 4 - Ariana G by Muscle Hill from a Cantab Hall mare - Yannick Gingras - Jimmy Takter - 6/5 5 - Magic Presto by Kadabra from a Muscles Yankee mare - Brian Sears - R. Nifty Norman - 5/1 6 - Fine Tuned Lady by Cantab Hall from a Pine Chip mare - Corey Callahan - John Butenschoen - 10/1 7 - Feed Your Head by Muscle Hill from a Donerail mare - Tim Tetrick - Jimmy Takter - 6/1 8 - Sunshine Delight by Credit Winner from a Cantab Hall mare - Brett Miller - Staffan Lind - 20/1 9 - Overdraft Volo by Yankee Glide from a Tagliabue mare - Andy Miller - Julie Miller - 10/1 10 - Dream Baby Dream by Muscle Hill from a Andover Hall mare - Rod Allen - Rod Allen - 15/1

WILKES-BARRE PA - Pacing distaffs ascending the class ladder got the harness racing spotlight on Tuesday at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, with the $18,000 "nw 7 races" feature going to the Rock N Roll Heaven mare Angels Rockn Pink in 1:53.   Driver Marcus Miller made every pole a winning one with the John Butenschoen trainee, defeating favored I Wish You Well by a length while raising her lifetime earnings to $218,454 for Crawford Farms Racing.   There were also two $16,000 races for the "n/w 5 races" set, with both winners taking new marks of 1:52.4. In one, the Sportsmaster mare Frog Pond Princess, who had a seasonal mark of 9-0-4-3 vs. "nw 6" types at Yonkers, found the drop, the switch in track, and scratching in from the AE list just the ticket for her 2017 breakthrough, winning by 1¼ lengths for driver George Napolitano Jr., trainer Lance Hudson, and owner William Hartt. In the other, the Western Ideal filly Ideal Plan took the lead from favored Beach Club late on the first turn, set the pace, then used a 28 last quarter to come home strongly and foil the potential pocket rocket by a half-length for driver Scott Zeron, trainer Casie Coleman, and the partnership of West Wins Stable, Jim Fielding, and Kevin McKinlay.   Finally, a mention should go to Meteoric, a three-year-old gelding who conquered a $14,000 "nw 3 races" field of trotters in 1:52.4, winning by 11½ lengths for driver Joe Bongiorno, trainer Richard Johnson, and owner Mahlon Martin. The sophomore certainly has the pedigree to stand him well in stakes action, as a son of Explosive Matter and having a third dam who produced the ill-fated Hambletonian favorite Dancer's Crown.   PHHA / Pocono

Fine Tuned Lady was "a model of consistency" last year. Harness racing trainer John Butenschoen is hoping for more of the same this season. Butenschoen sends Fine Tuned Lady, a multiple stakes-winner last year, to Friday's Currier & Ives for 3-year-old female trotters at The Meadows. The event attracted 21 horses, which were divided into three $24,000 divisions. Fine Tuned Lady is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the first division. Sianna Hanover is the 2-1 choice in the second division and Treviso is the 7-5 pick in the third. Last year Fine Tuned Lady won six times and finished second on five occasions in 12 starts. Her victories included the Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stakes, Matron Stakes, and Pennsylvania Sire Stakes championship. She earned $438,340 for owners Bill Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. Fine Tuned Lady began this year by winning a division of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes on May 13 at The Meadows. "You always hold your breath when they're first coming back, but she did what she was supposed to do," Butenschoen said about Fine Tuned Lady's seasonal debut. "I was real pleased and I know that (driver Corey Callahan) was happy with how she raced. She's a nice filly. We'll see how she comes back this year; we'll see if she's improved any. I'm sure there are other ones out there that have improved, or that we didn't hear of, that will pop up. We'll find out. "She had a great year (in 2016). She was just a model of consistency. She did everything you would have hoped for. If she would have earned half the money we would have been tickled to death. As it was, she got lucky in a few races where some favorites or co-favorites made breaks and she was able to take advantage and she put up a good chunk of change on her card." Fine Tuned Lady's only off-the-board finish came in a division of the International Stallion Stakes at Lexington's Red Mile, where she was fourth but beaten by only 1-3/4 lengths. "I don't know if she was getting tired at that time of year already, but she wasn't quite as sharp, or didn't stack up as well as those other ones on the bigger track," Butenschoen said. "She's a real good-gaited filly, a real handy filly, and I think she's going to be a lot more suited to the smaller tracks. But it'll be interesting to see what she can do against them with a fresh set of legs under her." Fine Tuned Lady is a daughter of stallion Cantab Hall out of the stakes-winning mare Poster Princess and her second dam is Dan Patch Award-winner Me Maggie. Fine Tuned Lady was purchased for $27,000 at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale. Interestingly, her connections had their eyes on a filly that sold earlier in the auction, but were unsuccessful in acquiring her. If they had, it is unlikely they would have bid on Fine Tuned Lady. "It comes down to luck at the sales," Butenschoen said. "You do your homework and hopefully things fall into place. That's kind of the fun of the game I guess." Fine Tuned Lady is eligible to the Hambletonian Oaks in August at the Meadowlands. Other Oaks eligible horses in the Currier & Ives divisions are Sparkle Plenty, Monee Bank, Sheez On A Cruze, Caviart Wonder, Cool Cates, Sianna Hanover, Dangle Then Deke, Amuse's, Broadway Idole, Treviso, Pennys N Dimes, and Temple Ruins. In addition, Fine Tuned Lady is eligible to the Breeders Crown in late October at Hoosier Park. "We'll keep our fingers crossed," Butenschoen said. "It's a long time between now and the end of October. We'll see if we can do things right." Fine Tuned Lady is not the only highly regarded trotter trained by Butenschoen for Wiswell and M And L of Delaware. Bill's Man, a 3-year-old colt, was last year's third-fastest 2-year-old trotter, posting a mark of 1:52.3, and is eligible to the Hambletonian among other top stakes. Bill's Man is expected to compete in Monday's first round of the New York Sire Stakes at Vernon Downs. He has a win and a second in two starts this season. "They've got a nice pair there," Butenschoen said about his owners' trotters. "He's a very fast horse. He was just a big, long, leggy thing as a 2-year-old and a little physically and mentally immature. He had a nice winter in Florida and, knock on wood, so far this year is putting everything down the way he's supposed to and acting right." For Friday's complete Meadows card, click here. First race post time is 5 p.m. and the first Currier & Ives division is race four. Ken Weingartner

Northern Courtney (Mike Simons) captures M&J Oil Lube Trot Final ($25,000) for harness racing 3 year-old fillies at at Tioga Downs Saturday night (May 20). The 3 year-old Deweycheatumnhowe filly marched out to the lead and never relinquished it. Trained by John Butenschoen,the filly was trailed by Seven Magic Words (Tom Jackson) who road the pocket the entire way to finish second. Northern Courtney (2.20) captured her third straight win doing in a career best 1:55.0. However she was not the fastest 3 year-old filly tonight. That honor went to Barn Bella (Jim Taggart Jr), who captured the Open II trot. The Conway Hall filly trained by Steven Pratt, equaled the track record for 3 year-old fillies in 1:54.0. Barn Bella ($3.10) is three for three in 2017.   Tioga Downs returns to live action tomorrow (May 21) at 1pm.   For more information go to www.tiogadowns.com   John Horne for Tioga Downs      

YONKERS, NY - When Devil Child makes her 2017 debut Friday night at Yonkers Raceway, she will also make her first start for trainer John Butenschoen, who was tasked by owners Crawford Farms Racing and Susan Oakes of prepping the daughter of American Ideal for the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. "We had a little bit of luck last year for the Crawfords," Butenschoen explained. "Chris (Oakes) is still in South Florida training the horses and this filly had the series coming up. They asked if I would take her." Butenschoen accepted and delegated the daily care and training of the multiple-stakes winner and $604,549-earner to his son, Tyler. The 27-year-old manages Butenschoen's northern string in the winter while the bulk of the team, John included, head to Florida to prepare the 2-year-olds for the coming year. This season, the Butenschoen stable has swelled with nine horses in training in Pennsylvania and about 50 2- and 3-year-olds prepping in Florida. The lineup of about 60 trotters and pacers is about 10 more than Butenschoen is used to conditioning at any given time. "We're really lucky. We've got a lot of good help down here in Florida and I've got a lot of good help up in Pennsylvania, so we were able to take it on to where it really didn't affect anything other than we've got to work a little bit more," Butenschoen said with a chuckle. His dedication to the 2-year-olds means Butenschoen has spent limited time with Devil Child. What he has seen first-hand impressed the conditioner. "When I went up there to the Meadowlands sale, she was in the barn. I looked at her and she was in great shape " he admired. "Physically she looked great. I mean great flesh, her legs were all clean, so we were able to put her on a pretty recommended schedule and the weather thankfully cooperated to where we were able to get things going." Although she hasn't raced since finishing second in a $26,000 overnight at Yonkers November 18, Devil Child's break at Crawford Farms in Durhamville, NY served her well and made the comeback process easier. "She was just freshened up. From what the Crawfords told me, she was out in the field, they have an Equicizer, they have exercise wheel, they have things that you can keep the horse in training without being in training. So, all we were trying to do was get her back racing, fit, and let her talent take care of it." Devil Child's final preparations for her return to racing began March 3 when she qualified at Yonkers. With Mark MacDonald at the lines, she showed speed from post seven before finishing third in 1:55.0 with a :28.4 final quarter. A week later, she qualified again. This time, she finished fourth in 1:56.0 with a :29.2 final panel for leading driver Jason Bartlett, who will drive Friday night. "We trained her in :58 at the farm before we took her in to qualify. Both of her qualifiers were encouraging. Mark was happy with her the first week and Jason was happy with her last week," Butenschoen said. Devil Child is a 6-1 morning line chance in her $40,000 division of the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series. She drew post position four and avoids some of the series favorites in week one as Mach It A Par and Bedroomconfessions will start in division two. "She got into a good spot. It worked out where if we would've been in either of the other divisions, the horses that Jason is driving in those divisions are obviously a little more accomplished this year. We're able to retain him to drive her, so that's a plus. The four hole is a plus. It looks like probably on paper it's the right division," Butenschoen reasoned. "We'll see where we're at. The first start it will be interesting to see what she's up to, but I think she's capable of going along otherwise we wouldn't have put her in there," he continued. "We're hopeful. I'll be watching from sunny Central Florida here and hoping that she does a little good." The first of five weeks of preliminary competition in the Blue Chip Matchmaker Series features three $40,000 divisions, each with a full field of eight. First post time is 7:10 p.m. by Brandon Valvo for the SOA of NY

Columbus, OH --- Coming off a season in which his pupils earned just over $2.3 million, the largest annual sum of his 26-year harness racing career, John Butenschoen acknowledges 2017 could be a banner one as well, especially when a filly such as Fine Tuned Lady graces his shedrow. “She came in and grew and put on more weight,” Butenschoen said. “I am very, very happy with her and look forward to what she can accomplish this year. I’m looking forward to the season, but it’s like I’ve been telling my help, they better enjoy the good mood I’m in right now, because another month or so when things start to get serious, I start worrying about everything and won’t be easy to be around.” While defending Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-year-old male trot champion Giveitgasandgo and the royally bred Bluegrass Stakes winner Dover Dan may have received more attention, the 3-year-old star of Butenshoen’s stable may very well be Pennsylvania Sire Stakes 2-year-old filly trot champion Fine Tuned Lady. The daughter of Cantab Hall-Poster Princess was selected and purchased for $27,000 by William Wiswell and M And L of Delaware at the 2015 Standardbred Horse Sale at Harrisburg. In her sole year of racing, she has compiled a resume of 12-6-5-0 and collected $438,340. Due to the fact her dam won $153,407 on the track and has produced Prince Rocco (SJ’s Photo, $159,910), Poster Pin Up (Andover Hall, $439,454), Call To Post (Tom Ridge, $322,385) and Everyone’s Talkin (Donato Hanover, $131,993), Fine Tuned Lady’s connections felt quite fortunate they could bring her home for that price. “We were definitely shocked and were looking at each other when the gavel went down and it was only $27,000 for her,” Butenschoen said. “We were prepared to go much higher, but we were not going to complain or even give it too much thought as to why. We were just very, very happy to have her for that amount of money with her family being as good as it is.” Fine Tuned Lady commenced her career with a second place finish in a $30,000 division of the Pennsylvania All Stars held at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on June 27. She followed her debut effort with a maiden-breaking score at the same facility in a $14,000 non-winners event on July 4 and another victory in Sire Stakes company at The Meadows the subsequent week in a stakes record 1:55.1. After another second under the same conditions in a return to The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono on July 19, Fined Tuned Lady received two weeks off, won a qualifying contest on Aug. 3 and then was second in two Sire Stakes races at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Aug. 11 and The Meadows on Aug. 23. Qualifying at Pocono yet again on Aug. 31, the filly then led from gate to wire to capture the $252,000 Pennsylvania Sire Stakes final for her age, sex and gait on Sept. 11 at Harrah’s Philadelphia. “Everyone that got behind her at first thought she was a good horse,” Butenschoen said. “But just good. It was when Corey Callahan drove her for the first time in her first baby race he told us she might be better than just that. As soon as he got out of the bike he came right over and said, ‘I really like this filly and I will follow her wherever she goes.’ Now that is saying something when a driver like Corey makes that kind of commitment and he turned out to be right. She has not done one thing wrong and had a great year.” Fine Tuned Lady left the friendly confines of her home state and Sire Stakes company to contest some of the sport’s elite fillies in the $250,000 Kentuckiana Stallion Management Stake at Hoosier Park on Sept. 23, which she won, prior to journeying to Red Mile to finish second and fourth, respectively, in divisions of the Bluegrass Stake and the International Stallion Stake. A return to Philadelphia on Oct. 28 yielded a victory in the John Simpson Stake and Fine Tuned Lady capped off her season with a triumph in the $148,700 Matron Stake at Dover Downs on Nov. 3. Although her regular reinsman, Callahan, extolled the filly’s virtues early in her career, Butenschoen already had a specific plan in mind to manage her season and he did not deviate from it. “We got lucky with her when she won the Kentuckiana because that other filly (1-9 favorite and divisional champion, Ariana G) broke right at the start,” Butenschoen said. Prior to that miscue, Ariana G was undefeated and appeared invincible. “We mapped out a schedule where we could still dodge some top fillies like Ariana G, take advantage of Pennsylvania’s Sire Stakes program and make some money in other races later in the year with her,” Butenschoen said. “We could have put her in the Breeders Crown, or taken her to Canada, but the way the schedule was set we could keep her here and put her in two races where we knew we could get a nice check with her rather than having her knock heads with the top ones in those races, then not being able to hit the board. “Also, she is very handy and comes off the gate very well. We were not sure how that advantage she has would have played over the bigger, mile tracks with the best fillies who are proven over that type of track. “We will follow a similar schedule with her this year,” he continued. “It will be up to her to see if we do put her in races like the Breeders Crown. She will have the opportunity to show us. “As I said, I’m very pleased with how she looks, but it is a long season and in this business you can never predict what is going to happen.” by Kim French, USTA Internet News Editor

Pennsylvania Sire Stakes champion Giveitgasandgo is certainly creating his own VIP experience leading up to this weekend's harness racing Breeders Crown. Trained by John Butenschoen, Giveitgasandgo had won seven straight races prior to finishing third in last week's Breeders Crown elimination, in which he qualified for the $600,000 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot final this Saturday at The Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Scheduled as race six on the stacked 16-race card, Giveitgasandgo starts from the rail in the 10-horse field, with Corey Callahan in the sulky. Post time is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET. "He's a very nice colt that's done everything we've asked of him so far this year," said Callahan, who is seeking his first Crown trophy. "Last week was his first start on a big track for me and it was great acclimating mile for him. We drew a great spot and think he'll give a good showing of himself in the final." The Yankee Glide-Mazda Hanover ridgling is owned by Harmony Oaks Racing Stable (Sorrento, FL), David Miller (Lake Wylie, SC), Lawrence Means (Camp Hill, PA) and VIP Internet Stable. VIP Internet Stable, based out of Piscataway, New Jersey, is a racehorse syndication group that was started by co-partners Ed O'Connor and Tom Janes in 1999. The concept was that anyone from any location could now get involved with harness racing ownership, with the goal of offering fractional ownership in order to get as many people as possible involved in the game. "In 2009 we were fortunate enough to take an interest in a horse by the name of River Shark. This eventual million-dollar earner took us to various stakes events (including the Little Brown Jug) and got us interested in the excitement surrounding 2 and 3-year-old stakes racing," Janes said. "At the time we were also introduced to John (Butenschoen). John had relocated from the struggling Illinois horse program to Pennsylvania. He enjoyed the baby game, so we started buying a few pieces of yearlings with him and some of his partners." From there, the relationship between the two expanded and grew. "We then started getting seven to eight yearlings with John each year and were again introduced to the exciting world of stakes racing. We started winning a sire stakes leg here and there as well as few other events. The interest and excitement continued to build when in 2012 we won the $250,000 Kentucky Sire Stakes with Duel In The Sun. That continued in 2013 when we won the $260,000 PA Sire Stakes with Allstar Partner," Janes said. "We fell a little short in 2014, but finished a close second in the PA Sires with Tomy Terror, and last year we were back in the loop with a nice trotter by the name of Hititoutofthepark, who has earned over $300,000 for us." Enter Giveitgasandgo in 2016. "We took an interest in Giveitgasandgo at last year's Lexington Sale where he was purchased for $32,000. John looks at hundreds of horses prior to the sale and then provides his owners with his overall ratings based on several factors. We then walk the sale grounds with John and review his top selections as well as any that we might like. We've had some luck with some fairly priced Yankee Glides in the past, so certainly were keeping an eye on any that John had rated as an 'A'," Janes added. Back track to two weeks ago at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino, where Giveitgasandgo had a statement performance. In the $103,800 Keystone Classic 2-Year-Old Colt & Gelding Trot, Giveitgasandgo (with driver Scott Zeron) won his seventh straight in a career-best 1:54 4/5, eclipsing the old stakes record of 1:55 2/5 set by Keystone Activator and Pilgrim's Taj and equaling Sutton's track record. Thus far, he has set the fastest time on a five-eighths-mile track in the division this year and for his efforts, raised his earnings to $264,240. "We are of course thrilled to have Giveitgasandgo in the Breeders Crown. Our members are extremely excited to own a piece of such a nice horse and many of them have only dreamed of owning a horse like this and we're excited to give them that opportunity," Janes said. "We realize that it's going to be very tough going up against Linda's (Toscano) horse, Walner. However, Giveitgasandgo is pretty talented and has been prepped nicely for this." RACE 6 - Meadowlands - NJ - October 29, 2016 BREEDERS CROWN - FINAL 2 Year Old Colts & Geldings Bill Weaver Memorial Trophy Planned Post Time: 8:46 PM 1 - Giveitgasandgo - Callahan - Butenschoen- 5/1 2 - Walner* - Tetrick - Toscano- 7/5 3 - Snowstorm Hanover - Kakaley - Burke-15/1 4 - Sortie* - McCarthy - Daley-8/1 5 - Dover Dan - S. Zeron - Butenschoen- 15/1 6 - Sir John F - Kakaley - Takter-20/1 7 - Moonshiner Hanover - S. Zeron - Beaver-12/1 8 - What the Hill - D. Miller - Burke-8/1 9 - Fly On - A. Miller - J. Miller-12/1 10 - Jake - Filion - Blais-6/1 by Lou Monaco for Breeders Crown      

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